Almost everyone on the planet has heard of Chardonnay, in fact it is so popular that some people even name their children after it.Chardonnay is commonly ordered as a type of wine from bars and restaurants but it is in fact the name of the most popular and possibly the most versatile grape in the world.Almost all white Burgundy from Bourgogne Blanc to Chablis is made from 100% chardonnay grapes. The Chardonnay grape is also the mainstay in many types of champagne and is now even being used in Spain to make Cava.The "Chardonnay grape" is so popular because it is easy to grow that is probably why it is championed by so many grape producers. It can also be crafted into many different types of wines. Perhaps it is also so popular because it has little indigenous character of its own and instead displays the characteristics of the soil and climate where it is grown. Chardonnay has a propensity for acid and glycerine which is responsible for giving it a velvety texture this is what is important in this type of grape. It is this texture which makes it so versatile when it comes to producing wine. It can be crafted into fresh lemony unoaked wine or aged in barrels to produce wine for a much richer palate. It is often seen as a cheap wine that is not worth trying but remember these grapes are used in top quality Chablis and Champagne, so dont dismiss this grape and wine out of hand.Chardonnay now comes in a host of different styles gone are the days when all the bottles were heavily oaked, there is a chardonnay suitable for every palate and pocket and because of the versatility of the grape from almost every wine producing country in the world.So which are the types of Chardonnay to look out for? What do they taste like? Here are a couple of generalisations to get you on your way. Of course the best way to find out which one is your favourite is to get your glass out and start tasting your way around a few of the bottles!France produces a ream of different Chardonnays. For pure unoaked Chardonnay look for a Chablis labelled unoaked. This is great with fish as it is delicate and unobtrusive. For a clean flavoured wine with a subtle fruit aroma look to the Meursault and Montrachet regionsCalifornia produces wines that work well with grilled seasoned foods. The Napa valley produces great oaky fruity wines which are ideal for outdoor eating and drinking. For an even fruitier riper flavour try something from the Santa Barbara region, these highly flavoured wines will even taste great with grilled meats.For a Chardonnay that is intensely flavoured and almost best drunk without food head to Australia and try something from the Hunter Valley. This tropically flavoured wine is great chilled and shared with a friend.There are so many different types of Chardonnay from so many different countries that you are bound to find something to suit your palate. So what are you waiting for?
Ampalaya is the indigenous name of Bitter Melon or Momordica charantia Linn., a vegetable native to the Philippines and Southeast Asia, known for its bitter taste.A popular vegetable often grown by many households around the world, the Ampalaya vine can grow up to 5 meters and its leaves can reach to about 4 to 10 cm. Its yellow flowers are both male and female and are responsible for what makes the Ampalaya vine famous - the melons.The Ampalaya fruit is usually eaten while still green, because as the fruit ripens its taste grows more bitter and much less tasty. During preparation, the seeds, which turn from white to red over time, are removed. Removing the seeds helps to lessen the bitterness. The skin is retained and proves to be soft and tender once cooked.Used as a regular vegetable ingredient for many Asian dishes, the Ampalaya is also significant for its well-documented blood sugar-lowering effect. Aside from being rich in fiber and nutrients such as iron and potassium, several key compounds have been identified in the fruit, notably charantin, vicine and polypeptide-p, a known plant insulin that numerous pre-clinical studies and limited clinical trials have attributed to the plants beneficial effects to blood sugar. Several supplements for diabetics have been developed using the Ampalaya, most notably an Ampalaya tea and capsules using the dried Ampalaya fruit.As diabetes continues to rapidly spread across countries and social strata, the Ampalaya is expected to provide diabetics with a safe and natural alternative to help control their elevated sugar levels. While the herb is still rare in countries where it is not indigenous, expect the Ampalaya and Ampalaya-based products to start gracing local grocery shelves as more and more people realize its potential anti-diabetes use.Bitter melon has many documented health benefits - get some today and try it for yourself!
