Friday, April 22, 2011


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vocalpoint - How to Eat Anything

How to Eat Anything

You are what you eat—and, maybe more importantly, how you eat it. Dig in the wrong way and you could end up with egg on your face. Here’s a fun guide to the etiquette of eating everything.

Burrito. Ask the Mexi-joint to double-wrap it in foil. Peel as you go and if that last bite looks too sloppy, just leave it. This strategy works for any messy sandwich eaten on the go.

Sushi. It’s edible art, so eat it respectfully. Use chopsticks to dip only the corner of your fish or roll in soy sauce, then eat it in one bite. Nibble on the pink pickled ginger between pieces to clear your palate.

Pasta. As you twirl the angel hair, hold your spoon horizontally between you and the fork. It will act as a splatter-guard, keeping your top marinara-free. Never cut your pasta with a knife—true Italians will scoff.

Pomegranate. Take a paring knife and make four vertical cuts along the surface. (When you feel the knife hit the seeds inside, stop.) Use your hands to carefully pry it open, first in half, then in quarters. Scoop out the seeds, throw away the skin, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Soup. Hold your spoon like a pencil and scoop away from you, toward the center of the bowl. Sip the soup from the side of the spoon. When done, set the spoon on the saucer beside the bowl.

Pizza. Thin crust? Use your hands and fold it just a bit. Deep dish or Sicilian? Cut it with a knife and fork.

A gourmet meal at a nice restaurant. Switch your knife and fork, so you’re holding the knife in your dominant hand. Keep the back of the fork up and tines down during slicing and while bringing food to your mouth. Use the knife to scoop or push food toward your fork. You’ll not only look more Continental, but you’ll also eat slower. Worried you’ll look silly? Practice at home first.

Your mother-in-law’s pea soup (or anything else that makes you gag). Load it with pepper, not salt. Seventy-five percent of taste is smell. The aromatics of the pepper will help decrease the terrible taste.

Your heart out. To keep arteries clean, combine these ingredients in a weekly heart-healthy meal: salmon, spinach with diced onions, kidney beans, red wine (or grape juice), and an apple dessert. These six foods are among the most potent heart protectors.

Vocalpoint - Fries Without the Potatoes

Fries Without the Potatoes

1 sm rutabaga (1 1/4 lb), peeled
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce*
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp five-spice powder or ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a jelly-roll pan (basically, a baking sheet with 1" sides) with foil. Coat lightly with cooking spray.

Slice rutabaga 1/2" thick. Cut into 1/2"-wide strips. In a steamer basket set over simmering water, steam rutabaga, covered, 12 minutes, or just until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine honey, hoisin, ginger, oil, vinegar, and five-spice powder. Gently toss in rutabaga until evenly covered.

Place rutabaga mixture and liquid in the pan, and spread out in a single layer. Bake 30 minutes, turning over after 20 minutes, or until tender and golden.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving:
100 calories, 2 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 95 mg sodium

*Look for it in the international foods section of most major grocery stores.

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Vocalpoint - Dip into fun

Dip into fun

Have an old fondue pot sitting around you haven’t used in awhile? What about a few crock pots? Know someone who does? Drag them out of the cupboard and invite some friends over. Whether you’re watching a game, having a movie night, or just need a night of comfort food with the girls, clustering around pots of bubbling cheese and chocolate is a great way to get everyone together.

Ask guests to bring specific dippables—bread cubes (such as baguette and pumpernickel), vegetables, sliced and cooked sausage, sliced strawberries, pretzels, or pieces of pound cake. That way, you can provide just the fondues themselves and a side dish (like a tossed salad—recipe below!).

If you don’t have fondue forks, don’t worry. Use regular forks or sturdy toothpicks so guests can spear and dip to their hearts’ content.

Swiss and Cheesy Fondue 
Serves 4-6

Fondue au fromage is a classic Swedish dish consisting of melted cheese  mixed with white wine and seasonings. Small chunks of French bread are usually dipped into the fondue. If you’d rather not splurge on the Gruyere and Emmental, just use a pound of sharp cheddar cheese instead!

1 tsp. minced garlic
½ lb. Gruyere cheese, shredded
½ lb. Emmental cheese, shredded
(Or substitute Grueyere and Emmental with 1 lb of sharp cheddar, shredded)
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Toss the cheese with the flour—it’ll help keep it from clumping in the pot. 

2. In a medium saucepan, bring the wine to a simmer, then add the garlic. 

3. Add the cheese, a handful at a time, while stirring. When combined, add salt and pepper. Continue to stir until cheese is completely melted and smooth, then taste and adjust spices as needed. If you think it needs a bit more flavor, stir in a dash of Worsterchire sauce and garlic powder.

4. Transfer cheese to a fondue pot or crockpot already warmed over low heat. Serve with toasted bread cubes, vegetables, sliced sausage, or even apples.

S'More Fondue
Serves 4-6

1 cup of milk
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chunks
2 cups marshmallow creme

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until simmering. 

2. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts. (You may need to put the pan on the stove for 20 seconds to reheat.)

3. Stir in marshmallow creme and transfer mixture to a fondue pot or already-warmed crock pot on low heat. Use graham crackers and pretzels for dipping. Fruits like strawberries and bananas make good dippers, too.

Hearty Spring Salad
Make your favorite salad so guests can easily grab with tongs, or try this one and feel free to mix and match with your other favorite ingredients.

2 heads of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup diced, cooked bacon or bacon bits
2 diced hard-boiled eggs
2 large tomatoes (or 3 medium tomatoes), finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
A few pinches of salt and 1 tsp black pepper
Various salad dressings

Toss everything together in a large bowl, or layer in a clear glass bowl. If you have vegetarian or vegan guests coming, put the bacon, and eggs in separate, smaller bowls. Set out whatever dressings you have handy. Ranch is particularly good on this salad, as is cheddar cheese if you have any left over from making fondue.

Remember, it’s fondue tradition—if anything falls off your skewer and into the pot, you owe someone a kiss!


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Vocalpoint - In a hurry? Here, eat this

In a hurry? Here, eat this!

If your idea of breakfast is a piece of gum on the way to your favorite latte shop, it may be time to cook up some new ideas. Try these recipes made for grabbing and going, and feel much better all morning!

Individual Breakfast Quiches
Whip up this recipe on a Sunday night, and you’ll have a filling breakfast ready for each morning of the week. If these ingredients don’t suit your taste buds, try it with your favorite fillings—diced bell peppers and ham, for example, or just tomatoes and cheese.

6 eggs, whisked (use only egg whites for a healthier option)
1 cup of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2/3 cups of feta cheese (or cheese of your choice)
¼ cup red bell pepper, diced
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine eggs, spinach, cheese and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray, then pour the egg mixture in each muffin tin. Fill each cup only halfway—the egg mixture will rise during baking. Bake for 20 minutes, let cool, then wrap in plastic wrap or individual baggies so you can easily bring them with you on your way or nuke in the microwave for 20 seconds before you leave.

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