Reese’s Stuffed Rice Krispies Treats 

Talk about easy and way too delicious!   These are the new Rice Krispy Treats.  It’s not that traditional Rice Krispies aren’t good,  they’re just a little boring and safe. These are the opposite. They’re over-the-top and surprising in a way that everyone, including Krispies, treats purists, will love.

And it just does not get any easier….

Ingredients
Cooking spray, for pan
5 tbsp. butter
1 (10-oz.) bag marshmallows
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
Pinch kosher salt
6 c. Rice Krispies Cereal
12 Reese’s cups
1/4 c. melted peanut butter, for garnish
1/4 c. melted chocolate, for garnish
Directions
  1. Line a 9”-x-13” pan with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows, peanut butter, and salt and stir until mixture is melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Immediately add Rice Krispies and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Working quickly, press half of mixture into an even layer in the pan, then top with a layer of Reese’s. Press remaining mixture over Reese’s.
  3. Drizzle with melted chocolate and peanut butter, then refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.
  4. Slice into squares and serve.  Maybe that should say slice & eat!
Reese’s Stuffed Rice Krispies Treats 

 Foods Most Likely to Make You Ill

There’s a hot-list of foods that spread food-borne illnesses more than others, but there are a few steps you can take to best protect yourself from any sickness.

Home cooks are increasingly seeing alarming headlines about national outbreaks of serious food-borne illnesses and with the recent fervor over one of the worst E. coli outbreaks in the last decade, the topic of food safety has never been so relevant.

The list is based on information that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps for cooks looking to keep their kitchens as safe as possible. The shortlist of foods below are linked to food-borne illnesses more frequently than any other on the market. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce your chance of illness when eating them.

Which foods are the most likely to get you sick?

They’re as follows:

Did You Eat Romaine Lettuce? These Are the E. coli Warning Signs to Look For
A massive E. coli outbreak caused agencies to ask the entire nation to toss their romaine lettuce.

Chicken, beef, turkey, and pork

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Raw and undercooked meat and poultry are surefire ways to get you sick. Nearly all raw poultry contains a bacteria called campylobacter, which the CDC says is the leading cause of “diarrheal sickness” in the United States. Other illness-causing bacteria linked to questionable meat include salmonella, E. coli, Yersinia (commonly found on raw pork), and C. perfringens (one of the most common bacteria leading to short-term food poisoning.)

Vegetables and fruits

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It’s crucial to front-load your daily diet with tons of fresh vegetables and fruits, but raw variations can often cause food poisoning from contamination with salmonella, E. coli, and listeria bacteria. The exterior of uncooked fruits and vegetables are especially tricky as they’re a breeding ground for bacteria during transportation from farm to table, and especially at risk for cross-contamination in the kitchen. There are more than a few ways to clean them, however, and cooking your veggies is a sure way to eliminate most risk.

Raw milk and cheese

How to Store Soft Cheeses So They Don't Get Moldy

Some might think it’s very tasty, but health officials say that raw milk and the products made with unpasteurized milk can carry ample bacteria including E. coli, listeria, and salmonella, among others. Other dairy items that are more likely to hide harmful bacteria is feta cheese, brie and camembert, queso fresco, ice cream, and yogurt.

Eggs

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We watched as more than 200 million eggs were recalled due to a widespread salmonella contamination—the CDC says salmonella is often undetected, even for eggs that look clean and un-cracked. Choosing pasteurized eggs could help reduce that risk.

Raw shellfish and seafood

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There is a greater chance to get sick with food poisoning from raw fish, yes. But raw shellfish is often more problematic than anything, with staples like oysters containing viruses and bacteria that could cause serious sickness—more than 100 people recently fell ill in California after eating raw oysters contaminated with norovirus.

Sprouts:

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Warm and humid growing conditions for things like alfalfa and bean sprouts lend themselves to perfect growing conditions for salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. Thoroughly cooking sprouts before placing them in any dish can help reduce the chance of you getting sick.