What makes or brakes a salad is the dressing. Although it does not easily grab our attention, these so-called silent ingredients play a very crucial role in determining the outcome of a salad. Tossed with the wrong dressing and the freshest ingredients lose their taste. Salad dressings are like icings on a cake so to speak. They give that final touch, the magic that makes salads come alive. Listed below are some salad dressing recipes that one can choose from to come up with that special salad one might have in mind.APPLE VINAIGRETTE1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley1/4 cup cider vinegar 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup apple juice3 whole fresh basil leaves 1 teaspoon honey 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper1.Combine parsley, vinegar, olive oil, apple juice, basil, honey, salt, dry mustard and pepper in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. BASIC ITALIAN SALAD DRESSING6 tablespoons olive oil2 tablespoons white wine vinegar2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice2 garlic cloves, chopped1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepperPinch of dried oregano1.Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk to blend. Salt and pepper. CITRUS POPPY SEED SALAD DRESSING1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon sugar 3 to 4 tablespoons half & half 1 teaspoon poppy seed 1 teaspoon grated lime 1.Whisk together all dressing ingredients in small bowl. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour.RANCH SALAD DRESSING1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder1 tablespoon dried parsley, crushed1 teaspoon dried dill weed1 teaspoon onion powder1 teaspoon dried minced onion1 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon garlic powder1/4 teaspoon ground pepper1.Combine all ingredients in the blender and process on high speed until well blended and powdery smooth.To use: Combine 1 tablespoon dry mix with 1 cup milk and 1 cup mayonnaise. Mix well.LOW-FAT BACON MUSTARD SALAD DRESSING 1/4 slice bacon, finely chopped 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice 1/2 cup nonfat sour cream 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 3 green onion, chopped white, part only 1 large garlic clove, finely minced 1 teaspoon firmly packed brown sugar Salt and pepper to taste1.In a small skillet cook bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp; remove skillet from heat.2.Add orange juice to skillet and scrape up brown bits3.In a blender, puree bacon mixture with the remaining ingredients until smooth. Cover and refrigerate.
Enchilada is the traditional Mexican dish meaning 'seasoned with chilies'. It is simply dried red chili peppers soaked and ground into sauce flavored with some seasonings. The dish is very simple. It is a family staple. This Mexican invaded the American food market in the mid sixties and since then it has experienced soaring popularity. Many kinds of enchiladas are made depending on the ingredients. The red enchilada sauce is tomato based with red chilies and the green enchilada is made of tomatoes and green chilies. Mole may be used in the preparation too.A typical enchilada may be made with corn tortilla. Fry tortilla in oil to soften it and dip it in your favorite enchilada sauce. Fill tortillas with chicken, meat or cheese fillings or vegetables, seafood, eggs, banana or even potato with white cheese and roll it, then place it in a casserole. Layer it with sauce, cheese and chopped onions. Fried eggs or salted cooked meat strips will add special touch to the side dish.Follow the simple steps to preparing an Enchilada: Pre-heat the oven at 350 degree F. Add oil and cook a tortilla for 2-3 seconds in a heated large pan. Lift it and add another tortilla under it. Cook for 2-3 seconds. This way brown and soften the tortillas. Saute up onion and garlic and then turn off the heat. Add 1 cup salsa, 3 tablespoon tomato paste in 1 cup of water, crushed fire roasted canned tomatoes and prepare the sauce a bit sweet and not vinegary. Grease a casserole. Take the tortillas and cover it two third with shredded cheese. Roll it and place in the casserole. Cover the tortillas with sauce and the grated cheese. Put the casserole in the oven for 10 minutes till cheese melts.It is basically tortillas stuffed with various fillings. This term is a Spanish-American name, which first came into print in 1885 and later in 1949 given the credit to be a Mexican dish for tourists. Now it is a staple for Mexican-American restaurants.It is easy and simple to prepare. Heat oil, add onion and garlic to cook till tender. Stir some flour and mix till it is smooth. Add chicken broth, water and enchilada sauce. Cook till smooth. Stir in chilli powder and salt, cook over medium heat. Keep stirring till thick and add cheese with chicken and olives.Dip the corn tortillas in prepared sauce for 5 seconds. Spread 3 tablespoons chicken filling in the center. Roll up and keep in a shallow dish. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas. Bake at 350 degree F for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for further 10 minutes. Garnish with sliced ripe olives and serve immediately. The artistic and cooling garnish of lettuce beholds an enchilada.As you know, Tex-Mex cuisine originated hundreds of years ago when Spanish / Mexican recipes combined with Anglo fare. Enchilada is also derived from Mexican traditions.
