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Posts Tagged ‘Community Question’

Q: What do you do when it’s hot as hades outside?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

A: Get your hands on some watermelon.

Yesterday we had a severe heat warning in Indiana. Boy, was it hot – my dwarf lime tree started wilting.

There is one fruit, however, that is uniquely suited for this type of hot weather and that is the watermelon. Slightly sweet and full of juice, watermelon is super refreshing on a hot day. Watermelons are a staple for picnics, backyard BBQs, and summer gatherings; however, I rarely buy watermelon when I’m not having a group of people over. I think this is because I don’t know what to do with such a large amount of watermelon. As least I didn’t until I read this piece from Fine Cooking.

Here they provide recipes for watermelon cocktails like the Watermelon Blush made with Prosecco and the Watermelon Mule made with vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. Appetizers might include Grilled Watermelon Salsa or Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho. For a main course or a second course, you could make this Watermelon, Grapefruit, and Scallop Ceviche, Watermelon and Cress Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Hearts of Palm, or a Coffee-rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Rind Relish (that’s right, you can even use the rind!). Lastly, you could finish off the meal with a Watermelon and Tea Granita for dessert.

Enjoy (and stay cool).


Friday, May 13th, 2011

Today is Friday the 13th, a day that some consider to be unlucky. One of my favorite quotes regarding luck is the title of this post – “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” A similar take on the same idea is, “chance favors the prepared mind.” For me, these quotes represent the idea that a person can bias the likelihood that good stuff will happen if they are “prepared” or if they have a solid foundation in place. With regard to food and cooking, that solid foundation is your pantry.

The pantry is so important because a well-stocked pantry is your toolbox for manipulating, complementing, and transforming your fresh meat and fresh produce into complete dishes and meals. Below are just a few pantry staples that we like for their nutritional value, relatively long shelf lives, and versatility:

- olive oil (extra virgin for salads and dressings, light for most cooking)

- coconut oil (great for high temp cooking and baking)

- coconut milk and Thai red curry paste (for curries and other sauces)

- dried herbs and spices of all kinds

- a head or two of garlic

- tomato paste (thicken soups and sauces, base for pizza sauce)

- canned tomatoes (used in a number of sauces, marinara, chili, etc.)

- tuna fish (great for a quick snack, all kinds of salad options)

- anchovies (used in sauces and olive tapenades

- jerky (great snack, used like bacon bits in omelets and other dishes)

- good quality vinegars (red wine, white wine, balsamic – great for dressings, sauces, etc.)

- nuts (good for snacking, desserts, crust for meats)

- unsweetened dried fruits and berries (great for snacking or as an addition to almost any dish)

- coffee and tea (beverages of choice, finely ground coffee is a great addition to a dry rub for red meat)

- club soda (good for stains, but stocked for NorCal margaritas)

- protein powder (great for a meal on the go or for beefing up the protein content of a dish or baked good)


With these pantry staples in-house, you can take just about any type of meat or vegetables that are in season or on sale and whip up a delicious salad and/or entree.

What other pantry staples do you love?

Community question: ALCOHOL AND SLEEP?

Thursday, April 29th, 2010


Q: A comment on the previous post posed the question “does alcohol affect sleep”?
A: Yes, it does.

For example, a study just published in March compared the effects of bourbon, vodka, and placebo (a non-alcoholic drink) on sleep, hangover, and next-day cognitive performance. The investigators had people drink to achieve a breath alcohol level of 0.10% (the legal limit for driving in most states is 0.08%). They found that both types of alcohol significantly decreased the percent of time that people slept and the amount of time they spent in REM sleep (the stage of sleep during which we dream), and increased the amount of time spent awake after having fallen asleep and the amount of next-day sleepiness.

So, even though people reported having a greater hangover after drinking Wild Turkey compared to Absolut (participants did not know what they were drinking at the time), the effects of both types of alcohol were the same – alcohol disrupts normal sleep.