 Raw Flour:

Casabella Cookie Dough Trays with Lids

The last item on the list is flour, which is usually raw and hasn’t been treated and because we cook with it or use it in our baking, those germs are killed during cooking. Things like raw cookie dough have often been a source of food poisoning given that the flour in these staples hasn’t been cooked.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid food-borne illnesses altogether, but using the safety tips to enjoy the foods on the list above might save you from a firsthand experience with food poisoning. 1 in 6 people in the United States suffer through side effects of food-borne diseases, and more than 3,000 deaths each year are caused by foodborne pathogens, the CDC says.

This may help you want to “eat less” if you want to lose weight.  I used to love raw chocolate chip cookie dough, but it does not look quite so appealing at the moment.  Eat safe and enjoy!

 Foods Most Likely to Make You Ill

Basic Orecchiette Pasta

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This handmade pasta is delicious with the classic broccoli raab sauce, with an uncooked sauce of tomatoes and basil, or in a cream sauce with mussels and mint. The dough comes out best if you work the water in very slowly; don’t try to bring in too much flour at one time. Flour amounts are listed by weight (oz.) and by volume (cups); use either measurement.

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I made mine with chicken and home-made pesto with basil from my garden, with a little cilantro and parmesan on the top.  It was yummy and very easy.  It does take a little time. I usually watch the cooking channel or a funny movie.  You have to happy when you cook.

Ingredients

225 g/ 1 1/2 cup semolina flour

255 g/3/4 cup + I Tbl unbleached all-purpose flour

255 g/1 cup warm water

2 tsp salt

Preparation

1. In a bowl, whisk the flours together well. Mound the flour on a work surface, make a deep well in the center and pour 2 Tbs. of the water in the center. With two fingers, stir in a little flour from the walls of the well. When the water is absorbed and a paste has formed, repeat with more water until you have a soft but not sticky dough.

You can do this in your KitchenAid with the dough hook.

2. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s smooth and supple, 7 to 8 minutes. If it crumbles during kneading, wet your hands to moisten the dough slightly. Cut off a golfball-size chunk of dough; cover the rest with plastic wrap. Roll the chunk into a cylinder about 1 inch in diameter. With a very sharp knife, slice the cylinder into disks about 1/8 inch thick

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3. Pick up a disk. If it’s squashed from cutting, squeeze it slightly between your thumb and index finger to return it to a circular shape. Put the disk in the palm of one hand and press down on it with the thumb of your other hand. Swivel your hand (not your thumb) twice to thin the center of the ear, leaving the rim a little thicker. If the dough sticks to your thumb, dip your thumb in a little flour as you work. Repeat with the rest of the dough. As you finish the disks, lay them on a clean dishtowel. When you’ve shaped an entire cylinder, sprinkle a little flour over the ears and repeat the process with a new chunk of dough.

4. If you’re not cooking the pasta immediately, spread the rounds out on floured baking sheets and leave them at room temperature at least overnight, or until they’re hard enough that you can’t slice them with a knife. (The time they take to dry depends on humidity and the moisture level in the dough itself.) Once the orecchiette is dry, transfer them to covered jars and store at room temperature.

5. You can as an alternative, freeze them on a baking sheet with parchment and then put in a sealed container once they are frozen.  Cook directly from the freezer – do not thaw.

 

6. Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add the orecchiette and simmer until they float to the surface, 2-3 minutes.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes more, until al dente.  Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and serve right away.

 

The recipe I used is from “Pasta by Hand” by Jenn Louis and I totally recommend buying this book!

Basic Orecchiette Pasta

How Chefs Eat Artichokes

Raw, fried, creamed, or stuffed: There are so many ways to heart artichokes.

Food and Wine Magazine comes up with some of the most interesting articles.  This one about artichokes is great, as artichokes are appearing beautifully in the local grocery markets.  I grow my own, but they are so pretty on the plant, I have a hard time wanting to cut them off and eat them.
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Though scraping the meat off of an artichoke leaf is both cathartic and delicious (particularly when said leaf has been doused in melted butter), there are so many more ways to eat this tasty thistle. You could stuff the insides with potatoes. You could make a warm, cheesy dip. You could even throw the hearts into a bread pudding. This spring, we vote for trying it all.

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Since it’s peak season for artichokes, we asked chefs across the country about their favorite ways to eat ‘em. Here’s what they had to say:

Shota Nakajima, Chef/Owner, Adana

“Artichokes are snacks for me, so I like to blanch the whole entire thing without cleaning them till they’re nice and soft. Then pick the leaves and dip them in Kewpie mayo. The snacky thing where I get to eat with my hands, like pistachios, is something that I love to do.”

