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Beef Taco’s of America

Quick and easy to make, and the tacos taste much better than fast food. You can adjust the spices to your liking, if necessary, and top with your favorite garnishes, such as cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, sour cream, etc. Enjoy!

Ingredients Nutrition

4 US
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 12 teaspoon oregano
  • 14 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 12 cup canned tomato sauce (I use Hunt’s)
  • 12 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 8 taco shells

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until simmering.
  2. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in the ground beef.
  6. Cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and sugar.
  8. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  9. Season with salt to taste.
  10. Divide the filling evenly among taco shells and serve, passing any desired accompaniments separately.

Fried Lamb Burger

If you like hamburgers and want a little variation with some kick, fried lamb burgers are for you. The lamb is very tender and the spices really flatter the meat. You can serve this on pita, a bun, or as I prefer, on a kaiser or sourdough roll.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped parsley(without stems)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
Preparation

In a medium bowl, combine flour, parsley, spices, onion, salt, and pepper. Add meat with a wooden spoon or hands and begin to mix together.

In a small bowl beat the eggs, and then add to meat and spice mixture. Mix together. Form into patties.

In a skillet or frying pan, pour in oil and bring heat to a medium high. Cook each patty for about 1-4 minutes each side until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with or without bun and bread.

Chocolate Banana Naturally Sweet Ice Cream

Naturally Sweet Ice Cream recipe - just three simple ingredients and no ice cream maker required! Refined sugar free, dairy free, loaded with chocolate banana and peanut butter flavor! | pinchofyum.com
Ingredients
  • 4 bananas, peeled, cut into chunks, and frozen
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa or similar, like 2 packets The Daily Good Greens Chocolate
  • a few tablespoons of water
  • 1 chocolate bar, such as SuperFoods Chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • peanut butter and sea salt for topping
Instructions
  1. Let the bananas soften for a while at room temperature or in the microwave. You don’t want them to be rock hard because they’ll take a toll on your food processor or blender, but you don’t want them to be soft because you’ll get more of a smoothie texture. They should be frozen but starting to soften on the outside.
  2. Pulse the bananas in a food processor until smooth. This is a heavy duty task – a blender can do it, but it’s going to need some help (a few stirs here and there) to move through the blender smoothly.
  3. Dissolve the cocoa in the water to allow it to incorporate into the ice cream better. Add the chocolate paste to the food processor and puree again until incorporated.
  4. Stir in the chocolate bits and anything else you might like – vanilla, sea salt, etc. Serve topped with drizzled peanut butter!
Notes
For the nutrition information, I used standard cocoa powder and 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, since we don’t have the exact numbers for the ALOHA products in our database.

Orange-Earl Grey Iced Tea

Orange-Earl Grey Iced Tea

Makes: 8 servings, about 1 cup each

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup loose Earl Grey tea, or 12 Earl Grey tea bags
  • Peel of 1 orange, plus orange wedges for garnish
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups cold water

Preparation

  1. Steep loose tea (or tea bags) and orange peel in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Strain the tea (or remove tea bags and orange peel) and pour into a large pitcher. Stir in orange juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add cold water. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve over ice with orange wedges, if desired.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Nutrition

Per serving: 35 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrates; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 5 mg sodium; 67 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1/2 carbohydrate (other)

Best Ever Tropical Fruit Salad

http://theslowroasteditalian-printablerecipe.blogspot.com/2014/05/orange-honey-rainbow-fruit-salad.html

MAKES 12 Cups  |  ACTIVE TIME 25 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 25 Min

12 mandarin oranges, divided (for dressing and salad)
2 cup strawberries, sliced
1 pineapple, cut into bite size chunks
5 kiwi, sliced
3 mangoes, cut into bite size chunks

Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing
1 medium lemon
1 lime
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Ginger Paste or fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Wash and dry lemon, lime and 2 mandarin oranges. Zest the washed and dried citrus with a zester or fine grater. Add to 1 cup measuring cup or small bowl. Cut each in half and squeeze the juice into the measuring cup. (You should get about 1/2 cup juice).  Add honey, ginger and poppy seeds to juice mixture and whisk until combined.  Set aside or place in the refrigerator if serving later.

Prepare remaining fruit. Slice strawberries and kiwi. Section remaining oranges. Cut pineapple and mango into bite size chunks. Place fruit in a large bowl. Pour dressing on top of fruit about 30 minutes before serving. Gently toss to coat. Serve and enjoy!

COOK’S NOTE:  This fruit salad is fabulous with whatever you have on hand. I love carambola (star fruit) and papaya in this salad as well. Bananas are lovely, but have to be added at the last minute or they will get soft and not look pretty.

Starting a Catering Business

Over the last decade catering has become one of the fastest-growing industries. This seems to be partly as a result of popular television series such as Masterchef and the Great British Bake Off and partly due to an increase in the number of organisations employing outside catering companies to prepare food for events.

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Image Credit

Running a catering company is hard work and requires a strong personality as well as the obvious flair for cooking. However, if long hours and working closely with clients appeals, this could be the perfect business start up for you.

Day-to-Day Organisation

Running a catering company means long hours and, depending upon the type of events you decide to service, you may be up at the crack of dawn and working late into the night. During peak seasons, this could be six or even seven days a week.

The average evening event would typically require an 8.00am start. Alongside food preparation, you will be organising stock, sorting out equipment, accepting deliveries, keeping up with emails and phone calls and undertaking marketing tasks, including maintaining a social media presence. Event start times will vary, but preparation on site will usually begin around 5.00pm for a 7.00pm or 8.00pm event. Once everything is in hand and the event under way, it will be important to ensure you make a good impression as the face of your company. Events are a great place to meet potential new clients. The clean-up afterwards is as important as preparing and serving amazing food. Leave a fantastic impression and your business will benefit from word-of-mouth recommendations.

Morning or all-day events will obviously run to a different time scale.

Location

Before deciding on a location for your catering company, or the type of events you will service, carry out some market research. Look around at other local companies offering a similar service to decide if there is room in the market for your business too or whether you need to consider moving location or changing your speciality.

Running a catering company doesn’t necessarily mean immediately having to hire premises to work in. Your own kitchen should suffice at first. However, it may be necessary to invest in commercial chest freezers, such as those available at Fridge Freezer Direct, to keep food in.

Once business starts to increase, it may become necessary to move to a professional kitchen.

Training

It is not necessarily important to have lots of qualifications in order to start up a catering company. However, running a business can be complicated, so enlisting the help and advice of accountants and other business experts is a good idea. Lots of information can be found online. You will, of course, be required by law to have food hygiene and health and safety training and comply with food hygiene regulations.

