Author: Norah Knight

Manufacturers are allowed under USDA rules to add up to 15% of the filler in ground beef to be considered safe. And, this is another situation where no labeling requirements are required to tell consumers what is in the products because it is considered a manufacturing process. Consumers who purchase ground beef, other than ‘organic’ or ‘grass fed’ clearly labeled ‘no ammonia added’, where it is not allowed, are probably consuming pink slime without knowing it.

The critics argue that ammonia hydroxide has a role in pink slime the same as the role in cheese, baked goods, and some chocolate. It has been shown ammonium hydroxide acts as a leavening agent in baked goods, acidity in cheese, and some chocolate products. When it is heated, the ammonia gas is released and does not stay in the food. Which brings the question of safety in the filler where ammonium hydroxide is added after the heating process. It is made up of nitrogen and hydrogen from natural sources.

According to chemical fact sheets, ammonium hydroxide is made by diluting anhydrous ammonia, a colorless, corrosive, and highly irritating gas, in water. The anhydrous ammonia is produced from a process of mixing nitrogen and hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst or as a by-product of petroleum refining processes. Diluting it in water may make it a safer alternative, but it still contains health hazards. Respiratory problems can still come from low concentrations.

The only way to avoid pink slime beef is to look for meat labeled as ‘grass fed beef’ that is clearly labeled ‘no ammonia added’. Even though, some other products may not contain this filler, there is no way to adequately know without the proper labeling. It is considered a manufacturing process that does not require the proper labeling for consumers to know its presence, therefore the transparency in labeling is not required.

Even with critics arguing the safety of pink slime, is it appropriate to use contaminated parts of animals in the food supply system where diseased animals are not allowed to be used? What’s the difference? Is one contamination different than another? Is not contamination still contamination regardless of the source? What do you think?

Rebecca is passionate about spreading education on how toxins are added to manufacturing processes and what research says about them. In efforts to reduce toxins in our own environment, it is imperative to educate oneself about how to avoid bringing toxins home from the grocery store by way of products.

Stewed meat and cooked grains were the staple food of the Settlers. It is unclear when corn was used as a substitute for certain grain products and by whom it was introduced into Africa, but it still forms a major part of the country’s cuisine. Other meats, such as sheep, goats and game were also often used for cooking. Beef was believed to be the most sought after and favored meat.

The daily diet of the general South African families can be traced back to foods eaten by their forefathers. The staple meal eaten here consists mainly of cornmeal, which is commonly known as “pap” (known in the United States as grit). Grit was traditional served with a meaty stew.

Meat is the main component in meals eaten by South Africans. The most popular meal eaten is meat grilled on an open fire, commonly known in other countries as barbecue. The customary barbecue is usually served with other dishes, including “pap” with the tomato and onion relish, salads, variety of breads and various other side-dishes. The traditional method of cooking meat is indigenous to South African food.

Another South African cuisine that is popular throughout the country is known as a type of stew (referred to as “potjiekos” in Afrikaans) and is cooked over an open fire in a cast iron tripod-pot. Meat and various vegetables such as patty-pan, carrots, potatoes, are typically stewed.

Traditional South African cuisine also includes:

  • Sweet “Koeksisters” are a major part of the South African Cuisine. The dough is neatly platted and fried in deep oil, then dipped in a tasty and sugary syrup. “Koeksisters” are available at most shops throughout the country and are quite affordable.
  • “Melktert” is a custard mixture poured into a tart crust and sprinkled with cinnamon and is very popular if you have a sweet tooth.
  • “Biltong” is uncooked beef or game processed with a number of spices and salt and hung in an aerated room to dry.
  • “Vetkoek” is bread dough fried in deep oil and is served with a sweet filling or a savory mince.

For traditional Italian cuisine with a contemporary flair, try Azio Downtown at 229 Peachtree Street NE. The restaurant is located on street level of the International Tower in Peachtree Center. The menu includes pasta entrees, veal, chicken, seafood, and pizza. Lunch and dinner are served on weekdays, with dinner only on Saturday and Sunday. Complimentary parking is available after 5pm across the street in the International Garage Peachtree Center with a validated ticket and dinner receipt.

Pittypat’s Porch, at 25 Andrew Young International Boulevard, has been an Atlanta landmark restaurant since 1967. Have drinks on the veranda and then enjoy some traditional Southern entrees including fried chicken, Georgia catfish, barbecued ribs, and shrimp and grits. The breads are homemade and specialty desserts include pecan pie, peach cobbler, and their famous blackbottom pie.