Sarah Grueneberg, Chef/Owner, Monteverde

“I like to shave artichokes raw into a salad or fry them in a little olive oil to make crispy chips.”

 

Shaved Artichoke Salad

David Posey, Chef/Owner, Elske

“I love cooking artichokes using a technique that Paul Kahan told me about, ‘sott’olio’, which is an Italian technique of holding vegetables in oil. The way I like to cook the artichokes is completely cleaning them of tough outer leaves and woody parts, then gently simmer in a very acidic court bouillon, then to finish, ‘shock’ them in cold oil. They are best after they hang out in the fridge in the cold oil for a few days.”

Julia Jaksic, Chef, Employees Only

“I love grilled artichokes on a wood fire with a garlicky aioli.”

Nicholas Elmi, Chef/Owner, LaurelITV, and Royal Boucherie

“Depending on size, for larger globe artichokes I like a traditional barigould (white wine, lemon, thyme, black pepper, and olive oil), for young tender artichokes I like to just split them, dust them with seasoned flour and fry them. Served with a simple dipping sauce like remoulade, they’re a perfect, light spring treat.”

 

Roman Fried Artichokes

Flynn McGarry, Chef/Owner, Gem

“I like artichokes raw in a salad. I’ve also done a “Blooming Artichoke” dish where we fry it like a Blooming Onion.”

Emily Yuen, Executive Chef, Bessou

“If I am cooking at home, I like to simply boil the artichokes in chicken stock and lemon. I like to peel off the leaves dip it in melted butter and scrape the meat off of the outer leaves with my teeth.”

Justin Bazdarich, Chef/Owner, Speedy Romeo

“For chokes, I cut in half and then poach in an aromatic broth. Once cooked, I pull out the choke and brush with olive oil and then place on the wood grill. After cooked, simply serve with any spicy aioli or mayo for dipping leaves and eating the heart.”

Star Ingredient: Quercus Umbriae Giudia Artichokes. If cooks were asked to name the vegetables they find most intimidating and time-consuming to prepare, artichokes would surely top the list. Marinated artichoke hearts from Umbria in central Italy solve the problem: No trimming, cooking or choke removal is required.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 425°. Toast the bread directly on the oven racks until dry and lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Rub 1 side of the toast with the cut sides of the garlic clove. Lower the oven temperature to 375°.

Step 2

Brush the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the reserved artichoke oil and arrange one-third of the toast in a single layer. Top with half of the artichokes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and top with one-third of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of toast, artichokes, and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining toast and cheese.

Step 3

In a bowl, mix the milk with the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the custard over the bread; cover with plastic wrap. Lay a few cans on the plastic to keep the bread submerged. Let soak until most of the custard is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove the plastic.

Step 4

Place a sheet of oiled parchment paper on top of the pudding and cover with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and parchment; bake for 15 minutes longer, or until the top is golden. Let the pudding cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Make Ahead

The pudding can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

Look for a full-flavored Chardonnay from Italy or France with only a little oak.

The thinly sliced, crunchy raw artichokes are the star of this salad from chef Chris Behr of the Rome Sustainable Food Project. Buy the freshest ones you can get your hands on. A true test: The leaves should squeak when you squeeze them.

How to Make It

Step 1

Pour the lemon juice into 
a large bowl. Working with 
1 artichoke at a time, pull off 
the tough outer leaves. Using a small knife, slice 1/4 inch off the top of each artichoke, then trim and peel the stems. Very thinly slice each artichoke lengthwise and add to the bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Step 2

Spread the arugula and radicchio on a platter. Using 
a slotted spoon, lift the artichokes from the lemon juice and scatter over the greens. Sprinkle with the herbs.

Step 3

Whisk the olive oil with the remaining lemon juice in the large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad; serve.

Double-frying is the secret to making these super-crispy and addictive fried artichokes from TV chef Andrew Zimmern.

Ingredients

How to Make It

Step 1

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the fine salt. Whisking constantly, slowly stream in the olive oil until the aioli is thick and glossy. Whisk in 1 more tablespoon of the lemon juice and the anchovies. Cover and refrigerate.

