Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Things Are Happening!

I would like to thank all the readers & subscribers of Smacznego: A Blog.

This week Smacznego: A Blog will be launching a new web design format that has been in the making since the conceptualization of the site over one year ago.  It is because of the continued success of this site, in over 20 countries, that has made this transition possible.

We hope you continue to make us your destination to make your meals tasty!

Where to Find Older Posts.
The current site will be archived and have a link on the home page of the new site.  Eventually, all the older articles will be transferred to the new site.

The Web Address will be the Same.
The current web address is in transition to the new site and will remain the same.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Behind the Brand of Raw Sugar

Raw sugar brands have become popular in recent years but are not often associated to a particular ingredient term.  If you've read the last two posts, the term turbinado sugar should be familiar.  Another popular name for this ingredient is pure cane sugar.  Pure cane sugar is turbinado sugar.

What is Turbinado Sugar?
Turbinado sugar is minimally processed.  After the first pressing of sugar cane, it is crystallized, packaged and then sent to store shelves.  It is often categorized as a healthier sweetener.

Different Names = Different Prices.
When purchased under the name, pure cane sugar, the ingredient can be purchased for quite a bit cheaper than some of its other marketed brands.

Turbinado Sugar is not Brown Sugar.
There is a tendency to confuse brown sugar with turbinado sugar.  The two are not equal.  Brown sugar is actually white sugar that has molasses added to it.  The difference between light and dark brown sugar is based on the amount of molasses.  Contrary to popular opinion, brown sugar is actually processed more than white sugar.

The Flavor of Turbinado Sugar.
Turbinado sugar is more robust than white sugar but not as heavy as brown sugar.  With its light caramel taste, it is used in autumn cooking and baking to enhance the flavor of rustic cuisine.   Use turbinado sugar as a natural in recipes with apples, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin, to name a few.  It also works well with dairy based desserts like cheesecake, crème brulee, and ice cream.

How to Use Turbinado Sugar.
Turbinado sugar can be used cup for cup as a replacement for both white and brown sugar.  Apart from taste, when replacing white sugar with turbinado sugar, expect a slight difference in texture as turbinado sugar has a slightly higher moisture content.

How do you "Smacznego" with Turbinado Sugar.  Leave a comment below!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

3 Ways to Stop and Smell the Coffee

For many of us, October is the kick-off for a festive season leading into the wintry months.  As a celebration of all things orange, spiced and all things nice, I thought it would be nice to do one last short post leading into October.

This post has nothing technical, just a tip to make your coffee and guests a little more happy this season.  No fancy tricks, no formulas, no special ingredients.

Flavoring Your Joe.
Many people flavor their coffee, it really isn't anything new.  But how people flavor it will create a big difference from eh to AMAZING!

Instead of purchasing preflavored coffee, or sweetened syrups to add to your post-brew, try this instead.  Add a teaspoon of your favorite spices inside the coffee filter before you turn the coffee pot on.

Coffee is not only an experience of taste, but aromatics.  By adding ingredients to the top of the pot, people will be able to smell the freshness of the spices added.  It also creates a smooth final brew without unpleasant mystery spice specks for your guests.

Here are three suggestions: (each suggestion is based on a 5 cup brew, with 5 rounded Tbsp. of ground coffee beans)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Rum Tiramisu & Salted Caramel Walnuts

Tiramisu, the “pick me up” dessert, is a food of the culinary gods.  Rich, creamy, and loaded with calories – just the way it was meant to be.  But everything you’ve known about tiramisu is about to be shattered.  This recipe will break the mold of any preconceived notions and create a new tradition this autumn season.  You will be in love with tiramisu once again.  The romance will continue…

Simple Concept.
This recipe is surprisingly easy.  It can be served almost immediately and takes about an hour to make.  Traditionally, lady fingers – a sponge cake cookie – soaked in espresso coffee are used.  Instead, the lady fingers are replaced with thin slices of angel food cake and the custard is piped through a rosette tip to create a lovely presentation.  It is then topped with Salted Caramel Walnuts.

Creating Harmony among the Ingredients.
There was a bit of difficulty conceptualizing this recipe.  The pumpkin Italian custard and espresso soaked cake initially clashed.  It didn’t make sense on the taste buds.  Some recipes change the espresso to another liquid, but then the contrast of the sweet cream and bitter coffee flavor would be lost.   It needed something to bring the two ingredients to harmonize.

Eggnog Always Makes Things Better.
Since I was stuck on using espresso and pumpkin, something had to be added to connect the flavors together.  The answer – Eggnog.  Mixing equal portions of espresso coffee and eggnog gave the dish the distinguished taste it deserved.  Eggnog was also added to the custard.  Finally, it made sense.  The bitterness of the espresso and the flavor of the pumpkin came together reminiscent of a pumpkin spice latte.  Topped with another layer of espresso-eggnog soaked sponge, topped with more custard, and sprinkled with salty, sweet walnuts, perfection is served!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ribeye Steak Diane, Reinvented

This recipe strays from traditional French cuisine by the addition of some smoky flavors most associate with southern barbecue.  However, the dish still remains its integrity with a traditional cream sauce that harmonizes beautifully.  Though traditionally Steak Diane sauce has a touch of mustard and Worcestershire.  Some people also add Brandy or Cognac to the cream sauce.  Feel free to customize this variation further to suit your palate. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Creating the Next Generation of Food Snobs

Now that I live on a college campus, the accusation of “food snob” has been thrown around quite often.  So in an effort to create the next generation of food snobs, here are 5 Tips on how to determine authentic ingredients from non-authentic.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Perfect Pie Dough

This post may be a little lengthy but if you like flaky crust, bear with me...
Pie Crust: The Science...