Ray’s in the City is downtown Atlanta’s premier seafood restaurant. Fresh seafood is flown in daily and sushi is made-to-order. The menu also features hand cut steaks. Sides and salads are ala carte. Stop in after work for $5 drinks and small plates from 3-7pm. Enjoy live music Wednesday-Saturday evenings. Their original restaurant, Ray’s on the River, has been an Atlanta favorite for almost 30 years. Ray’s in the City is open for lunch and dinner. Validated parking is available after 5pm in the Americasmart parking deck.

For an elegant fine dining experience, try Nikolai’s Roof Restaurant in the Hilton Atlanta Hotel, at 255 Courtland Street. Nikolai’s has won the Triple A Four Diamond Award for 24 consecutive years. Chef Stephanie Alderete was recently named one of the 2013 Top 5 Rising Chefs in the US by Gayot. Her specialties are French and Russian cuisine, and the sophisticated menu changes seasonally. Entrees include beef, lamb, and seafood selections. Dinner is served Tuesday-Saturday. Early evening specials are available Tuesday-Friday from 5:30-6:30pm for $39 per person. A special four course dinner menu is available for $82 per person. Complimentary valet parking is available.

Carnegie’s, at 55 Park Place, is a great choice for a business lunch. Located in the heart of downtown, at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Park Place, Carnegie’s has been serving weekday lunch for nearly two decades. The menu offers burgers, sandwiches, and salads as well as chicken and fish entrees. Diners can overlook Woodruff Park.

Big Kahuna, one of the city’s newer restaurants, has a casual, beach inspired theme. Lunch and dinner are served Monday-Saturday. The menu offers juicy burgers, salads, tacos, fajitas, and seafood. Enjoy a tropical cocktail on their patio. The restaurant is located at 330 Peachtree Center Avenue.

The Minus was chilling our bones and we looked for a place to warm ourselves, have a good meal and top it off with some mind involving conversation. We found just the place: The HotHouse Cafe in Toronto on Church Street.

OK, so we did not just randomly bust into this place. It was recommended by a good friend and long time resident of Toronto. It was a day off for Canadians but not very crowded at 3pm. The space is very bright and airy. We had seats right next to the ‘floor to ceiling’ windows. It was wonderful to be in a warm, colorful and comfortable restaurant while mere inches away there unravelled a winter wonderland.

Our lunch included salad, thin crust gourmet pizza, pasta, beer, sparkling water, water, iced tea … Each dish was well presented, light and very tasty. Salad was fresh and crispy, just seasoned enough. Pizza had the right combination of herbs and spices. I did not personally try the pasta but from the empty plates around me I concluded that it was right on the spot. We felt pleasantly full at the end and satisfied. Our server was pleasant and not pushy.

If I did not live across the continent I would make this my regular hangout and lunch stop. Definite recommendation. Go there!

Indonesia consists of over 6,000 islands, which has led to the country being diverse in culture, peoples, and cuisine. Indonesian cuisine should be considered a hidden gem that is tucked away inside South East Asia.

Compared to other Asian countries such as China and Japan, the food from this culture is relatively unknown. That should not be a deterrent to trying it out however, as it does have a lot to offer, from Sumatran cuisine to Polynesian.

The meals that are common in the country have been created over a large span of time, drawing influence from its neighboring countries – making it a veritable feast to explore.

The customs can be quite different from those in the western world and trying out Indonesian recipes can be quite an experience for the casual food eater.

Some of these cultural differences come from how the food is actually eaten. Although Indonesian recipes will only specify how the food is prepared, the food is usually eaten in one of two ways. In some regions of the country, it is common to eat with a fork and spoon. However, unlike in Western culture, the fork is used to push the food onto the spoon, where it is then placed into the mouth.

In other parts of the country, such as in the island of Java, it is increasingly common to eat with the bare hands. This is commonly seen in households as well as in restaurants and food stalls. If eating with the hands, a bowl of water is often served with the meal, however it is not to be used to quench one’s thirst. Alternatively, it is used to wash one’s hands before and after eating the meal.

Like in many other Asian countries, rice is commonly used in Indonesian recipes. Other staples of the area include yam, sweet potato, as well as grains including maize and wheat. In addition to these, many leafed vegetables will be called upon in the recipes. These include spinach, papaya and cassava. They can create a wide variety of dishes ranging from stir fry to curries and soups. Included in many main dishes is meat, with poultry and fish being the most dominant.