Step 2

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to a large bowl of cold water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim the stem. Snap off the leaves until you reach the tender light green inner leaves. Cut off the top third of the artichoke and trim off any tough leaves near the base. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and scoop out the fuzzy choke if necessary. Drop the artichoke in the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.

Step 3

In a medium, straight-sided skillet, heat 2 inches of canola oil to 250°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and top with a rack. Drain the artichokes well and pat dry. Fry in 3 batches over moderately high heat until tender and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichokes to the prepared wire rack to drain.

Step 4

Heat the oil to 375°. Fry the artichokes again in 3 batches until crispy, about 1 minute per batch. This time, drain on the paper towels. Season generously with sea salt and serve hot with the aioli and lemon wedges.

Make Ahead

The aioli can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Fragrant Central Italian white.
How Chefs Eat Artichokes

Chicche Verdi Del Nonno

GNOCCHI WITH BROWN BUTTER AND SAGE

 

A regional dish from the Italian province of Parma, these plump spinach gnocchi are excellent sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.  A regional dish from the Italian province of Parma, these plump spinach gnocchi are excellent sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

1 lb. russet potatoes, unpeeled
Kosher salt, to taste
4 oz. spinach
14 cups semolina flour, sifted, plus more
2 eggs, beaten
18 tbsp. unsalted butter
16 leaves fresh sage, minced
14 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan

Instructions

Put potatoes into a 4-qt. pot of salted water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until potatoes are tender, 25 minutes. Drain; let cool. Peel potatoes; pass through medium plate of a food mill into a bowl.
Meanwhile, heat a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and 1 tbsp. of water; cook until wilted. Press on spinach in a sieve to extract liquid. Finely chop spinach; stir together with potatoes and semolina and form a well in the center.
Add eggs and salt and, using a fork, beat eggs into potato mixture.
Transfer dough to a work surface dusted with semolina; knead to combine.
Divide the dough into 6 portions. Roll each portion into a 1⁄2″-thick rope. Cut ropes into 1⁄2″-wide pieces; transfer to a semolina-dusted sheet tray.
Melt 10 tbsp. butter in a 10″ skillet over medium heat; cook, swirling, until butter browns, about 6 minutes.
Add sage and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat; set aside.
Working in 4 batches, add 2 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. oil to a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add dough pieces and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, 3–4 minutes.
Transfer to a baking sheet.
Wipe out the skillet and repeat with remaining butter, oil, and dough pieces.
Toss dumplings and brown butter sauce in the skillet until hot.
Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.
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Here is the photo of my version.  Served with a lovely red wine!
Would definitely make for friends.
I made the gnocchi about three in the afternoon, and just put them all together right before dinner.
Yummy~
Chicche Verdi Del Nonno

Chocolate Caramel Cake

This is my go-to cake for special occasions, as every always loves it. But you do have to love chocolate ~ Caramel ~ English Toffee!  It is a simple recipe, but the add-ins make it rich and delicious.

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The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (King Arthur available at Amazon)
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • One jar of the best caramel topping you can find, kept in the refrigerator to make it harder.
  • English Toffee
  • Big Malted Milk Balls

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350º F.   Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring. Then line with 9″ round parchment paper and spray again.  (I buy the pre-cut rounds by Wilton – available at Walmart)
  • For the cake:
  • Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  • Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  • Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center, comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  • Using a serrated bread knife, cut each layer in half so you have four layers.
Putting it together:
  • Make the Chocolate Buttercream recipe shown below.  Pipe or spoon a ridge of the buttercream all around the outside of the first layer.
  • Fill the center with the now hardened caramel
  • Put on the second & third layer and repeat
  • Frost the cake with rest of the frosting (there always seems to be a bit too much)
  • Put the English Toffee in a ziplock bag and crush with your rolling pin or meat pounder.
  • Decorate how you like with the Malted Milk Balls

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  2. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  3. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  4. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  5. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

Serve with Champagne and have a wonderful time.

Chocolate Caramel Cake

10 Bite-Size Spring Appetizers

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Spring is in full swing, and if you haven’t yet jumped into the depths of all of the great seasonal produce, we’re thrilled to let you know some great ways to enjoy it all. These bite-sized spring appetizers are perfect for that backyard party you’ve been waiting to have all winter. Check out the roundup of our ten favorites that have truly given us Spring Fever.

