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Borscht, The Wonderful Roasted Beet Soup

Borscht is usually a beet soup that is a part of many religious holidays and cultural traditions from Eastern Europe. When I used to visit New York City with my father I loved eating the exotic flavors found in “kosher cafes” that followed Jewish law not to mix dairy products and meat.  Most people think of Kosher as being a Jewish tradition but actually Islamic kitchens follow several dietary traditions as well called Halal which are similar to kosher rules. For example, both traditions do not eat pork or shell fish among other differences. Back in the day when kosher … Continue reading Borscht, The Wonderful Roasted Beet Soup

The Extraordinary Seafood Reuben Sandwich

Reuben sandwiches have always been a favorite of mine, especially during the season of St. Patrick’s Day when cabbage and pastrami are easily found in grocery stores. Meatless alternatives have become an option many enjoy. Consider cooking your Reuben with fish caught in the chilly waters off Massachusetts and New York such as striped bass, flounder, tuna, cod, haddock, halibut, or  crab caught a bit further South. I love Soft Shell crab but cod is more accessible in the waters of the  Northeast and Alaska, flown in frozen. All seafood should give a briny scent of the sea as they … Continue reading The Extraordinary Seafood Reuben Sandwich

Green Is The Color Of St. Patrick’s Day

Visiting family in Chicago during St. Patrick’s Day shocked me when I saw the Chicago River, which winds along Wacker Drive, to be as green as a four leaf clover. Other cities across America celebrate the holiday with the color green as well. Parades, hats, banners and clothing of all types are green as the Emerald Isle in tribute to St. Patrick’s Day. Joining friends at local pubs on this special day is a time to enjoy a beer and a sandwich that are also bright green. I am generally OK with these menu choices but find myself less enchanted … Continue reading Green Is The Color Of St. Patrick’s Day

The Best Crockpot Chicken Soup—Jewish Penicillin

Virtually everyone likes chicken soup, especially with egg noodles, matzo balls or elbow macaroni. It’s nice and warm and filling during the colder months of the year while it satisfies our taste buds even during the spring and summertlme. Chicken soup is also said to be a healing dish that soothes our aches and pains, and clears our stuffy nose during cold season and the flu. Some even swear that this “Jewish penicillin” raises our resistance and our immune system to illness of all kinds. All I can say for sure is that it’s certainly delicious in all its many … Continue reading The Best Crockpot Chicken Soup—Jewish Penicillin

It’s Leap Year Again, The Season For Gumbo Soup

Every four years we celebrate Leap Year, the 29th of February. While this day amazingly has been around since 45 BC, many of us think of it as a recent event. In fact it’s an ancient invention that was added to the calendar to keep it in line with the seasons of the year. Still, many Americans in the 1930s associated Leap Year with a made-up event called Sadie Hawkins Day. Created by the cartoonist Al Capp ,the day celebrated where women and girls could marry their favorite partner by catching them in an annual race held in the small … Continue reading It’s Leap Year Again, The Season For Gumbo Soup

A Meal With Chinese Dumplings—Vegan And Shrimp

Dumplings go by different names depending on their country of  origin. In China they are called jiaozis; in Japan, shumai or gyoza; in the United States, wontons or pot stickers; Latinos call them empanadas, pierogies are Polish; kreplach are Jewish; and raviol are Italian. All of these dumplings are readily available in the United States or you can make your own. The rules are open-ended. The stuffing is dependent on one’s culture and the creativity of the chef. Eating them is extraordinary, and preparing them is almost more enjoyable. In New York City, Chinatown dumplings are special. We discovered our … Continue reading A Meal With Chinese Dumplings—Vegan And Shrimp

The Delicious Spiny & Maine Lobsters- Asian Style

 It’s fun to think about warm weather when March comes around even if we can’t travel to Florida or the Islands. Sunshine makes me think of warm seas and briny chowder. I can almost feel the sand beneath my feet while eating the delicious Spiny lobster that is found in waters throughout the Caribbean and surrounding Florida and Australia. Contrary to popular belief these beauties are not closely related to the Maine lobster. Yet they are similar in appearance in that they have a hard bony shell and tails that are wonderful to eat. But it’s easy to tell them … Continue reading The Delicious Spiny & Maine Lobsters- Asian Style

Cooking With The Fiery Datil Pepper, St. Augustine, Fla.

  When I think of peppers or chiles I think of warm summer—even tropical climates. I imagine splashing waves, hammocks, sea breezes, steel drums, seafood, dark, lovely ladies and handsome men with a lightness in their walk and a song in their heart that make cold winds disappear, at least in my imagination. This is also the time of year when many of us are fortunate enough to visit such warm weather places like St. Augustine FL, and try the fiery yet fruity datil pepper. Datils are similar in strength to habaneros or Scotch Bonnets, but have a sweeter flavor. … Continue reading Cooking With The Fiery Datil Pepper, St. Augustine, Fla.