Being a predominately Muslim country, Indonesian cuisine will follow the Halal laws in regards to meat. As a result, pork is not commonly found in the area. As the country is near the ocean, it is seafood is also commonly found in marketplaces and restaurants. Fish as well as mussels, crabs and other wildlife that is found in the area is commonly used throughout Indonesia.

Chinese cuisine is of course an important influence, and when travelling the area if you see a restaurant which uses chopsticks you can be sure it is serving food which originated in the Middle Kingdom.

Brick oven cooking actually dates back to 3000 years and this method was used for baking bread. With pizzas being delivered to home, this traditional Italian dish is turning out to be favorite among masses these days. Traditionally, ovens were made with the help of material that was not costly and that can be obtained from the nature itself. Like, it was made with the help of clay previously. Nowadays, the trend is changing and we have everything readily available like we can make wood oven on our own. Once the wood oven is used for making pizzas, the oven will have to be left to rest for a few minutes for enabling the heat to reduce.

While other model ovens are available why brick oven pizzas are so special? They are made special because of the following reasons:

Brick ovens are capable of withstanding high heat and when prepared in high heat, the prepared pizza will not dry out easily. Generally, when it comes to this model of oven, wood is used for firing it and when the wood used is fruit wood like red oak, pecan, maple and apple wood, it will offer an authentic smell, texture and taste to the pizza. The texture of these pizzas also attracts people and this texture is attained because of the floor in which the cooking is done. Above all, this model of oven can heat up quickly and it can withstand the heat for several hours thereby making the cooking time faster.

Nowadays, some of the best restaurants in Italy are making use of the best techniques for preparing Tuscan cuisine. These foods are not only loved by people belonging to Italy, but people belonging to other parts of the world, visiting Italy on vacation are greatly attracted by the tasty dishes prepared in these restaurants. Even, people can book for private dining in these restaurants through their website. In addition, they are also offering gift cards on sale and so if you are intending to surprise your lovable person on any occasions like holidays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries or birthdays, these gift certificates can turn out to be a great gift. You can also order pizza and get the same delivered.

Sauces and condiments lists can be intimidating with all the fancy titles, but if you adhere to a few simple rules, virtually any recipe can be a success. The rule of thumb for thickeners is simple. If it’s dark, use flour. If it’s light, use starch. Of course, there are exceptions. Imagine the texture of good country gravy. Such textures are brought on by flour. Now imagine a teriyaki sauce. This texture is brought on by the use of corn or rice starch.

When using flour, the flour and butter must first be combined. In a separate pan, stir the two together on low heat on the stove top. The end result should be crumbly dough like consistency. This mixture is called rue. Now, at any point in the sauce making process, you can add small pieces of rue into the mixture and the butter and flour will dissolve without clumping. The rue can also be seasoned for a particular outcome.

Corn or rice starch, on the other hand, should be dissolved in cold liquid in a separate container from the sauce. Once all the ingredients of the sauce have been added, add the cold dissolved starch to the hot mixture and stir to the boiling point. Sauce will begin to thicken. Turn off heat, as it will continue to thicken as the starch expands.

Try these methods on some of your favorite sauces and judge your results.

Sauces and condiments lists should include party dips. Roasted garlic is a fast, easy and tasty addition to party dips. Simply take a whole bulb of garlic and place it on foil. Add olive oil to the garlic and seal the foil. Put the bulb in a preheated 400 degree oven and cook until the smell of garlic fills the air. The garlic squirts out of its cloves neatly into any mixture. For some healthy dip alternatives, experiment with different bean pastes, garlic and herbs. A little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar keeps the dip moist.

Hot Lobster Rolls prepared with Maine live Lobster is something I will plan a motorcycle road trip around. Bentley’s Saloon camp ground in Arundel, Maine is the perfect destination. Last summer, Tertia and I went up for a motorcycle camping trip, located just west of Kennebunkport, Maine.

Bentley’s camp ground caters to the motorcycle enthusiast. Everyone is so friendly. It had started to rain as we were starting to set up camp. I have a tow along camper I pull with the bike. It doesn’t take long to set up but we needed some extra shelter. Campers across the street helped us put up the canopy to keep us out of the rain.

