Wine on a Budget for Holiday Entertaining This Year and Onwards

Wine on a budgetMost people love Christmas. At a time when people live their lives in a flurry, life just seems too hectic. Christmas and occasions like these are real treasures that give people a wonderful opportunity to catch up on everyone who matter. To make these celebrations and reunions more fun and memorable, you’ll surely be working on a great spread on the Christmas table.

Do you know how you can step up the experience? Serve your foods with the right wines. You might have second thoughts considering that the best wines come with hefty price tags. If you are worried about having enough to last the holidays, consider arming yourself with some savvy tips to be able to buy enough (year-round), so they don’t wreak havoc on your budget.  

A worthy read is J.D. Roth‘s Wine on a budget: How to get good deals on wine posted in Get Rich Slowly. If you are like Roth who used the “shotgun method of buying wine” you must be buying bottles randomly. You may end up having a good stock of bottles in your wine rack that you won’t drink at all.   [Read more…]

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Drinks for Thought: The Practical Drinks for Thanksgiving

Practical Drinks for ThanksgivingExpenses during the holiday season can totally bust your budget, if you’ll not spend wisely. A savvy spender would think of the most practical ways to get the best without sacrificing the quality of the holiday experience that you and your family look forward to each year. A good nugget of wisdom is to know how to save money on the wine at the start of the season, which is Thanksgiving.

Given the stress that comes with all the preparations, your wine to uncork during the celebration can be the best reason why you may decide to get the best. But if the cost will bust your budget for the remaining feasts during the season, give its some thought.

The Secret

What can be the most practical drinks to have during Thanksgiving? Maryse Chevriere of Serious Eats shares some drinks for thought in the post How to Save Money and Drink Good Wine This Thanksgiving. She writes: [Read more…]

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Pumpkin Pie – The Classic Thanksgiving Dessert

Pumpkin PieIn Canada and the United States, most traditional Thanksgiving tables will include a pumpkin pie as dessert. Straight from the oven, the pie will give off the rich aroma of the spices in the pi. While beautiful pies are for sale in high end bakeries, nothing beats the homemade kind. However, for busy hosts, you can give your pie extra oomph by warming the pie in a 350 degree oven for five to ten minutes.

How the Pumpkin Pie Came to Be

In What’s Cooking America’s Pumpkin Pie – A History of Pumpkin Pie, Linda Stradley says, “Early American settlers of Plimoth Plantation (1620-1692), the first permanent European settlement in southern New England, might have made pumpkin pies (of sorts) by making stewed pumpkins or by filling a hollowed out shell with milk, honey and spices, and then baking it in hot ashes. An actual present-day pumpkin pie with crust is a myth, as ovens to bake pies were not available in the colony at that stage.

“Northeastern Native American tribes grew squash and pumpkins. They roasted or boiled them for eating. Historians think that the settlers were not very impressed by the Indians’ squash and/or pumpkins until they had to survive their first harsh winter when about half of the settlers died from scurvy and exposure. The Native Americans brought pumpkins as gifts to the first settlers, and taught them the many used for the pumpkin. This is what developed into pumpkin pie about 50 years after the first Thanksgiving in America…”

[Read more…]

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Turkey Can Be Served In Many Ways


Photo Credit: icoNYCa

The Thanksgiving dinner is usually attended by family and friends plus one regular guest: the Thanksgiving turkey. There are several theories about how this bird became a permanent fixture of Thanksgiving celebrations. Purists are careful to say this bird may or may not have been in the original menu when the Wampanoag Indians and the Colonists celebrated the year’s harvest. Despite this ambiguity, having this dish at the center of the table has been the quintessential culinary symbol of Thanksgiving through the centuries.

The time honored way of preparing this bird in the United States is to roast it in an oven and serve it with gravy, cranberry sauce, cornbread, and yams. Through the years, however, cooks all world have found new ways to give this dish their personal mark. You now have oven roasted, rotisserie broiled, barbecued, and deep fried. Moreover, even the usual side dishes have changed a bit in many homes. [Read more…]

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What’s in Your Teriyaki Sauce?


Photo Credit: Sílvia Martín

The term teriyaki has become so popular that in most Westernized cities, anything marinated or served with a soy sauce based concoction is called a teriyaki dish. Taking advantage of its popularity, many food manufacturers have come up with readymade teriyaki sauces; cooks now just have to pour this flavorful mixture to come up with a distinctly oriental meal.

