Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Renwald: Candy corn the right touch for Easter baskets ]]> Lead story image

At what age does receiving an Easter basket become too passe? If the glamor of digging into strands of plastic grass in search of a chocolate egg is never outgrown, then that means the contents of your Easter baskets are always fresh and exciting. Today’s basket assembler — or Easter bunny — knows exactly what to do to keep the excitement afloat. Homemade candies scream “ingenuity.” They scream “great flavor,” too. And, of course, they give you bragging rights on Easter morning. It’s hard to roast, refine or temper cocoa beans into something that can fill a bunny mold, though. … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:10:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Renwald: Don’t bail on kale just because winter’s over ]]> Lead story image

The secret’s been out about kale for a long time. This peppery green, which bursts with nutrients and other good-for-your-body fibers, has long been the country’s “it” vegetable for these reasons alone. Blended into juices and tossed raw into salads, kale hit new heights a few years back when health-conscious celebrities touted its nutrient-packed perks to the media. Oddly enough, its flavor didn’t get much press — at least not by those who ballyhooed it for its health benefits. The epicures, however, those who marvel at its interesting flavor (which is strange for a leafy green) — they are the … ]]> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 02:10:58 -0500 <![CDATA[ Renwald: Rhubarb custard a great way to welcome spring ]]> Lead story image

Barely after the first pale green blades of tulip stems raise their heads from the black earth, rhubarb follows suit. It emerges like an ugly weed, a curly tuft of lettuce flowering above skinny rose stalks. It’s a tenacious perennial, sprouting up in the bleakest of weather and most frigid of temperatures — all of which give proof to its rugged countenance. Fresh from the ground, it’s nearly inedible. But is there really any question as to why we snap up droves of this stuff as soon as it’s right for the picking? Rhubarb, in its own way, is a … ]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 02:10:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Seafood-inspired dishes abound during Lent ]]> Lead story image

It’s hard to find a flaw in the dietary guidelines of the Lenten season. Meat-free Fridays aren’t a sacrifice, but rather, a treat. Out comes the fried catfish, the lobster bisque, and the salmon patties. Friday night fish fries headline the weekend and call for a reason for the family to get together. If anything, Lent is a time to prepare the best-tasting seafood recipes you can find, which is a pretty sinful loophole in the rigid regulations that call for self-temperance and forbearance. Unless you’re not a seafood lover, the next forty days and forty nights will be comprised … ]]> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 06:17:23 -0500 <![CDATA[ Homemade toffee a delectable gift ]]> Lead story image

Some might argue that giving food as a gift is an easy cop-out, a sidestep to spending money and time on a real present. But these aren’t the days of fruitcakes at Christmas anymore. Nor are they the days of Jell-o molds for housewarming parties or slow cooker meals for baby showers and church gatherings. No, in those days, the food wasn’t ever really a gift but instead, a donation. It came, it was eaten, and the slightly surly combination of flavors conquered all. Today’s homesteading individual would disagree that food can’t be a gift. Edible works of art often … ]]> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 06:21:22 -0500 <![CDATA[ Go for culinary gold with a Russian dish ]]> Lead story image

If the U.S. Olympians’ viral updates about the conditions of Sochi, Russia, are at all veritable, then the old adage stands true. When in Russia, don’t brush your teeth with water; use vodka, instead. Murky drinking water, roaming dogs and unpaved roads. For Olympians who are used to five-star accommodations and American resources, Sochi falls short. Whether or not their gripes are anchored in indulgence is debatable, but there’s still a part of the larger picture that these visiting athletes are missing — classic Russian cuisine. The bold flavors, the hot and chilled soups, and copious amounts of fish--these are … ]]> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 06:17:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ Use your slow cooker to get a little taste of summer ]]> Lead story image

The flavors of summer seem so far away, so unattainable. Somewhere in your back yard under inches of packed snow, your grill sighs of warmer days. The craving for barbecued food, in-season vegetables and light, crisp flavors is there; but something doesn’t seem right about staving off winter comfort foods for summery substitutes when the mercury barely hovers above single digit temperatures. You can, however, compromise. Trade off rich winter flavors for summery ones, but keep the necessary cold weather dividends, such as swapping your grill for a slow cooker. Tit for tat. In this case, a summer specialty does, … ]]> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 06:23:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ Sweet, maple cookies are a warming relief ]]> Lead story image

Transitioning from the childhood cookies-and-milk phase into something adult-like doesn’t require very much of an adjustment, if any at all. The craving for something sweet and filling, warming and comforting is ever-present. And now, as the long stretch of winter steps in without any sign of recess, that craving is bigger than ever. But instead of tossing back a cold glass of milk and a handful of chocolate chip cookies, a more fitting duo for the cold weather comes with a steaming hot beverage and a seasonally-flavored confection. Lately, my craving has taken form in a maple cream sandwich cookie … ]]> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 13:14:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ Turn those leftover mashed potatoes into delicious waffles ]]> Lead story image

The exact history of the chicken and waffle pairing is unknown, but after centuries of collaborating as a beloved American icon, this duo reigns as the most revolutionary waffle innovation of all time. Until now. While the chicken and waffle pairing throws a spotlight on an enticing joining of flavors, two separate and independent foods lay there disconnected. Wouldn’t it be more convenient — and innovative — if the two ingredients were combined? It’s sort of an impossible feat to intertwine fried chicken and a waffle, but it’s not impossible to meld the waffle to a different classic American food … ]]> Sun, 23 Feb 2014 06:14:47 -0500 <![CDATA[ Juicing delivers refreshing flavors ]]> Lead story image

