Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb fool served with Ginger Crisps (Photo by Alfrescorub, Flickr)

Don’t you love when you find those desserts that are just so simple? Easy peasy…simple as 1, 2, 3. Well, rest assured, this rhubarb fool is one of those desserts. For those of us who are slightly less adept at knowing all the culinary terms, a “fool” is an classic English dessert traditionally made by folding cooked pureed fruit into sweet custard. Modern versions of the dessert often use whipped cream.

Okay, I think it’s time to address the pink elephant in the room. Why the heck is it called a fool? Well, we look to the French for this explanation. The word comes from the French word “fouler” which means to crush or press. It’s a perfect reference to the fruit used in this dessert.

So the rhubarb fool is just one variation of the dessert. Did you know that there is a type of gooseberry called “careless,” which means there is a dessert called the “careless fool.” (Shout-out to the the Lovefood blog for that cool tidbit.)

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable often used in many desserts. image from Flickr.
Strawberry and rhubarb fool (Photo by Scout Magazine, Flickr)

You can use most any fruit when preparing a fool. Rhubarb, of course, is a vegetable, but it is commonly used in recipes with fruit, especially strawberries because it brings balance to the sweetness. Check out Taste of Home’s Rhubarb fool with strawberries recipe, if you’d like to try the strawberry/rhubarb combination. However, for a straight rhubarb fool recipe, see the ingredients below.

Rhubarb Fool Ingredients

4 oz rhubarb 115g
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp orange juice
¼ cup heavy cream 60ml
2 tbsp Greek yogurt plain – full fat or low fat as you prefer

For the recipe instructions for this rhubarb fool, go to Caroline’s Cooking.

Season 2 Teaser: The Food That Built America

We already told you that “You Should Be Watching: The Food That Built America.” If you haven’t heeded the instructions, you still have a little more time before season 2 of the popular History Channel series hits the tube on Sunday, February 14 at 9 p.m.

Last we left our food visionaries, we were introduced to the stories of Milton Hershey, the Kelloggs brothers, C.W. Post, Post’s daughter, Marjorie Merriwether Post, and Colonel Sanders, among others. The season was so well received and had its audience so deeply enthralled that the History Channel upped their show count by 15 more episodes.

Click here to check out the season 2 teaser and find out who they will highlight this time.

Food and Beverage Trade Show in Dubai for February 2021

Will they? Won’t they? Do they? Don’t they? Don’t even sweat it! It’s all been decided, and the answer is…they will. The Dubai World Trade Centre, in the United Arab Emirates, is the stage for Gulfood Live-in-Person, an annual global food and beverage trade show happening this February 21 -25.

The world’s most influential people in global food and business will make their way to partake in a deep-dive food and beverage event. Sugar and spice and everything nice would pretty much describe the types of culinary dishes being whipped up and the food technology being offered from the ballers and SME’s in the industry.

The event is an all out exhibition complete with a three-day Innovation Summit, which will discuss everything from food security, sustainability and functional food. The trade show will also have food competitions as well as opportunities to network with those responsible for the coming food trends.

The Dubai World Trade Centre adheres to all guidelines for safety and precautions during the time of this global pandemic. Find out more details about the Gulfood Live In-Person trade show and how you can register to attend to this exciting event at Gulfood.com.

Asian Kebab and Hot Pot

Asian Kebab and Hot Pot’s is set up to enjoy the hot pot experience with friends and family (Photo Credit: Monica Johnson).

So this is a thing? Why didn’t anybody tell me these hot pot places were a thing? I came into Asian Kebab and Hot Pot in Lutherville, MD (just north of Towson, MD) because I had been eyeing it for a while. I really didn’t know what I was walking into but I was delightfully surprised.

Now before, we even talk about the hot pots, let’s talk about the kebabs. You can make your own kebabs here! You choose your fixings, place them on skewers and have at it. There are special areas for you to grill your kebabs.

The hot pot experience is a fantastic way to share a communal cooking and eating experience with friends. You’re actually sitting at a table equipped with burners so you and your party can cook up your hot pot.

The restaurant will start by giving your party a pot with your choice of broth/soup base. You also get a bunch of options for your dipping ingredients. The Asian Kebab and Hot Pot’s menu of dipping ingredients include: sliced lamb, Chinese cabbage, sliced beef, chicken gizzards, tofu, cattle tripe, mushrooms, shrimp (head-on) and a whole lot more. And the final portion of this fun-filled adventure is dipping your freshly cooked dipping ingredients from the hot pot into your choice of sauces.

Want to know more about the hot pot experience? Thrillist has an excellent article called Everything You Need to Know to Master Hot Pot.