1.) Radish and Arugula Crostini with Brie

One word: radishes.  It simply wouldn’t be spring without a heaping helping of radishes on our plates and of course, in our appetizers. These crostini bites pair radishes, brie, and arugula leaves on toast for a crunchy and bright flavor experience.

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2.)  Savory Carrot Ribbon Tart

You know it’s spring when suddenly carrots are everywhere. Easter is this Sunday (can you believe it?) and a tart like this makes for a perfect pick-me-up before dinner is served. Serve up a hearty and clean appetizer like this that fits in all of the festive carrot flavors of the season on one pan. Using rainbow carrots is a great tip that incorporates all different kinds of colors into this festive spring tart.

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3.) Buttery Deviled Eggs

What kind of meal would it be without deviled eggs around Easter? Keep in mind that deviled eggs (or any recipe requiring hard-cooked eggs) are great.

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4.) “Spring Roll” Pot Stickers

Turns out you can get the fabulous flavors of takeout from your very own kitchen with these awesome pot stickers. The extra crispy-ness of this classic takeout item is enough in itself, but when you factor in all of the homemade goodness packed inside, they become out-of-this-world good.

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5.) Spinach-and-Green-Pea Empanadas

While these empanadas are a little heartier than the average appetizer and can definitely be served as an entree if desired, their fun hand-sized nature makes them a great grab-and-go food for backyard parties or get-togethers. Not only are they a delicious golden-brown, but they’re chock full of great spring veggies.

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6.) Blackberry-Brie Pizzettas

It’s true, blackberries reach their prime in the summer months, but if you’re lucky enough to be able to snag some blackberries from your local market right now, they go wonderfully with brie on these golden-brown personal sized pizzas. Not only do these colorful appetizer pizzas bring out even more of that Spring Fever, but they’ll get you all excited for the vast array of yummy produce still to come in the summer months.

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7.) Grits-and-Gumbo Tarts

All of the iconic flavors of this southern stew come together in perfect bite-sized portions with these tarts. Shrimp, okra, and polenta rounds pair perfectly in one bite and would make a great accompaniment to this warm spring weather.

These bright and colorful crostini appetizers are reminiscent of spring with their bright green colors and fresh flavor. Appetizers like this are a great way to combine multiple seasonal flavors in one bite. Fava beans get the spotlight here, but the goat cheese balances out the overall flavor.

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9.) Cucumber-Tomato Skewers with Dill Sauce

It doesn’t get much easier than these super simple veggie skewers. If you’re planning on serving a heavy meal, these light and fresh appetizers are the perfect pairings to round out the flavor palate, and the creamy dill sauce is a great accompaniment.

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10.) Fresh Spring Rolls with Pork, Mango, and Mesclun

This great appetizer comes with an essential peanut sauce, which lends a sweet and spicy flavor to these bright and fresh spring rolls. These rolls are held together with clear rice-paper wrappers, which allow for tons of great flavor to be packed into one edible snack.

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10 Bite-Size Spring Appetizers

What Is Salmonella, Anyway? 

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What you need to know about the bug that caused 206 million eggs to be recalled

A moment of silence for the unspeakable number of eggs that were likely cast aside in the trash this week. That’s because last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Indiana-based company Rose Acre Farms recalled over 200 million eggs after tracing a salmonella outbreak to one of its North Carolina farms.

The eggs, which were distributed to nine total states, “were likely connected to 22 reported cases of salmonella infections” according to The New York Times.

Rose Acre Farms calls itself second-largest egg producer in the United States, with three million hens that produce 2.3 million eggs a day, so the whole concept is a little dizzying. But before you forsake eggs for good, let’s take a moment to go over the facts.

While we read frantic headlines about salmonella thinking of an illness, it’s actually the name of the bacteria that causes salmonellosis (or salmonella infection). Both terms get their namesake from an American scientist named (get this) Dr. Daniel E. Salmon, who discovered the bacteria with research assistant Theobald Smith.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.2 million Americans a year contract salmonellosis. Though it can happen from contact with pets, about 1 million of those cases are caused by food.

