Never go on trips with anyone you don’t love….Ernest Hemingway "I am not a glutton -- I am an explorer of food." Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)

Monday, October 19, 2015

What Is Parboiled Rice?

Parboiled rice also called Ukda Chawal in Hindi & Converted Rice in English is rice which is Partially Boiled in the husk. There are three steps involved in the process which are soaking, steaming and drying. This process makes rice nutritious, changes its texture making it easier to process by hand.

The process itself is almost a couple thousand centuries old and is believed to have originated in Persia. It however, removes nutrients like thiamin from the bran to endosperm which means that parboiled white rice is nutritionally similar (80-85%) to brown rice. Presently, rice is parboiled in many countries like India, Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, Spain, Switzerland, Guinea, Italy, Thailand, Bangladesh etc.

The Basic Process
The process of parboiling begins before the hulling process.
Step 1 → The grain is soaked in water
Step 2 → The soaked grain is then steamed
Step 3 → The steamed rice is then dried for hulling
The steaming helps the rice to soak nutrients and change the starch composition making it firm and less sticky than regular white rice.

Some Benefits

Starch in the rice is gelatinized and stable making it harder and glassier.
The rice is rich in niacin, and has a high level of Vitamin B-6. This helps us metabolize our food into energy and helps in making hormones.
It take very less time to cook.
Easier to digest and much better in terms of nutritious quality when compared to raw rice.
It has long standing times as it stays fluffy post-cooking for a long time.
It absorbs more water proving a higher yield than ordinary rice.
It's rich in carbohydrates and has less fiber. The carbohydrates does not cause high blood sugar levels.
The rice has almost 2-3 percent of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium if consumed on a daily basis.
It is great in terms of diarrhea treatment in children.

Uses in the Kitchen
There are several uses of parboiled rice in the kitchen. The food is tastier, healthier and rich when cooked in this rice.
Dish (with this rice) can be spicy as well as bland but you won't feel a difference with the taste.
The rice could be used to make dishes like Idli, Dosa, and Khichdi.
Parboiled Khichdi is very tasty if eaten with pickles, raitas and other sour products.
Washing the rice with both palms in a rotary motion is a better thing to do as it avoids grain breakage.
The rice is wonderful and tastes great with vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

How to Store
Parboiled rice has different properties and hence requires special attention. It should always be stored in air-tight containers and the storage time should not exceed more than 2 months as it could become rancid and smelly. The container should be placed in a cool and dry location. Cooked rice can be stocked up in the refrigerator for not more than 3-4 days.

Consumption of Parboiled rice is healthy and beneficial. However, it should be consumed in limited quantity as its properties differ from that of usual rice.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Sumptuous Cuisine of Veneto

Veneto is situated in north-eastern Italy. Cuisine of Veneto has a long tradition of satisfying the taste buds of gourmet individuals. This cuisine is quite different from the other cuisines of Italy. This cuisine is quite varied as this region has varied landscapes. Gourmet picnic baskets containing cuisine of Veneto are popular throughout the world. Below mentioned are some of the most popular dishes of this region:

Brasato - This delicious dish is a must have for every gourmet individual. It's main constituents are braised beef meat, Amarone wine and polenta. This dish is ideal for a main course meal.

Gnocchi - These are thick dumplings made from wheat flour, egg, semolina, cheese, potato, breadcrumbs. This dish is served as snack throughout the world. This delicacy is also used as a substitute for soups. In some variations of this dish, melted butter along with sauces, pesto and sage etc.

Moeche - This mouth watering dish is an absolute delight for sea food lovers. It is made from Carcinus maenas, a unique species of crabs. The crab meat is fried and served along with sauces and potatoes.

Baicoli - It is a popular biscuit originating from Veneto. It is named as such as it resembles a Baicoli. These special biscuits are created by double baking and leavening. Savoring these biscuits along with coffee in the evening or early morning will make you feel happy.

Tiramisu - After a sumptuous main course meal, everyone desires a nice dessert. The main ingredients of this dessert are coffee, eggs, cheese, cocoa popular coffee-flavored Italian dessert. After a spicy non vegetarian meal, this dessert is ideal for your taste-buds.

Soppressa - This is a typical Italian salami served along with different varieties of sauces. This salami is made from different meat products like chicken, mutton etc. The best way to enjoy this dish is to have it along with a glass of beer.