Other Offerings

Asian Kebab and Hot Pot also has other offerings. As I looked over the restaurant’s take-away menu, the host, a pretty informative young man, must have thought I was hesitant because before long he gently offered, “We have an American menu.” I laughed to myself because I know he must offer that a lot when people see items like Sautéed Bullfrog in Chili Sauce on the menu. But I’m down buddy! Bring on the authenticity…I can handle this.

Chilly Pot Fish from Asian Kebab and Hot Pot. A combination of fish fillets, broccoli, and spicy peppers. (Photo Credit Monica Johnson)

I settled on the Chilly Pot Fish and it was excellent. The combination of fish fillets, broccoli and spicy peppers served with rice was definitely hot and spicy. However, it was not the over the top, cough up your guts, “Give me a Kleenex…I need to wipe my nose and my forehead!” brand of hot. It was tempered so you could really taste the flavor of each bite.

For more information about the restaurant or a menu, go to the Asian Kebab & Hot Pot website.


Pho Love T-shirt available on TheCoolCultureCook on Etsy.

TheCoolCultureCook is a fun foodie apparel line from Multi Cultural Cooking Network. This Pho Love t-shirt is now available on TheCoolCultureCook Etsy Page.

Step Up Your Vegetable Game: Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads from Lake Meyer Park, IA (Photo Credit: Larry Reis, Flickr)

There are some vegetables that are standard for me. If you looked in my fridge on a given day there would probably be cabbage, spinach, broccoli, maybe green beans or asparagus. However, sometimes you just want to step off the page a little. Shake things up! When you do, there is a world of vegetables you can explore. Today, let’s focus on fiddleheads.

So this is the part when you ask, “Seriously, is that really the name?” Well, I would ask that question too, but just look at them! The name really does fit when you think about the very top of a fiddle/violin, which has a scroll like shape. Fiddleheads are the tightly coiled tips of ferns. They are most widely found in the United States in the northern plain states, the north east coast and throughout most of Canada.

The vegetable is considered a delicacy partially because it is harvested very close to the ground before the fern’s frond has uncoiled. In addition to the fact that fiddleheads must be foraged, the vegetable is only available in the spring months…typically from mid-April through May.

Nutritional Value and Flavor
Photo Credit: Diane Cordell, Flickr

Looking for more Omega-3 in your diet? Here’s some! Fiddleheads also have omega-6 fatty acids, iron and it very rich in fiber. The flavor of fiddleheads is often described as an asparagus flavor but with hints of nuttiness. It is also likened to wild spinach. You may be able to find fiddleheads at your local farmer’s market but it’s not widely available so do your research. If your grocer has a wild food section, you may be able to find it there.

Fiddleheads are best when consumed quickly. For some context to how quickly… we’re talking within a day. The shelf-life is short, for sure, so it won’t be long before the vibrant green coils turn to brown. So remember…cook it quickly.

Ways to Cook Fiddleheads

Before you cook fiddleheads, make sure you have rinsed them thoroughly so you don’t have any dirt or grittiness when it’s time to eat. Raw fiddleheads carry a toxin called shikimic acid; therefore you want to make sure that you are not eating it raw. You also don’t want to eat fiddleheads in very large portions. Eating raw or in large portions may upset your stomach.

There are multiple ways you can cook fiddleheads. They only need to be lightly cooked, and you can steam, boil, pickle, stir-fry or simply sauté in butter. The world is your fiddlehead!

Photo Credit: Flickr


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Simple Kid-Friendly Valentine’s Day Recipe: Nutella Mousse

Nutella Mousee (Photo Credit: Flic
Flikr, Naomi Robinson))

Children want to celebrate their loved-ones by giving gifts on their level of ability, and what could be easier than a two-ingredient Nutella mousse? Let them show their Valentine’s Day love to mom, dad, auntie, uncle, grandma, or grandpa with an easy dessert.

There are a variety of ways to make Nutella mousse, but a two-ingredients recipe is a great starter, especially for children. Plus, they will have a ball picking out toppings for the mousse once completed. It’s fun on top of fun.

Getting Started

The first ingredient for the Nutella Mousse is Nutella, right? Nope, that was a “Gotcha!” question. It is actually pouring cream/heavy whipping cream. If you go with Jennifer Cheung’s recipe on Kidspot Kitchen recipe, you use 2 cups of cream then whip, whip and whip some more until it’s light and fluffy.

Next, grab that jar of Nutella and measure 1 cup. Add the Nutella and fold it in until it’s thoroughly combined. At this point, let it chill for 6 hours then serve. You can top with raspberries, strawberries or the garnish of your choice.