Staff

When you first start, it may be possible to run your catering business with minimal staff. However, once things get busier, it will be important to have a team of reliable employees. Hiring staff on a full-time basis will probably not be the most cost-effective solution. Instead, look into more temporary options, such as contracting from staffing agencies or using self-employed personnel.

How to Lose Weight With Prune Juice

Prune juice is a sweet, fruit juice made from pitted and squeezed prunes. It is known for its laxative effects and often drunk during cleanses. People find it easier to go to the bathroom after drinking prune juice or eating whole prunes and, as such, this type of juice is commonly used to prevent bloating and constipation. While prune juice is often considered a weight loss tool, it is incorrect to say one can safely lose weight simply by drinking prune juice. However, prune juice can be used as part of a healthy weight loss technique.

Prune juice has 182 calories per cup.

Incorporate more exercise into your day. The key ingredient to weight loss is the burning of calories, which is most quickly achieved when you exercise. Try to exercise one hour a day. This can be as simple as two 30-minute walks, obtaining a gym membership or joining a sports team.

Woman walking on a trail in autumn

Purchase a brand of prune juice that has a flavor you enjoy. Prune juice is an acquired taste, so it’s important that you can stomach it. Ensure the prune juice you purchase is 100 percent juice and does not have any sugar added. Some prune juice cocktails will have another kind of fruit juice added, which is fine. The key is to avoid refined sugar intake.

Cross section of a prune

Eliminate refined sugars, such as candy, cake, ice cream and soft drinks, from your diet. These products are known to drastically increase your caloric intake and cause you to gain weight. When you have a craving for something sweet, drink a glass of prune juice. One cup of prune juice contains 182 calories, which is far fewer than a soft drink. Best of all, the calories in prune juice come from the sweetness in the fruit itself, not from an added sugar source. Remember that while prune juice is far healthier than sugary alternatives, five glasses a day gives you nearly 1,000 calories. Try to drink the juice only when you feel you’d like a sweet snack.

Bowl of chocolate and vanilla ice cream

Eliminate high-fat foods, such as French fries, donuts and potato chips, from your diet. Like high-sugar foods, foods high in saturated fat are a chief culprit of weight gain. Removing them from your diet will allow you to eat healthier foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains and fish.

French fries and ketchup

Use the washroom frequently. Because prune juice contains a natural laxative, you may find you’re making further trips to the bathroom. This is a good thing if you’re losing weight, because more bathroom visits will result in a healthier intestinal system with less bloating.

Toilet

How to Keep Bananas From Turning Dark in Banana Pudding

Recipes vary but one thing remains consistent when it comes to a homemade banana pudding: no dark bananas. Creamy, yellowish white custard, dotted with dark brown banana slices or chunks can be a visual turnoff, making even the best-tasting banana puddings unappealing. A few extra steps prior to preparation helps to keep your bananas from turning brown before, during and after serving up your prized banana pudding special.Small dish of banana pudding

Enzymatic Browning

  • Despite the lack of appeal, dark, brown bananas in a pudding do not indicate that the bananas or the pudding is unsafe to eat. The browning is nothing more than a chemical reaction known as enzymatic browning. The reaction occurs when enzymes in cut bananas encounter the oxygen in the air. This union creates melanin — a natural pigment — responsible for the brown color. The longer the air exposure, the more prominent the browning.

Undercover Bananas

  • Completely coat the bananas with the custard when preparing the pudding. The pudding coating acts as a barrier between the bananas and the oxygen in the air staving off enzymatic browning. If you are preparing a layered banana pudding, place the bananas on top of the wafers and cover with a layer of pudding. Repeat the process for each layer, ensuring that the final layer is pudding to shield the bananas from oxygen.

Perfect Timing

  • The ideal time to make banana pudding is right before it is time to eat it. Otherwise, any leftovers require refrigeration because pudding is a perishable. The coolness of the refrigerator tends to turn bananas dark, so if you do not plan to eat the banana pudding right away, toss the sliced bananas in a few tablespoons of lemon juice before you add them to prevent browning during storage. If your pudding calls for mash, mash the lemon juice right into the bananas.

Ripe and Ready

  • Resist the urge to prepare your banana pudding with unripe bananas in hopes of prolonging browning. The bananas should be ripe but not over-ripe. Ripe bananas are soft but not mushy with brown speckles on the skin. If your bananas are ripe but you are not yet ready to make the pudding, prepare the banana and lemon juice mash, place it in an airtight container and freeze.

How to Make Homemade Fruit Gelatin

Fruit-flavored gelatin desserts are a longtime childhood favorite, with their crystalline colors and kid-pleasing wobbly texture. They’re mom-friendly as well, with a quick and easy preparation method that requires little time and generates few dirty dishes. Their only real shortcoming is that the flavor and color come largely from “mystery” ingredients, with little nutritional value. Making your own fruit gelatin from scratch sidesteps this problem, combining unflavored gelatin with real fruit juice for a simple, healthful dessert or snack.

How to Make Homemade Fruit Gelatin
Using Fresh JuiceMeasure 1/4 of the fruit juice into a heatproof mixing bowl and sprinkle its surface with unflavored gelatin. One standard-sized envelope contains 2 1/2 teaspoons of powder, or just less than one tablespoon, and will set 2 cups of juice to the familiar jiggly-but-soft dessert texture.

Using Fresh JuiceBring the remaining 3/4 of your juice to a full rolling boil in a saucepan. Once the gelatin in the bowl has fully “bloomed,” or absorbed moisture from the cold juice, pour the hot juice into your mixing bowl.

Using Fresh JuiceStir the mixture briskly for 30 to 60 seconds, until the gelatin has completely dissolved. If it’s not thoroughly dispersed throughout the juice, your finished dessert might have a lumpy and inconsistent texture.

Using Fresh JuiceSweeten the mixture lightly with fine sugar, agave, honey or other sweeteners, if the juice you’ve selected is tart. If it’s sweet, add a splash of lemon or lime juice to brighten its flavor. Continue stirring until your sweetening or acidifying ingredient is also well-mixed.

Using Fresh JuiceRefrigerate your dessert in its bowl for at least 2 hours, until fully set. Alternatively, pour it into individual dessert dishes. The smaller volume of gelatin dessert will set in roughly half the time.

Using Juice ConcentrateMeasure 2 parts water for every part juice concentrate you’ll be using. That’s less water than you’d use for making juice, but it will provide your dessert with a more intense flavor. Each pouch of gelatin powder sets 2 cups of liquid, so this means you’ll need 2/3 cup of concentrate and 1 1/3 cups of water per pouch.

Using Juice ConcentratePour 1/2 of the water into a heatproof bowl and sprinkle your gelatin powder over its surface to moisten, or “bloom.” Bring the other half of your water to a boil, and stir it into the yeast mixture. Stir continuously until the gelatin is completely dissolved. If a few granules remain stubbornly intact, heat the bowl in your microwave for 30 seconds to raise the water’s temperature and then stir until they disappear.

