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5 Trip Tips From the Culinary Content Network

5 Trip Tips From the Culinary Content Network

We round up this week’s travel posts from our Culinary Content Network

Makobi Scribe makes us want our own island getaway.

Finally, the Lighthearted Locavore keeps tabs on the growing locavore movement on Long Island.

With summer right around the corner, many of us are packing our bags and hitting the road. If not yet, then we’re at least making plans.

Click here to see the 5 Trip Tips From the Culinary Content Network Slideshow!

In any case, our Culinary Content Network members have had travel on both their minds and their blogs this week. Wine Me, Dine Me describes the Taste Of Cincinnati event, while Makobi Scribe inspires us to dream about our own island getaway by letting us know what we can see and do in Aruba.

Pop Bop Shop also goes seaside to explore Quissett Harbor and Foxes Love Lemons reviews a recent outing to Kalamata Greek Grill in Troy, Mich. Finally, the Lighthearted Locavore keeps tabs on the growing locavore movement on Long Island.

Whether you’re headed out, or at least about to be, be sure to keep up with the travels of our writers for tips, reviews, and recommendations.

Chef Matt Jennings&rsquos 5 Best Tips for Healthy, Flavorful Cooking

Here are some easy and delicious ways to upgrade your home cooking skills.

Ever wish you lived with a chef? Seems like mealtime chaos and indecision would just evaporate. Like us, chefs don’t have a lot of time for meal prep at home. Unlike us, they’ve mastered small on fuss, big on flavor cooking.

Matt and Kate Jennings, the husband and wife chef duo behind Townsman in Boston (a F&W Restaurant of the Year in 2016), are particularly great at clever shortcuts when it comes to feeding their family of four. Here, Matt shares some of his favorite tips and tricks and the healthy changes he’s made to stay fueled from morning workouts through hectic dinner service.

Avoid a Summer Visit

If you’re looking to save on lodging, whether it’s in mid-tier or luxury hotels, plan your trip to L.A. during the fall, spring or winter (this doesn’t apply to times when big events, like the Oscars, are happening — best to check your dates in advance).

“Prices for hotel rooms are higher in the summer because that’s when the most tourists come,” Mr. Ilves said. If the summer is the only time you can visit, try to plan your trip during the week instead of on the weekend, when hotel rates are often lower.

Ina Garten Shares Her 5 Tips for Freezing Food

If you have questions about freezing food, Ina Garten has some advice.

Since the coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to stay home, chefs have taken to social media to offer cooking tips and share recipe ideas. Massimo Bottura and Michael Symon are among those streaming online demos, and Ina Garten posted a picture of her own pantry last week, encouraging followers to stay safe and offering to come up with dishes based on what ingredients they had available. On Tuesday, she also shared some good practices for freezing food.

Beneath a photo of her freezer that includes Talenti gelato, tortellini, and what looks like frozen blueberries, she lists her key tips on freezing and defrosting food. First, Garten recommends allowing food to cool to room temperature before packing it in containers—that is, you shouldn&apost put hot food right in the refrigerator or freezer, as it will lower the temperature of the space. (The danger zone for food is 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, because that’s the range where bacteria grows.)

She also suggests leaving extra space in the containers, since liquids expand when they freeze, and labeling each one with the name and the date it was frozen so you can easily identify them later.

Tip number four is to refrain from stacking containers until they’re frozen so that the contents freeze more quickly. And finally, for food safety purposes, Garten recommends defrosting food overnight in the refrigerator, as opposed to letting it sit out on the counter.

With these tips, you can efficiently (and safely) keep your freezer well-stocked. If you’re looking for ideas, here are several recipes that freeze well, so you can keep them on hand and defrost when needed. The roundup includes lasagna, slow-cooker classic beef stew, chicken pot pie, enchiladas, and meal components like tomato sauce and burger patties. 

