After years of research, an animal scientist looking for ways to keep inflammation down in cattle came up with a novel approach: feed them flax. The flax in their food helps keep animals healthy and has an added benefit for those who later eat their meat: omega-3 enriched beef.
Denise Santoro Lincoln
I am a writer, editor, mother of twins, and enthusiastic home cook. I was raised by an Italian-American mother who, in the 1970s, grew her own basil (because she couldn’t find any in the local grocery stores), zucchini (for those delicious flowers), and tomatoes (because the ones in the store tasted like “a potato”). My mom taught us to love all kinds of food and revere high-quality ingredients. I am now trying to follow in my mother’s footsteps and am on a mission to help my daughters become adventurous eaters who have a healthy respect for seasonal food raised locally. My daughters and I grow vegetables and go to the farmers’ market. We also love to shop at Piedmont Grocery and Trader Joe’s. When I’m not hanging out with my daughters or cooking, I like to contribute to cookbooks (including Williams-Sonoma’s Food Made Fast and Foods of the World series), work as an editor, and write about food for Bay Area Bites and Denise's Kitchen. My food inspirations are M.F.K Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters — three fabulous women who encompass everything I love about food.
Denise Santoro Lincoln's Latest Posts
And now, almost 10 years and thousands of meals later, I’m just as happy with my decision to switch to cast iron as I was the day I purchased my pans from Ace Hardware. As far as I’m concerned, the fanciest and most expensive pans can’t hold a candle to modest cast iron (well, except for an amazing large copper pan, which I doubt I’ll ever be able to afford).
If you’ve never heard of wheat berries, you’re not alone. When I mentioned to a few people that I wanted to write about them, I received some quizzical looks. So, for anyone not familiar with this whole grain, let me end the suspense: wheat berries are simply individual kernels of wheat (minus the hulls). They are what King Arthur and other grain companies mill to produce the many different types of baking flours, from whole wheat to all-purpose. And, just as there are many different types of wheat, there are just as many types of wheat berries, with their color ranging from light tan to a reddish brown. But the most important thing about wheat berries, at least as far as this post is concerned, is that they are scrumptious.
I’ve created a few easy-to-make soups that can be made in less than ten minutes from foods most of us have on hand in our freezers and pantries. As any working mom can tell you, quick and easy is essential for a week-night dinner, and these recipes are both; yet I also love how these homey pantry soups are made almost entirely of vegetables, making them just as nutritious for my family as they are tasty.
Nothing says comfort food like a chicken pot pie. After all, this relative of the savory meat pasty contains the homiest of ingredients: butter crust and gravy (oh yeah, and chicken too). As I mentioned last week, making a pot pie is a great way to use leftovers from a roasted chicken. But you shouldn’t think of this dish as only a method for getting rid of that dark meat or white meat no one wanted on baked chicken night. After all, pot pies — with gravy bubbling out of the cracks of their buttery crusts — are so good that I often roast a chicken simply so we can have pot pies the next day. And, unlike other dishes, this meal tops the favorites list for both kids and adults alike, so everyone is happy on chicken pot pie night.
Now I realize that many people don’t like to make a whole chicken because they think it’s difficult and time intensive. But, just like pudding and pancakes, nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike boneless and skinless breasts, which often need to be dolled up in a pan with other ingredients because they become dry and a bit tasteless when baked on their own, a whole chicken is a simple endeavor that has juicy results. In the name of full disclosure, I need to admit that baking a chicken takes between an hour and an hour and a half, but other than the first 5-7 minutes of prep work, this is all baking time.
My Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole is a good example for how this type of dish can really stretch your food dollar. Whether you use leftovers from a previous night’s dinner or start from scratch, you only need to use about half the meat you would normally serve your family because the rice adds substantially to the dish. And, with some local onions and mushrooms added into the mix, it is ample enough to feed a family of 4-6 people while costing less than $15 to make. Truly the perfect savory mid-winter meal.
I planted my Meyer lemon tree around five years ago, and although it’s given me a steady stream of fruit since we first set it into the ground outside our front porch, this is the first year that our tree was crowded with lemons. So what do you do with an overabundance of sweet and tart Meyers? In my case, I had great plans to make marmalade.