Using Juice ConcentrateSpoon half of the concentrate into the gelatin mixture and stir until it dissolves completely, then add the remaining concentrate. The concentrate should melt completely as you stir it into the gelatin. If it doesn’t, return the bowl to your microwave for another 30 seconds and then resume stirring.

Using Juice ConcentrateSweeten the mixture or brighten it with lemon or lime juice, as needed, then refrigerate your dessert until it sets. Gelatin made with frozen concentrate is cooler than gelatin made with boiling juice, and can be ready to serve in as little as 45 minutes, though 1 to 2 hours is more usual.

Fruit Decoration

Fruit can add a fun, colorful and whimsical touch to any room in the house. Kitchens are a popular place to showcase a permanent fruit bowl or other fruit décor. Fruity decorations can work equally as fine as a still painting in a wooden frame for the living room or a close-up of a bitten apple in an art deco frame for a bathroom adornment. An orchard full of fruit decorations is available, ranging from colorful plastic pieces to those that are actually edible.

Fruit Decoration

Artwork

  • Fruit paintings, photographs and wallpaper are easy options for fruit decorations. Depending on the image and the frame, fruit photos and paintings can grace an austere hallway, with the close-up of a cherry framed in silver, to the frivolous foyer, with an apple orchard depicted in a large, clear poster frame. Fruit wallpaper can range from busy red apple or cherry patterns to vintage pineapples toned down in dark gold, light brown and army green. Folks can also choose from a fine array of fruit themed place mats, throw rugs, sheets and bedding, as well as fruit lampshades, lamps and tablecloths.

Figurines

  • Plastic, rubber and other realistic fruit figurines have been gracing homes for ages. Some fruit figurines may try to appear as closely as possible to the real thing, featuring lifelike leaves, soft, rubber grapes and a textured outer coating on an orange. Some of these figurines look so realistic that guests may try to eat them, or at least pinch them to see if they are real. Glass bead grapes and blown glass apples are another option. Still other fruit figurines can be adorned with silly faces or other features that ensure guests know they are not looking at the real thing.

Wood

  • Wooden bowls in the shape of fruit are another way to deck the home with fruity styles. Apples, a bunch of grapes, pineapples and bananas work best because of their telltale shapes, whereas an orange may simply resemble a circle. The wooden fruit-shape bowls can do double duty by serving as an actual bowl that holds fruit, giving a healthy snack a whimsical touch. The grape and apple bowls should have a stem at the top to make what it is obvious.

Ornaments

  • Fruit shapes make for unique and delicious-looking holiday ornaments in a number of ways. Red and green apples, in glass or another lightweight material, can be embellished with silver or gold trim and hooked on to a Christmas tree. The holiday colors are already apparent with the red and green. Lightweight, hollow plastic fruit pieces can also be strung together with a clear thread to make fruit garland. This works especially well with smaller fruit, such as grapes and miniature apples or oranges. The garland can be embellished further by stringing colorful beads or sequins in between the pieces of fruit.

Edibles

  • A bowl of fruit salad can be transformed into delightful décor for parties or a special meal. People can cut melon, pineapple and apple slabs into interesting shapes, such as stars, hearts, moons, suns and flowers. The pieces should be at least 1/2 inch thick and large enough to hold their shape. They can be arranged in a fancy glass bowl. They may also be pierced through the bottom with a bamboo skewer and propped up in a small glass or vase at each place setting. Halved cherries and cut strawberry pieces work well as flower centers, eyes and other small embellishments secured on the main design with a toothpick.

How to Thicken Dessert Sauce

Pies, doughnuts, cheesecakes, cakes, tarts and ice cream are often drizzled or covered with sweet sauces. Whether you are making your dessert sauce from scratch, or buying it already made, you may want to thicken your dessert sauce so that it is less runny and has a heartier consistency. By taking a few moments in the kitchen to prepare, you can get your dessert sauce to the thickness you desire without too much effort.

Thicken your dessert sauce before you serve it.

Raspberry Coulis

  1. Place your thawed raspberries, powdered sugar and lemon juice into a blender. Puree the contents until they are smooth and the frozen chunks are absorbed.
  2. Strain your raspberry mixture from the blender into a bowl. Keep the seeds and other fruit flesh out of the bowl.
  3. Evaluate the consistency of your raspberry coulis with a whisk. If it appears to be too runny, thicken the sauce by whisking in more powdered sugar. Add a little bit of powdered sugar – one tablespoon at a time. After each tablespoon that you add, whisk the mixture up and evaluate the new consistency until you come to a thickness that you like.

Caramel Sauce

  1. Combine the water and sugar in the medium saucepan over low heat. Cook five to 10 minutes so the sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase the heat and allow the mixture to boil and bubble for about five to seven minutes. The sugar water will now turn a brown color as it caramelizes. Turn the heat back to low once the mixture reaches the desirable color, so that you do not risk burning the caramel.
  3. Slowly add the cream and vanilla extract to the caramel sauce in the pan. Mix it up.
  4. Add 1 tsp. of cornstarch to your caramel sauce at a time, whisking it each time you add some. Cornstarch is a thickening agent that will make your caramel sauce firmer and stickier. Continue adding the cornstarch until you reach a thickness you like. Also, keep in mind that as the caramel sauce cools, it will thicken a little. So you do not want to add too much cornstarch to the pot, or else it could make your sauce too thick and stiff.

How to Make an Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Oreos are famously the world’s most popular cookie, widely outselling every other major brand. That’s partly because of their affinity for a glass of milk, and partly because they make a fine ingredient in more lavish desserts. In the middle of a hot summer, for example, you can quickly turn Oreos and ice cream into a crowd-pleasing ice cream “cake. This version preserves, in cake form, the standard Oreo arrangement of chocolate at top and bottom, with a creamy white filling in between.

Ingredients

2 13-ounce packages Oreo cookies
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 quarts vanilla ice cream
1 cup whipped cream or whipped topping
1/4 cup chocolate sauce or caramel sauce

Directions

Count out 6 Oreos and cut them in half with a sharp knife, making 12 well-shaped half moons. Set these aside for garnish. If a cookie breaks when it’s cut, return it to the box and replace it with another.

Separate 45 of the remaining Oreos. Break up the cookies and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the cookies to crumble them further, and then add the melted butter and process continuously until the cookies break down into an even mass of dense, moist crumbs. Depending on the size of your food processor, you might need to do this in two batches.

Grease a 10-inch springform pan, or line its bottom with parchment and grease the sides. Pour half of the butter-and-cookie mixture into the springform, and press it firmly into the bottom and bottom corners of the springform pan. This will form the bottom crust, or lower “wafer,” of the finished cake.