Polenta e oxeli - Italy has an old tradition of game. Polenta e oxeli is a tribute to this tradition. This dish comprises of roasted birds like house sparrows, quails, larks, thrushes etc. It is served along with polenta.

Frittole - This is a very popular Italian dessert. It comprises of dough containing orange peel, raisins and lemon peel. In some of the variations custard and chocolate are also used. This dessert is prepared by frying and sprinkling in sugar.

You can enjoy the above mentioned Veneto dishes at any Italian restaurant throughout the world. Contact Us or Visit Us


Thursday, October 08, 2015

Six Mouthwatering Italian Dishes

For a gourmet individual, Italian cuisine is an absolute delight. Italian gourmet hampers are sold at restaurants throughout the world. The origins of Italian cuisine dates back to the fourth century BC. This delectable cuisine has been inspired from different ancient cuisines like Etruscan, Greek, Roman etc. It also evolved with the exploration of the new world as new ingredients like tomatoes, maize and potato were added to it. This cuisine is known for its wide range. This article discusses some of the most sumptuous Italian cuisines:

Cacciatore - It is mainly in three forms IE chicken cacciatore, rabbit cacciatorem and salamino cacciatore. Apart from braised rabbit or chicken meat, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and wine are the chief ingredients of this dish. This dish is a must have for all those who crave for non-vegetarian food.

Baccalà alla lucana - This dish originated in the Basilicata province of Italy, but is now popular throughout the world. This dish is savored in most of the western nations during the Christmas period. The chief constituents of this dish are cod fish and crunchy red peppers. This dish is ideal for anyone looking for spicy sea food.

Cotechino Modena - Cotechino Modena is a famous Italian sausage made from pork meat. It is generally served with lentils, cannellini beans, mashed potatoes and sauce. It can act as an ideal snack before a main course meal.

Tortellini - They are also known as belly buttons. These are pasta shaped like a ring and are immersed with different varieties of meat and cheese. Originating in the Emilia region of Italy, this dish is now savored in different parts of the globe. As a variation, this dish can also be served with broth.

Lasagne - These are among the oldest types of pastas. These pastas have different layering containing sauce, mozzarella cheese and different varieties of meat and vegetable products. In order to make the dish delicious, other ingredients like wine, onion and oregano are added.

Minestrone - Before a main course meal, people generally look for sumptuous soups. Minestrone is a popular thick soup served in Italian restaurants. The main ingredients of this soup are vegetables like onions, carrots, beans, tomatoes, pasta and rice. Some restaurants serve this soup as a non-vegetarian recipe by including various meat products like chicken, pork in it.

You might be in any part of the world, but such is the popularity of Italian cuisine that you will find Italian restaurants everywhere. Contact Us


Monday, September 21, 2015

Delectable Italian Cuisines

Italian cuisine is among the most popular cuisines in the world. It is well-known for its diversity. It is also characterized by its simplicity. It is popular not only in Italy but throughout the world. A large number of restaurants all over the world are serving Italian dishes as main course items. Food points also offer special Italian Gourmet Hampers and Corporate Hampers. This article offers an insight in to some of the most mouth-watering Italian cuisines:

Bigoli in salsa - This dish originated in Venice region of Italy. It is an extremely sumptuous Venetian pasta dish. It comprises of whole wheat, salted fish, sardines and onion. No tourist ever leaves Venice without tasting Bigoli in salsa.

Casoncelli - This dish originated in Lombardy in central Italy. It comprises of two sheets of pasta squeezed at the ends. It's main components are bread, egg, beef, sausage garlic, raisins and spinach.

Mostarda di frutta - It is an Italian relish. It's main constituents are mustard syrup and fruit candy. This mouth-watering dish is served with different varieties of boiled meats. This dish was first introduced in Cremona.

Pandoro - Pandoro is one of the most famous desserts of Venice. This dish is in huge demand during the Christmas and New Year season. The main ingredients of this delectable dessert are eggs, sugar, butter and flour.

Bollito Misto - This is one of the signature dishes of North Italy. This mouth-watering stew item comprises of beef, hen or mutton cooked in fire for a couple of hours in vegetable soup.

Ribollita - This delicious soup is an important delicacy of Tuscany. Unlike most of the Italian dishes, this dish is completely vegetarian. The main ingredients of this hearty soup are beans, carrot, onion, cabbage, bread and silver-beet. This soup is generally taken before a main course meal.