Let Them Get to Know You, and They’ll Personalize Your Trip

The better your travel agent knows you, the more he or she will be able to customize your trips to your tastes. If you’re a vegan traveling in Italy, for example, an agent may be able to arrange a vegan pizza making class, or at least offer dining options where you’ll feel welcome and have tons to choose from.

Having a sense of who you are can also mean surprises on your getaways. Mr. Karp’s agency, for one, often arranges personalized welcome amenities for its clients: “One of our travelers is a big college basketball fan, so we had custom sneakers with his alma mater’s logo designed and left them waiting for him in his room,” he said.

The Healthiest Fast-Food Options When You’re On the Road

Whether a family vacation or a road trip is in your future, you’ll probably need to stop along the way for a quick bite to eat. The good news is that healthy fast-food options are popping up around the country. Here’s what to look for when you stop to eat, and the top five meal choices from joints around the country.

Guidelines for Ordering Healthy

Here are five things to keep in mind when stopping on the road to grab a meal:

Calories matter: Make sure meals don’t top around 550 calories each, including side dishes and dessert.

Choose lean protein: Whatever you choose should have at least 15 grams of protein per serving. Protein takes longer to digest, which will keep you fuller longer.

Steer clear of fried fare: Fried food like french fries and fried chicken can weigh you down and even give you some uncomfortable tummy troubles.

Look for veggies: Most Americans don’t get their daily recommended dose of veggies. More fast-food joints do offer veggie-filled meals and sides now, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

Opt for calorie-free drinks: Choose beverages without added sugar, like water, seltzer, plain coffee with a splash of milk, or unsweetened iced tea.

This Northeast chain offers kale-and-quinoa bowls and seasonal salads with locally sourced ingredients, which can help you feel good about what you order when you’re on the road. The calories for most main dishes are within reasonable limits, with a few hitting 700 calories or above. The one drawback is that the website doesn’t provide information on sodium or total fat content. If you do choose to stop at B. Good, opt for the Quinoa Power Bowl, made with kale, sesame carrots, Brussels sprouts, crunchy chickpeas, pepitas, local egg and tomato vinaigrette.

Per serving (Quinoa Power Bowl): Calories 592 Fat 28 g (Saturated 4 g) Carbohydrate 59 g Protein 22 g

You can find Panera throughout the country, with seasonal menu items popping on the menu. Panera recently removed all artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from its food. You can find salads, broth bowls, warming soups and flatbreads on the menu. One family-favorite meal is the half order of BBQ Chicken Flatbreads and the half order of Seasonal Green Salad, with an apple on the side.

Per serving (half order BBQ Chicken Flatbread, half order Seasonal Green Salad, an apple): Calories 555 Fat 22 g (Saturated 10 g) Sodium 862 mg Carbohydrate 74 g Protein 13 g

Most of the outposts of this West Coast healthier-burger joint are found in Oregon and Washington. You can order all types of burgers, including beef, halibut, chicken, turkey and several vegetarian options. You can also order a kid’s meal (also referred to as a small meal) if you’re trying to be very mindful of portions. A well-balanced meal to order is the Original Burger with a Garden Salad.

Per serving (Original Burger with Garden Salad): Calories 410 Fat 22 g (Saturated 6 g) Sodium 630 mg Carbohydrate 33 g Protein 17 g

In addition to this ubiquitous chain’s beverages, many locations offer healthy fare, which you can request to be warmed up. Besides the variety of Bistro Boxes offered (all 470 calories or less) and fruit and yogurt parfaits, you can find sandwiches, panini and salads. A top pick is the Turkey and Havarti Sandwich, which is made from oven-roasted turkey, dill Havarti cheese and lettuce, all stacked on hearty harvest wheat bread slicked with a scallion mayo. To minimize the calories from your beverage, forgo the fancy coffee and go for a plain cup of joe with a splash of milk.