Refrigerate the crust for at least 30 minutes, or place it in the freezer for at least 10 minutes until it becomes firm. Remove the ice cream from your freezer at the same time, so it can soften on the counter at room temperature.

Chop the remaining Oreo cookies into coarse fragments, either by hand or by pulsing them in your food processor.

Place the paddle attachment on your stand mixer. Beat half of the ice cream at low speed until it reaches a soft-serve consistency, and then add half of the chopped cookies. Spoon the mixture onto the chilled Oreo crust in the springform pan, and repeat with the other half of the ice cream and chopped cookies. Spread the softened ice cream with a spatula to make a flat surface.

Chill the filled springform in your freezer for at least 30 minutes; this firms up its surface. Pour the other half of the crust mixture on top, spreading it evenly. Gently pat the crumbs into place, to make a smooth upper crust or top “wafer” for the cake.

Return the cake to your freezer for at least 1 hour, or up to several days, until it’s time to serve. If the cake is made more than 6 or 8 hours ahead of time, cover its surface with plastic film wrap to keep it from absorbing any “off” flavors from the freezer.

To serve, unmold the cake from its springform pan. Spoon or pipe the whipped cream into a mound in the middle of the cake, and arrange the twelve half-Oreos around the cream’s edge as a garnish. Drizzle the whiped cream and Oreo halves with chocolate or caramel sauce, and then slice and serve.

How to Make Beef Carpaccio

Make beef carpaccio by layering thinly sliced raw beef on a plate and topping it with sauce, vegetables, cheeses and spices. Alternately, before slicing the cut of beef to make the carpaccio, you can sear all exposed surfaces to reduce the health risks it presents. Either way, given the raw or lightly cooked nature of beef carpaccio, elderly individuals, pregnant women, children and others with compromised immune systems should not consume it.

Carpaccio refers to any thinly sliced raw meat served with a sauce.

Instructions

  1. Place a raw cut of beef into a plastic freezer bag large enough to contain the meat and a liquid marinade.
  2. Add an oil, an acidic liquid and seasonings to the bag, the essential components of a marinade. A sample marinade could contain equal parts of olive oil and vinegar with diced garlic, dried basil, salt and ground black pepper added for flavor. Use about 1/2 cup of marinade per pound of beef.
  3. Seal the bag and refrigerate the beef to marinate for 12 to 24 hours. Remove the beef from the bag and discard the marinade after the time has elapsed.
  4. Preheat a skillet to medium and coat it with a thin layer of olive oil. Place the marinated beef in the preheated skillet and sear all of the exposed surfaces for a few minutes. If you do not wish to sear the beef for the carpaccio, skip this step.
  5. Place the marinated beef into a clean plastic freezer bag and freeze it for an hour or two. The partial freezing makes the meat easier to cut into thin slices.
  6. Remove the meat from the freezer and take it out of the freezer bag. Use a sharp knife to cut the thinnest slices possible from the partially frozen meat.
  7. Cover a dinner plate with a single layer of beef slices — depending on the size of the cut of meat, this could require between two and 10 slices. Repeat this process for each serving of beef carpaccio you plan to make.
  8. Place leftover beef back in the freezer bag and store it in the freezer for later use.
  9. Top each plate of beef slices with grated hard cheese, leafy greens, seasonings and chopped vegetables of choice. Since carpaccio is traditionally served with a sauce, add a drizzle of salad dressing, wine or oil for flavor. A sample plate could use dandelion greens, sliced mushrooms, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar with a few fresh basil leaves. Alternately, use a creamy salad dressing such as Thousand Island instead of balsamic vinegar.
  10. Serve the beef carpaccio immediately.

Arab Beauty Tips

Middle Eastern women are well-known for their exotic beauty and elegance. Among the famous Middle Eastern celebrities are reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who is half Armenian, and performer and TV personality Paula Abdul. Middle Eastern beauties can teach all women some time-tested Arab beauty tips, which can help women look young and exotic.

Young Middle eastern woman smiling
Skin ProtectionArab women maintain beautiful skin by staying out of the sun and covering up with scarves and clothing. Sun exposure is one of the fastest ways to age skin, so avoid going out during peak hours and stay covered with clothing and sunglasses; or if you must go out in the direct sun, wear a strong sunscreen. Arab women also believe in using high-quality beauty products and value top brands and ingredients over saving money.

Young arabic woman wearing a scarf
Inner beautyWomen in the Middle East eat more fresh food than women in the West, and it improves their overall health. Processed foods contain a number of ingredients that can clog pores, cause weight gain and contribute to overall sluggishness. Choose fresh fare from farmer’s markets and cook at home instead of eating out to get the healthy, radiant glow that many Arab women possess.

Arabic couple eating together
MakeupArab women in general believe in using makeup to enhance their natural beauty. Middle Eastern women are known for their beautiful, exotic eyes, which they emphasize with makeup. Use black liquid eyeliner with gold and brown tones of eye shadow to get an exotic, dramatic look. Line the eyes on the upper and lower lids starting from the very inner eye. Extend the lines outward and upward to create a dramatic, almond-shaped accent. Finish your look with false lashes or thick black mascara.

Beautiful arabic woman wearing makeup
SpasMiddle Eastern women believe in the power of rejuvenation and spas. They use steam rooms to purify the skin and natural mud masks to cleanse facial pores. Arab women also use argan oil, which comes from Morocco, for its anti-aging, moisturizing and blemish-blasting powers. Argan oil is rich in Vitamin E, carotenes and fatty acids, which promote the skin’s healing, growth and elasticity. Argan is available from cosmetic companies and online.

Arabic woman at a spa
Cosmetic surgerySome Arab women, especially wealthy ones, believe in cosmetic surgery as a way to enhance or restore beauty. According to BBC News, wealthy Iranians are opting for plastic surgery more and more. Common procedures that Arab women undergo include liposuction, breast implants and rhinoplasty, as well as anti-aging treatments such as restylane and chemical peels.

Arabic model on posing

How to Cook Wagyu Beef

Beef makes for a truly luxurious steak with a buttery taste and almost spoon-tender texture, but it requires careful cooking to take advantage of its distinctive characteristics. Because it is so naturally rich tasting, Wagyu is best served plain, seasoned with only salt and cooked over high heat to at least a medium-rare state.

Doneness

The right level of doneness for Wagyu depends on the quality of the steak. In general, the richer and fattier a Wagyu steak is, the more cooked it needs to be. This is because the intramuscular fat liquifies only after a certain temperature, and if not cooked enough, the fat will remain hard and undone, leading to a fatty-tasting steak rather than a rich, velvety one.