Juicing. Interpret the word one way and you’ve bound yourself to one of the most controversial activities in sports today. Interpret it another way and it means you’ve fallen for the biggest trend in dieting since the carb-free revolution. Juicing sheds pounds. Juicing detoxes. What juicing really does, though, is make headlines. Despite arguments from both sides on whether or not juicing is healthy, a diet based on a potpourri beverage of veggies and fruits is here. And while pureed wheatgrass, spinach and coconut water aren’t the likeliest pairings, juice and smoothie enthusiasts swear by their nutritional benefits and their … ]]> Sun, 16 Feb 2014 06:19:22 -0500 <![CDATA[ Tangerines bring refreshing flavor to seasonal winter foods ]]> Lead story image

The seasonal foods of winter can be tricksters. In January, you’d think the seasonal ingredients would procure warmth and brawn, but more often than not, their flavors are light and refreshing — the very characteristics we’d expect from summer’s most notable ingredients. Take citrus, for instance. Everything about it seems to celebrate summer: the colors, the flavor, and especially the recipes. But tangerines and grapefruits are two of late winter’s big-league players, popping up in bumper amounts at the markets. There is a little bit of wile involved to get citrus acclimated to winter dishes, though. Some marry it to … ]]> Sun, 09 Feb 2014 06:11:21 -0500 <![CDATA[ Hybrid holidays unite  cultures for creative meals ]]> Lead story image

In the wake of the Thanksgivvukah and all of its success, the hybrid holiday seems to be on the rise — at least for the new year. Combining holiday traditions not only makes cooking for the celebrations a lot less stressful, but it also makes it a lot more fun. Don’t look at it as being lazy. Look at it as taking a shortcut. And when the next abutting holidays sneak up on the calendar — say, New Year’s Day and Orthodox Christmas — celebrate with at least one blended recipe. Luckily, these two holidays that occur within a week … ]]> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 13:35:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ Shepherd’s pie for Boxing Day ]]> Lead story image

On the second day of Christmas, make your true love a shepherd’s pie. In classic British fashion, celebrate Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, with some leftover holiday goodies. Traditional British cuisine features heavy and rich foods — the perfect ingredients to supplement the bitter December cold. If you’re preparing a classic Christmas dinner today, chances are that you’ll have a glazed ham — and plenty of leftovers for the next day. The Brits prepare their shepherd’s pie with lamb or beef, which are common main courses at Christmas dinner; so to compensate for the American leftovers, this version showcases … ]]> Sun, 26 Jan 2014 06:16:30 -0500 <![CDATA[ ]]> Lead story image

… ]]> Tue, 17 Dec 2013 14:58:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Hosting a holiday party? Offer up a Monaco cocktail ]]> Lead story image

No one wants to play bartender at a holiday party. There are fancily dressed guests to attend to, a crackling fireplace to sit beside, and the jazzy jingles and bells of the holiday music is beckoning just one dance. The last thing you’d want is to get your hands sticky with the leaky shakers from dozens of mixed cocktail requests. Keep the holiday spirits simple. Many party planners suggest beer, wine and just one cocktail. The struggle, then, comes from winnowing out one classic holiday cocktail; but in reality, it’s sort of a fun struggle. It should be festive, utilize … ]]> Sun, 12 Jan 2014 06:18:37 -0500 <![CDATA[ Celebrate St. Nicholas Day with Dutch cookies ]]> Lead story image

Sharp with ginger and spice, sugary baked thins tell decorative stories of St. Nicholas to every Dutch boy and girl on the eve of St. Nicholas Day. Ornate impressions of roosters, puppies with ribbons around their neck, tall and willowy Christmas trees, wooden shoes, or even St. Nicholas himself last for only the few moments it takes to whisper a lovely story of Christmas heroism. Afterward, they are gobbled up alongside a glass of milk before the ringing of St. Nick’s bells portend a treat-filled visit from the revered icon. Speculaas cookies are Holland’s favorite St. Nicholas Day treat. For … ]]> Sun, 05 Jan 2014 06:16:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Fuel your Black Friday shopping with a turkey breakfast sandwich ]]> Lead story image

A 3 a.m. wake-up call isn’t all that early for the true holiday shoppers. Most ardent bustlers have long sacrificed their Thanksgiving nights to land a place in line in sub-zero weather. But for the majority of the population, Black Friday still requires an early kickoff to all of the shopping clamor. The thermometer in your car might tell you it’s 24 degrees, but the numbness in your toes and the almost painful blasts of wind that slap your face tell you otherwise. Fellow customers are curt and often impolite, and you’re still reeling from a combination of a tryptophan … ]]> Sat, 28 Dec 2013 06:13:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Renwald: ‘Thanksgivukkah’ offers up a rare culinary fusion ]]> Lead story image

The merchandise with clever sayings, the silly social media hashtags, and the all-out grandeur that the media has pushed out about “Thanksgivukkah” has turned this hybrid of a holiday into something much larger than a portmanteau word. The unlikely coincidence that Thanksgiving happens to fall on the first day of Hanukkah won’t occur again for another 70,000 years, so the rare novelty gives us reason enough to celebrate — especially with a smorgasbord of two holidays’ worth of food. But a lot of the press about this fusion showcases ways to incorporate traditional Hanukkah ingredients into a classic American Thanksgiving. … ]]> Sat, 21 Dec 2013 06:16:21 -0500