A Sauce with History

Most people associate teriyaki with Japanese cuisine and the word does have its historical roots around the 17th century in Japan. The “teri” in the word refers to the shiny texture of foods marinated or basted with sugar, while the “yaki” can be interpreted as grilling. Ironically, teriyaki sauce is believed to have originated in Hawaii, where Japanese immigrants adjusted their cooking to come up with a mixture using soy sauce and local products such as pineapple juice. [Read more…]

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Yorkshire Pudding: When Puddings are Not Always Dessert Food

Puddings are usually sweet and hearty creations served as dessert, but the Yorkshire pudding departs from this stereotype. It is more commonly served as an accompaniment to Sunday’s roast, and many cooks use beef drippings in their recipe to give the pudding a savory richness.

Video from: Jamie Oliver

A Pudding with History

Some food historians say that it originally came from Burgundy, France, but no one knows exactly who invented the Yorkshire pudding. Through the centuries, however, this hearty dish has become a favorite among people who like plain hearty dishes that go well with Sunday’s roast. [Read more…]

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Tamales – The Original Food-to-Go


Photo Credit: Aaron

Tamales were around long before sandwiches, lunch pails and picnic baskets were invented. Records show that Mesoamericans cooked this dish as early as 7000 to 5000 B.C., and for its popularity has remained constant through the millennia that followed.

Tamales in History

In History of Tamales, Tamara’s Tamales shares the interesting roots of this food: “Initially, women were taken along in battle as army cooks to make the masa for the tortillas and the meats, stews, drinks, etc. As the warring tribes of the Aztec, Mayan, and Incan cultures grew, the demand of readying the nixtamal (corn) itself became so overwhelming a process, a need arose to have a more portable sustaining foodstuff. This requirement demanded the creativity of the women…..hence the tamale was born.

“The tamales could be made ahead and packed, to be warmed as needed. They were steamed, grilled on the comal (grill) over the fire, or put directly on top of the coals to warm, or they were eaten cold. We have no record of which culture actually created the tamale but believe that one started and the others soon followed…”

[Read more…]

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Celebrating with Pozole


Photo Credit: Martha Silva

Pozole is a rich stew made with hominy and pork. It is one of those traditional foods that take a long time to make, and in pre-Columbian times, it was a ritually significant dish. Today, with the availability of pre-softened hominy and pressure cookers (or slow cookers), making this dish does not have to be the time-consuming process it used to be. However, many families consider it a celebratory dish and in Mexico and New Mexico, it will appear on many tables on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, New Year’s dinners, and “quinceañeras”.

Video from The Bald Chef [Read more…]

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Spanakopita: More than Just a Pie


Photo Credit: Lokesh Dhakar

Spanakopita is one of the best finger foods you can serve for just about any occasion. This savory Greek pie traditionally comes in the shape of a small triangle, and it is a truly attractive, delicious, and welcome addition to any meal.

Food that Comes with Some History

In What is Spanakopita?, wiseGEEK provides an overview of spanakopita through the ages: “This tasty dish may have originated over 400 years ago, and may have been introduced during the Turkish occupation of Greece. A Turkish dish, ispanaki, is almost identical in presentation, though it sometimes has scallions added. Spanakopita is better known as a Greek food, however, and one will find it served in most Greek restaurants outside of Greece, as well as in virtually all restaurants in Greece. Chefs and food historians credit Epirus, Greece with the most delicious spanakopita. [Read more…]

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Ankimo: Beyond the Usual Raw Fish and Nori


Photo Credit: takaokun

Maki, California roll, Nigiri sushi, temaki, and uromaki are among the favorite items of sushi lovers whenever they visit a Japanese restaurant or a sushi bar, but not too many will order ankimo. Many call ankimo the foie gras of sushi, mainly because it is made from monkfish liver. This high end delight is creamy and light; it is Japanese food at gourmet levels.

What Ankimo is All About

Ankimo is not always available in sushi bars. In fact, it you want to be sure it will be served when you eat out, it would be best to inquire before you go. Ankimo is becoming progressively rare as a treat today because the population of monkfish or anglerfish has dwindled considerably. In World’s 50 Best Foods, CNN Travel says, “The monkfish/anglerfish that unknowingly bestows its liver upon upscale sushi fans is threatened by commercial fishing nets damaging its sea-floor habitat, so it’s possible ankimo won’t be around for much longer.

“If you do stumble across the creamy, yet oddly light delicacy anytime soon, consider a taste — you won’t regret trying one of the best foods in Japan.” [Read more…]

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