For a Wagyu steak that is around a level 9 in terms of intramuscular fat, cooking to medium-rare is acceptable. For richer Wagyu, the steak is best cooked to medium or, possibly, medium-rare. This allows for the fat to melt and season the meat.

Techniques

While Wagyu can be cooked using any high-heat cooking method — from grilling to panfrying to broiling — the method most recommended is pan-searing, because it preserves the flavor of the steak without adding smoke or char, and it gives the home cook more control over doneness than broiling does.

Pan-Searing Wagyu

To pan-sear a Wagyu steak:

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it is very hot.

Sprinkle the dry, seasoned skillet with a liberal amount of sea salt, covering the bottom of the entire pan. Use around 1 tablespoon of salt per 8-ounce steak.

Pat the steak dry with a paper towel, removing any excess liquid. Place the steak flat onto the skillet, and lower the heat to medium-high.

Flip the steak after 5 to 7 minutes, after a crust has formed on the bottom of the steak. Cook the other side for 3 to 5 minutes, until it is well browned and crusted. Flip the steak every 2 to 3 minutes after the second side has been browned.

Test for doneness using a quick-read thermometer. Remove the steak from the pan when the internal temperature reads 10 to 15 degrees lower than the desired degree of doneness. Let the steak rest, tented with foil, for 5 to 10 minutes before serving it. The steak’s internal temperature will continue to rise while resting, bringing it to the ideal degree of doneness.

Serving Wagyu

Wagyu, because of its delicate beefiness and naturally rich flavor, needs little additional seasoning than salt. In Japan, wagyu is sometimes served with a very light soy sauce or a dressing of soy sauce and mirin, sweetened rice wine.

For a classic presentation, serve Wagyu as a whole steak or slice across the grain, in 1/4-inch cuts, and serve it with sea salt on the side.

Other Considerations and Information

Kobe vs. Wagyu

Wagyu is actually a collection of four breeds of cattle, all of which are originally from Japan. In the United States, Wagyu cattle are most often Red Wagyu or a crossbreed of Red and Black Wagyu cattle.

Kobe beef is a specific brand of steak. To be called Kobe, the beef can only come from Japanese producers from specific regions that produce it exclusively from Japanese Black Wagyu cattle. While all Wagyu beef is luxurious because it contains a high degree of fat marbling in the muscle, Kobe is considered the pinnacle, because of its rarity and high percentage of intramuscular fat.

Different Cuts of Wagyu

In Japan, Wagyu is sometimes served very thinly sliced, almost paper thin, in 1/16-inch cuts. The Wagyu is quickly dipped in boiling liquid for shabu shabu, and eaten when it is just barely cooked.

The thin slices can also be gently warmed and served still raw, dressed with nothing more than oil and Mirin to make an Asian-style carpaccio dish.

Negatives About Ice Cream

Ice cream is a dessert many people are fond of; in fact, according to the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center website, Americans eat more of the stuff than any other country in the world. While ice cream is tasty and can benefit eaters by boosting their moods, its ingredients, and particularly its nutritional value, make it a food which probably shouldn’t be eaten on too regular a basis.

Ice cream can be problematic for those with food intolerances.

Hard To Scoop

  • Ice cream needs to defrost a little before serving; attempting to scoop it before it has done so is tough, since the ice cream will be frozen and hardened. Ice cream preparation must therefore include around 15 minutes of defrosting time, as the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center website suggests, meaning the dessert can’t be served straight from storage.

Fat & Calories

  • The nutritional content of ice cream can vary according to the brand, but also depending on the flavor and ingredients–for example, whether the ice cream contains chocolate chip pieces or not. Any ice cream is likely to contain a large amount of fat and calories, which can lead individuals to put on weight if they eat ice cream on a regular basis. According to the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center website, 48 percent of ice cream’s calories are derived from fat, while the Parent Dish website notes that even half a cup of ice cream can contain as much as 20 grams of fat.

Dairy Issues

  • Ice cream is usually made from dairy products, and as such, can cause many of the ill effects associated with dairy product allergy. Those allergic to dairy foods may experience medical issues such as headaches, digestive problems or irritation of the skin after consuming ice cream. Since milk is a chief ingredient of ice cream, those vulnerable to lactose allergies should also be wary of eating this dessert, since lactose intolerance has been linked to bloating and nausea.

Green Issues

  • As a dairy product, another negative associated with ice cream is that dairy farming is environmentally unfriendly. Dairy farming causes both soil and water pollution, and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The cows used in dairy farming need to be well-fed and watered, and cost resources which could otherwise be put into other things, such as feeding the poor.

Brain Freeze

  • A common side-effect of eating ice cream is that it causes painful short-term headaches, often termed brain freeze colloquially. These headaches are brought about by the cold temperature of the dessert, as it makes contact with the nerves in the human palate after entering the mouth. These nerves react to the cold by making blood vessels in the head increase in size, thus triggering pain in the area.

Hairstyles of Middle Eastern Countries

The Middle East has a rich history in everything from art to cuisine to spirituality. Many people are curious about the traditional dress and appearance of people who reside in Middle Eastern countries. Hairstyles especially have meaning and tradition that date back hundreds of years, and many style choices are inspired by religious obligations, gender roles and climate.

Braiding is a common and practical women's hairstyle in the Middle East.

Traditional Hairstyles

  • For centuries, Middle Eastern women have braided their hair in order to keep it healthy and out of their faces. Traditionally, many women in Middle Eastern countries have long hair; however, farm work or tending to family has required them to maintain practical hairstyles. The Middle Eastern climate is also very hot, and women in Mediterranean locations such as Turkey, or desert climates such as Egypt, often keep their hair tied back in head scarves. Women who identify with the Islamic religion wear hijab, or a head scarf. While Islam is the predominate religion in all of the Middle East, including countries with secular governments, certain places like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq maintain stricter policies. However, the Islamic religious text, or Quran, has no specific law instructing women to wear hijab, and many women choose to wear hijab for personal reasons.

    It is also traditional for men to sport long hair and beards. Much of this has to do with Islamic tradition and rules, and to this day it is common to see Middle Eastern men with elaborate facial hair. Men in arid desert landscapes such as Egypt also wear head scarves to protect their hair, scalp and neck from the harsh sun.

    People maintained their hair by visiting local bath houses. Women with long hair often treated it with henna, a natural dye. Men shaved and doused hair with oils in order to keep its shine. Men and women with thick, wavy hair were often admired.

Modern Hairstyles

  • While many Islamic women in Middle Eastern countries wear the hijab to cover their hair, recent generations of Muslim women are becoming more experimental with haircuts and hair dye. Youth or university students commonly sport shorter hairstyles than previous generations, and many young men choose not to have facial hair.