Food on a cruise ship comes in many different shapes and forms and from a variety of locations. For the most part, the food is free (well, it’s included in your passage price), and other than soda and alcohol, plus a couple of restaurants that charge a moderate fee for a finer dining experience, you can graze to your heart’s content (or detriment) at no additional cost. There are large buffet areas with everything from tri tip and beef pot pies to Indian curries and salad bars. Near the pool on the Lido deck sits a pizza and hamburger counter, an ice cream and smoothie stand, and a regular mixed drink bar. There are then numerous other bars set throughout the ship, plus six or seven sit-down restaurants. You can even have food delivered to your room. Basically, it’s impossible to starve on a cruise ship.
Once you taste those tacos you know why, in a city full of food, people stand in line for their lunch here. I started with the smoked marlin taco, which is served in a gorgeous red sauce that wakes up the tongue and makes it dance. I then went on to the house specialty: fish tacos. These are, in essence, perfect. Dorado covered in the simplest of batters, fried to perfection and then set inside a tortilla fresh off the grill with a topping of crema and cabbage.
Like a lot of Christmas revelers out there, I count A Christmas Carol as my favorite holiday story. Yet my reason for loving this Dickens tale is probably a little different than you might expect. Although I find Scrooge’s metamorphoses from Bah-humbug kill joy to jolly benefactor heartwarming, I adore his transition from gruel eater to Smoking Bishop drinker even more.
After recently pondering the lack of glamour in my life, I realized that although elegant cocktail gatherings can be delightful, I actually enjoy my life of small dinner parties with friends and family more than I probably would the type attended by Ms. Kerr and Ms. Day (“probably” is the key word here). So instead of longing for a 1960s life unachieved, I decided to start making champagne cocktails.
Making trifle shouldn’t be difficult. As much as I love lady fingers drizzled with Anisette, I am rational enough to admit that my good intentions for baking them myself are more idealistic than realistic. I do, however, like to make cake. That said, if you aren’t one to bake anything, don’t let that stop you. Just buy a cake and assemble. The truth of the matter is that trifle can be one of the easiest holiday desserts you can create. In essence, making a trifle should be a trifle (pun intended). Although you can make everything from scratch, you can also simply purchase many of the layered items and then construct your trifle as you see fit.
So if you’re looking for a way to give back to your community this holiday season, or all year, here are some local volunteer opportunities at organizations offering food to those in need. If you know of a great program not listed here, please include it in the comments section.
But pumpkin pie can be more than the standard fare of pureed pumpkin mixed with cream, sugar, eggs, and spices in a butter or graham cracker crust. I mean, honestly, do we all need to make the same pie every year? So this holiday, after a lifetime of eating traditional pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, I decided I was in the mood for something a little different.
Never in my life had I experienced such perfect lasagna. The once-forgotten dough that had languished on the counter all day was transformed into a thing of beauty when combined with the meat filling and sauces. And that ragù! If we had used ricotta and mozzarella with it, the cheeses would have blanketed our taste buds with their creamy flavors and textures. Without them, the ragù was the diva of the dish — capturing our attention and mesmerizing us.
As I mentioned in my Fuyu persimmon post last year, Fuyus should not be confused with Hachiya persimmons. Unlike the naturally astringent Hachiya, which needs to be so ripe it should look like a bag full of goop by the time you can eat it, Fuyus are sweet and firm when they’re ready. With Fuyus, you can just peel and eat. They’re amazing served fresh in salads or cooked in couscous and tarts. My favorite new fall dessert, however, is a Fuyu and Date Upside-Down Cake.
But don’t lose heart. If your child has decided she hates all things cruciferous, you can trick her into getting excited about eating them. Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you hide the vegetables (as I am strongly against deceiving kids about food — Santa Claus, however, is a different matter). Rather, I support getting your children interested in eating these amazing vegetables with their eyes wide open, and some of the little darlings will even come to love them. The younger your kids are, the easier your job. So if your kids are a little older, your task will be more difficult, but with a little effort — along with a fair amount of Parmesan cheese and bacon — it’s possible to convince your kids that cruciferous vegetables are not only edible, but quite tasty.