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Sunday, August 29, 2010

How to prepare a FLAWLESS risotto

This a recipe for risotto with pears, goat cheese and  freshly crushed black peppercorns


4 cups vegetable stock ( recipe follows )
8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
2 cups of Carnaroli rice ( may substitute Arborio rice)
2 cups white wine
2 cups peeled and diced pears ( about 2 pears ) preferably Bosc pears
Salt and freshly cracked black peppercorns

In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tbsp of butter. When it begins to sizzle, add the shallots, and cook, stirring about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the wine to the pan to deglaze, and cook, stirring occasionally  
until the wine has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Then add enough simmering vegetable stock to reach about 1/4 inch above the rice and cook stirring until the liquid begins to simmer. When the rice absorbs almost all the liquid, add another ladle of stock. Continue to cook in this fashion until all the liquid has been added. (14 to 16 minutes total ) Reduce heat to low. Add goat cheese , pears, and remaining 5 tbsp of butter, and give  the mixture a couple of stirs. The cheese and butter should melt, and the risotto should take on a smooth consistency in a minute or so. Add salt and crushed black peppercorns to taste.   Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Ingredients For Vegetable Stock      

2 onions, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 stalks celery
2 leeks, halved lengthwise ( white and green parts)
5 qts ( 20 cups) water
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

In a  large stockpot simmer vegetables, water, and salt for 15 minutes, skimming surface of foam and particles. Add herbs and simmer for another 20 minutes. Strain the stock, and discard solids.
makes about 15 cups. Since you only need 4 cups for the risotto, freeze the rest to make more risotto later on.

Secret ingredient to the South's finest fried chicken

Ingredients: 3 lbs organic, free range chicken cut up into 8 pieces
                     1/4 cup kosher salt
                     4 cups buttermilk
                     1 lb organic lard
                     1 cup flour
                     2 tbsp cornstarch
                     8 tbsp ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter
                     1/2 cup organic country ham pieces
                     1/2 tsp salt
                     1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

The night before, place chicken in a large bowl and set aside. In a large pitcher, combine kosher salt with 6 cups of water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour salted water over chicken pieces until they are submerged. Cover and refrigerate over night. In the morning, drain chicken pieces and rinse chicken and the   lbowl. Return chicken to bowl and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
About 1 1/4 hours before serving, combine the lard, butter, and ham in a large heavy skillet. Cook over  low heat, skimming as needed, until ham is lightly browned, 30 to 45 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove ham and brown bits from fat. Increase heat to medium high to bring the fat to 335 degrees.

In a shallow bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper, mix well. Dredge chicken pieces thoroughly in flour mixture, then pat well to remove excess flour. Working in batches, (do not crowd pan ), place chicken pieces skin side down in fat. Cook 8 to 10 minutes on each side, until chicken is golden brown, and cooked through. Drain on crumpled paper towels. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature or cold. Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

7 New Identity Theft Scams You Need To Know

1. Watch Your Back When you're in line to pay at a supermarket or a department store, make sure the person behind you is not using his cell phone to snap a photo of your credit card as your using it. 2. Check Your Check Book & Credit Card Balances Once A Week  Identity thieves can do a lot of damage in the 30 days between statements. 3. When Bills Are Late You should be concerned since they might have been stolen.  4. Watch Your Garbage Identity thieves fill their trunks with garbage and sort it out later. Make sure you shred all sensitive documents like old paid bills, checking account deposit slips, job or loan applications, credit card checks and offers for new cards before you throw them out. 5 Watch Your ATM If you see something that doesn't look like it belongs on an ATM, walk away. It might be a skimmer to capture your pin number. 6. Don't Sign The Back Of Your Credit Cards Instead, print these words on the signature strip: "ASK FOR PHOTO ID". 7. Never Use A Credit Card To Pay A Utility Bill ID thieves will call your utility company and say: "I thought I paid this bill, but I can't remember. Did I use my Visa or Mastercard? Can you read me back the number?" You'd be surprised what utility workers will reveal to strangers posing as you.       

Friday, August 13, 2010

How To Enjoy Fresh Peaches Out Of Season

Supermarket peaches are usually hard and flavorless. They are picked so green that they don't ripen once you get them home. However, real peaches are super juicy with great flavor. During peach season, which is July and August, local farmers markets usually sell ripe peaches. Even when shipped from a neighboring state, they are almost always better than what you find in a supermarket. Here's a  remarkable way to enjoy fresh peaches out of season. Drop the ripened peach in a plastic sandwich bag, zip shut and toss it in the freezer. When you want a fresh peach, just run the frozen peach under water for a moment and the skin will peel off. Slice the peach into a bowl, wait until the iciness is gone, and enjoy the next best thing to a fresh, ripe peach just picked form a tree.    