    Some young women choose not to wear head scarves, and while this is generally accepted on a college campus or at a youth-oriented business, wearing a head scarf is still common for many middle-aged women. In more secular countries such as Turkey, a head scarf can be worn casually, with some of the hair visible at the crown of the head. In some stricter regions, such as Saudi Arabia, many women cover all of their hair and much of their faces as well.

    Men who live in rural areas still grow facial hair, and women still dress conservatively and grow their hair long. In urban environments, rules are generally less strict, and both men and women can choose to have alternative, Westernized hairstyles.

    Coloring hair is becoming more popular in the Middle East. Many Middle Easterners have naturally dark hair, especially in countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Turkish men and women may have lighter hair. Because dyeing darker hair is often more difficult, many people choose to embrace their natural color and to experiment instead with different haircuts.

Ceremonial Hairstyles

  • Many Middle Eastern holidays and traditions are very elaborate, and dressing and decorating one’s hair and body with extravagant clothes and hairstyles is customary. For a wedding ceremony, many women have their hair braided and laced with ribbons or jewels. Starting in the fourteenth century, men in high positions of religious leadership typically wore turbans; during the mid-Ottoman Empire, many wore fezzes to symbolize stature.

    While some Middle Eastern countries strive to be secular, many still celebrate Islamic holidays and continue the tradition of weeklong wedding celebrations. That’s why it is customary for both men and women to maintain traditional long hair.

How to Use Leftover Fruit

Leftover fruit can be challenging. You don’t want to throw it away, and because of it’s quickly-approaching expiration date, you must use it right away. Fortunately, there are plenty of fun and creative ways to use leftover fruit.

Put leftover fruit to work.

Instructions

  1. Cut up fruit and make a fruit salad. If you want to make things a bit more interesting, add some simple syrup to the mix and toss to give it a sweeter and more homogenous flavor. Make syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water.
  2. Mix the fruit with plain yogurt to make a “fruit on the bottom” yogurt snack. As a general rule, add 1/4 cup of fruit to each cup of yogurt to give the yogurt a nice texture without overwhelming it with fruit pieces.
  3. Make a smoothie. Place a cup of fruit, a handful of ice cubes, and half a cup of yogurt in a blender. This is a perfect idea if you want to drink your leftover fruit and have a cool snack in the summertime.
  4. Add chopped fruit to breakfast mixes. If you have spare muffin or pancake mix, try adding a 1/4 cup of fruit to the prepared mix before cooking to make delicious fruity pancakes and muffins for breakfast.

How to Pressure Cook Texas Style Brisket

Pressure-cooked brisket is an American staple. Pressure-cooking infuses the brisket with moisture, creating a tender, juicy roast. For the best flavor, allow the meat one day to marinade before placing it in the pressure cooker. Choose a brisket with light marbling for the best texture. Soak the meat in a beer, lime and chili marinade to give your brisket an authentic Texas flavor.

Lime, chili and beer give brisket authentic Texan flavor.

Instructions

  1. Mix together beer, onion, lime juice, molasses, chili powder, tomatoes and salt and pepper in a large glass bowl.
  2. Add beef brisket to the bowl, and coat it well with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. Add 2 to 3 tbsp. vegetable oil to pressure cooker. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Place the meat in the pressure cooker, uncovered, and brown both sides.
  5. Pour marinade from the bowl into the pressure cooker, over the meat.
  6. Cover pressure cooker with lid and bring to high pressure. Cook for 1 to 2 hours.
  7. Allow brisket to sit for approximately 20 minutes before serving.

How to Raise Kobe Beef

Kobe beef is prized for its tenderness and high degree of marbling. Unless it comes from the Hyogo prefecture in Japan, where Kobe is located, the beef is not truly “Kobe beef.” However, ranchers in the United States have been raising Kobe-style beef since the mid-1970s. While there are some differences in taste and texture, the U.S. raised Kobe-style beef is similar to the authentic version. In this article, you’ll learn how to raise Kobe beef.

Instructions

  1. Purchase a wagyu heifer, preferably a Japanese Black of the Tajima strain. This breed of cattle is the traditional source of Kobe beef.
  2. Put the heifer in a pen in your barn. This is where she will spend the majority of her time while she fattens up for slaughter.
  3. Feed your heifer a combination of corn, alfalfa, barley and wheat straw, gradually increasing the energy level of the feed mix until she is ready to slaughter at 36 months old.
  4. Massage your heifer regularly with oil for about 20 minutes. Traditionally, these massages take place only between May and October, and are thought to soften and better distribute the heifer’s subcutaneous fat.
  5. Feed your heifer a bottle of beer if she seems to have a reduced appetite. The beer will stimulate her digestive system, which may shut down due to her confinement.

How to Make a Hawaiian Salad

Hawaiian salad will add a bit of tropical atmosphere to any meal, any time of year. It can be made with fruit, or it can have a bit of green salad mixed in. Either way, Hawaiian salad is easy and delicious.

Fruity Hawaiian Salad

  1. Drain the maraschino cherries and the canned mandarin oranges and pineapple tidbits, and cut the larger pieces of fruit in half. Place them in a large salad bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Stir the mini-marshmallows into the fruit mixture.
  3. Add the chopped walnuts and sour cream and stir the fruity Hawaiian sald until the ingredients are blended.
  4. Serve the fruity Hawaiian salad chilled.

Hawaiian Salad With Lettuce

  1. Drain the pineapple tidbits, and set aside 1 tablespoon of the juice.
  2. Combine the lettuce, cheese and drained pineapple in a large salad bowl.
  3. Mix the salad dressing or mayonnaise with the reserved pineapple juice and sugar in a small mixing bowl, and whisk it until it’s thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the dressing over the lettuce mixture and toss until it’s well coated. Serve the salad immediately.

How to Play Arabic Scales on Guitar

Although there are many scales that evoke the sound of the Middle East, there is one in particular that Western musicians think of as the “Arabic scale.” This scale is technically a relative mode of the harmonic minor scale, as it starts on the fifth tone of the harmonic minor scale and runs until that note reaches its octave. All this might sound quite complex, composing Arabic-sounding music with this scale is really just a matter of playing the right notes over the right chords.

Playing Arabic scales on a guitar can give your music a Middle Eastern flavor.

Instructions

  1. Learn the harmonic minor scale. The harmonic minor scale is a minor scale with the seventh degree raised a half step. The notes in an A harmonic minor scale, for example, would be A, B, C, D, E, F and G#. This exotic-sounding scale can open many new musical paths.
  2. Play the harmonic minor scale, starting from the fifth note and ending on its octave. This is the Arabic scale. The Arabic scale derived from the A harmonic minor scale would read E F G# A B C D. To play this scale on a guitar, you would hit the open low E string, the first fret of the E string, the fourth fret of the open E string, the open A string, the second fret of the A string, the third fret of the A string, the open D string and end on the second fret of the D string (the octave of the root note).
  3. Transpose the scale to every key. Learning to play the Arabic scale in every key will make it much more useful. It is also helpful to learn to play it at as many different positions as possible.
  4. Practice playing the scale over different chords and chord progressions. The best way to master any scale is to use it in musical settings.