Creole Mexican Chocolate Cake

Serves 8 (Adapted from Rosalie Murphy’s The Quick Adobe Cookbook Dell Publishing, 1988) 1 cup sour cream 1 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup milk 2 cup flour 1/4 tsp sea salt 1 tsp baking soda 2 eggs, beaten 4 squares (4 oz) unsweetened chocolate 1/2 cup hot water Frosting 8 oz cream cheese 2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate 1/8 cup milk 3/4 cup powdered sugar 1 cup pecan halves Directions for Cake 1 Preheat oven 350 F 2 Mix sour cream, 1 1/2 cup sugar and milk in a large bowl 3 Sift in flour, salt, baking soda 4 … Continue reading Creole Mexican Chocolate Cake

Food News: Food Giant Monsanto Lays off 16% as Organic Food Sales Increase

Monsanto foods just laid off another 1000 employees in addition to the 2600 jobs cut last Fall– a cut of 16% of it’s overall workforce.  This is a direct by-product  of the loss in revenue Monsanto has felt from  consumers who have increasingly rejected food grown by genetic modification engineering of an Organism (GMO’s),  while  choosing the benefits of a natural, organic diet. European countries  in response to the opposition many have felt from environmentalists,  farmers and political activists, have restricted or outlawed GMO cultivation all together. And these restrictions are being instituted by many other countries and food companies … Continue reading Food News: Food Giant Monsanto Lays off 16% as Organic Food Sales Increase

Food News: Campbell Soup Pressured to Remove some GMO Ingredients

Campbell Soup Company has just announced it will become one of the  major food companies to adopt food labels that will disclose  genetically modified ingredients.  This is in direct contrast with the company’s prior stance to fight GMO labeling efforts across the country. As Denise Morrison CEO, put it: “We will withdraw from any coalition that doesn’t suport mandatory labeling.” However, this decision does not mean that Campbells is no longer using GMO ingredients.  Rather they are no longer fighting the labeling process ifself. The public will know what products they make that have GMO ingredients  and those that don’t. … Continue reading Food News: Campbell Soup Pressured to Remove some GMO Ingredients

Sweet & Sour Pot au Feu for Winter

Pot au Feu is a French pot roast made in a savory style with vegetables, cold water, and condiments. It’s a dish to remember. It takes a while to finish cooking although a slow cooker saves time and trouble. It’s easy to make and quite different than so called “American pot roast” which browns the roast and braises in red wine and chicken stock. The American sweet and sour version is also one of my favorites. This can be done by merely adding 1/2 lemon, 2 tbsp brown sugar, plus dried fruit. This version is wonderfully different and refreshing. Be … Continue reading Sweet & Sour Pot au Feu for Winter

Food News: For Some, Soup is the New Juice

In a recent article published in the NYTimes, Thursday, February 4, 2016,  reporter Rachel Felder tells us that juicing is too extreme for many of us. Ms Felder reports that for the last few weeks, Vivienne Zhao, an investment banker who lives and works in Manhattan, has spent each Monday on a cleanse, consuming over a week’s time liquid based meals.   Her menu includes: pinto and black beans cooked with tomatoes, spinach and bok choy; garlicky carrots, mixed  onions and alkaline water; and pureed pumpkin with cardamon and Saigon cinnamon.  She came to this soup cleanse– known as “souping”– after … Continue reading Food News: For Some, Soup is the New Juice

Super Bowl Eats

Thanksgiving has become the holiday Americans of all backgrounds celebrate together. Yet the football event called the Super Bowl has also become no less observed and venerated on TV by millions of Americans. It will be interesting to see if the viewing public continues to follow the sport as we have up till now with the release of the film Concussion, starring Will Smith. The film documents the risks that athletes of all ages can suffer from sport induced head injuries called CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Do you think the film, Concussion, will alter the popularity of American football? … Continue reading Super Bowl Eats

Food News: Shrimp Peeled By Slave Labor Found At Whole Foods, Other Major Retailers

 BY NELL CASEY IN FOOD ON DEC 14, 2015 4:55 PM A harrowing investigation into imported shrimp found at major retailers in the United States and Europe has exposed the brutal working conditions behind shrimp sold around the world. Victims of human trafficking in Thailand are subjected to inhumane conditions in so-called “peeling sheds,” forced to work in dangerous and often unsanitary conditions to pay off “debts” they accrued by brokers who sold them to shrimp manufacturing companies, reveals an investigation by the Associated Press. The cleaned, peeled and de-veined shrimp then found their way into grocery stores, restaurants and … Continue reading Food News: Shrimp Peeled By Slave Labor Found At Whole Foods, Other Major Retailers

