Barefoot Contessa Sinful Hot Chocolate Mix & Homemade Marshmallow Mix

barefoot-contessa-sinful-hot-chocolate-mix-homemade-marshmallow-mixRich, smooth, chocolaty,creamy and oh so sinfully delicious.

I just can’t think of enough superlatives to describe the taste of the Barefoot Contessa sinful hot chocolate mix.

As everyone knows, there is nothing that compares to curling up with a steaming hot cup of hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows, in cold weather.

The Barefoot Contessa Set of 2 Sinful Hot Chocolate Mix is made from the finest chocolate.

Ina Garte, The Barfoot Contess, Stonewall Kitchen,  is a top-selling cookbook author and Food Network star  who has developed a line of specialty foods for you to enjoy.
Barefoot Contessa Set of 2 Homemade Marshmallow Mix
Now to go with your smooth hot chocolate drink, here a some easy to make, melt in your mouth, delicious, light and fluffy marshmallows that you can also enjoy as a tasty snack just on their own.

Forget all about those rubbery marshmallows that you get from the grocery store and have a go at making your own marshmallow with  the Barefoot Contessa Homemade Marshmallow Mix , you and the family will be so glad you did.

And why not check out our Bodum Hot Chocolate Jug review for the perfect item in which to make your hot chocolate.

Where Can I Buy the  Barefoot Contessa Sinful  Hot Chocolate Mix and the Barefoot Contessa Homemade Marshmallow Mix?
Cooking.com

Amazon.com

Cooking with Dill – How to Prepare and Use Dill in the Kitchen

dillJust about everyone has heard of dill pickles, but how many of us have experimented with using dill in other ways in the kitchen? If you haven’t tried cooking with dill, you’re selling yourself – and your cooking – short. Here are some tips for getting started with this fresh and flexible herb.

What Is Dill?

Dill is one of the oldest herbs that people have been known to use in cooking. Sprigs of herbs have been found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and even in Neolithic settlements. This relative of parsley grows naturally in central Asia and around the Mediterranean Sea, but it can be cultivated anywhere where the summers are hot and it can get plenty of direct sunlight.

Dill can be used in cooking in four different forms: fresh dill leaves, dried dill leaves, dill flowers, and the dill seeds. The fresh leaves have the strongest and most pronounced flavor. The seeds taste similar to caraway and are often used in breads and other baked goods. Both the seeds and the flowers are used to make dill pickles.

How Does Dill Taste?

Dill leaves have a gentle, subtle flavor that can be described as tangy and fresh, but with a musky overtone. Dill leaves compliment other herbs well, making it a great addition to many meals.

Dill seeds have a stronger flavor and a crispy crunch. They have been compared with caraway seeds, and have a citrus tang and a slightly bitter taste.

Does Dill Have Any Health Benefits?

Dill is an excellent source of calcium, and can help to prevent bone deterioration with age. It also relieves stomach aches and is naturally soothing, helping to ease people to sleep. Like garlic, dill is an anti-bacterial spice, and it acts as an antioxidant.

Finally, dill seed makes a good substitute for salt. People with low-sodium diets can benefit from a healthy dose of dill in their foods.

Which Dishes Work Best When Flavored with Dill?

Dill Seeds:
Dill Seeds
are often added to potato and egg salads, and are used to make a delicious devilled egg. They can be added to the water while boiling potatoes for mashing to add tang to the dish. Dill seeds can be substituted for caraway seeds to make caraway bread. Dill seeds are also an important ingredient for making dill pickles.

Dill Leaves:
Blend dill with softened butter to create a delicious dip for breads or for seafood. Add fronds of dill to yogurt and serve with raw vegetables for a healthy snack. Dill leaves make a delicious substitute for parsley as a garnish for sandwiches. Toss some fresh leaves shortly before your fish is done cooking for delicious added flavor. Dill fronds also make a savory addition to hamburger meat.

Dried Dill:
Dried dill can be substituted for fresh dill, but be aware that quite a lot of the herb will be necessary, since it loses a lot of flavor in the drying process.

Dill Flowers:
Dill flowers can be harvested and used as an ingredient for dill pickles.

How Should Dill Be Used in Cooking?
Exposure to heat tends to destroy the delicious flavor of fresh dill leaves. To retain their taste, add them shortly before the end of the cooking process, or chop the leaves and use them fresh in salads.

Dill seeds, on the other hand, can withstand higher temperatures and longer cooking without losing flavor. They can be added to boiling water for flavoring potatoes or tossed into a potato salad to add both crunch and flavor.