Carbonara - This pasta dish is a must have for all the gourmet people. Originated in Rome, this dish is made from eggs, bacon, cheese and black pepper. It's delightful taste will revitalize your taste buds. Many restaurants offer gourmet picnic hampers of this wonderful delicacy.

Spaghetti alla puttanesca - This is a popular pasta dish of Campania region of Southern Italy. This dish is salty in taste. The major components of this luscious delicacy are olives, capers, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic.

Pitina - This dish is an absolute delight for a meat lover. This dish comprises of meat balls made from goat meat. The meat is treated with flour and yellow corn and then smoked over low fire. This dish is a tribute to the Old Italian tradition of eating game meat.

Reading this article, will definitely entice you to try these mouth-watering Italian dishes. Please Visit Us to know more about Italian Cuisines.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

French Food and Its Regional Influences

In some regions people contained there regional specialties but most of them became famous and enjoyed all over the world. In their own region of origin you can mainly find their specialty with more quality of preparation and ingredients, even if you can find them throughout France. In each region they have also their typical way of choosing the ingredients and cooking their meals. For example Tomatoes, different kinds of herbs and Olive oil are a must in the Cuisine in Provence.

Here are a couple main influences of regional cooking:

Economic conditions and history: The economic conditions, lifestyle and the culture of course have formed the local food traditions in different areas. Firm cheeses are found in the mountain regions since that over difficult and long winters they can be preserved. In the history when we speak about economy, we find that in some limited areas this firm cheeses are also the main means of support for a lot of homes since they can be produced in the mountains for the livestock. Over several centuries the economic prosperity of the region of Burgundy was great due to their excellence in raising cattle and that also helped them to provide their rich cream sauces and meat dishes.

Local availability: Fresh local ingredients that are not transported for long distances are of better quality and are the basics of the best food and of course the French nation of gourmets knows that. For example, the community of areas where herbs and fruit grow easily will use them in their local cuisine. Likewise, inland areas don`t really use a lot of sea fish but on the contrary Northwest coastal places of France like Normandy and Brittany offer a typical way of eating sea fish meals.

Immigration and neighbouring countries: The neighbors cuisine is formally incorporated in areas of France which border onto other countries. Near to the Italian border for example it will not be surprising to find Italian dishes. Because of immigration, the North African people residing in the South of France are letting enjoy the French people of their original African dishes. And also after various wars the border of Germany has been moved back in the area of Alsace but until now you find the German « Sauerkraut » and wine that became very popular in that kind of areas.

You will find in all parts of France, both in homes and in restaurants, a great range of dishes far extending beyond the regional specialities. However you will always remark the local influences in terms of cooking and ingredients. Local recipes and ingredients seem to be the best cooking and the most available in its own region. Therefore, the types of food one desires to enjoy is a great consequence of the choice where to visit or live in France.

These are a couple of examples:
  • Fresh water fish is consumed in the inland areas, like in the Loire Valley, while sea food is preferred in the Mediterranean and near the Atlantic coast.
  • The hot climate throughout the south, favorites the use of fruit and vegetables.
  • The « Sauerkraut » and beer have been influenced in the northeast of France, like in Lorraine and Alsace, by the German.
  • Apples, creme fraiche (soured cream) and butter are used in the cuisine of northwest France.
  • Tomatoes, herbs and olive oil are mainly used by the French Mediterranean.
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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Gourmet Gift Basket - A Truly Special Present

The gourmet gift basket is a really special and wonderful present that you can give to someone you care about at any time of year and not just during the holidays. Certainly the most popular of all gourmet gift baskets that are available today are those which either contain food or wine (or even both). There are literally thousands of gift basket companies online, some of which are better than others and below we look at just a few of the more reliable and reputable ones that can offer you good quality gourmet gift baskets at a price to suit your budget.

1. Delightful Deliveries

This site offers a wide variety of gourmet gift baskets from ones made up of Bakery items to ones that either contain fruit, gourmet foods or gourmet wines. Really with this site you are spoilt for choice and the service they provide to their customers is very good also.

2. Fill-r-Up

This is a company which can offer you a customized gourmet gift basket and they have a retail store which is located in Manhattan (New York). The team at this company can offer you a brilliant collection of both creative and unique gift baskets and all of which are very reasonably priced.