Believe it or not, I actually hate onions in my food. Whenever I detect the sharp and pungent flavor of an onion in my meal, I cringe to myself a little and slowly pick through my food, trying to avoid the onions at all costs. So why am I writing an article about them? Well as it turns out, I'm alone in my opinion on onions...and the rest of you Americans and world-class citizens love the bulby oddities. So who am I to deny you an onion education -we wouldn't want you crying over an onion, would we? Oh but you already have.So here's my guide to the onion. I hope you find it helpful as we'll go through some of its history, some interesting facts, and of course - the best of the best onion recipes.The National Onion Association classifies onions into two categories: spring/summer fresh onions and the fall/winter storage variety. These fresher onions are available April through August while the dryer storage onions turn up more often August through April. Both come in red, white and yellow forms, but the spring/summer onions are said to be sweeter, moister, and milder. Therefore used in sweeter dishes, the fall/winter kind is used for savory dishes.The most common onion is the yellow onion. Not only is most of American onion production (for more information on domestic onion production, click here) focused on yellow onions, but their full flavor is suitable for a wide range of cooking, most notable French Onion Soup. Red onions are used more often in salads, and other fresh uses, or for grilling or broiling, according to the National Onion Association. White onions show up quite a bit in Mexican cuisine and have a sweet flavor when sauteed. Others argue All of these varieties range in size - from 1 inch to 4.5 inches in diameter. For a more specific guide to the different varieties of onions including vidalia, walla walla, and Texas, click here."Onions should be firm and heavy for their size. Avoid onions that have sprouted or that have an odor, or that have green or moldy blemishes," says Cooks Thesaurus, who offers up some helpful advice on purchasing and cooking onions.Another way to classify an onion is by its type: bulb, multiplier (a derivation of the bulb onion) or tree onions. The most common form is bulb, which includes the sweet onions like vidalia, and all the colored varieties we've just discussed. But if you noticed,The top onion producer in 2005, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, was China, followed by India, who was followed by the United States. The third top onion producer, Americans harvested 3.3 million tons of onions in 2005.Celebrating the OnionIdaho-Eastern Oregon Onion FestivalWhy do onions make us cry?You've probably noticed that when you cut up a raw onion, your eyes start to tear. A common problem for every onion chopper, this happens because of the enzymes in an onion. Since the onion is being chopped, the cells are being broken - allowing the enzymes to be released. The enzymes in an onion are called allianases and they react to the sulfides in the onion-chopping environment to create a sulfuric acid gas. This gas is immediately composed and released into the air, therefore reaching your eyes. Our eyes' nerve endings are irritated by sulfuric acid, therefore inducing uncontrollable "crying."Cooks Thesauraus recommends chilling onions first to avoid tearing. "If you're prone to crying while cutting onions, try chilling them first, then peeling them under running water. Always cook onions over low or medium heat, since they become bitter at high temperatures."Onion Recipes Worth Crying OverOnions turn up in all sorts of dishes, from appetizers and soups even to desserts. They are one of the most widely used ingredient, not just across dishes but across cultural cuisine. Here are some recipes worth trying out:Recipes that focus on onions:Tandoori Onion SaladOnions Au GratinCaramelized Red Bell Peppers and OnionsFrench Onion SoupBrown-Braised OnionsBaked OnionsOnion Tart (Pissaladiere)Onion BhajisIndian Pickled OnionsTomato and Onion Salad with Tahini DressingOnion RingsRecipes that use onion as a supplement:Onion Meatball SupperBraised Artichokes with Little Onions and BaconGrilled Sirloin and Red Onions with Blue Cheese ButterOnion Chicken BreastsCranberry Onion Pork RoastGrilled Bratwurst and Onion SandwichesOnion-Beef FettucineCorn and Onion CasseroleSources:National Onion AssociationCooks ThesaurusUN Food and Agriculture OrganizationOnionFestival.com