In Summary
Dill is a harmonious herb that, like salt, enhances the flavor of the meals you prepare. Unlike salt, however, dill has a variety of beneficial properties. For people whose health conditions restrict them to a low-sodium diet or who simply want to improve their overall diet, dill is an excellent addition to their cooking abilities.

 

Cooking with Garlic – How to Use Garlic to its Best Effect

cooking-with-garlicGarlic, with its strong, spicy flavor, is a critical ingredient to many meals like Mediterranean dishes, pastas, steaks, and burgers. Furthermore, garlic has been revered for thousands of years as an herb with remarkable health properties, from fighting off the common cold to lowering bad cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, many beginner cooks are hesitant to work with this amazing spice. Find out how to use garlic in your cooking to add flavor without overwhelming your other flavors by reading these commonly asked garlic questions.

What are the Health Benefits of Garlic?

Garlic has been prescribed for health problems for as long as people have been prescribing medications. The major health benefits of garlic come from two sources: Allicin and Diallyl Sulphides.

Allicin has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. However, it is only released when garlic is chopped; the more finely chopped, the stronger the health benefits. Furthermore, cooking or storing will cause the allicin to break down, meaning that fresh, raw, finely chopped garlic has the strongest benefits. However, too much raw garlic can also be harmful, and even cooked garlic can still have health benefits.

Diallyl Sulphides are thought to have a positive effect on the circulatory system, lowering levels of bad cholesterol and keeping the heart healthy. Furthermore, they may boost the immune system. Unlike allicin, diallyl sulphides do not break down when cooking garlic.

Will Garlic Overwhelm My Dishes?

As anyone who’s ever sprinkled too much garlic salt on a slice of pizza knows, garlic can add an overwhelming flavor to a dish, making it difficult to make out any other flavors. However, it’s actually quite easy to regulate the strength of the garlic that you use. There are two major factors that regulate the strength of the garlic in your meals: how finely the garlic is chopped, and when in the cooking process you add the garlic to your food.

How Fine Should I Chop Garlic?

Whole cloves of garlic have a quite mild flavor, whereas piercing the cloves will release more flavor. Meanwhile, very finely chopped garlic has the strongest taste of all.

So how finely the garlic should be chopped hangs upon how strong you want the garlic in your meal to be. For a very mild garlic flavor, try caramelizing whole garlic cloves. For a moderate taste, hack or thickly slice your garlic cloves. For an intense garlic taste, such as you’d like to find in garlic bread or lasagna, chop the garlic as finely as you can.

When Should I Add Garlic to the Meal?

Rosle Garlic Press, Stainless SteelTo receive the maximum taste and health benefits of garlic, allow the cloves to stand for at least ten minutes after cutting and before adding them to your meals.

The longer that garlic is cooked, the milder its flavor will become. In order to have a more subtle garlic flavor, add the spice to your meal early in the cooking process. Just be careful not to burn it, or it will get a harsh, bitter flavor. For a stronger, more noticeable garlic flavor, add it to your meal shortly before the cooking is done.

Is There Any Herb that Counteracts a Strong Garlic Flavor?

Whether you have gone a bit overboard with the amount of garlic in your meal or you just want to get rid of garlic breath after overindulging, you’ll be glad to hear that parsley does wonders to counteract strong garlicky flavors or odors. For example, if you make a soup and find that the garlic is overwhelming all of the other flavors, put some parsley leaves in a tea strainer and allow them to soak in the broth. The parsley will absorb some of the garlic flavor. Similarly, chewing on parsley after a garlicky meal will reduce the scent on your breath.

Garlic is a wonderful spice that can improve your health while adding flair to your dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with using it in your cooking.

Cooking with Herbs – How to Use the Most Common Kitchen Spices

aerogardenEveryone knows that using the right herbs and spices can make the difference between a sumptuous meal and a bland, tasteless failure. Experimenting with flavors can really bring your meals to a new level and help you to create dishes that satisfy your specific tastes. If you are new to cooking, however, choosing the right herbs and spices to use in your meals can seem daunting. These tips for cooking with herbs can help you get the knowledge and confidence you need to go beyond simply following recipes.

The Difference between Herbs and Spices

Although many people use the words interchangeably, there is a difference between herbs and spices. Herbs are leaves of plants without woody stems. Some common examples include dill leaves, rosemary, thyme, and basil. Spices, on the other hand, come from bark, seeds, roots, berries, flowers, and fruits. Dill seed, cinnamon, and coriander are examples of spices.

