Click inside for the weekly food rail, with a review of Hungry Jack Easy Pack Pancake Mix, an easy recipe for chicken or turkey soup, the latest from The Beer Nut, and more. Or check out the links below:


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Critic’s Cupboard: Hungry Jack Easy Pack Pancake Mix

Pancakes, after all these years, still get us out of bed. I like buttermilk with no dried globs of stuff that was fruit in a better life.

Hungry Jack since 1962 has delivered the goods. Pillsbury invented it, and Smucker’s in Orrville continues the tradition.

Their 12-pancake envelopes seem like a good idea if you ignore the extra trash and extra cost. This mix always is fresh. Old boxed mix gets mealy. Envelopes are best for small families and occasional pancake nirvana.

If you’re awake enough to tear it open, that’s most of the job. The cakes are the same golden and feather-light delicacies as the boxed mix.

-- Jim Hillibish, The Repository

Easy recipe: Chicken or turkey soup

Once upon a time, soups came from cooking pots, not envelopes or cans. The trend is back to crafting them from scratch. They prepare easily, taste fresher and are worth the effort. A classic home-cooked is chicken or turkey with pasta:

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked turkey or chicken, chopped
dash of pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 peeled, thinly chopped carrots
1/4 teaspoon tarragon
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cooked pasta — bowtie, shells, macaroni — or cooked white rice

Directions:
Mix all ingredients except for pasta in a soup pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil pasta or rice and drain. Add to soup just before serving. Serves 2.

-- The Repository

Tip of the Week: Add subtle flavor to soups

Many recipes for soups and stews call for a bay leaf, which is removed just before serving. Why do we use these leaves, only to throw them out?

The subtle fragrance of bay leaves adds depth of flavor to soups and sauces, but the leaves can be bitter and hard to chew.

Dried bay leaves can last for a long time, but do eventually lose flavor, according to www.thespicehouse.com. Test yours by bending it slightly - it should have a bit of flexibility. And when it breaks, it should still have an aroma.

Did You Know?

A European study found gas stoves may give off more harmful fumes than electric stoves when pan-frying meat.

Food Quiz

How do you “French” a lamb chop?

A. Scrape the meat away from the end of the bone
B. Deep-fry it
C. Cook it slowly in red wine
D. Slice it into long slivers

(www.funtrivia.com)

Answer is at bottom of column

Wise to the Word: Aioli

Reach for the mayonnaise for recipes calling for aioli (ay-OH-lee). It stems from a strong mayo containing garlic, made in the Provence region of southern France, but has expanded to include all mayonnaise. Favorite uses in Europe include with fish, meats and vegetables. In the West, it’s most common on sandwiches and in cold salads.

-- The Repository

Number to Know: 4.5

Grams of protein in 1 cup of pureed California avocado. – calorielab.com

The Dish On …

“The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life” by Ellie Krieger

Do you think that healthy food couldn't possibly taste good? Does the idea of "eating healthy" conjure up images of roughage and steamed vegetables? Author Ellie Krieger, host of Food Network's Healthy Appetite, will change all that.

A registered dietitian, Ellie is also a lover and proponent of good, fresh food, simply but deliciously prepared. And she's not about denial. Don't deny yourself butter -- use a pat of it, but put it front and center on those mashed potatoes, so you can revel in it with all your senses.

“The Food You Crave” is all you'll need to change the way you eat and change the way you feel. It contains 200 recipes that cover every meal of the day.

From the Beer Nut’s Blog: Cellar high ABV beer

I love beers from Dogfish Head. However, some of Dogfish Head’s extremely high ABV beers are a little much to take, even for me.

The Olde School Barleywine is a perfect example of this. It’s 15 percent ABV, and to get a beer with that much alcohol, it’s going to be sweet.

The sweetness is a little overwhelming at first, so cellaring is a good idea. The Olde School Barleywine is a perfect example of a beer that gets better with age.

To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/

Food Quiz Answer

A. Scrape the meat away from the end of the bone.

GateHouse News Service