The mere mention of foodborne illnesses may make you jump and your stomach turn, and you’re not the only one. There’s a reason why any food-tainted headlines seem both frequent and panicky—the concept of unknowingly ingesting something dangerous seems overwhelming when you think about the fact that you eat three meals a day. And the reason you hear extra buzz about salmonella infections is because it’s one of the most common foodborne illnesses.

Not only that, but the number of salmonellosis outbreaks has been increasing over the years. Many people think that salmonella is primarily a risk arising from undercooked chicken, while that is one source of infection, there are many others.

Those sources include other kinds of uncooked meat, contaminated water, raw milk, fresh produce, and, of course, raw eggs.

Luckily, when salmonella infection is caught, it’s typically very treatable—and most people only need fluids to recover, often in just a few days. Others, however, need antibiotics, and the CDC says that 23,000 Americans are hospitalized for salmonella with 450 deaths annually, so it’s still something to watch out for.

If you’ve been reading the headlines and suddenly realizing you’ve been feeling iffy for a few weeks now, don’t worry—it’s not because you ate some kind of gross chicken last month. “Whereas other foodborne germs, such as E. coli and listeria, may take days or even weeks for symptoms to show, salmonella symptoms may appear after only a few hours and may last for several days,” explained Kronenberg.

The symptoms include nausea, chills, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, and diarrhea, for starters. Fun, huh? However, with a little prep, it’s not too hard to prevent. While it’s undeniable that some things happen in life from pure bad luck, many cases of salmonella infection can be avoided by introducing a few precautionary routines. Kronenberg advises washing your hands.  We’ve all been told to wash our hands practically since we were born but when you’re handling something like raw produce, it’s hard to remember that something as innocuous as an apple can be laden with bacteria.

Be careful while you’re cooking. Don’t handle raw and cooked foods with the same cookware. Washing fresh produce with cold water may reduce the risk of illness.

Use a food thermometer if you want to be extra careful in light of the arguably unsettling egg news.

Cooking eggs to temperatures of 160 degrees or above or until the yolk is firm or fully cooked will kill salmonella and reduce the risk of food poisoning.

What Is Salmonella, Anyway? 

11 Mistakes to Avoid When Grilling Steak, According to Chefs

It’s never too early to start prepping for barbecue season—so go ahead and bookmark this.

Purists assert that a good-quality cut of steak is done ill justice at the hands of an overzealous grill. Contrast that to cheaper cuts like chuck roast, for example, which come to their prime slowly and forgivingly when slowly cooked. Cooking steak, therefore, is a paradoxically delicate matter for a powerfully primal affair. So it’s understandable that many diners and home cooks err on the side of overcooking it, especially if the quality of the meat might not be top shelf.

Regardless of what your preferences are—and we’re not knocking any of ‘em—here are eleven mistakes to avoid on your next steak night.

Choose the right piece of steak. The quality of your final product depends on your starting ingredients.

“Finding the best product you can get your hands on is always the hardest part of cooking a great steak”. “There’s really only three things in my opinion that make for a good grilled steak: Beef, salt, and fire.”

“We only work with USDA Prime beef, which is the highest grade of beef available and accounts for only 1.5% of the beef in the nation. Fat is flavor, so look for beef that looks plump, bright red and has the most marbling. Marbling is the intramuscular fat present in high-quality beef that gives it a ‘marbled’ appearance. Grain-fed or grain finished beef will have more marbling than a grass-fed beef.”

On aged steak:

If you’re lucky enough to be able to find a butcher that has dry-aged beef,I highly recommend trying anything aged from 15 to 30 days until you become acquainted with the flavor.”

Chef Joe Cervantez agrees, specifying that “steaks eat best at 23 to 28 days.” He’s executive chef at Brennan’s of Houston. “Most steaks from the grocery store are aged 14 days,” he says. If you’re up for trying your hand at aging and are lucky enough to have access to a cryovac, he recommends packing the meat in an airtight seal until it hits at least 23 days.

On cuts and thickness: 

Certain types of steaks best lend themselves to grilling. Skirt steak for a hot grill, whereas a NY strip steak or ribeye is best for a cast-iron pan over a burner. (For pan cooking,  a 3/4-inch to 1-inch steak is recommended because the thickness gives you the time to get a nice crust on the outside without overcooking the inside.

Don’t cook your steaks straight from the fridge. 

