30 June 2007

Hudson Valley Garlic Festival; Garlic Bread Recipe

Saugerties, NY; Sept. 29 & 30, 2007
artwork by Bob Place


As a lovers of all things garlic, we have promoted The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival for several years. Here is information on this year's festivities:

* Tickets for the 2007 Hudson Valley Garlic Festival™ are priced exactly the same as they were for the last couple of years.
* Tickets bought at the gate are $7 per person. (Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult, as always,)
* Advance tickets are available at a $2 discount ($5 apiece) on our Web site. The address is http://www.hvgf.org/catalog_2007.asp

And here is a recipe for garlic bread from the their newsletter:

RECIPE (from the Garlic Goddess)

Garlic-Cheese Bread
This is a delicious tasting bread, fairly high in fat, but hey, you can't live forever. ;-)

Yield: 1 loaf.


2 packages dry yeast
3 cups warm water
3 Tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour

6 Tbsp butter
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 package dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese


1. Soften yeast in 1/3 cup (of the 3 cups) of warm water. Add a pinch of sugar. Within 5 to 10 minutes, the yeast should be noticeably multiplying. Add it to the remainder of the water and add the butter, salt and sugar.

2. Pour it into the bowl of a Mixer/Kneader (such as from Kitchenaid) with the kneading attachment (or into a bread bowl and use a hand-held mixer for adding up to 2 cups flour. Then knead in the rest.) Turn on the mixer and start adding the flour, stopping to scrape down the sides. When the dough is too stiff to mix, then turn out on a floured bread board and knead in the last bit of flour. (You may not have to use all of the flour.)

3. Grease a large bowl and turn the dough out and into the bowl. Turn the bread to have the greased top exposed. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.

4. Then roll out dough to a 20" x 14" rectangle. Set aside while you make the filling.

To make filling:
1. Mince the garlic and saute briefly in the butter. Add the soup mix and stir to incorporate everything.

2. Let the filling cool. Then spread on the dough, up to 1" away from all sides. Sprinkle the cheese over the filling. Then roll up jelly roll fashion, staring with the 14" side. Seal edges and the ends.

3. Place on a greased cookie sheet and using a very sharp knife (or a razor blade) slash the top down the center - lengthwise, exposing some of the onion mix. Cover loosely and let rise 'til light.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. After taking out of the oven, let the bread cool on a wire rack. Wait for at least an hour before trying to slide it.

27 June 2007

In Food Safety Crackdown, China Closes 180 Plants - New York Times

This item, in today's New York Times, is important enough to be made available to anyone who may not have seen it:

"After weeks of insisting that food here is largely safe, regulators in China said Tuesday that they had recently closed 180 food plants and that inspectors had uncovered more than 23,000 food safety violations."

Read the whole article at
In Food Safety Crackdown, China Closes 180 Plants - New York Times

25 June 2007


In case you haven't noticed "superfoods" have been all over the news, and markets, in the past few years. They have many health and nutrition benefits, and consumers have taken notice. A recent item from the BBC states:

"There has been a dramatic rise in sales of nutrient-rich "superfoods" as more people learn of their health benefits, new research suggests.

The products which have soared in popularity include spinach, salmon and soy according to data collected by market analyst AC Nielsen."

To view the whole story, visit BBC News.

And from WebMD, 'Superfoods' Everyone Needs.

Eat Local Produce

I've been eating locally grown produce for many years for many reasons. The most important being that it's fresher and more flavorful, often picked that same morning. And then, it helps local farmers. Many large supermarkets offer locally grown produce, but the freshness often leaves a bit to be desired, e.g., my local Pathmark's offerings appear to have sit somewhere for a few days before making it to the shelves.

There are many other reasons to consume locally grown food, and here are two sites to help convince you to do so also -- if you aren't already:

Locally Grown from lime.com: According to Local Harvest, a nonprofit resource for locating farmer’s markets and family farms, most produce that Americans eat is picked more than four to seven days before it’s sold, and shipped an average of 1,500 miles before it is stocked in supermarkets (this doesn’t take into account foods that are imported from other countries). The distance that food travels, often referred to as “food miles,” is often called to attention to point out that the great distance that food is transported causes oil and energy waste, pollution and traffic, packing material waste, increased contamination risk, and the prevalence of large-scale farming practices such as use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and hybridized or genetically modified crops. Click here for more.

And click: How Does Eating Locally Grown Food Help the Environment?