How to Make Homemade Lowfat Vanilla Ice Cream

Enjoy a healthy desert of low-fat homemade vanilla ice cream on hot summer days. Make low-fat vanilla ice cream by substituting fatty ingredients for healthier alternatives. Replace sugar with an artificial sweetener, regular milk with low-fat milk and heavy whipping cream with fat-free half and half. You do not need an ice cream maker to make homemade ice cream, simply mix the ingredients and freeze them.

Make Homemade Lowfat Vanilla Ice Cream

Instructions

  1. Combine Splenda, flour and salt in a saucepan. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the milk and eggs with a whisk, until well blended. Stir milk and eggs into the sugar mixture until smooth.
  2. Set a stove burner to low heat and cook the mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for 15 minutes before removing the pan from the heat and allowing it to cool. Be sure the mixture never comes to a boil.
  3. Stir in the half and half and the vanilla extract after the mixture cools. Pour into a 9-by-9 inch pan and cover it with plastic wrap and tin foil. Place the pan in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours, until it the ice cream is frozen, but still soft.
  4. Spoon the ice cream into a large bowl and beat it at medium speed until smooth. Return the ice cream to the pan and freeze until firm.

Fill In Ice Pick Acne Scars

Are you asking what works on indented scars? Are old acne scars destroying your complexion and making you dislike showing your face in public? Old, pitted scars are sometimes considered the most depressing form of acne scars. You can now help pitted acne scarring with a amazing skin care cream that does not involve sanders or lasers.

Picture having a clean complexion void of acne inflammation and scarring. Ugly facial scars as a result from breakouts can be the core of painful psychological trauma. Acne inflammation damages collagen in the skin, leaving behind disfiguring cratered scars. These pimple scars resemble something like a chicken pox scar with steep walls which is why sometimes you hear the term ‘ice pick scars’, as if someone stabbed you in the cheek with a ice pick.

With the obvious emotional issues that come with this acne marks problem, finding the best acne scar removal cream is crucial. Many acne skin care treatments can reduce acne inflammation but they do not remove acne pits scars. People honestly want to know how to abate acne marks and spend lots of time searching for an acne moisturizer, damaged skin cream, or other care treatments. What they find are acne holes remedies that do not live up to their pledges.

Results in Acne Scarring

When people are burdened with pitted acne scars, a lot of people use dermal fillers to try to fill out the scar. There are a couple different kinds of dermal fillers that can vary from cow collagen to hyaluronic acid. The notion behind these injections is to add volume to skin components.

The injections do eventually lessen so you will need to go back for more treatments whenever the certain filler expires. This may seem a little strange but certain dermal fillers can be made from dangerous bacteria so one needs to think about the pros and cons of inserting harmful ingredients into their skin.

When you look for an acne scar removal home remedy, you will see some interesting choices. You can learn about people watering down apple cider vinegar and applying it on their faces, with the intention of reducing the reddish hue of acne scars. Now do you think that washing your face with vinegar will help you rejuvenate collagen and elastin component to fill in your ice pick scars? I am sure you know the answer to that.

Best Ice Pick Scars Treatment

Everyone knows it is hard, pimples at 30 and 40 can make anyone insane. Luckily for everyone, there is a biological acne scar treatment that can help you rejuvenate essential skin fibers. You can provoke the development of collagen and elastin and fill in ice pick scars with this acne scars fading cream.

When the pitted scar treatment is used on the affected area for a period of at least 2 months, it will fuse with your skin cells and remove acne marks by naturally filling in the scars.

The cream will work biologically and:

* Stimulate the biological skin growth factors inside your body.

* Improves cellular communication and abates scar tissue development in the skin. The skin’s innate recovery ability is restored. GlycoProteins contained in the cream enable cells to effectively attune activities between one another.

* Copper peptides found in the cream stimulate skin remodeling. Using the biological ingredient to depressed skin areas will start the influx of collagen and elastin fibers into the wound. New healthy skin cells are multiplied, giving off the appearance of clean skin in the area.

* Augment the development of more of the antimicrobial peptides that your skin usually emits to keep micro-organisms at bay. This can act as an ice pick scar prevention method.

Old Fashion Fruit Salad Recipes

Fruit salad can be as simple as preparing three or more different fruits and tossing them in a bowl. Old-fashioned fruit salads usually have five or more different fruits combined, along with nuts, marshmallows or whipped cream. In some recipes, all possible ingredients are included to make a creamy, rich dish that everyone will love. Here are recipes for simple old-fashioned fruit salad and creamy old-fashioned fruit salad.

Fruit salads can contain several different fruits combined with additional ingredients.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the fruit. Peel and core apples and cut into bite-sized chunks. Peel and slice bananas. Peel orange and separate into slices. Cut pineapple rings into bite-sized pieces. Cut grapes in half.
  2. Place the fruit into a large bowl and mix together.
  3. Sprinkle lemon juice on the fruit and stir to combine.
  4. Add chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired, or add miniature marshmallows.
  5. Refrigerate until well-chilled and serve.
  1. Prepare fruits as in Step 1.
  2. Add in chopped walnuts or pecans and miniature marshmallows.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the juice and rind of the lemon, lime and orange, beaten egg and sugar. Cook over low heat until thick. Allow to cool.
  4. Pour sauce over the prepared fruit in a large bowl and stir.
  5. Fold in whipped cream. Chill in the refrigerator until cold.

How to Make Uncle Gene’s Homemade fruit Brandy

When Uncle Gene was still with us, he would make this delightfully sweet brandy. We would have a shot of it whenever we would visit him at his cabin in Michigan. With the abundance of fruit, Summer is the perfect time to make this recipe. My personal preference is apricot and/or blueberry brandy. This is a nice gift for relatives, neighbors and friends. If you like sweet & fruity brandy, this recipe is for you.

Instructions

  1. Make certain the crock is clean.
  2. In the crock dilute the sugar in the boiling water. Slice lemons in half, and squeeze a little of the juice into the crock. add the lemons into the sugar mixture.
  3. add yeast and fruit to sugar mixture and mix well.
  4. Place lid on crock and store is a cool dry place. (put something heavy on the lid to keep a tight seal)
  5. For a week, stir the mixture once a day.
  6. at the end of the week add the raisins and mix well. Let stand for 3 weeks. Keep weight on lid & do not stir during this time.
  7. Filter the brandy & put into clean glass bottles.