Servings: 4

On the Triedandtasty.com recipe, there are a few slight differences. Use 1 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream and a 1/2 cup of Nutella. The recipe instructions are very similar; however, in this iteration it is topped with a Ferrero Rocher and toasted hazelnuts. This recipe also encourages you to serve it immediately.

Servings: 4

Here’s one more recipe by The Cooking Foodie. It’s still two ingredients.

Fun Fact #1

Here’s a little history about the very popular chocolate hazelnut spread, Nutella. First of all, it has an Italian heritage and just like we have a lineage so does Nutella. So, if Nutella had a family tree, it might start with gianduja.

Gianduja is sold as a paste and in blocks too.
(Photo Credit: Flickr)

Gianduja dates all the way back to Napolean’s reign in the early 1800’s. In fact, the blocking of British products entering European ports, under French control caused Turin chocolatier, Michele Prochet to start mixing his strained supply of cocoa with hazelnut. Yet again, necessity is the mother of invention and the chocolate and hazelnut paste was born.

Advancing our way through the Nutella family tree, Italian chocolatier, Pietro Ferrero introduced Supercrema gianduja in his bakery in Alba in 1951. This modified version was more of a spread and it was much creamier than the original gianduja.

Still sticking to the 1900’s, it was Ferrero’s son, Michele that further modified the Supercrema gianduja and renamed it Nutella. The spread was an instant success and was sold throughout Europe and now worldwide.

Fun Fact #2

Pietro Ferrero is the founder of the Ferrero Group, the company that makes those delicious chocolate hazelnut bites, Ferrero Rocher.

Shoofly Pie

By Syounan Taji – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31206973

I live pretty close to the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish market in Cockeysville, MD and I have to admit, sometimes I just go into the market to browse and see what they have going on. After all, life is more exciting when I can gaze upon bacon-cheese, pear butter, an array of freshly made sausage, fresh pumpkin rolls, made from scratch cherry crumb cake and my weekly addiction—their Dutch crumb doughnut. No joke, it is smack-somebody’s-loved-one good.(Just saying…why should Mama get all the abuse?) So this week, when I made my visit I saw it, I looked at it and it had me curious. I had to inquire about what exactly is shoofly pie.

Now, I’ve heard of it before, but it’s one of those things that I have never seen so I needed insight and cultural context. Here’s the thing, I’m told that the only dumb question is the one that you don’t ask—still debating the validity of that statement but let’s assume we go with that logic for this purpose.

I asked the young Amish girl who was working the register and she seemed more than happy to answer. Muffled a bit through her sequined red mask, she told me it is an old Amish molasses and brown sugar pie with crumbles. She added, “We eat it for breakfast a lot!”

Presto…we have context! Now for a little more context, it’s called Melassichriwwelkuche in the Pennsylvania Dutch language. This term means “molasses crumb cake.” There are two kinds of shoofly pie, one is a wet bottom, which has a gooier custard-like consistency while the dry bottom is baked until it’s fully set, which brings about a more cake-like consistency. It can be served hot, cold or room temperature and often with a cup of strong dark coffee.

You know there has to be some kind of murky legend to the name; after all, it’s called shoofly pie! According to the Spend With Pennies blog, the dessert/breakfast treat may have gotten its name because the molasses-filled pie attracted flies when it was set outdoors to cool. Given how sweet this pie is, I think the folklore might just be true.

See the ingredients for shoofly pie below and get the recipe on SpendWithPennies.com.

Ingredients

1 unbaked pie crust
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (185g)
⅔ cup dark brown sugar tightly packed (133g)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces.
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup hot water
¾ cup molasses
1 large egg yolk room temperature

Trinidad’s Famous Doubles

Foodie Nation shows you how to make the popular Trinidad street food called doubles.

Years ago, I was a little obsessed with finding out the history of different cultures and food. One of the things I discovered in my learning quest was a street food that’s very popular for breakfast in Trinidad and Tobago. It’s called doubles.

If you go to Trinidad, you are sure to see this snack sold by street vendors. Doubles are said to have East Indian roots. Many East Indians, newly released from being indentured servants, chose to stay in Trinidad instead of returning to India; therefore, they needed a way to make money. Ever-enterprising, they set up small stalls to sell whatever they could, which just happened to include curried and fried channa (chick peas) in small paper cones. Later on, as the story goes, a vendor discovered that adding bara (East Indian fried bread) would make a nice little meal. Read more on our sister Multi Cultural Cooking Network website or click below.

Continue reading “Trinidad’s Famous Doubles”

Love those Jamaican Oxtails!

Photo Credit: Monica Johnson (Jamaican oxtail meal)

One of the many meals that was frequently on my family’s table was oxtails. When that tender meat hit the plate, we couldn’t get enough No need to worry about whether we’d eat it all.