Friday, August 6, 2010

TRADE SECRETS! Butcher,Hat & Boot Maker

If you'd like to hone your artisanal skills without devoting a lifetime to the craft  then check out these resources. Shoemaking : www.ShoeMakingClasses.Com  NYC  Call 646-823-0084. Weekned workshops $795.    
www.JCCManhattan.Org  334 Amsterdam Ave between 75th & 76 th Sts, NYC  646-505-4444.  Shoe making class $455, pattern making class $295.  www.ShoeMakingCourse.Com Various Cities  $1495-$1795.
pattern making course $250. Butchering: www.JeffreysMeatMarket.Com  120 Essex St between Delancy and Rivington Sts, NYC 212-475-6521.One class $75, two $140, three $195. Millinery :www.Artikal.Com
$55-$150. 510 E. 12th St, between Aves A & B, NYC 212-260-0278.  www.FitNyc.Edu FIT, D Bldg, lower level,  Seventh Ave @ 27th St, NYC  212-217-3334. $387.50.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

When Its Summer,It Pays To Be A Jerk!

Here's a great authentic Jamaican Jerk marinade that you can use on chicken, beef pork or fish. For the best flavor ,try using whole allspice berries and black peppercorns and crush them with the bottom of a heavy pan or in a coffee mill before adding to your food processor. If you want less heat, use jalapenos  peppers in place of Scotch bonnets. Here are the ingredients:

1 bunch green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths, 4 garlic cloves, 1 (2 inch) piece of peeled fresh ginger, 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon of ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of coarsely ground pepper, 1 to 3 Scotch bonnets or habanero chile peppers, stems and seeds removed, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, juice of 4 limes ( 6 tablespoons) 1/2 cup of vegetable or canola oil. This is enough for  3 pounds of chicken, beef, pork or fish 

 Place all ingredients except oil in a blender or food processor. While the processor is running, slowly add a thin stream of oil until the mixture becomes thick. Save 1/2 cup of the marinade for drizzling over beef, chicken pork or fish during cooking. Place your meat or fish and a good amount of marinade in a zip top plastic bag and marinate at least 2 hours or over night in the frig. Prepare your grill and follow cooking times for various meats or fish.  

A New Cancer Test Could Save Your Life

A new test called AMAS or Anti-Malignin Antibody Screen can detect early cancer cells of all types.
It has an accuracy rate greater than 95% and with a second test, its accuracy shoots up to 99%. Keep in mind that AMAS cannot be used to diagnose cancer on its own. But it is a remarkable breakthrough for the detection of cancer cells, which taken in conjunction with other factors, may help doctors arrive at a more concrete diagnosis.

If you suspect that you may be at risk for cancer because of family history or other factors, tell your doctor about this test. Chances are he's never heard of it because it hasn't been heavily promoted. If he refuses to give you this test, you can contact Oncolab, Inc at 800-9CATEST or www.Oncolabinc.Com

Why Heavy Exercise May Put Your Heart On Shaky Ground

According to some doctors, there is no relationship between exercise and longevity. Actually, there is no conclusive proof that vigorous daily exercise for its own sake does anything but destroy health.

According to an article in Circulation, the the journal of the American Heart Association, regular exercise did not make one iota's difference in rates of age related physical decline study of more than 800 male and female subjects of various ages.

Measured by periodic tread mill tests over an average age period of 8 years, both the exercisers and otherwise healthy non-obese sedentary types, , experienced a 20% decline in aerobic capacity for every decade past age 70.

That means despite what running shoe makers, sports drink makers, and gym owners tell you, heavy  exercise does nothing to stave off the natural reduction in physical strength and stamina that comes with aging.

The Paradox Of The Exercise Craze

Enlargement of the heart, known as cardiomegaly, is considered a healthy sign in athletes. But in the rest of us, its considered to be a serious sign of heart disease. Does this give us any clue as to why super athletes die young from heart disease? Many athletes also have irregular cardiograms that would be considered serious signs of heart disease in most of us. But since they're in shape, its considered benign.

A case in point would be Pheidippides the first marathon runner. He ran from Marathon to Athens which is 26 miles, to announce the Greek victory over the Persians. He delivered his message and then dropped dead. Things have changed much since then since marathoners are still dropping dead at the finish.

One medical study involved 10 cases of sudden death among runners. The researchers discovered severe coronary atherosclerosis is the most common cause of death among marathon runners.  The researchers pursued these findings among 24 cases of joggers, not marathoners, but joggers. Thirteen died while jogging, and six soon after jogging. All but one had severe coronary artery disease.

Consider this Swedish study. A total of 315 heart attack patients were divided into two groups. Half received exercise training and half no exercise. There was no evidence that the exercise group fared better than the control group in terms of death rates or rate of recurrence of heart attacks. A Canadian study came up with similar results.

A Little Exercise Goes A Long Way

 The key to maintaining muscle mass is balance. In young adults there's a healthy ebb and flow between the buildup and breakdown of muscles that helps maintain that balance. But that's not the case with the elderly. Instead, the muscle breakdown continues unabated while the buildup process slows down considerably.

So the best way to keep muscles strong is to get moderate exercise. Some doctors recommend that if you're over 65 you should walk one mile round trip once a day. And if you want to keep your body fit and strong, there are plenty of low impact exercises you can do to keep fit.

If you're unsure about which exercises to do, you can go to a gym and tell one of the trainers that you want to strengthen your muscles. Tell him or her the specific areas you're interested in working and let the trainer know that you don't want a comprehensive muscle building program. If the trainer asks why, tell him that's  all your doctor recommended. If he or she tries to sell you a lot of bodybuilding capsules, don't waste your money. Moderate low impact exercise is all you need to keep fit.