Post-Tribune Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us (Editor) Post-Tribune 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Renwald: Try basil — in ice cream ]]> Lead story image

Basil, maintained in most herb gardens for its versatility and abundance, falls into two culinary categories. One, it is the principal ingredient in pesto; and two, it accompanies almost any dish prepared with tomatoes and mozzarella. That’s it. Basil is, for many herb garden enthusiasts, simply parsley with culture. It’s a garnish, a little bit of color and spice. It will often replace mint leaves or cilantro in a more traditional recipe, fashioning a new name to the recipe with Italian vernacular. As far as playing the protagonist in a dish, it simply doesn’t. Even though it is the primary … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:06:15 -0500 <![CDATA[ Whatever it is, butter it up with blueberries ]]> Lead story image

Blueberries don’t have quite the same remarkable flavor to them as other July berries. The distinct twang of both brambles and red raspberries launches a special effort by most who want to gobble them up before their short seasons in July end. Their flavors are always the special attractions in any recipe they are strewn into. But blueberries don’t have that same one-time-only asset. Their flavor is mild and subdued, and the berries often are thrown into recipes as an afterthought to highlight some of the other, larger flavors in a dish. Their mildness doesn’t stop us from swarming to … ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 02:07:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ A ‘souper’ reason to celebrate France’s Bastille Day ]]> Lead story image

Bastille Day may be France’s holiday to celebrate independence, but the United States slowly has begun to popularize the precursor to the French Revolution using food. However, celebrating a French holiday here may have nothing to do with the French presence in our large cities. Instead, it may have more to do with extending our own fireworks-filled Independence Day celebrations and our infatuation with their delectable cuisine. French food is reason enough to celebrate anything! An assortment of clafoutis, macarons, croissants, onion soup and bouillabaisse sings to our senses any other day of the year, but since La Fete Nationale … ]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 02:08:38 -0500 <![CDATA[ Dress up lemon bars with candied lavender ]]> Lead story image

The lemon bar, normally a summertime specialty, is one of the lucky seasonal treats that has metamorphosed into a year-round dessert. In a way, it seems unfair that lemon bars now share the same plate as Christmas cookies or pumpkin pie. That’s like hearing the ice cream truck’s familiar tune when snow is on the ground. Summer foods should stick to their season, but the lemon bar already has acceded to a perennial destiny. How is it, then, that a lemon bar could get special notice during the warm months when the hankering for something so refreshing is present? You’ll … ]]> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 02:08:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Renwald: Celebrate summer with sage gravy, pork chops ]]> Lead story image

Autumn has its colonial culinary ties — heirloom vegetables that accentuate rustic, rich recipes. Squashes and other gourds line pot pies, casseroles and stuffings for birds. The winter holidays sing the praises of old European traditions. Gingerbreads, fruitcakes and eggnog create the flavors that most associate with Christmas and the new year. But is there one iconic cuisine linked to the great American summer? Some may say it’s barbecued food. Steaks and ribs, hot off the grill, pay delicious homage to the long hot days of an American summer. Yet barbecued food only hits one small tip of the giant … ]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 06:20:58 -0500 <![CDATA[ Renwald: Celebrate anniversary with rosemary chicken ]]> Lead story image

June weddings deliver excitement and emotion. Starlit nights and the sound of laughter from too much champagne are the stuff that make up memories. Could it be the seasonal blooms so full of color that make June such a popular wedding month? Or perhaps it is the long nights, when the air is balmy, but dancing beneath a moonlit tent makes it seem soft and silky against your skin. Whatever it is, June is the month when memories are created and age-old traditions are resurrected. June weddings also deliver June anniversaries. Sadly, though, all of the food traditions are left … ]]> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 06:19:45 -0500 <![CDATA[ Renwald: It’s a berry good time for custard pies ]]> Lead story image

Strawberry season unearths a fervent fascination with local berries, but the piqued interest seems to last only as long as the season — little more than a month. Most of that enthusiasm is reserved for devouring the strawberries fresh (store-bought berries can’t compare); the rest of that enthusiasm gets put into enjoying the berries in one of their classic configurations. Strawberry pie and strawberry shortcake — does it get any better than that? It does. While these two seasonal treats are some of the tastiest of the summer, they are also commonplace. There’s no reinventing the shortcake, and the glazey … ]]> Sun, 29 Jun 2014 06:23:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Peanut-free brittle will get taste buds racing ]]> Lead story image

The food traditions associated with the Indianapolis 500 are a little elusive, but they are key components to the culture that ritualizes perhaps the greatest alternative to patriotic activities on Memorial Day weekend. Indiana’s state sandwich, the pork tenderloin, gets downed before the race — at the concession stands or in the parking lots — and, of course, milk is the crowning symbol of achievement for one triumphant driver. Even odd food traditions dictate the culture at an Indy race. For instance, there is one thing that the Indianapolis 500 has in common with a kindergarten classroom: Eating peanuts is … ]]> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 15:45:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Renwald: Create a magnificent moment for Mom ]]> Lead story image

High tea on Mother’s Day is as postulated to this greeting card holiday as is a bouquet of flowers. There’s something about tea and moms that just seems to go hand in hand. Dressing up in your best spring finery, tossing back dainty sandwiches and sipping a calming chamomile brings out the best in Mom. It also provides a sublime venue in which to pull out your best charm and your best gifts. But a compact mirror and perfume aren’t making the cut anymore. Today’s mom wants something from the heart, and the gift givers are complying. In fact, 41 … ]]> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 06:32:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Renwald: Asparagus a star worth waiting for ]]> Lead story image

Blame it on the long winter, the bitter bite to early spring, and the hard ground that remains in a semifrozen state despite erratic weather that has the temperature at times around 70 degrees. There is still no sign of spring’s wild asparagus. If you look closely, the smallest heads are there, but we still may be a week or more away from enjoying the crisp spears in salads, soups or dinner specialties. It’s worth the wait, though. In fact, the old adage that says “absence makes the heart grow fonder” rings true. There’s something especially satisfying about freshly picked … ]]> Sun, 01 Jun 2014 06:20:05 -0500 <![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. … ]]> Sat, 17 May 2014 06:16:58 -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 … ]]> Sat, 10 May 2014 06:13:36 -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 … ]]> Sat, 03 May 2014 06:15:32 -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