Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are These Eggs Fresh?



"Are These Eggs Fresh?"

Dealing with dairy products is always a concern with consumers because they are perishable items. Sell-by and Expiration Dates will determine if a consumer will buy a specific perishable item. The longer shelf life they have, the more likely they will find a new home in someone's refrigerator. While most dairy products have their life expectancy clearly printed on their containers, eggs have been a concern for most.

Until recently, all egg cartons had "Julian" dating. Julian dating basically is the numeric date of the year that the eggs were packed. If eggs were packed on January 1, then the Julian date printed on the carton would be 001. If the eggs were packaged on December 31, the dating would read 365. Here is a chart you can use to decipher your Julian codes.



The good news is more and more egg packers are using sell-by or use-by dates now. Eggs packed using sell-by dates are usually given a 45 day shelf life. Since eggs stay fresh for about 45 days, this new labeling insures a fresher product for the consumer.

For more information about eggs, check out www.goodegg.com.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Drinking Water Week: May 3-9 2009

Drinking Water Week May 3-9 2009



Studies show that many people mistaken thirst for hunger pains. You know what I say, next time you are thirsty, stick a slice of pizza in a blender with water, puree it, and drink your hunger away. Problem solved.


Seriously though, summer is right around the corner and proper hydration is key to enjoying the weather without getting ill. As much as we all love food, too much of anything is never any good.


According to the U.S. Public Health Service Commisioned Corps:


May represents the beginning of the warm months ahead and should serve as a reminder to drink more water! We can survive a month without food, but only about a week without water. Why? This is because water is essential to your body with almost every part of the body cell, tissue, and organ needing water to function. Without enough water, dehydration, ranging from mild to severe forms, can set in.

Why is hydration so important?


The following quote is taken from the Water Prayer in the “Mohawk Thanksgiving Address.” It reads:
“We give thanks to all the water of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms - waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of water.” According to the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, the average adult loses about two and a half quarts or about 10 cups of water daily. This needs to be replaced to maintain your body's fluid balance.

Why do we need to stay hydrated?


There are some physical and lifestyle factors that make it more difficult to maintain adequate fluid balance and may give rise to chronic and mild forms of dehydration. These include: poor thirst mechanism; dissatisfaction with the taste of water; consumption of the natural diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol; participation in physical activity; and environmental conditions. Many health experts agree that it is important for people to drink at least 8 cups of water each day, but may require more for adequate hydration. The average sedentary adult man must consume at least 2,900 mL (12 c) fluid per day, and the average sedentary adult woman at least 2,200 mL (9 c) fluid per day, in the form of non-caffeinated, nonalcoholic beverages, soups, and foods (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9972188&dopt=Abstract).

How can I improve my water intake?


The ADA also offers these suggestions to increase fluid intake:


  • Take water breaks during the day instead of coffee breaks or keep a cup or bottle on your desk to drink throughout the day.

  • Patronize vending machines that sell bottled water and skip the high calorie or sweetened beverages.

  • Anytime you walk past a water fountain, take a drink.

  • Alternate sparkling water and alcoholic drinks at parties or restaurants.

  • Drink water before, after, and during physical activity.

  • Carry a bottle of water as you commute, work, and/or run errands.

  • Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water; stay hydrated all day long!

What about hunger and thirst?

Is it true that thirst can often be mistaken for hunger? Yes. This is why many weight loss experts recommend drinking a glass of water before eating a meal or snack. If that satisfies you, then it was thirst. According to ADA, “recognizing “real” hunger for many people sends them searching for food, often before they need to eat. Feeling hungry at the start of a meal is good, but knowing when you could wait longer is also important.” You may want ask yourself some of these basic questions before your next meal to help you better differentiate between hunger and thirst?


Am I hungry?