Prentiss recommends taking out your steak from the fridge about one hour before you’re going to cook it and setting it on a roasting rack. (This is also the best time to season it with salt, ideally medium grain sea salt, he says. More on that below.)

Season your steaks a couple of hours in advance and then let them come to room temperature before cooking. There’s an exception, however: If [the steak] on the thinner side, starting it cold will give a buffer from overcooking the center.

While chefs differ about the amount of room temp time before cooking, chef Dinesh Jayawardena recommends not squeezing the time below a half hour.

Don’t use the wrong kind of salt, and when in doubt, oversalt.

True sea salt is always the way to go when seasoning a steak,” Prentiss says. “We use Jacobsen’s Kosher Salt from Portland, Oregon. The grains are medium sized and have a pleasant minerality that lends itself perfectly to grilled beef. Any true fleur de sel or sel gris type sea salt will work well for good beef. Avoid table salt, iodized salt or small fine-grain sea salts as they have more weight to volume than larger grain salts and you can easily over season with them. Just think medium grain, true sea salt.”

Always overseason your steaks a bit. When you think it’s enough, always add a little more. A lot of salt and pepper always falls off during the cooking process and doesn’t always penetrate the meat.

Now is not the time to be shy about seasoning, as salt is the most important ingredient you could ever add to a steak. Do this before you let the steaks rest so the seasoning has time to work its way deep into the meat.”

Don’t season your steak too soon—yes, that’s a thing.

With larger steaks, it’s always a good idea to finish with some large flake or finishing salt once it’s sliced. If you do not have an hour to temper and season ahead of time, season immediately before grilling, anything shorter than 40 minutes will only pull moisture out of the steak and not let the outside get those beautiful grill marks and crust.

Add a bit of olive oil as well, which he says help gets better sear or griddle marks. If you do decide to add some fat, stick with olive oil, not butter. There is no real need for butter when cooking a steak because it already has plenty of fat and flavor in the meat itself.

Make sure it’s super dry before it hits the heat.

Make sure you pat down your meat. Dry meat forms the best crust.

Don’t use lighter foil or charcoal briquettes if you can avoid it.

Always avoid lighter fluid if possible, and while convenient, charcoal briquettes can add an unpleasant kerosene flavor to meat grilled meats and should be avoided. If a wood/natural lump charcoal fire is unavailable or too inconvenient, propane grills will ultimately yield a better steak than charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid.

The best way to go, however, is hardwood or hardwood lump charcoal. Natural solid fuels add the most flavor to steaks while complementing their natural flavors instead of overpowering them.

Don’t start without a super hot grill.

Be sure to let your charcoal fully catch and heat up before attempting to grill on it, about 20-30 minutes. Your fire should have a bed of red-hot coals, [with] high, even heat across the grill, and minimal flames and smoke.”

A hot cooking surface is extremely important to caramelize the outside of the steak and secure in the flavor. This method will give you a crispy on the outside, yet moist and tender on the inside steak.

Don’t forget the thermometer—even if you’re a pro.

One of the most important things to remember. Temping a steak by hand can be tricky. It takes a ton of practice and a ton of experience. You have to cook a steak a thousand times just to suck at it.

Don’t have a meat thermometer on hand? use metal cake testers. People always are looking for secrets on how to get the perfect steak doneness. We use metal cake testers. They’re the best tool you can use for this. Insert the metal tester into the steak, leave it for five seconds, then pull it out and touch it to your lips or inner wrist. The internal temp of the steak will tell you how done it is. If it is cold, your steak is rare, if it is just warm, medium rare, slightly hot, medium and etc. No more pushing on it to test it what happens when you hit a muscle knot? and now it is even easier. Plus, cake testers are less than a dollar and you can get them in baking sections or on Amazon.”

 Here are numbers to aim for: 

Rare: 120-130°F

Medium rare: 130-135°F

Medium: 140-145°F

Medium Well: 150-155°F

Well: 160-165°F

Don’t flip your steak more than once.

Keep away from overturning your steak. Let the Maillard reaction do its thing.” (That’s the fancy name for the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars, which gives browned and caramelized food its distinctive flavor.  Ideally, you should turn the steak once on each side (to get those crosshatch grill marks), and only flip it once.

Avoid individual steaks, if cooking for a crowd.

