Weekly Food for Thought with items on throwing a cookie party, how margarine is made, a recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate and more.
Somewhere between hanging the tinsel and wrapping the gifts, you realize you’ve forgotten one of the most important traditions of all: baking cookies.
With thoughts of a kitchen covered in flour, the kids fighting over the same cookie cutter and the dog eating the dropped cookie dough, it would be easy to just forget the whole thing and try again next year. But it’s never too late to enjoy this all-important winter tradition and make some new memories.
The experts at GFS Marketplace, a bulk-food store located in the Midwest and Southeast, offer the following ideas for keeping the cookie tradition alive:
Use pre-cut cookie dough. Use store-bought “place and bake” cookies to cut your prep and baking time by more than half. This will give you more time to get creative with your cookie designs, and your friends and family will never know the cookies weren’t made from scratch.
Start with store-bought cookies. Turn everyday cookies we eat all year long into something special with a few extra ingredients. Put chocolate, vanilla or peanut butter sandwich cookies into a food processor, mix with cream cheese and form into bite-size balls. After chilling them in the refrigerator, dunk them in melted chocolate or almond bark and add sprinkles for a festive look. Add sticks to each creation for a “cookie pop” version.
Host a cookie decorating contest. Hold a contest among family members to see who can come up with the most uniquely designed cookies. Have a variety of colored frostings, icing, sugars, melted chocolate, sprinkles and candies on hand, and get ready for a creative and memorable event!
Tip of the Week: Go healthy with hamburgers
Americans love their hamburgers, but the American Dietetic Association recommends cutting down on red meat as much as possible. Instead, the ADA says to try vegetable-based burgers (bean, mushroom or lentil), imitation burgers (soy or wheat protein) or lean ground turkey or chicken burgers. Serve on a whole-grain bun for added nutrients.
Easy recipe: Mexican Hot Chocolate
1⁄4 cup unsweetened coca powder
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 1⁄2 cups milk
1⁄2 cup half and half or cream
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat milk to just below boiling. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Reheat on low to combine. Serve hot with milk chocolate shavings or whipped cream on top. Serves 3-4.
-- Canton (Ohio) Repository
Did You Know?
If you ship perishable items in the mail, inform the recipient so it can be refrigerated immediately. If it arrives above 40 degrees, throw it out. -- FoodSafety.gov
Native to Mexico and Central America, which vegetable is also known as the Mexican potato or the Mexican turnip?
A. sweet potato
Answer is at bottom of column
Wise to the Word: margarine
[MAHR-juh-rihn, MAHRJ-rihn] Developed in the late 1800s as a butter substitute, margarine –– which is less expensive but not as flavorful as butter –– is made with vegetable oils. In order for margarine to become solid, the oil must undergo a chemical transformation known as hydrogenation — indicated as hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) oils on a label. Regular margarine must contain 80 percent fat. The remaining 20 percent consists of liquid, coloring, flavoring and other additives. Careful label scrutiny is advised because the ingredients affect everything from flavor to texture to nutritive value.
Number to Know
610: One personal pan 6-inch pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut is 610 calories.
The Dish On …
“Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Live Oil” by Tom Mueller
Starting with an explosive article in The New Yorker, Tom Mueller has become the world's expert on olive oil and olive oil fraud –– a story of globalization, deception and crime in the food industry, and a powerful indictment of today's lax protections against fake and even toxic food products in the United States. A rich narrative, this bookis also an inspiring account of the artisanal producers, chemical analysts, chefs and food activists who are defending the extraordinary oils that truly deserve the name "extra-virgin."
-- Norton, W. W. & Company Inc.
From the Beer Nut’s Blog: A good beer book for brewers
A lot of really interesting beer books have hit the shelves this year, and the latest seems the perfect book for homebrewers, and others who want to learn more about the technical side of beer.
“The Brewer’s Apprentice: An Insider’s Guide to the Art and Craft of Beer Brewing, Taught by the Masters,” is written by Greg Koch, CEO and co-founder of Stone Brewing Company, and Matt Allyn, a homebrewer and freelance writer from Pennsylvania.
The book features interviews with 18 different brewers, including Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River. They talk about different subjects ranging from how to source ingredients to brewing with non-traditional ingredients.
To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/.
Food Quiz Answer
GateHouse News Service