3. Prime Wine

This is the site where you look for a gourmet gift basket that is ideal for the true wine aficionado. They can provide you with a selection of the most beautiful quality wines as well as gourmet foods such as cheese, smoked salmon and chocolates to complement the particular wines in the basket. Each basket that this company produces is made to order and so you can either choose the wines yourself or let one of their experts make the choices for you.

4. Zingerman's

This is one of the best places you will find to purchase a good quality gourmet gift basket from. They can produce a gift basket made up with some of the most fantastic foods that you are ever likely to find from Artisan cheeses, through to rare oils and vinegars and much much more.

The only problem you will have when looking to choose a gourmet gift basket to present to someone is which one you should choose. The best thing you can do is write down a list of the gourmet gift baskets that are available and then select the one which is best suited to the recipient of the gourmet gift basket that you will be sending.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Working Up An Appetite

One of the greatest experiences of being human is to be out in nature. There is just something about being in the fresh open air of the wilderness that makes a person feel more alive, more grounded. The stresses and responsibilities of life lessen in the great outdoors and it is less complicated. After a long day hiking or on the river even if exhaustion is felt, it is refreshing and invigorating. Along with the hard work comes a hearty appetite and a good meal is welcomed by everyone. Even food tastes better when enjoyed in nature and it is received with enthusiastic appreciation. The supper that is tasty is all the more satisfying. A cook can really get rave reviews at a camp. If some thought and a little preparation are made a great meal can be enjoyed and increase the quality of the outdoor experience. Here are some suggestions.

The first thing to note is that all three meals are not created equal. Breakfast and dinner are the meals that more time is put in. The first meal should be filling, one that will stay with you all day. Whole grains probably fit this requirement the best.

Even if you are not normally a cook, camping is a good place to be willing to put in some effort and time. With all the energy burned you will truly appreciate a meal that will fill you up and keep you going. Oatmeal is the first option. For those who want something hot, with little effort, oatmeal fits the bill. It will "stick to your ribs" and keep you full longer, but this breakfast seems to be a popular one on trips and because of that it gets a little old. If that is all the further you want to go in your culinary efforts you can still spruce it up a little. Add dried fruit into the mix. Raisins seem to be the old stand by, but there is a plethora of other choices. Any fruit is an option. Try mangos, apples, strawberries etc. and a little dry milk mixed in. Your regular old oatmeal just turned into fruit and cream, much more satisfying. If you are a little more adventurous pull out the pan for your camp stove. Whole wheat pancakes with freeze dried fruit are amazing. Even syrup is not necessary for these delicious creations. They will be the hit of the camp so be sure to bring plenty. When planning pancakes bring oil in a spill proof container and pour a little into the pan before each cake (about 1 tsp).

A non-stick pan is also recommended for pancakes. These cakes are filling and delicious. Freeze dried fruit is recommended over dried for pancakes because they hydrate as they cook and return to a fresh-like berries rather then staying chewy in your pancakes like dried ones would. Prepackaged meals are fine camping, but you can make your own. Not only will it be cheaper, but it will last for many trips (and even at home). Large cans (#10 size) can be purchased of the berry you prefer. Mix up the pancake's dry ingredients at home (including dry milk and dry eggs) then all you have to add is water when you cook them at camp. During the day when you are on the river you probably do not want to pull off and unpack all the gear for lunch. This is a good time to have trial mix, granola bars and jerky.

Dinner is another time that it is worth putting in the effort. Meals in the can are not recommended frequently while camping because of the trash it creates. What gets brought in, gets brought out. Instead try a box of pasta with dry packs of sauce and then add a can of tuna or chicken. Dried vegetables added to this meal would be delicious. Just rehydrate them in a little water for 10 minutes or so before cooking and you have an entire dinner in one dish.

A few last notes to make. Do not pack you fuel in the dry bags with your food. If the fuel leaks, the food will not be good. If you are going to make something new on your trip, try it at home first. Better to learn when you have more food to try again. Instead of bringing trash bags bring plastic grocery bags with you. They are smaller and even if you use a couple, because of their size, they can be stuff in corners easily. Another suggestions about these plastic bags is that it is easy to double up on them for your trash to prevents leaks and such. Do not sacrifice food on your trip, make it delicious and you will enjoy the outdoors even more.

Emma Snow is a gourmet and freelance writer. Writing for Gourmet Living and BBQ Shop

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