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  • The Marvelous Maple

    Sugaring maple or sugar-makers are both terms that refer to the production of maple syrup, and that particular process has not changed much since the early Native American Indians,(specifically the Mohicans),had developed the technique hundreds of years ago.

    Although there are many varieties of maple, the sugar maple is the major source of sap for making the famous maple syrup.The sugar maple is also very important to the ecology of many forests in North America. Continue reading

  • A Not-Too-Sweet Honey Cake

    Spiced Honey Cake with Black Tea and Almonds Spiced Honey Cake with Black Tea and Almonds

    North America has thousands of kinds of native bees, but honeybees were not among them until European settlers imported hives from the Old World.

    It’s easy to see why these colonists went to the trouble of shipping bees across the Atlantic some 400 years ago: Honey is a perfect natural sweetener that needs no processing and never spoils — even after thousands of years in an Egyptian tomb, as archaeologists have discovered.

    More reasons to love honey include the fact that it’s a fat-free source of quick energy, needs no special storage and tastes delicious.

    Today, there are more than 300 unique types of honey being produced in the United States, according to the National Honey Board. Varietal honeys come from bees that feed on a single flower crop, such as star thistle, lavender, sage or orange blossoms. Other honeys are made by bees that gather pollen more widely.

    What color should your honey be? Almost any shade, from nearly clear to dark amber, is acceptable. Darker-colored honeys tend to be more strongly flavored than lighter ones, which are more likely to taste mild.

    The culinary applications for honey are just about as vast as the variety. Honey adds moist sweetness to breads, cakes and cookies and provides dimension to sauces, marinades and delicious dressings.

    Honey makes a delightful spread on toast and a flavorful alternative to sugar in hot and cold beverages — including cocktails, such as honey gimlets and honey rums.

    You can use any kind of honey in this simple cake recipe: Spiced Honey Cake with Black Tea and Almonds »»

    Continue reading

  • Fast and Friendly Kiddy Kuisine

    Fast and furious does not necessarily mean running at break-neck speed to win a race. It can also mean running around in the kitchen trying to figure out what to cook for three hungry boys.

    Preparing healthy meals, while satisfying fussy eaters, and saving time in the kitchen are just a few of the many accomplishments I strive to achieve when cooking for the family. After all, making good, tasty food does not need to be a battle against time and voracious appetites. So in order to keep a calm pace in the kitchen, I created a collection of easy kid-friendly recipes that have already won the hearts of my sons. Continue reading

  • Kid Friendly Spices

    Whenever I am preparing snacks or meals for my children I always consider the types of seasoning I will use in the recipe. For I know all too well that their young palates and stomachs are not the same as grown-ups. And, lets face it -- kids are picky when it comes to eating their food. So I choose herbs and spices that are good for them as well as amping up the flavor.

    Cooking with herbs and spices not only makes the food taste better, it also creates a fabulous aroma that will hopefully entice your young ones to eat what you have cooked. More importantly, herbs and spices contain beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants that help keep the body strong. In the ensuing issues of Romancing the Spice, we will highlight more about some of the amazing herbs and spices to use for making kid friendly meals. However, there is one rule of thumb you should follow: refrain from giving any herbs and spices to babies under eight months old. Continue reading

  • Pizza on the Grill

    As the days become hotter and the sunlight lasts longer, we make it a point to do most of our cooking outside on the grill. And I have to say that one of our favorite things to grill is pizza. Now you might wonder why I would ever want to grill pizza on a barbecue pit, and I would tell you because it tastes great and you don't have to use a hot oven to make pizza. Besides, who wants all of that heat inside the kitchen when you can keep it outside where it belongs? And no, the pizza dough will not fall through the grates. Continue reading

  • The Perfect Pita

    My fascination with pita bread comes naturally as Ive been eating it all my life. Of course my mother used to make pita or flatbread in a wood-fired oven, and would add simple herbs or spices to impart different flavors. These days, pita bread is sold in just about every supermarket, corner market and even at convenience stores. But you can make your own perfect pita or flatbread at home, all it takes is a non-stick pan and a little ingenuity to create a variety of great tasting pita or flatbread. Continue reading

  • Cocoa nibs the wonder food!

    In last week's article we wrote about chocolate, and because this is such a huge topic to cover, we decided to split up the information. This week we will highlight the benefits of cocoa nibs.

    Most often we think of chocolate as a candy that's loaded with all kinds of fattening ingredients that will cause you to gain weight and is unhealthy to consume. But, pure chocolate in its unadulterated form is far from being that pure chocolate is packed with antioxidants and disease fighting properties. Nowadays, you can find a lot of chocolate products made with 100% cocoa butter and less sugar. Continue reading

  • Top Ten Cookie Jar Favorites

    Because the Holiday season is that time of year when the pressure is on to organize gift buying, entertaining and cooking, we thought we would help you out a bit. We have come up with 10 of our very own cookie jar favorites that you might want to make for the Christmas festivities. And even if you are not the worlds greatest baker, you will still enjoy messing around in the kitchen with all of the baking spices, flour, morsels of chocolate, flavored sugars, etc., in creating your own signature Christmas cookie recipe.

    As with any great cooking endeavor, you will need to have all your ducks-in-a-row, or in simple English, be organized by having all the necessary ingredients before you start out in the kitchen. Then once you have organized yourself, that's when the fun begins . . . we hope you will find a little inspiration with the following ideas: Continue reading

  • The School Project

    A week ago, Shuli and I had participated as volunteers at our sons school. This joint effort involved students from Kindergarten through the third grade.We had the great pleasure of demonstrating how various spices were used in ancient times as dyes and for cooking. Each child was given the opportunity to dye a muslim bag with turmeric,choose from a large array of spices to make their own Havdalah mix, and use a mortar and pestle to grind spices for making Israel's famous za'atar spice blend.The children sprinkled the za'atar mixture over sour cream and olive oil and it was served to the entire school as an accompaniment to their delicious school lunch, much of which was prepared by the students on-site .

    The following day when the muslin bags had dried, the Kindergartners filled the bags with their spice blends making their own b'samim bags (same as potpourri bag) for Havdalah, which is a Jewish religious ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and holidays ushering in the new week. The ceremony is usually celebrated at home with family and friends and includes three blessings: over wine, spices, and lighted candles. Continue reading

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