Lemongrass

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citrates), also known as citronella, is a favorite flavoring ingredient in Asian cuisines, particularly Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese. This tall, fibrous tropical grass is native to India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia and has a distinct lemony fragrance that comes from an essential oil known as citral. It has a white fleshy bulbous base where most

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Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

We have a lot of impromptu happy hours in my neighborhood.  At least once a month, one neighbor or another will send out the word, and we’ll all gather for drinks and conversation.  Of course, there is always some food involved, the typical quick and easy things you’d expect at these kinds of gatherings: Good

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Classic Pesto

Although it’s most famously paired with pasta, pesto goes with just about everything; meat, fish, vegetables, rice…you name it.  So every home cook should have it in his or her repertoire. It’s an easy sauce to make with just a few keys to success.  The real beauty is that you can easily put your own signature

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The Elements of Pizza

I have spent years trying to perfect homemade pizza. If only this book had existed when I started, I could have saved myself so much time and frustration. Perhaps the single most important component of a pizza, homemade or otherwise, is the crust. Who better to consult than an accomplished and renowned bread maker like Ken Forkish?

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Thyme

Thyme is used widely throughout Western and Middle Eastern cuisines. A perennial garden favorite and a member of the mint family, it is believed to have originated in Mediterranean Europe. Its tender leaves are about ¼-inch or 6 mm, even smaller than those of oregano, and are green or variegated green and yellow, depending on the variety. They have an earthy somewhat peppery

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The 5 Keys to Great Coffee

I began drinking coffee sometime during the seventies; a period in American history which could easily be labelled as the dark ages. (And when I say dark, I’m not referring to the roast.) In those days, cafes were non-existent. Few outside of Seattle had ever heard of Starbucks, and the only place to go for

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Peas

The pea is the edible seed of of the Pisum sativum plant. Enclosed in long pod, it is technically a legume and is believed to have been first domesticated in Asia. Varieties can be divided into two categories: Green, or sweet, peas and field peas, which are dried for long-term storage. The most common variety

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Basil

Basil, or Ocimum basilicum, as it is officially known, is nothing short of pure alchemy. How else can you describe its uncanny ability to harness the summer sun and deliver it directly to your tastebuds? Highly aromatic but mild in flavor with a hint of anise and mint, it brightens anything it touches

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Carrots

  In his book, The Carrot Purple, food historian Joel Denker tells us that the iconic carrot as we know it today, brightly orange and deliciously sweet, was once nothing more than a novelty.  Up until the 17th century, carrots were generally purple or yellow, and fraught with issues. It seems the purple carrot juice

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Bananas

The word banana comes from the Arabic “banan,” meaning finger. A fitting moniker given that these long, curved tropical fruits may well be the greatest finger food of all time.  They port easily, need no refrigeration, and their thick skin serves as the perfect wrapper. Simply snap the stem, peel, and you have a delicious,

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