Monday, November 27, 2006

African Food

Africa is a continent that impersonates regional diversity. It's also rather poor continent but it sure does have some common, staple food. African food is a mixture of original dishes and the imported food from colonizing countries and immigrants. In the West, we're most familiar with Northern African food, especially through Moroccan restaurants that are known world wide. African people (African Americans) also introduced many ways of cooking to the American South that are familiar today in grits, flat breads and fritters. This is all original African food that was just customized a bit by local population.

Africans like to eat game and fish and also a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. They use root vegetables such as cassava and yams in large quantities. African people use many different marinades and spices to give that little extra to the vegetables which are mostly steamed. Chicken or some other poultry is usually main ingredient in their stews. Melons and particular watermelons also take part in Authentic African Recipes. Groundnuts also find their place in African food. Every African region has it's own specific food and agriculture. Many African villages use a lot of curd, whey, cereals, yams and milk. The coastal regions tend to use a lot of fish. This is quite normal if you think about it. Everywhere in the world coastal regions are known of it's fish dishes. African people use chillies, cayenne pepper and ginger to spice up their food. Fish is marinated in this spicy mix and it's very popular. Africans didn't marinate their food, which was brought into Africa by French people. West African food is also known by their stews and soups. They add okra or black eyed peas into the soup. It is fantastic. Sometimes they mix fish and meat together when they are making a soup or a stew. Method of marinating wasn't the only thing the French brought into many African countries. They also brought many herbs and spices such as scallions, garlic and lime juice. Coconuts and bananas are indispensable and also very popular African food. Ethiopian dishes are also very known in the world. There are many Ethiopian restaurant in the US. Ethiopian food uses hot peppers, hard cooked eggs. bread and a lot of meat, some dishes contain even raw meat. It is not something we are used to eat.

Dutch and British settlers together with Bantu traditions had their influence of South African food. Many don't know that Africa also has vineyards. They were brought to Africa by French. I guess French had the biggest influence on Africa altogether. The British sent workers from India to work on the railway construction. After effect was that also Indian cuisine left it's influence on African food. There is not much meat involved in East African food. Cattle is used rather for trading and not for food. The only influence on East African food was left from Arab settlers who brought saffron, cloves and rice pilafs. African countries that were colonized by Portugal, tend to use a lot of citruses such as oranges, lemons and limes. Other fruits such as pineapples, bananas and coconuts are also used.

African food is very often combined with alcohol. Only Muslim countries in North Africa don't consume or use alcohol. South Africa is world famous for its first class red and white wines. This wines are legacy of the French who started vineyards in South Africa. Kenya has a local beer called Tusker which is also exported. Who would have thought that Kenya is a beer exporter. The Tusker goes particularly well with African food. There are many bee keepers in Ethiopia and they make a drink called Tej. This is a drink made from the honey which is similar in taste to mead. Ethiopian coffee is also well known in the West. If you decide to try it I recommend you to try whole bean coffee. Africa is very specific continent and so is African food. You can find many many different and very tasteful dishes. Influence of various colonizing European countries, such as France, Italy, Portugal, UK, Spain etc... gave African food an eccentric taste.

In Italian cooking article Jessica asked me if two cultural tastes can be successfully combined? My answer was and still is YES. Not only two cultural tastes can be combined. More tastes combined the better. Now this may not be always true but in most cases it is. We should open our selfs up to the world and experiment as much as we can. This is why I love to taste all kinds of different food and dishes. African food it self wouldn't be what it is today if there wouldn't any cultural combinations.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chicken Dinner

A simple and delicious chicken dinner can make your day. Majority of people loves chicken with all the respect to vegetarians :) I honestly believe that I haven't met a person that didn't like chicken dinner or poultry for that matter. There is just one small problem. Making a chicken dinner takes time just as any other dinner. But with the right recipe you can not go wrong and your chicken dinner will taste absolutely fantastic. Even if you made chicken dinner only once you know that it takes time, patience and some cooking knowledge. I remember when my mom made chicken dinner we always ran to the dinner table screaming chicken, chicken, chicken... Many people like to order their chicken dinner online. Various take out restaurants provide this service. After being at work all day, you are probably not in a mood for all that cooking. If you don't have time you can just go and pay a few bucks and your chicken dinner will be brought right to your door. So ordering a take out chicken dinner makes a lot of sense if you really think about it.

If you ever find your self in a situation like that, fried chicken dinner can be a smooth and tasty solution to your problem. Fried chicken dinner is bad for your health but it sure does taste good. Every person should get a taste of a fried chicken dinner every now and then, regardless of health. Many restaurants deliver fried chicken dinners, so finding one in your area shouldn't be a hassle. If you wish for something more exotic and different I recommend chicken tikka. In case you are wondering what that is, it's a delicious Indian dish. This chicken is special because it is flavorful and tender and has this specific aroma that I absolutely adore. I bet you would like it too.

Chicken can be prepared in so many ways. We know all kinds of chicken dinners that you can order for delivery. We mentioned some of them above. Almost every country and cuisine has it's own special way of making chicken. You can make chicken dinner, or you can make chicken soup, or you can grill the chicken if you like, you can make your special chicken salad and so on and so on. Chicken dinner can be very healthy if prepared correctly. There are many healthy choices to chose from. Of course there is the classic chicken meal that almost all Americans love so much. Roasted chicken dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, and some peas or carrots on the side. You can add a salad with this and some desert is always nice when you're done with the chicken.

