Things You Can Do With Pepper Jelly

How would you like a nice bowl of creamy ice cream topped with pepper jelly? What? Wait! Pepper jelly on ice cream? Why, yes, as it gives you a sweet-heat treat neatly atop that cool and creamy dessert. Why go for chocolate sauce when you can try pepper jelly that comes in a vast array of flavours and gives most things a kick?

Zesty, sweet, heat–that’s what pepper jelly brings to the table, or the grill, or the frozen treats, or the finger foods, or the dips, or, well, you get the idea.

Obviously the first thoughts about how to use pepper jelly will be all the ways you use regular jelly. Toast, bagels, peanut butter sandwiches, on crackers, on Melba toast, the list goes on and on. But this condiment isn’t limited to breakfast anymore. Since it’s not a new idea, people have had the time to experiment and come up with many, many uses for the stuff and they didn’t stop at breakfast, not by a long shot!

People have been mixing it into drinks like margaritas and daiquiri’s as it kicks the flavour up a notch, giving that iced drink a hint of heat that makes it all the more delicious. It’s also been used as a marinade or a glaze for meat that is about to be grilled. This gives a fruity heat flavour to meat and is especially good on pulled pork or chicken, just for a variety of taste.

And since it’s being used as a topping for ice cream, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to add it to frozen treats that are made at home. Simply mix in with your juice of choice and viola, you have an interesting tasting frozen treat to enjoy by the pool.

Meat isn’t the only thing to benefit from a glaze of pepper jelly at the next BBQ though, as it’s being used as a glaze for vegetables too. With so many flavours available, you can have a different veggie pepper jelly combination every day! Hot wings, candied bacon and caramelized carrots all get a little bit better when you add this super versatile condiment.

If you haven’t tried pepper jelly yet, what are you waiting for? With so many varieties you’re sure to find one or two perfect for you and your family, perhaps you’ll even come up with a new and exciting way to use it in a dish no one has thought of before!

Guide Dinner Etiquette in Restaurant

Dining out with friends, family or colleagues is a joyous moment, a time for celebration. Well, whether it’s a social gathering or a business call your dining etiquettes are always under surveillance— beware of any faux pas.

Now don’t get intimidated, you simply need to master the basic nuances of dining and get appreciated by one and all. Before you are ready to savor the perfect flavor, aroma and the magical spell of the dishes, get your protocols straight. The article will help broaden your perspectives on the dining etiquettes in a restaurant, ensuring a delightful experience for both—the hosts and the guests.

Bookings and Arrival

The world is now plagued by electronic gadgets; be smart, make the effort to fetch your expensive Smartphone and book a reservation. Hustling for a seat at the restaurant isn’t a gracious act. Get the specifics right—date, time, no, of guests and seat preference.

Hey! Are you super chilled out, engrossed attiring or perfectly drawing your eye-liner because the reservation is done? Not a noble conduct. If it’s a 19 hrs booking make sure your watch ticks leastwise 18:45 hours (not to mention a perfectly timed watch) when you are at the eatery’s threshold with your guests. ‘Punctuality is the politeness of kings’—adapt it.

Food Ordering

Talk to the person in charge and make yourself comfortable at your table. Don’t get started with your chitter-chatter already. Time to run down the carte du jour (menu) and avoid dispelling the recurring waiters awaiting your orders. Peruse through the menu list (request at least 2 menu cards if members are more), ask others their preferences, suggestions and quickly order.

Is the endless number of dishes perplexing you? Well take your time, if needed inquire but don’t bother your courteous waiter with constant persistence to alter the order. Might leave him perplexed instead! If you can’t decipher a particular fancy dish ask the waiter, don’t yell later.

Now, you may prattle but in a mellowed tone. Your jesting anecdotes, gleeful laughter and thumping might be totally unnecessary for others. So keep your tone low; maintain your etiquettes.