21 June 2007

Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters

Did your grandmother bake goodies that bring back fond food and kitchen memories? Cakes, pastries and sweets you wish you could find somewhere? Do you wish you had asked for and saved the recipes? This recent publication, Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters: More than 100 Years of Recipes Discovered from Family Cookbooks, Original Journals, Scraps of Paper, and Grandmothers Kitchen, may not replace your grandmother's, but may close to recreating some, or create new fond ones. More from Jessica's Biscuit:

"We all have fond memories of a favorite dessert our grandmother or mother used to bake. It’s these dishes that give us comfort in times of stress, help us celebrate special occasions, and remind us of the person who used to bake for us those many years ago.

In Heirloom Baking, Marilynn Brass and Sheila Brass preserve and update 150 of these beloved desserts. The recipes are taken from their vast collection of antique manuscript cookbooks, handwritten recipes passed down through the generations that they’ve amassed over twenty years. The recipes range from the late 1800s to today, and come from a variety of ethnicities and regions. The book features such down-home and delicious recipes as Brandied Raisin Teacakes, Cuban Flan, Cranberry-Orange Cream Scones, Chattanooga Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, and many more. Accompanying the recipes are stories from the lives of the families from which they came.

The Brass Sisters have taken care to update every recipe for today’s modern kitchens. More than 150 photographs showcase the scrumptious food in full-color detail. Finally, the Brass sisters encourage each reader to begin collecting his or her own family recipes in the lined pages and envelope at the back of the book."

Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters: More than 100 Years of Recipes Discovered from Family Cookbooks, Original Journals, Scraps of Paper, and Grandmothers Kitchen
by Marilynn and Sheila Brass
Hardcover - 312 pages
Published: September 2006
ISBN: 1579125883
Black Dog & Leventhal

Available online from Jessica's Biscuit and Barnes and Noble.

15 June 2007


I've come across references, and recipes calling for spelt (see book featured at the bottom of this blog). But what exactly is it and how can one use it? A good description can be found from Wikipedia:

"Spelt (Triticum spelta) was an important wheat species in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times. It now survives as a relict crop in Central Europe, but has found a new market as a health food. Spelt is sometimes considered a subspecies of the closely related species common wheat (T. aestivum), in which case its botanical name is considered to be Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta. ...

...The earliest archeological evidence of spelt is from the fifth millennium BC in Transcaucasia, north of the Black Sea. However, the most abundant and best-documented archaeological evidence of spelt is in Europe. Remains of spelt have been found in some later Neolithic sites (2500 - 1700 BC) in Central Europe. During the Bronze Age, spelt spread widely in central Europe. In the Iron Age (750-15 BC), spelt became a principal wheat species in southern Germany and Switzerland, and by 500 BC also in southern Britain.

References to the cultivation of spelt wheat in Biblical times (see matzo), in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and in ancient Greece, are incorrect, and result from confusion with emmer wheat.

In the Middle Ages, spelt was cultivated in parts of Switzerland, Tyrol and Germany. Spelt was introduced to the United States in the 1890s. In the 20th century, spelt was replaced in almost all those areas in which it was still grown by bread wheat. As spelt requires less fertilizers, the organic farming movement made it more popular again towards the end of the century.


Spelt contains about 57.9 percent carbohydrates (excluding 9.2 percent fibre), 17.0 percent protein and 3.0 percent fat, as well as dietary minerals and vitamins. As it contains a moderate amount of gluten, it is suitable for baking. In Germany, the unripe spelt grains are dried and eaten as Gr√ľnkern, which literally means "green seed".

Spelt is closely related to common wheat, and is not usually a suitable substitute for people with coeliac disease and wheat allergy...

...Usually spelt is sold in the form of a coarse pale bread, similar in colour and in texture to light rye breads but with a slightly sweet and nutty flavour.

Cookies and crackers are also produced, but are more likely to be found in a specialty bakery or health food store than in a regular grocery store.

Spelt pasta is also available in health food stores and specialty shops.

The raw grain when chewed releases trace amounts of gluten giving the mass a slight resilience, not unlike gum[citation needed] (whereas wheat becomes a sticky glutinous mass, similar to thick jam). The texture is quite pleasant, and slightly crunchy. The nutty flavour is more intense than it is in most breads and some prefer the raw substance to the baked goods.

Dutch jenever makers distill a special kind of gin made with spelt as a curiosity gin marketed for connoisseurs."

A new publication, the Official Hodgson Mill Whole-Grain Baking Companion: 400 Wholesome, Hearty Recipes for Muffins, Breads, Cookies, and More, by The Bakers of Hodgson Mill, includes recipes using spelt. Here is a bit more information on the book from Jessica's Biscuit:

" A comprehensive guide to baking with whole grains from one of America's leading flour mills.Features 100 gluten-free recipes and 50 bread machine recipes!

