Category Archives: Advice

Spice Things Up

An article in the Arizona Republic explains why hot weather and hot food are a cool combination. I’ve interviewed the chef, Randy Zweiban, who’s quoted in the story.

What is your go- to ethnic cuisine when you’re in the mood to spice things up? Where do you find it?

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Raising Ethnic Eaters

If you don’t want your kids to be picky eaters, give the littlest chewers lots of different things to eat, not once but over and over again. Make sure the mix includes a variety of ethnic foods.  And be patient- it can take  many “exposures” for a child to accept a new taste. The approach definitely worked with my three boys- now adults and enthusiastic culinary adventurers (and great cooks too!)

From ProChef Smart Brief

Giving toddlers a variety of foods can prevent picky eaters
Parents who expose their toddlers to a wide variety of food tastes, including ethnic dishes, may reduce their dependence on less-healthy childhood staples such as pasta and pizza and prevent them from becoming a picky eater, nutrition experts say. While a pregnant woman’s diet may influence her child’s food preferences, nutritionists recommend having a toddler try a food 20 times before deciding it is something they really do not like. The Boston Globe

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Eat Healthy and Ethnic

Interesting report from CNN 

The 10 healthiest ethnic cuisines

Which ethnic cuisine do you think of as a healthy alternative to burgers and fries? Where do you fo to get it and what dishes do you order when you want to do your body a good turn?

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Filed under Advice, Culinary, In The Media

Asian Catering

At the Asian Festival held in downtown Cleveland this spring I met a woman named Marina Villanueva-Velmin. She has a catering company based in Westlake called Tamarind Tree that specializes in the cusine of her homeland, the Phillipines. I tasted her cooking at the Festival and thought it was wonderful.

We’ve been in communication since then and I’ve had a chance to look over her  complete menu.  It includes some really unusual dishes: a chicken stew called Calderetta; Mechado, the Filipino version of beef bourguignon ;  Pancit Malabon made with rice noodles, garlic spiked pork, eggs and vegetables; pork and chicken adobo, the country’s national culinary mascot, and cocido, a meat-based stew featuring cabbage, chick peas, sweet potatoes and green beans.  She also offers a small selection of foods from other Asian cuisines such as Vietnamese spring rolls and Thai chicken curry. Putting this sort of thing on your table would definitely make for a unique and memorable party. On second thought, why wait for a party? You can order two dozen empanadas ($30) just for yourself, and freeze the leftover mini meat filled pastries to be enjoyed another day. Sounds like a plan to me.

If  you are curious about Filipino food and culture, plan to attend the Phillippine Festival  Sunday, August 15.  It happnes from 10-6, 9440 Ridgewood Drive in Parma.

Tamarind Tree has no website and Marina doesn’t do email but you can call to talk with her about your next event, 440-871-8708

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Filed under Advice, Culinary

Grilling in Thai

Very bad, very sad news coming out of Thailand this week. So it seemed like just the right time to post something positive related to this country.  And with the sun actually shining on a weekend, I’m thinking about cooking outside. That leads me to a happy thought- I have some Thai sausage from Mister Brisket in my freezer.  They make it themselves and it’s really wonderful done on the grill.

Curious about the why and what, I called Sanford Herskovitz, the real Mr. B, to get the story of how the sausages ended up on his product list, the only Asian inspired meat in the mix . He told me that he first tasted them a Z’s, the innovative restaurant Zack Bruell opened back in the ’80′s. And Herskovitz ate many more in Bangkok on a trip to the southeast Asian nation he made with his wife Frances. Intrigued with their unqiue flavor, he decided to recreate them for his Cleveland Heights store. 

His version is made with ground veal, soy sauce, cilantro, a lot of garlic and hint of sweetness from brown sugar. At just $5.99 a pound, these links are a bargain. I like mine  with jasmine rice and stir fried vegetables or soba (buckwheat) noodles tossed with scallions, sesame seeds and peanut sauce. Sanford says they’re good on a bun with honey mustard.  I’m definitely going to have to put that on my To Try list.

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Filed under Advice, Cooking Tips, Markets

Nurture Little Ethnic Eaters

Help for moms and dads who want their kids to have a taste for pad thai, chicken korma, and grilled calamari. 

New Videos Help Parents of Picky Eaters
Author of “My Two-Year Old Eats Octopus,” gives mealtime tips for raising children who love to eat everything.

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