I bet you probably all know how to roast a chicken. But here is a short recipe just in case. First you have to remove giblets if they haven't been removed. After that wash the chicken under cold water and dry it up with paper towel. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on your chicken. One or two tablespoons of salt and half table spoon of pepper should do it. You can melt some butter and add one table spoon of honey. Mix it up until it is nice and smooth. Take a cooking brush and put this dressing over a chicken. You chicken will be golded brown and it will have this beautiful crispy skin. Mashed potatoes are rather simple to make. Just peal and dice the potatoes and add some salt. Cook until they are tender so that you can split them easily with the fork or knife. Pour the water away, add some butter and sour cream or milk and make a mash. You can add a garlic if you like. Mashed potatoes are done. For a gravy you need a chicken soup base or broth. If you don't have any you can use water but it won't taste as good. Heat up some fat. Butter or olive oil, whatever you choose. You can add both if you like. Then add thinly sliced or minced onions. Stir occasionally. Then add flower if you want more thickness. If you want more thickness add more flower if not add some broth, water or chicken soup base. Add some salt, pepper and parsley. Cook for about 5 minutes and stir so it doesn't scorch. Cook some carrots or peas or both in salt water and add as a side dish to your chicken dinner. Of course you can cook any vegetables you like. Enjoy your home made chicken dinner.

Chicken dinner is nutritious, healthful, satisfying and simple. I am always saying that whenever possible you should make your own meals at home. Home made stuff is the best. But if you are under a pressure and have no time, restaurant take out is the way. Almost every restaurant makes a good chicken dinner. So why shouldn't we used this in our own advantage?

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Fine Cooking Light Magazine

My mother is cooking amazing dishes and has been cooking amazing virtually all of her life. Much of this amazing cooking was passed down from her mother. Grandmothers are outstanding cooks. It's a cliche. I can still taste and smell all the delicious pies she used to make. That woman should get a job at some cooking magazine. I could never get enough of her dishes. No matter what she made, it was always cooked to perfection. My absolute favorite was banana pie. I love everything made with banana. On the second place came banana bread. She always made dishes with banana on special occasions. Just one more reason why I way looking forward to the holidays even more as usual.

Who prepares the food in your house? Regardless of who prepares everyday meals in your home, you probably want to eat healthy. You have to eat healthy even if you don't want to. It is not a big secret that we all want our meals to taste delicious and great, but we should try to make these meals as healthy as possible. This is the point where fine cooking magazine should take it's place. Fine cooking magazine is a source that offers a variety of wonderful cooking recipes and ideas to please basically any food consumer. Are you receiving fine cooking magazine yet?

If you are, are you purchasing your cooking magazine at your local grocery store? I am asking because this is the perfect place to buy cooking magazine. One thing I love about cooking magazines is all the superb recipes they have to offer. Even if you are not a professional cook, we these cooking magazines you can become a decent cook. It's not hard if the correct directions are given. It's not a rocket sync when all you have to do is read the recipes or the articles and just follow them. You are all set once you have all the ingredients. I recommend you to check around for seasonal fine cooking magazines. You can also find all kinds of fine cooking magazine on the Internet. I am sure you will be satisfied and your family will thank you later.

Cooking Light magazine is the largest food magazine with healthy recipes. The magazine was launched in 1987 completely by demand of public. People in America were becoming more and more aware of importance of healthy recipes and healthy food. People wanted a source for tasteful, accurate, realistic and healthy recipes. Cooking Light magazine started to providing that. Cooking Light Magazine features all recipes and meal combinations that use healthy ingredients and preparation methods instead of traditional recipes. You can check it out at Cooking Light anytime from the comfort of your home. Articles are written by nutritional experts in an easy to follow format. This is one of the main Cooking Light Magazine’s secrets for creating delicious, satisfying and healthy recipes. You will be able to find a guide for healthy lifestyle habits, low fat substitutions and how to get or stay fit in every issue. Some tips for your work out are also in there including new monthly routines.

Many online magazine vendors offer reduced subscriptions to all your favorites cooking magazines at significant savings. Visit any number of sites including Magazines, MySimon, Mags4Cheap or MagazinePlace for comparison. Find out what will suite you best. Cooking Light magazine offers periodical specials for new subscribers. If you become a new subscriber you might get a number of free issues. This is a good way to check out the magazine without having to pay for it. If you like the magazine you can continue with a paid subscription. Cooking Light Magazine is also entertaining magazine full of advices on how to live our lives healthy way. I like to read recipe make over, where they take a totally unhealthy recipe or a meal and transform it into healthy recipes. That way you will realize that you can enjoy chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookies with less or no guilt at all. You can eat all the things you want you just need to alter the recipe a bit to get rid of all those extra fat and other unhealthy ingredients. Cooking Light magazine is a fine cooking magazine and a good place to start if you are looking to lose weight or maintaining it. You can start your own recipe collection with low carbohydrate recipes for example. The most simple recipe of all is: use a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, and fish. And don't stuff your face. Eat many times a day and chew your food well. If you will follow this you can still have candy and also baked goods.

Use these fine cooking magazines. They will teach you how to enjoy cooking and how to cook lighter and healthier meals. Add some exercise plans to your healthy cooking and you entire body will thank you. Many people think that healthy cooking sucks but cooking magazines will prove that this is a myth. Healthy food can taste just as good if not even better than regular food. Try to follow only one recipe from cooking magazines and you will see that I am right about it. Cooking magazines are out there because of you so don't be afraid to use them.