After helping set up, our neighbors invited us over for dinner. What a meal, grilled steak tips, shrimp kabobs, Teriyaki chicken, grilled corn on the cob, hot lobster rolls, Maine live lobster of course, and plenty of beer. They wanted to use up everything before packing up and heading home. They even gave us a six-pack to end our stay. What a great way to start our trip.

After breakfast at Bentley’s Saloon the next morning, Tertia and I decided to take a ride along the coast past President Bush’s summer home. On our ride we decided to stop by Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine for hot lobster rolls. Maine live lobster is the featured food on the pier. Steamed lobster, served on a grilled hot dog bun with drawn butter. It doesn’t get any easier or better than that. Of course we had to sample some lobster bisque off the pier too. Maine live lobster is at our figure tips.

Ending up back at Bentley’s after a nice day of riding we were treated to a lobster feast for only 12 dollars and met a lot of great people to enjoy our evening with. If your ever heading up route 1 in Maine, check out Bentley’s Saloon in Arundel, Maine.

Unfortunately, as with any trip, it must come to an end. We had one stop to make on our way home. To pick up Maine live lobster to make hot lobster rolls at home. After unpacking it was time to make dinner and relive our motorcycle adventure. It’s so simple; I just boiled the lobster, cut it up and served in a grilled hot dog bun with clarified butter. With the shells, I make a lobster stock to use in my lobster bisque and lobster ravioli recipes. Just a few of our other favorite recipes.

When looking at beef recipes it is important to take these things into consideration in order to get the particular flavor you are looking for. In particular you should take a look at not only the above, but also the spices used in cooking and animal’s genetics. While some beef recipes will call for specific types of beef, feel free to experiment with different types to find what your personal preference is.

First off is the diet of the animal prior to its slaughter. There are different camps in regards to what is the best in terms of what the animal should be eating. However, most will agree that a cow eating naturally growing grass in the field will be OK. There is no question however, that sweeter grass will produce a sweeter meat.

Next is how the animal was slaughtered. If the cow was held in close captivity it can become scared which actually does affect the taste. Hormones will be released as a result in a different taste. Higher priced meat will often be because the cows were kept calm prior to being slaughtered, resulting in a better tasting end result.

Spices have a more obvious effect on the taste of the meat. Most people generally follow what the beef recipe calls for while cooking. However, more experienced cooks will know what tastes good and can modify existing beef recipes to get a more unique and seasoned taste out of the beef.

Lastly, we have where the animal comes from. Most people are familiar with at least some of the different types. Angus beef is one of the more common types that are called for in beef recipes, but there are others. It is more of a standard for which the beef can be known. When someone purchases or orders Angus beef, they know what to expect in terms of its quality and how it might differ from other types of cattle. Each type has its slightly different taste. Ultimately it is up to the consumer to make the decision as to what is the best.

The major religion of Japan is Buddhism and it has a large influence on their cuisine. Buddhist practices made the Japanese shun having meat in their food at one time. Because of this, sushi is very popular in Japan. Sushi is fish with rice. Something else that has influence Japanese recipes is the division of foods into categories of color and taste. Some examples of the food categories by taste are sweet, salty, and sour, delicate and bitter. When they are categorized by color, they are black-purple, red, green, white and yellow.

The Japanese have begun to use meat in their meals again, beginning in 1868. The Japanese have also incorporated Western food, like ice cream and coffee into their foods that they eat. They have also been influenced by different appliances, soups, and mixes from the United States.

Rice is a huge food staple in many Asian cultures and Japan is no different. They eat rice in practically every meal. Sometimes they steam the rise, and other times they might boil it. Ramen noodles, which are common in the instant form in the United States, are also eaten by the Japanese. Japanese recipes also contain parts of bamboo, seaweed, and ginger. The Japanese also eat special pickles with are called tsukemono. It is common for them to eat these pickles very often during the day.

Because Japan is an island surrounded by water, the Japanese also incorporate a lot of seafood in their diets, such as sashimi, which is seafood drenched in soy sauce. Another common Japanese custom is to use ingredients in their food that have not been frozen. Hence, they tend to eat vegetables and grains that are in season, which they can eat right away. The Japanese are also very well known for making food look pleasing to the eye.

The Japanese are also well known for making cuisine in which they mix together a bunch of different ingredients in a single dish. One example of this is sukiyaki, which contains beef, tofu, and a variety of vegetables. They also eat beef which they mix with vegetables into a broth. This makes a dish that the Japanese call shabu-shabu.