The Delicious Datil Pepper from St. Augustine, Florida

When I think of peppers or chiles I think of warm summer—even tropical climates. I imagine splashing waves, hammocks, sea breezes, steel drums, seafood, dark, lovely ladies and handsome men with a lightness in their walk and a song in their heart that make cold winds disappear, at least in my imagination. This is also the time of year when many of us are fortunate enough to visit such warm weather places like St. Augustine FL, and try the fiery yet fruity datil pepper. Datils are similar in strength to habaneros or Scotch Bonnets, but have a sweeter flavor. Locals … Continue reading The Delicious Datil Pepper from St. Augustine, Florida

The Enduring Importance of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Only three figures in American history have a national holiday named after them: President George Washington, Christopher Columbus and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Reverend King however is the only one who is a native born United States citizen. Whenever I write about King, I am reminded of this profound fact. To have a day named in your honor is no small achievement. But it wasn’t easy to accomplish. It took 15 years after King was assassinated in 1968 until it was finally signed as a Federal bill by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. One of the more popular initiatives … Continue reading The Enduring Importance of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Savory Souffle for Winter

Soufflé’s are normally thought of as French desserts made with chocolate or cheese that rise like the sun from our heavenly oven. But in fact these special delights can be “savory” in nature as well. The method used to make either sweet or savory soufflés is simple when we follow a set of uncompromising rules that will satisfy the most demanding critic at our table. But before we list the guiding principals let’s consider why the soufflé is worth the trouble. First off, they are just so good to eat, albeit rich, but delicious too. And when any food is … Continue reading Savory Souffle for Winter

Thanksgiving Sides Can Make A Meal – Traditional & Otherwise

A traditional Thanksgiving spread Thanksgiving is around the corner. Some love it. Others such as vegetarians bemoan “the turkey thing” every holiday season. Sides offer more choices and potentially more flavor. Normally, sides include turkey gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn bread, a vegetable of some unknown vintage, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Last year the focus of attention in our family was to fry a turkey and roast another in the oven as well as a backup, along with the traditional sides. All attendees enjoyed the meal. This year I thought it would be fun to create a variety of … Continue reading Thanksgiving Sides Can Make A Meal – Traditional & Otherwise

Imagine An Amazing Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Vegetarian eating is becoming more and more popular these days— even for Thanksgiving.   Eating this way in many cases is less expensive and can be extraordinarily delicious too. It’s also good for the environment as Mark Bittman nicely elaborates in his book The Food Matters that eating fewer animals is healthier for all of us. Personally, I am still a meat eater. But I eat less meat as I get older, especially less meat fed with antibiotics and I feel better in the process. Still giving up turkey on a national holiday is not easy to do, especially when we … Continue reading Imagine An Amazing Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Food News: Genetically Modified Salmon Approved by FDA

    Last week Federal regulators approved a genetically engineered salmon as fit for consumption. This is the first genetically altered animal to be cleared for American Supermarkets and dinner plates. This decision has been discussed and debated for over five years.  It was first proposed in the 1990’s.  The approval has been opposed by environmental and consumer groups because of the argument that the safety studies are inadequate.  The Center for Food Safety and other organizations say they plan to file a law suit  to stop the decision from being implemented. The Food and Drug Administration decision as currently … Continue reading Food News: Genetically Modified Salmon Approved by FDA

Combatting Breast Cancer Through Nutrition

A number of readers have asked for me to post this article on breast cancer nutrition. Here you go…  You can also read my food column weekly at www.longislandweekly.com. Click on Columns on the menu bar.  Eating Well To Combat Breast Cancer By Chef Alan Zox – October 20, 2015 Breast cancer is one of those diseases that more and more Americans experience either as a patient or a family member or friend of someone who has contracted the disease. But while the disease is frightening in many profound ways, it is not necessarily deadly nor undefeatable. The five-year observed … Continue reading Combatting Breast Cancer Through Nutrition

Food News: Popularity of Organically Grown Food is Exploding

Eating organic is no longer a fringe behavior. As Christina Sarich points out in Vitality newspaper’s Sept issue, 2015, consumer demand for organic food has sky rocketed with annual double digit growth. In 2012 more htan $28.4 million was spent on organic food. And this year, 2015, organic food sales will reach $35 billion, as reported by Nutrition Business Journal.  And this growth seems to be just the beginning. See my blog  this week on “Combating Breast Cancer through Nutrition.” As Cancer grows in our meat dependent society, the percentage of consumers who  recognize the value of organically  grown plant … Continue reading Food News: Popularity of Organically Grown Food is Exploding

Delicious Indian Curry With Tofu And Fava Beans

  Indian curry tofu My first Indian friend, Vivian, was my department chairman at the university. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a joyfulness about eating Indian food, especially food from southern India. His wife, Mary, was Irish and from Chicago, but Vivian’s family taught her to cook for her husband, which she did with a relish and apparent pleasure. She and Vivian enjoyed inviting me for dinner, which was no less a treat for me. I had never really known Indian food except for an Indian fast food cafe near my home that was very mediocre. … Continue reading Delicious Indian Curry With Tofu And Fava Beans

Chef Alan Zox, Ph.D cooks, writes and teaches about healthy, flavorful food.