If you’re not sure, wait 20 minutes and ask again.
When was the last time I ate? If it’s less than 3 hours, it may not be real hunger.
When was the last time I drank some water? It may not be hunger, but really thirst you are feeling.
Could a small snack tide me over until the next meal? Try to have ready-to-eat fruit or vegetables on hand. If you can’t recognize when you’re hungry, make a schedule. Eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours until you learn what actual hunger feels like. If you overeat at a meal, get back on track at the next one.Thirst is clearly different from hunger. It is important to pay close attention to your surroundings and the environmental conditions. In dry climates, sweat evaporates rapidly and you may not notice that you are losing a lot of water and electrolytes, not to mention the physical work involved, all of which can contribute to dehydration. You may need to drink more than eight 8-ounce glasses every day especially if you spend lots of time outside.Below are some practical suggestions to consider when it comes to fluid management:
Drink water! The best source for hydrating your body is just water.
Choose fruit juices, milk, or caffeine-free coffee or tea as secondary sources of hydration. Carrying a water bottle makes it easy to remember to drink. Alternating water and coffee in your mug is another way to meet your needs.
Herbal teas, low-sugar soy beverages, and rice beverages are also good secondary sources to keeping our bodies well hydrated. Soups will add lots of water too; just remember that canned soups usually contain high amounts of sodium.
Many foods have a high water content, too. Here are some examples:


Food Percent of Water
Lettuce (half cup) 95
Watermelon (half cup) 92
Broccoli (half cup) 91
Grapefruit (half cup) 91
Milk (one cup) 89
Orange juice (three fourths cup) 88
Carrot (half cup) 87
Yogurt (one cup 85
Apple (one medium) 84

So how much should I drink?


Women should drink nine 8-ounce servings
Men should drink thirteen 8-ounce servings
Limit caffeine to 400 mg per day
Beverages should not be more than 10 to 15 percent of total daily calories
Water and/or fluid requirements increases with a person’s body size as does calories. The larger the individual, the more fluid is required to keep one from getting dehydrated. More information is available on the ADA Web site at
http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/login_search_ENU_HTML.htm?dosearch=1&search=water+&x=17&y=7 and the “The Daily Healthy Beverage Guidelines” at http://www.lipton.com/tea_health/beverage_guide/index.asp

Source of information: http://dcp.psc.gov/ccbulletin/articles/FitforDuty_050607.htm

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

~Grandma's Homemade Manicotti~

Ciao tutti!


In many cultures, food plays a major role in almost every facet. Whether it be a holiday, special occasion, or just an excuse to get together with family & friends, having food & beverage available is paramount to a successful event. With that understood, I think it is automatic in Italian culture & tradition that food takes top billing. Food is the title of your blockbuster movie and you are just an extra. It is like, “Baked Ziti! Starring Mom, Dad, the kids, and their relatives!”
Just think about it. How many times have you gone to a relative’s house or had friends and family over and one of the first inquiries if not the first is, “What are we eating?”, or “What’s being served?”. What is being served will help a potential guest decide whether or not to come or not. It’s like going to a party hosted by George Clooney or some guy down the street who plans on playing music with glasses filled with water. Which one would you choose? And don’t feel sorry about the water glass guy, I made him up.
Food to an occasion is like gas to a car. It just doesn’t get going with out it. Guests appreciate a culinary delight presented with pride over a bag of chips still in the bag dropped on the coffee table. And with the Easter Holiday just passing, I am sure many of you are still savoring the flavors and reminiscing the good time you had with loved ones.
With that, we would like to share a simple dish with you that we can never have enough of. This particular dish in our family that we all look forward to is Grandma’s Homemade Manicotti. Since this dish is only made on certain occasions our family goes crazy over it, and we all want leftovers! Poor Grandma has to make enough for the occasion and then a huge tray for each household. And so, since grandma cannot make her famous melt-in-your-mouth manicotti for everyone, we have decided to share one of our family’s secrets. We feel selfish to keep this amazing and simple recipe to ourselves, so here is Grandma’s Homemade Manicotti recipe:






Making the Shells (crepes):Yields about 40 crepes

Ingredients:
2 cups of flour
2 cups of milk*
4 eggs
Pinch of salt

(*the milk can be substituted with water for a lighter crepe)
- In a bowl mix half of the ingredients (2 eggs, 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk, and salt)
- Beat mixture until it is a smooth batter.
- In the same bowl mix the rest of the ingredients (2 eggs, 1 cup of flour, and 1 cup of milk)
- Beat mixture until it is a smooth batter. (If the mixture is too thick add more milk.)