While you Eat

The hot delicious food is served. Pass them to all, take turns to help yourselves or ask the waiter, wait for others to start and arrange your napkins, needed cutleries and drinks— oh! are the exotic aromas challenging your patience, well hold on to your adrenaline rush. Now, you are ready to eat—wait I said eat and not gorge, eat decently picking one item at a time. Use your knives, forks, spoons decorously without playing with them. Look if others require something, you are permitted to converse but first swallow your food. If having drinks clink your glasses don’t bang them please.

Enjoying your time at the restaurant, the elegant d├ęcor, magnificent interior, the spotless white linen on the dining table and the clean sparkling flooring? Please don’t stain them. Littering the table with waste food is against dining protocols. Request for an extra plate for your throwaways.

While you Leave

So you are leaving? Bye adios — but have you cleaned your table? Yes, you should. The table might be messy with your leftovers or discarded food. You just generously tipped the waiter for his service, let him thank you rather feel disgusted. Use your napkins to at least clean the waste so much so that the next group of table occupants doesn’t grumble about your distasteful dining etiquettes.

This is your crisp list for a visit to the restaurant. There can be multiple additions to these which may vary depending on your purpose of visit. Remember to depict your benignant nature and decorum that speaks high of you. Enjoy eating!

Gourmet Cooking Tips

Those celebrity chefs make it look easy, don’t they? Some of them aren’t even formally trained. And we think to ourselves, heck, I can do that this weekend, no problem. However, in order to proceed, you will need the following to create your magical gourmet meal:

Kitchen appliances are mandatory: an all-purpose KitchenAid with multiple attachments and bowls; (You can’t whip up fluffy meringue or airy whipped cream with a fork.) food processor (for homemade breadcrumbs, pesto sauce, mayonnaise, salad dressings and shredded cheeses);Unlimited food budget: seafood, prime meats, French wines, imported cheeses, baking chocolate, Madagascar vanilla extract, organic fruits, veggies, and premium olive oils don’t come cheap;

Bakewear: spotless cookie sheets, bundt and springform pans, muffin tins, loaf and brownie pans, parchment paper, rolling pin, pastry cloth, marble slab, butcher block cutting board, plus extra shelving to store them all;

Cookwear: skillets (3 sizes), sauce pans, roaster, Dutch ovens, pasta kettle, double boiler, assorted casserole dishes with lids;

Utensils: zester, whisks (three sizes), corkscrew (preferably automatic), razor sharp knives (at least five for different jobs),spatulas of high quality rubber (minimum two), wooden spoons, juice reamer, measuring cups, ice cream scoop, garlic press, mixing bowls, all sizes;

Complete spice rack and fresh herbs from your garden (or small greenhouse window set up in your kitchen), sauces, mustards, mortar and pestle, coffee grinder, peppermill;

Well, okay, you can skip the restaurant-grade oven and range top and just go with your regular one, but it won’t turn out the same. And give away the microwave. No self-respecting gourmet chef would even think of using it. (Have you ever spied one in the kitchens of Martha Stewart or Ina Garten?)

Okay, so now you have the tools, but the real challenge is yet to come: the assembly.

That chicken dish looked pretty easy, and chicken is a no-brainer. Off to the grocer for thighs and breasts, artichoke hearts, organic bone broth, sea salt, Dijon mustard, Gruyere cheese, peppercorns, panko crumbs (no one will suspect they’re not homemade), capers, unsalted butter, 2 lemons, fresh thyme, extra virgin olive oil, and white wine. (Three bottles to be safe.) Oh boy, that put a dent in the monthly food budget, but this is special.

The new food processor and dutch oven are washed and ready to go. You’ve set out a whisk, the juice reamer, a wooden spoon, the cutting board, measuring cups, a colander, knives, teaspoon, tablespoon and meat fork. You prepare the chicken as directed, gently ease the breaded parts into the melted butter and olive oil-coated dutch oven, saute lightly. Gee, this is a breeze, why didn’t you do this years ago? Drain the artichoke hearts, juice the lemons, grate the Gruyere cheese in the food processor. Those chicken parts seem to be browning a little too fast, better turn down the burner heat. Then deglaze the pan with some white wine (taste it first to make sure it’s good quality–chefs always say never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink). Add remaining ingredients (do you drain the capers?) sprinkle cheese on top, cover and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. The chicken looks a little bit over-browned, but the sauce will cover that up. Maybe just a bit more wine.