Per serving (Turkey and Havarti Sandwich): Calories 460 Fat 21 g (Saturated 7 g) Sodium 940 mg Carbohydrate 31 g Protein 29 g

With a selection of lean protein, vegetables, rice, beans and salsa, you can get a well-balanced meal at Chipotle if you build your bowl or salad smartly. One drawback of Chipotle is the high levels of sodium, especially in the salad dressing and the tomato-based salsa. Instead of them, order a salad with lettuce, chicken, black beans, tomatillo-green chile salsa and cheese. If you choose the cheese, then skip the guac and sour cream, as they each add a few hundred calories.

Per serving (salad with lettuce, chicken, black beans, green-chile salsa and cheese): Calories 425 Fat 15.5 g (Saturated 8 g) Sodium 1015 mg Carbohydrate 29 g Protein 46g

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

5. Clean as you go—and not at the end.

A major chunk of our grade in culinary school was based on organization. As much as I tried to keep my workspace clean, doing so while cooking a three course meal under a time crunch was nearly impossible𠅊nd I𠆝 often end class with a mountain of dirty prep bowls in front of me.

Ideally, cleaning as you cook makes it much easier to stay organized and work more efficiently. Wipe down countertops and cutting boards frequently (especially if you’re working with raw meat), keep the sink clear of dirty dishes, and use any spare moments (such as while you’re waiting for veggies to roast in the oven) to get a headstart on cleaning. This way, you can relax and enjoy your meal, instead of worrying about the tower of dishes you have to face later.


Broths have invaded the home market and have made a lot of home cooks believe that broths are where the action begins. While broths certainly have their place, they are not the foundation that you should be starting with.

What is the Difference Between a Broth and a Stock?

A broth is a derivative of a stock that is created with numerous flavorings outside of the traditional flavor essences (Mirepoix for example). They will contain flavorings like salt, herbs, and other powerful flavoring agents as opposed to the subtle and neutral flavorings of traditional stocks. Broths are also made with meats rather than bones and this is the defining difference between the two products.

So what this means is that a broth is an advancement of a stock. Most cooks and chefs will use leftover meat and bones to create a good broth. In the professional kitchen, broths are not typically prepared because of the cost difference of using actual meat and bones as opposed to a stock which uses bones and leftover food waste (Carrot ends, celery bits, onion skin) to simmer over a long period of time.

Relative to a stock, broths cook quickly. The flavoring of the broth comes primarily from the meat being used. This means that to flavor a broth, the meat will have to lose its flavoring. A balance must be achieved if you want to have that perfect medium.

When I create a broth, I use a stock base as my starting point. This allows me to layer on additional flavoring that is specific for that dish.

While you can find some generally neutral broths at the store, and in a pinch they are passable, they tend to be of sub-par quality due to the type of bones and meat that is used for the broth, which is typically the trimmings and waste of processed chicken products like chicken breast. They are also loaded with salt and can negatively affect flavorings.

Learning to cook takes a lot of practice and a little know-how, and we have all the basics to get you started. Check out our roundup of cooking tips, suggestions, recipes and instructional guides, with everything from using cooking tools to doing wine pairings, meat preparation to desserts. These comprehensive resources are written by professional chefs and feature all the basic kitchen practices that can help beginners succeed in the kitchen.

Whether you love to cook for fun, for your family, or for a restaurant, these helpful guides will make a great introduction to the culinary arts. Click below to find out more.

Michel Guérard

Having trained in Mantes-La-Jolie, Michel Guérard worked around Paris for some time in various restaurants, eventually opening Le Pot-au-Feu in Paris and attaining his first Michelin star in 1967. He is notable for his birth of the Cuisine Minceur style of cooking, which sets itself as an even healthier and lighter version of French cooking than Nouvelle Cuisine. This health focus can be seen to have been inspired by his wife Christine Barthelemy and her spa resort in Eugénie-le-Bains, and he continues to successfully promote this healthy new way of cooking today.

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