- To make the shell use a crepe maker with dipping pan or a small frying pan. You can purchase a crepe maker at Doris Italian Market.
- Use a stick of butter to lightly grease the crepe maker or small frying pan so the shells will peel off easily.
- Pour some of the batter in the dipping pan and dip crepe maker in batter just enough to coat it with a thin layer of the batter. If using a frying pan drop a ladleful of batter in pan and swish it around.
- Carefully peel off the shell after about 5 seconds or when you see it thicken and edges start to curl.
- Flip over on other side for about 2 seconds and then place the finished crepe on a plate.

- Separate the layers of crepes with paper towels or wax paper so they do not stick together.
- Pour more of the batter in the dipping pan as needed and repeat the process until the batter is finished.
- Shells can be made a day in advance if desired, just keep in refrigerator.

Note: Making the shells takes a little practice. Don’t worry if you throw away more shells than you keep the first time around. The hardest part is peeling off the shells from the crepe maker without them tearing. So just be patient. Practice makes perfect!
You will need tomato sauce when cooking the manicotti, whether you make your own or you use a gourmet jarred sauce.

Filling the Shells

Manicotti Filling Ingredients:
2 egg yolks
3 lbs. ricotta cheese
2 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped fine) *optional*

- In a bowl mix the egg yolks with ricotta cheese and chopped parsley if desired. This adds some flavor.

Preparation:
- Take one crepe and lay it flat.
- Spread about 1 ½ tablespoons of ricotta filling in the center of shell and spread from one side to the other. The filling should resemble a rectangle shape in the middle of the shell. Then fold each side of the shell over the filling to form a tube.


- Preheat oven on Bake 375-400 degrees

- Put layer of tomato sauce on bottom of pan, enough to cover the whole bottom
- Place the manicotti seam side down in pan side by side (one layer only) and cover manicotti with a layer of sauce.
- You can sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese over the top if you like.
- Cover pan with aluminum foil.

- Cook for about 45 minutes (depending on oven). For the last 10 minutes of cooking time uncover pan.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Manicotti can be served as the first course or as the main course of the meal. Accompany it with a salad and of course your favorite bottle of wine. Buon Appetito!!

Some of the simplest dishes are the most delicious. Grandma’s Manicotti is one of those dishes and Easter without Grandma’s Manicotti would just be a day, like a made for TV movie, instead of a special effects laden hi-octane eat at the edge of your seat dinner.

Purchase a crepe maker at your local Doris Italian Market or purchase one from our online store. Visit our online store by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

~Welcome~

Hello and welcome to Doris Italian Market & Bakery's first blog. We are very excited to start this for many reasons. First of all, we get to share all we have to say with our current & future customers through a very effective way to reach many people. Secondly, offering specials and coupons isn't enough for us here at Doris. Your satisfaction is our pleasure and your appreciation for what we have to offer is an underlying goal to help us strengthen our ties to you all.
As this blog site begins, we will share our insight on all things food. This will include recipes, anecdotes, future events, and even personal stories that can either inform, entertain, or both! Since this blog is in its infancy, we expect changes along the way, and your input can only help, so please use this as an additional option in communicating with your favorite Italian Specialty Market.
Doris Italian Market & Bakery is a neighborhood oriented business. Having people bump into their friends & neighbors at our locations only validates this concept and a blog will help us spread the word that there is a place that someone can get great food and amazing prices and feel welcome. This blog will allow us to introduce many of the people who contribute to our success as well as providing information that will truly make Doris Markets your neighborhood Mecca and our site a treasure trove of valuable information.
We look forward to posting our blogs. We hope you get to know us even better by reading what we have to say.
Ciao for now!