You throw together a simple green salad (thank heavens for prepackaged lettuce and bottled dressing–it’ll be your little secret). By now, your husband is home and sits at the kitchen table describing his day. You join him and crack open the second bottle of wine (good thing you bought 3). He tells you it smells great and praises your ambition. And what a nice surprise. (It’s usually rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and frozen peas.) He comments on the complexity of the food processor and asks if that will be difficult to wash. (You are hoping he volunteers.) And all those utensils in the sink. You must have worked hard. The wine bottle is empty but you have a third. Plus a bottle of merlot in the pantry. (It really doesn’t go with chicken, but always have a back up.)

When the timer rings, you turn off the oven and let the chicken sit (or as the chefs say, “rest”). It really does smell good. You’ll leave the cleanup for later. Out comes the Dutch oven, the aroma is incredible, the chicken a wee bit too brown but you stir in some flour to thicken the sauce (was that in the recipe?),toss some store-bought rolls in a basket, (they’re not warm but you don’t have a microwave anymore) toss the salad, and viola. Dinner is served.

Break open the third bottle of wine, (no crystal goblets but juice glasses will do just fine), and you beam with pride at your delicious and perfectly made gourmet dinner for two. Okay, so the chicken is a little overdone, and you should have drained the capers, and maybe just a bit too much wine and lemon juice, but for a first try, pretty darn impressive.

Since you’re still a novice, let’s forego the table setting and opt for TV trays. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Gosh, it sure was a lot of work, and the clean-up was daunting. When all is said and done, maybe next weekend just go out to dinner and let someone who’s trained do the cooking. (It’ll be cheaper and no clean-up.) Or foregoing that, throw a few Lean Cuisines in the microwave (you really couldn’t part with it–you stashed it in a closet). Perhaps schedule a garage sale which will save the neighbors from having to outfit their own gourmet kitchens. Come and get it, folks: real cheap. But “some assembly required.”

All About Buffalo Mozzarella

Getting to Know Buffalo Mozzarella

Buffalo Mozzarella is a traditionally southern Italian mozzarella cheese produced exclusively from fresh buffalo milk, rennet (a natural milk coagulant), salt and milk enzymes. After drawing and moulding it may also be smoked, but only using natural, traditional procedures.

The cheese is soft with a rubbery texture, has mild flavor and is known to be rich in proteins, calcium, mineral salts, iron and vitamins. The cheese is liked by chefs for its versatility in the kitchen and for its special characteristics that make it a perfect ingredient for Mediterranean dishes like pizza, pasta and the Caprese salad.

Mozzarella is the diminutive form of the verb ‘mozzare’, which means ‘to cut off’ derived from the Neapolitan dialect spoken in Campania in southern Italy. It refers to the process of making mozzarella, as the large mass of curd is cut up by hand, into smaller sizes.

The buffalo mozzarella from Italy sold as Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is protected under the European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status and may only be produced in select locations in the regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia and Molise.

The origin of the buffalo mozzarella is said to be the Campania region where it has been produced in the provinces of Caserta and Salerno for many centuries.

The history of the buffalo mozzarella in Campania dates back to the 13th century when the dairy farmers in the region are said to have started making the mozzarella cheese from buffalo milk, mainly for local consumption, which at that time was regarded as a cheaper alternative to cow or goat’s milk cheese.

Water Buffalo in Italy

The history of the water buffalo in Italy is important to consider as it is closely tied to the buffalo mozzarella cheese.

The water buffalo originated in Asia and is known to have been domesticated in the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia civilizations between 2000 BC and 3000 BC.

According to the Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, it was the Arabs who introduced the water buffalo to Sicily, during their conquest of Sicily which began in 827. The Normans later introduced the water buffalo to Campania and other parts of southern Italy.

The water buffalo herds were destroyed by the Nazis during the World War II, which briefly shifted the production of mozzarella to cow’s milk. After the World War II, water buffalo from India were brought to Italy to replenish the original herds and resume the production of buffalo mozzarella.