Don’t be afraid to go with one large steak like a 32 oz Ribeye or 1-kilo Porterhouse for a group as opposed to multiple individual steaks. One large steak is easier to manage and monitor on a grill than multiple smaller ones and armed with a good thermometer, any cook can nail a perfect medium-rare every time. Larger steaks like those work well for two to six people because once sliced, the steak will have some slices that are cooked to the preference of each guest. Because of the inherent internal variation of cooking times within one steak,  you can accommodate diners who prefer “medium rare” and “medium well” with just one piece of meat.

Don’t forget to let the steak rest.

Cooking the steak to ten degrees below your desired temp and then resting it allows for the collagen in the meat to thicken the juices as it cools slightly. This creates a way juicier steak than just cooking straight to temp.

Let it rest. This is crucial. Just because the steak is out of the pan doesn’t mean it stopped cooking. Keep it in a warm place you don’t want a cold steak and rest it for about as long as you cooked it.

Allowing the steak to rest for half the cooking time before serving so if your steak takes 10 minutes to cook, you’d let it rest for five.

If you’re not able to keep the steak warm while it rests, or you want to eat it quite hot,  return the steak to the grill after it’s rested and bring it up to the internal temperature of your preference before eating.

11 Mistakes to Avoid When Grilling Steak, According to Chefs

The Easiest, No-Mess Way to Cook Bacon

Your days of hovering over a grease-spitting skillet are over. There’s a much easier way to cook bacon, and it’s so simple you’ll wonder if it really works. (Spoiler alert: It does.)Allreceipes shares the easiest and best way to cook the bacon we all love.

Breakfast Bacon

Why Bake Your Bacon

Why should you cook bacon in the oven instead of frying it the old-fashioned way? There are so many good reasons for cooking bacon in the oven, we have to count the ways:

  1. You can cook a whole pound of bacon at one time in just minutes.
  2. Baked bacon cooks flat and doesn’t curl up.
  3. No need to turn the bacon.
  4. No grease burns on your skin.
  5. No grease stains on your clothes.
  6. No grease splatters all over your stove.
  7. Free up space on your stovetop for other foods.
  8. While the bacon’s in the oven cooking itself, you can turn your attention to other things. Like mixing mimosas.
  9. Clean-up is as easy as it gets.
  10. Baking bacon makes it possible to make candied bacon.
  11. Bacon is it’s own best reason to cook bacon.

 

Bacon for the Family or a Crowd

 

Ingredients
1 pound thick-cut bacon

Equipment
Large rimmed baking sheet
Aluminum foil
Baking rack (Optional: Cooking the bacon on a rack makes the bacon crisper, and lets the grease drip off the bacon as it cooks. If you go the rack route, you should still line your baking pan with foil to make clean-up easy.)

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 400° F. You won’t be broiling the bacon, so put your oven rack in the middle of your oven to distribute the heat evenly.
1. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil extends up the sides of the pan so it captures all the bacon grease and clean-up is easier.
2. Arrange bacon strips directly on the foil. It’s okay if the bacon overlaps slightly because it will shrink slightly as it bakes. OR place the bacon on a rack. Place the baking pan in the oven.
3. Cook bacon for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how chewy or crispy you like your bacon.
4. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined platter. The extra grease will be absorbed by the paper towels, and the bacon will crisp up a bit as it cools. You can then transfer it to a clean plate to serve.

Notes From Home Cooks

  • No baking rack? No problem. Line the baking sheet, then crumple up some more foil and lay the bacon on that to hold it up out of the grease.
  • Your baking time may differ. No two ovens bake at exactly the same temperature. You’ll probably need to do this a couple of times to find the right time/temperature that works for you.
  • Prevent oven splatters.  Lay a layer of foil over the bacon; this will keep grease from spitting all over the oven. Remove the foil for the last few minutes of cooking for “final crisping.”
  • Clean up is a snap. As if we need another reason for making bacon in the oven. Just let the bacon grease cool in the pan (save it if you want), then roll up the aluminum foil and toss it.

Save Your Bacon

Here’s the method as a recipe so you can save to your recipe box. Or pin the graphic below. Enjoy your new life, now with perfect bacon.

 

Easiest Way To Cook Bacon Graphic
The Easiest, No-Mess Way to Cook Bacon