Experimenting with Herbs and Spices

It can be daunting to try new herbs and spices if you don’t know how they will taste in your favorite dishes. However, if you don’t experiment, you will never stretch your cooking abilities and making the same dishes over and over again will become boring.

It never hurts to be a little adventurous. It’s a good idea to start when you are only cooking for yourself, and with a simple dish that you already know well. Then see what happens when you tinker with the herbs and spices that you use. Some good examples of dishes to experiment with include scrambled eggs, spaghetti sauce, hamburger, and lettuce, egg, or potato salad. Why? Because these dishes won’t break your heart if the spice mixtures you try aren’t fantastic, and they are so familiar that it’s easy to see the differences that different herbs and spices make.

Which Herbs to Use: Fresh or Dried?

Many herbs are available in two different forms: as fresh, succulent leaves, as dried herbs in small jars. Fresh herbs usually have a more subtle flavor and are more visually appealing. Imagine a tomato and mozzarella salad, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and dotted with bright green basil leaves. Gorgeous!

Dried herbs last longer on the shelf without spoiling. They usually have a stronger, more intense flavor. In general, a rule of thumb is that 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh herbs can be replaced by a third of a teaspoon of dried herbs.

Some Popular Herbs and Spices to Use in Your Cooking
Here are some ideas for popular herbs that you can use in your cooking. These herbs are common in many kitchens because they are delicious and flexible, working well with many types of dishes.

Rosemary
<
This pungent, piney herb is delicious in salads, with potatoes and mixed vegetables, or sprinkled over meats like chicken, fish, and lamb. It is popular on its own or when blended with other herbs. It is a good complement to thyme, sage, bay, and garlic.

Basil

Basil has a sweet, earthy flavor that is an excellent companion to tomatoes, cheeses, pizzas, and pasta dishes. It is also delicious with vegetables and is a primary ingredient in pesto. It’s a common ingredient in Italian spice mixes and works well with other herbs, especially thyme, marjoram, oregano, and garlic.

Thyme

Thyme has a strong, spicy flavor with just a hint of sweetness to it. There is also a strain called lemon thyme which has a citrus flavor to it as well. Thyme is excellent with chicken and fish, with sausage or eggs, sprinkled over roasted potatoes, or served in Mediterranean cuisine. It blends well with chives, bay, garlic, sage, and rosemary.

Oregano

Oregano has a strong, fresh flavor that makes it popular in Italian, Greek, and Mexican dishes. It is also good with tomatoes, eggs, lamb, cheeses, beef, and seafood. It blends well with basil, thyme, garlic, and chives.

Chives

Chives have a flavor that is similar to onions, but more delicate and soft. You can use them in just about any dish that calls for onions, as a replacement or as a companion. They are best when used raw, or when added to the dish at the end of the cooking process, to retain their flavor and color. Use with baked potatoes, eggs, fish, soups, or blended with butter. Chives pair well with garlic, dill, basil, tarragon, and oregano.

Cinnamon

Most people think of cinnamon as a spice that should only be used with sweet dishes and baked goods, but actually cinnamon adds a depth of flavor to meats and other savory dishes that is absolutely delicious. Try adding cinnamon to eggs, hamburger, and tomato sauces.

Garlic
Garlic is a healthy and delicious spice that is heavily used in Mediterranean dishes from Italy, Greek, and Turkey. It can be used fresh, dried, or mixed with salt. It is excellent in a wide variety of dishes including garlic bread, pizza and pasta dishes, and sprinkled over meats, vegetable, fish, and poultry. It blends well with oregano, thyme, sage, chives, and basil.

By experimenting with cooking with herbs, you can create delicious and satisfying new meals that will delight your taste buds and keep you from getting bored in the kitchen.




Thyme For Cooking and Reading

Thyme for CookingI have just been reading the funniest thing I have ever read about ironing and how some people are totally obsessed with it. The story precedes a great braised veal with garlic recipe, shown in the picture on the left. Katies food photos make you want to dive right in and cook.

Now what does ironing have to do with cooking??? Well absolutely nothing but Katie over at Thyme for Cooking has a way of writing that combines her quirky humor and fabulous recipes.

Thyme for Cooking was our featured blog of the week a while back and I keep going back because I never know what treat she has in store for me to cook up and I just love the little anecdotes that precede the recipes, they are just way too funny.

So if you need a pick me up, grab a coffee and head on over to Katies site.