Perhaps, Jamaica is most popular for it’s oxtail recipe, but oxtails are eaten all over the world. Russians and Jews eat oxtail stew. Koreans make an oxtail soup called kkori gomtang. Peruvians use a lot of cilantro and Serrano peppers in their recipe. The Romans eat a braised version called Coda alla Vaccinara, which is a staple of the culture. In newer versions it may includes ingredients like cocoa and tomatoes.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (The Romans make an oxtail recipe called Coda alla Vaccinara.)

Now, I don’t know if my mother looked to the Caribbean for her inspiration; I wasn’t taking notes at the time. However, as an adult I recognized that any Caribbean restaurant worth its salt knew how to make a mean order of oxtails, and that’s pretty much what I’ve been going with since then. However, there are those who relish taking their culinary skills to higher heights and deeper depths…so here’s to you achievers! Try this recipe for Jamaican oxtail from the Grandbaby Cakes website.

Ingredients for Jamaican Oxtail
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 lbs oxtails
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 cups Jerk BBQ Sauce recipe below
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs

See the recipe instructions for Jamaican oxtails and the ingredients for the Jerk Barbecue sauce at Grandbaby-Cakes.com.

Vacay for the Day: Wylder Hotel Tilghman Island

Sometimes you just need a day. Do you know the feeling? Work, responsibilities, familial duties and obligations are par for the course, but it can’t all be done at the expense of your health and wellness. I wanted to eat, drink (non-alcoholic for me) and be merry. It was Christmas after all…so I took a day and decided to do it at Wylder Hotel, Tilghman Island.

The Wylder Hotel has two locations. The other is Hope Valley, CA. Tilghman Island is in Talbot County, Maryland. It is, indeed, an island, which spans about three miles in distance and is separated from the mainland by the cutest little drawbridge called Knapps Narrow (also referred to as the Tilghman Island Drawbridge). Quaint is probably the word, that would work best for the area, and quaint is just lovely..

I halfway expected to see the charming, semi-rugged, small-town guy from almost every Christmas Hallmark movie when I pulled up to the reception area at the Wylder Hotel, Tilghman Island, but if he worked there, he wasn’t on shift. No bother, I wasn’t disappointed because I did receive repeated wonderful hospitality by the hotel’s reception staff, which was an army of one on Christmas, when I visited.

My main requirements for my day was being somewhere I could gaze at the water, sit near the water. walk near the water…in other words, water was a major part of the equation. The other part was being able to have a decent Christmas dinner and they totally made that happen.

I made my order to Tickler’s Restaurant, the Wylder Hotel’s onsite restaurant, which also has an outdoor crab shack on the bay for your warmer weather stays. I decided I would get the Rockfish Imperial meal. The menu describes the entree as a wild striped bass, lump crab & herb stuffing with imperial glaze. It was accompanied with Chesapeake-lemon butter jus and brioche croutons.

Now, I get concerned when I order fish. I’ve been burned many times because it can be too dry, not seasoned well or, at times, too fishy. (I know, ironic right?). It can be all over the place if you don’t know what you are doing, but I had faith because I was on the Eastern Shore, right on the Chesapeake Bay and they should know what they’re doing. Crab, fish, seafood—it’s what they do! My faith was not in vain. My Rockfish Imperial was perfect. And oh, the Chesapeake lemon butter jus and brioche croutons…Mama Mia!

The Wylder Hotel has rooms, suites and bungalows. I had a beautiful suite with a jacuzzi, king-sized bed, the most comfortable robe ever, and a view of the Chesapeake Bay from the window. The real view was from the private walkway balcony, which adjoined from the bedroom. Although it was cold, I made the most out of my opportunities to enjoy the awesome view. I even decided that I needed to wake up early to make sure I didn’t miss the unbelievably majestic break of dawn on the bay.

There are lots of other amenities like fire pits, bikes, kayaks, canoes; it’s all included in your resort fee. They even have nightly bonfires at the fire-pits. There you can sit on the adirondack chairs, make s’mores or just sit enjoy the sights by the bay. And just a stone’s throw away is St. Michaels, Maryland, which is also beautifully quaint and whimsical. Their unique shops offer the opportunity to get out of the ordinary pieces or fun gifts.

If none of the activities or the shopping interests you, I found that the Wylder Hotel, Tilghman Island is a wonderful place to just “be.” I imagined, I would do a lot of writing while I was there and maybe I would have done so if my stay was longer. But what I ultimately discovered was I just wanted to be on the property getting my gaze on because sometimes—and hear me when I say this—you just need a day.