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Stella Howard
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I can't tell you how sick I am of my grilling regime. Way too plain old Dick and Jane. So "Master the Flame. Master the Flavor" McCormick's grilling slogan caught my eye as I need serious help especially with the 4th right around the corner. Yes, I would like to master the grill -- create something tasty. The company offers up some great, easy-to-follow, recipes for steak, beef, burgers, pork and ribs, chicken, seafood and sides, all of them of course involving a shake or two of their spices. Nutrition info and easy directions are included with each recipe. Rip... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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Looking for something great to bring to that big Fourth of July cookout? We can hook you up with some great appetizers, like these fancy deviled eggs from behindtheburner.com. These are great because they have some different ingredients: cottage cheese and horseradish, specifically. You'll need 12 hard-boiled eggs, with yolks separated after they're cooked. Use your food processor to mix yolks with 1/3 cup cottage cheese, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 3 tbsp scallions, 1 tbsp horseradish, 2 tsp mustard and 1/8 tsp salt. Blend and fill the eggs, topping with cayenne pepper or a sprig of parsley. Or, if you want... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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Every party needs dessert. This summer, keep your guests engaged long after the grill is cooled off with some choice sweets. Transform a cupcake into a 4th of July tribute with Martha Stewart's Flag Cupcakes. Start with some patriotic cupcake wrappers to bake your treats in. Choose chocolate or vanilla cakes and top them off with some Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting. This frosting is absolutely delicious and very simple, calling for sugar, egg whites, butter and vanilla extract. Top your cupcakes (you can have the kids help) and then turn them into flags with fun decorations. I like to use... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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After exhausting the Greek and Italian dessert options, I remembered another sweet treat that I'd always loved as a kid - cream puffs. What I didn't know was their ethnicity - Italians often tried to adopt the recipe, but their Hungarian background is the real thing. Touted as similar to French profiteroles, cream puffs are light enough to enjoy without feeling like you ate something too decadent. What I like about them is the option to fill with either traditional whipped cream filling, or vanilla ice cream. The ice cream is a unique option but you have to eat them... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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All this talk about Greek sweets got me thinking about my own Italian background, and I have to admit - we have the best desserts. I know French desserts are lovely too, but you can't beat Italian sweets. From gelato to biscotti to tiramisu, an Italian finish to a meal is guaranteed to satisfy your worst sweet cravings. For a different recipe, I tried this tiramisu courtesy of FoodNetwork.com. You need: 6 egg yolks, sugar, mascarpone cheese, espresso, dark rum, ladyfngers, and bittersweet chocolate shavings. With your electric mixer, beat your egg yolks and sugar, adding in the cheese and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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A friend of mine attended a Greek wedding recently and returned with some great stories about the culture. Growing up Italian, I love learning about other traditions - and I love learning about the food that other cultures enjoy. And of course, being a Greek wedding, she told me about the delicious baklava. Of course, my mouth watered. I've always loved this treat but never tried to make it before, so I set out to remedy that. I went to Emeril for advice, and ended up using his recipe. It's really a very simple dish, calling for a pound of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2010 at ShopForCooking
Alicia Sanchez, host of Pop Food, prepares a delicious Bobotie, a savory South African casserole, followed by soccer ball cupcakes. Invite some friends over to share a traditional South African dinner with a little pop culture while enjoying the 2010 World Cup. Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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As you delve more deeply into the world of wine, know that you're surrounded by resources to further your knowledge and propel you to the level of expert. The internet alone has more websites devoted to wine than you'll ever need - but here are a few good ones. Intowine.com is a fun resource, offering pairing tips, articles on wine regions, how to choose your wine cooler and rack, and other helpful ideas. There's even a wine calendar for wine events. My new favorite is keepwinesimple.com, which has wine terms, a section for beginners, how to make wine at home,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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Choosing the perfect bottle of wine is only the beginning. If you're really going to have fun with your new wine hobby, you'll want to make sure you have the right accessories to open it, to cork it, to house it - there's a veritable tool box of items you can choose from to accessorize your wine. I have to admit that uncorking the bottle has always thrown me a bit. In my defense, I've gotten much better at it. The right corkscrew has helped tremendously. I really love the stationary corkscrews, where you can place your bottle of wine... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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I was buying some cod for a dinner with friends the other day when I found myself facing that age-old question that every wine-drinker-but-not-quite-a-connoisseur finds themselves up against when planning a semi-formal dinner party: Which wine goes best? Is a strict red with pasta, white with fish deal? How did I go about finding the answer to this question without having to immerse myself in some kind of wine-snob class? I did some research and found a great chart that boils it down for you. Some of the pairings were ones I'd heard before, but I didn't know there is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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Grapes are one of my favorite snacking fruits, simply for their refreshing taste and texture and the ease of packing them up for any trip. But after doing some research, I realized I was letting quite a few opportunities to use grapes in my cooking pass. The Food Network has a great video on how to use grapes in creative, unique dishes; for instance, Smooth White Grape Gazpacho. Only five ingredients and simple to make, this recipe is perfect for a light summer evening meal. Seedless white grapes, soy milk, slivered almonds, scallions, and lime are all you need in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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If you're looking for a healthy, fruity drink that captures the essence of summer, experiment with smoothies this year. Healthy, delicious and simple to make, smoothies are a perfect beach drink, snack or even a light lunch on a hot day. The best part? Customize them to your favorite tastes, whether you like berries, melons or citrus fruit. For example, if you're looking for a healthy breakfast, try this carrot-mango smoothie by Martha Stewart. Carrot juice, frozen mango, and nuts or even a hard boiled egg will make this a complete meal - just add your vitamins! If you're more... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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The key to a perfect beach body is a little bit of workout and a lot of eating right. As we get into the hot summer months, greens and veggies offer a great way to help us stay in shape and keep us healthy at the same time - and they don't have to be boring. You can do salads, you can choose your favorite greens and add other veggies, nuts, or dried fruits. For instance, you can saute some spinach with shredded carrots, mushrooms and broccoli, and add ginger, tamari sauce and your favorite oil - sesame, or olive.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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Okay, so you want options for your picnic basket. Maybe some lighter fare, like some hummus and veggies, or specialty salads?Real Simple has got you covered. From Five Minute Hummus to Roast Beef Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette, the contents of you picnic basket will steal the show. To make hummus, you'll want a food processor, a can of chick peas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and paprika. You can add tahini if you choose. Blend all ingredients except olive oil and paprika - you'll drizzle those after. Pack in some tupperware with your favorite veggies and pita... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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What did you do over Memorial Day weekend? I always consider it the first weekend of summer so usually eat outdoors -- as many meals as possible. As a BBQ alternative, how about packing a good old-fashioned picnic basket, your family, and the dogs and head out to a state park? Picnics are the perfect occasion to cheat a little, and The Food Network's Southern-Fried Memorial Day Picnic has the perfect party food to keep your picnic basket at the top of its game. Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Shrimp and Deviled Egg Salad Rolls are the main course, but there's... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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If you pass over the potato salad at a cookout, chances are it's in favor of the pasta salad - always my top choice. I love to make all different kinds of pasta salad, but I have to say my favorites have a lot of cheese and a lot of vinaigrette-type dressings, rather than heavy mayonnaise. Rachael Ray has a great Mac and Jack salad that's just spicy enough to not be typical. I like to use elbow macaroni or rotini for my pasta salads, but really any pasta is fine. This recipe calls for defrosted frozen corn, a red... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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Part of the fun of grilling is coordinating the side dishes. Salads are always a big favorite. Potato and pasta salads go perfectly with any grilled meal, from hamburgers on a bun to a nice piece of grilled fish. While I love traditional potato salad, I also like to make a version without mayonnaise. A Dijon salad like this one from Real Simple is ideal - it's a lighter dish, and the mustard gives it a nice flavor. Red potatoes work best for this salad. Boil in a pot, then toss with a half cup chopped watercress or parsley, one-quarter... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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Any good soldier knows when you set out for battle you need the right weapons in your arsenal. So it is with grilling - you can't expect to do the job (or cook the food, in this case) without the right tools. Grilling has definitely taken on a life of its own over the years, largely due to the status symbols grills have become. You know when you have a barbecue that your hardcore grilling guests are noting whether your grill has four side burners or two, if it's a charcoal/gas combo, or if there are stainless steel accents. Luckily,... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2010 at ShopForCooking
For a healthy dessert after a marathon grilling session, skip the ice cream stand and try putting some fruit on the grill. From bananas to plums to pineapples, you can make some really cool desserts with those really hot coals. I have to admit, I never would have thought to try grilling fruit until I started watching cooking shows. The Food Network has some great tips on this phenomenon, one of the best being, put the fruit on, turn it once, take it off. Once you get the hang of it, it’s simple, it tastes great, and it’s healthy! Melons... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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In my opinion, the best part about the grill is the ability to cook just about anything on it. I love grilling the traditional items, steaks and hot dogs and burgers, but I also love to grill vegetables, fish, even corn on the cob. Salmon is one of those versatile fish that tastes great no matter what you do with it. Fresh or frozen, it works perfectly on the grill, in pieces about 1-inch thick. Allow the grill to get extra hot and you can cook the fish right on it, no aluminum foil necessary. Season or marinade as you... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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It’s about that time again, when the scent of grilled food permeates every neighborhood and friends and family gather to barbecue for just about any occasion. I love the grill - I would use it every night during the summer if I had my way. But I had to get over the fear of lighting the silly thing first, especially my little charcoal grill. Once I realized my choices were to light the grill or order a pizza, I ponied up and mastered the task. I learned to form my little pile of charcoal, put lighter fluid on them, then... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned chili on a cooler evening, and we're getting them up North this week. A traditional three bean and beef chili tastes wonderful after simmering in the crock pot all day. The Food Network offers a variety of recipes for beef, chicken and turkey chili, as well as vegetarian style. Ellie Krieger’s is pretty standard if you’re looking for a traditional pot of chili. Hook up your crock pot with some olive oil and add your veggies - typically onions, peppers, garlic, and this recipe suggests adding carrots. Once they’ve softened, add your cumin. I... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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So we covered the margaritas, and we’ve had a drink or two to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. We’ll be getting hungry soon, so let’s make sure the food is covered! You need appetizers to accompany the margaritas, and chips and salsa seems like a natural for this particular celebration. Salsa is one of the healthiest appetizers you can serve, and it’s simple to make. I like Alton Brown’s recipe on the Food Network. It’s a little bit spicy, which works for me. If you like a milder salsa, skip the chili powder and/or the dry chiles or jalapenos. You’ll need... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2010 at ShopForCooking
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It’s Fiesta Week and I'm late so I'm celebrating Friday.. Cinco de Mayo is the best holiday, in my opinion -- gifts aren’t required, there’s always a party, and you get to eat as much Mexican food as you want without having to justify it. This week, we’ll plan a meal fit for any Cinco party. So let’s start with a Margarita! Nowadays, Margaritas can take on many colors and flavors, but some diehards prefer the traditional, which on the Food Network is simply tequila, lime juice, simple syrup (sugar and water dissolved in a saucepan), orange liqueur, and some... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2010 at ShopForCooking
I debated about making a fancy dessert to go with Mother’s Day dinner, but when I really thought about it, my earliest and happiest memories with my mom were all about baking apples pies. We would clean off the kitchen table, line all the ingredients up, and I would watch my mom chop all the apples. She would wear her apron, and I would wear my little matching one, and wait anxiously for when I would get to toss the apples with all the ingredients and pat them gently into the pie crust. We would snack on the extra apples... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2010 at ShopForCooking