If your experience of whole grains translates into heavy, bitter, stale, or (in the case of pasta) mushy, take heart. A revolution in whole-grain flours and a better understanding of the techniques needed to create delicious whole-grain baked goods that are as good to eat as they are good for you has taken place in the last few years. With new flours like white whole wheat, white wheat bran, and white spelt, whole-grain baking has finally come into its own. And here to help health-conscious cooks take advantage of the new developments is The Official Hodgson Mill Whole-Grain Baking Companion. From scrumptious breads like Multigrain Currant Loaf, Sourdough Rye, and California Soy Crunch to White Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins and Perfect Buckwheat Pancakes, from Cranberry-Marmalade Scones to Cardamom Coffee Braid, 400 recipes present the best of whole-grain baking in easy-to-follow step by-step format.

Readers will be introduced to whole-grain flours (including the many kinds of whole wheat, rye, corn, spelt, oat, soy, rice, bean, buckwheat, flax, barley, quinoa, millet and more) and learn special tips for using each kind of flour, what its nutrient value is, how to store it to preserve freshness, and how to combine different flours for maximum flavor and nutrition. A chapter on baking basics takes readers with illustrated step-by-step directions through the bread making process, whether they-re creating whole-grain baked goods by hand, in a bread machine, or with a food processor, and illustrates techniques like braiding."


Official Hodgson Mill Whole-Grain Baking Companion: 400 Wholesome, Hearty Recipes for Muffins, Breads, Cookies, and More
by The Bakers of Hodgson Mill, Judith M. Fertig,
ISBN: 1592332617
Pub. Date: June 2007
Fair Winds Press (MA)

It is available online from Jessica's Biscuit and Barnes and Noble.

09 June 2007

The Spice and Herb Bible

What herb should I use with what? What spice enhances a dish? Can I use this spice with that spice and with that herb? How much of which? You get the idea. Unless you do a lot of meal preparation, many spices and herbs are mystifying, and may throw you by simply their name, e.g., allspice. Published last year and the 2007 IACP Award Winner, The Spice And Herb Bible, Second Edition, by Ian Hemphill, might help you go beyond salt and pepper. From Jessica's Biscuit:

"The classic reference - expanded and in full color.

Professional chefs and home cooks use spices and herbs to enhance food flavors and to create new taste combinations and sensations. From vanilla beans to cinnamon, from cumin to tarragon, no kitchen is complete without spices and herbs.

The second edition of this classic reference is significantly expanded, with four new spices and herbs as well as 25 additional blends. The book is now printed in full color and features color photography throughout. Every herb and spice has a handsome and detailed color photograph to make identification and purchasing a breeze. The book includes fascinating and authoritative histories of a wide range of global herbs and spices such as angelica, basil, candle nut, chervil, elder, fennel, grains of paradise, licorice root, saffron, tamarind, Vietnamese mint and zedoary."

The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
Paperback - 2ND, 640pp
ISBN: 0778801462
Pub. Date: September 2006
Rose, Robert Incorporated

The Spice and Herb Bible is available online from Jessica's Biscuit and Barnes and Noble.

05 June 2007


The fresh, local cucumbers are everywhere. And delightfully crisp and tasty. And the search goes on for new uses. An easy and healthy way to enjoy them is in a raita: A staple of many Indian restaurants. Cool and refreshing, and easy to make at home. Wikipedia provides the following on the dish and a straghtforward recipe:

"Raita is a South Asian condiment based on yogurt (dahi) and used as a sauce or dip. The yogurt is seasoned with cilantro, cumin, mint, cayenne pepper, and other herbs and spices. Vegetables such as cucumber and onions are mixed in. The mixture is served chilled. Raita has a cooling effect on the palate which makes it a good foil for spicy Indian dishes.

Southern Indian cuisine, such as that found in the Bangalore region, often uses finely chopped or diced carrots mixed with dahi yogurt.

Cucumber is not included in authentic versions of the dish, because Ayurvedic tradition considers a mixture of cucumber and yoghurt to be harmful to the body.

It could be considered similar to the Greek tzatziki.



* 200 g yogurt
* 1 medium sized cucumber (finely chopped)
* 1 medium sized onion (finely chopped)
* a handful of coriander leaves with some mint leaves
* a pinch each of cumin, cinnamon and pepper powder
* salt according to taste.


Mix all the ingredients in the yogurt and blend it with a blender. Keep refrigerated and serve with any kinds of Indian dishes.