Like all baking, it is a science based on specific formulas. If the formula is out of balance, the results will be inconsistent.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Grilled Sirloin Burgers with Fire Roasted Peppers & Yellow Horseradish Mayo

You've never tasted anything so delicious.  So juicy with a delicate balance of flavors. Subtle yet spicy, the inspiration came from the beefy flavors of roast beef that hints around upscale dining.  The beef will take center stage.  Get ready for the applause.  This is not your average cookout sandwich.

For this recipe, use 50% Ground Chuck and 50% Ground Sirloin for best results.  You can, however, substitute regular ground beef and still get satisfactory results.  Select beef that has significant marbling of fat, about 80-85% lean.

Don't be timid about making your own fire-roasted peppers.  Since we will be grilling the hamburgers anyway, you can use the same heat distribution to make the peppers.  If you must, substitute any high-quality store brand.  But give it a try, you won't be disappointed by making your own.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Authentic Pretzels, the EASIEST EVER!

Generally, homemade pretzels are complicated, time consuming and inferior in quality to the commercial counterparts.  But I've managed to put together an EASY recipe that will have you making these in no-time!  In about 2 hours, you will have the BEST tasting pretzels your taste buds will experience.  Before making, be sure to read all instructions and "Tips for Success" thoroughly to understand what is happening and the importance of each step.
Pretzels are mostly made with a dough that is similar to sourdough.  Sourdough requires endless days of fermentation and feeding to create the best flavor and texture.  This recipe, however, only needs about 30 - 45 minutes to allow the dough to double in size.  No flavor is compromised due to the addition of caraway to create the tangy, sourdough flavor unique to pretzels.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Be a Summer Superstar Cherry Pie

Become the superstar at the cookout parties this summer!  Serve this with vanilla ice cream to create your own piece of heaven.  Whether it's for Memorial Day, Independence Day, or just a family gathering the optional floral design will have everyone talking, get ready to take orders!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cooking Quick Tip: Pineapple Juice Substitution

Since the "How to Select, Peel & Cut a Pineapple" post and video, a few subscribers wanted to know what was a good substitution for pineapple juice.  Quite a few times, different cocktails call for this juice and sometimes at the store it slips the mind.

The most common trick I use is simply equal parts orange juice and apple juice.  To get the proper color, just add a few drops of yellow food coloring.  The orange juice adds acidity, while the apple juice adds sweetness.  While the taste is not exact, this is enough to mimic the flavor of pineapple juice in drinks and recipes.

I hope this helps.  Smacznego!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Peanut Butter: Do You Know What You're Eating?

The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has specific standards for certain foods called 'defect levels'.  These levels are what you can expect to be contained in the food.

Go to "Read More" to find out the defect levels for peanut butter.

Be sure to subscribe to Smacznego: A Blog for more "Do You Know What You're Eating" segments!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cracking Open the Egg

Easter was just upon us, though this post is probably late in coming, it will serve as a valuable tool for all bakers that want to know if the egg is all that it is cracked up to be.

Yes, this essential ingredient is more than omelets for breakfast.  It's uses are endless, from ice cream to cakes, from breakfast to dessert, the culinary industry would not be here if it were not for the egg.

 The Composition of an Egg

The egg is comprised of six items; three of which are important for uses as culinarians.

The Anatomy of an Egg
(1) The Egg Shell
(2) The Egg Yolk
(3) The Egg White

The Egg Shell: The egg shell is what protects the egg from spoilage and other outer elements that could otherwise damage the fragile interior.  One thing that must be kept in mind, the shell is rather porous.  It is essential to properly store eggs away from strong odors, like chopped onions, to keep them tasting fresh.  Because the shell is porous, it also allows for quite a bit of moisture to evaporate through the exterior if not stored correctly.  To keep eggs lasting fresh longer, keep in a chilled atmosphere, but not freezing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Video: Simple Pineapple & Kiwi Fruit Salad

Finally, the secret to the perfect fruit salad is revealed!  Feel free to add other fruits or come up with your own combination.  The dressing recipe is universal across fruit salads: that is the point I am making here.  The spices are optional, however, they add a depth of flavor that fruit alone cannot provide.  Please don't think that it is 'spiced' tasting.  The spices are here to ENHANCE the fruit, not mask and cover it up.  My recipes are intensly developed to highlight the main ingredients.

So here is the video!  .Smacznego.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Video: How to Select, Peel & Slice a Pineapple

I don't understand why so many people leave the core in the pineapple.  Just this weekend, I had the pleasure of going to a dinner party for Easter.  There was a beautiful fruit salad.  But all deliciousness was lost when half my plate was filled with pineapple cores.  So please do your guests (and yourself) a favor, and decore your fruit before serving.

Watch this video, where I show you how to select, peel & slice a pineapple (yes, without the core).  Enjoy!  (Psst.  Don't forget to subscribe by visiting my YouTube channel, & typing your email in the box to the left)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Apple Crisp: Not Just for Autumn Anymore!

     Apple crisp is not just for autumn anymore.  The deep, rich flavors in this traditional New England classic have been altered to reflect the fresh, crisp sunshine of spring.  Though apples are not in season yet, it does not mean you have to sacrifice quality.  Local orchards keep fresh apples in a chilled environment all year to preserve the freshness of this autumn fruit.
    The secret in the transformation of this apple concoction is the streusel topping.  The heavy flavors of brown sugar, oats & nuts have been left out to give a buttery cookie taste to the topping.  Though the heavy flavors are negated, it is still lightly spiced to give a pleasant aromatic presence that is welcomed throughout the year!