Tropical Appetizer Ideas

Tropical appetizers tend to include seafood, pork and/or fruit as main ingredients. For most people, the exotic fruit is the most expensive ingredient. However, by mixing small bits of imported fruit with other general ingredients, you can create tasty tropical appetizers for a budget-friendly price. Provide both sweet and spicy treats to create a versatile menu that suits many different taste preferences.
Fresh fruit is a popular ingredient for tropical appetizers.

Brunch Appetizers

  • Tropical flavors work as well for brunch-themed appetizers as they do for lunch and dinner. Lemon-almond mini muffins and mini bagels with pineapple cream cheese provide light treats. Mini brown sugar and banana waffle sandwiches with crumbled bacon provide rich and filling appetizers. Jerked chicken finger sandwiches on coconut rolls provide sweet and spicy snacks.

    Fresh fruit dishes are easy and refreshing tropical appetizers for any event, especially a brunch where guests almost expect some sort of light fruit selection. Stacked pineapple, and watermelon slices on toothpicks create a unique light taste. Kiwi, coconut and strawberry fruit salad served in a half kiwi skin forms a mini fruit salad treat.

Easy Appetizers

  • Combine simple recipes and tropical flavors for easy appetizers with an exotic touch.

    Celery sticks stuffed with a mixture of pre-cooked shrimp, cream cheese and cilantro provides a light and refreshing appetizer. Honey ham finger sandwiches with brown mustard and thin pineapple slices offer sweet and spicy flavors. Small balls of sticky white rice and shredded coconut create delicate tasting, but filling, appetizers.

    Fresh pineapple, papaya and banana spears sprinkled with lemon juice provide an easy, light and tasty tropical appetizer. Mini almond muffins with chopped macadamia nuts are simple and flavorful treats. Large kiwi balls and strawberry slices on toothpicks add a tropical twist to a basic melon ball-style appetizer. Thin slices of star fruit with maraschino cherries in the middle provide a sweet snack with a floral appearance.

Gourmet Appetizers

  • Go all out with gourmet tropical appetizers if overall cost is of no concern. Coconut fried shrimp with mango salsa and twice-baked sweet potato wedges with chives provide appetizers with a balance of spicy and sweet flavors. Grilled pineapple and peppered chicken skewers with fresh lime provide a slightly sweet and tart appetizer. Pineapple salsa with toasted rice crackers provides a unique and healthy snack. Mini conch and crab fritters with Parmesan dipping sauce are popular treats, but far from healthy.

    Mini cabbage rolls with crispy shredded pork, red onions and mango create flavorful chilled appetizers with a tropical theme. Precooked shrimp chilled in a red pepper, lime, chive and cilantro marinade have a refreshing flavor with a spicy edge. Pineapple and mango spears drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette dressing provide a light and healthy snack. Mini key lime pies add a little dessert flavor to the tropical appetizer selection.

Desserts With Clementines

Wintertime often brings with it an abundance of clementines. These delicious, juicy beauties are so versatile and can be used in a host of desserts. Clementines pair well with vanilla, chocolate and other fruits and can be a pleasant addition to almost anything. Before juicing, zest the peel and dry it for a few days, then save it in an airtight container to use at your whim. Juice the zested clementines and use the juice for an icy sorbet, cocktails, smoothies, shakes or even clementine candy.

Jelly candies are a fun way to use clementine juice for a dessert you can pull out any time.

Baked Goods

  • Clementines make a fantastic flavoring in baked goods. Clementine cake is a flourless cake that actually uses whole pureed clementines as the base. Alternatively, use clementine juice as a substitute for other citrus juice in a recipe or add some clementine zest to any batter to dress up the final dish. Add a spoonful to sugar cookies, chocolate or vanilla cake, or even chocolate chip cookies for a delightful twist. Save the juice of zested clementines to use for clementine sorbet or cocktails.
    Use peeled clementine wedges to decorate a dessert that the zest was added to.
    Use peeled clementine wedges to decorate a dessert that the zest was added to.

Candied Clementines

  • Whole clementine slices can be candied to use in many desserts or served solo as a simple but elegant dessert. Slice the clementine into rounds, leaving the peel intact. Simmer in sugar water for about a half an hour or until the syrup is thick and the slices are translucent. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry, sprinkling with more sugar if desired. Save the sugar syrup to add a sweet clementine zip to soda water, iced tea or even mix it with maple syrup to serve on pancakes.
    Candied clementine slices add beautiful decor to any dessert.
    Candied clementine slices add beautiful decor to any dessert.

Clementine Marmalade

  • Marmalade is an amazing use of extra clementines. It’s a great way to use up a bunch, it uses the entire fruit and it’s completely shelf stable. The best part is that marmalade makes a delectable addition to a host of desserts any time of year. Spread it plain between layers of cake or whip it into buttercream, mascarpone or ricotta for a burst of flavor in filled desserts. Use it in thumbprint cookies, mix it into ice cream or blend it with a little water to make a quick sauce for just about anything.
    Clementine marmalade is unique and so versatile.
    Clementine marmalade is unique and so versatile.

Dessert Cocktails

  • Clementine juice can be used to make anything from clementine-infused margaritas to clementine tequila sunrises. Mix clementine juice with vodka and some reserved syrup from an earlier recipe or squeeze some clementine juice into your next mojito. For a nonalcoholic treat, blend a whole clementine, peel and all, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You may need to add some milk to thin it out, but there is something so classic about that citrus and vanilla blend. Get creative! Clementines have endless possibilities.
    Freeze whole clementines and blend with alcohol to create an icy blended drink that doesn't get watered down.
    Freeze whole clementines and blend with alcohol to create an icy blended drink that doesn’t get watered down.

How to Make Homemade Ice Cream With a Blender

You’re getting that mega craving for ice cream. No need to drive to the store or wait in line at a Baskin-Robbins. In less than a minute you can make your own homemade ice cream using your blender. No other equipment is required. Experiment with different flavors and serve it as a unique dessert to your guests at your next home party. Tell them you made it by blending a few ingredients in a blender and they’ll think you’re a kitchen magician!

Instructions

  1. If you’re using fresh fruit, freeze overnight. Freeze whipping cream, cream of coconut or tofu ahead of time, preferably overnight.
  2. For one or two servings, place into a blender:
    1 cup frozen fresh fruit or 1 package frozen fruit or flavoring of your choice, chocolate syrup or vanilla bean (split lengthwise with a paring knife, remove seeds from the inside of the bean and add to the blender, discard pod)
    1 cup heavy whipping or coconut cream or tofu, frozen
    Superfine sugar (start with 1/4 cup and add more, if desired, to taste).

    1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  3. Blend at high speed just until smooth and creamy. Pour into a freezer container and freeze for up to 2 hours or until texture is firmer. After about an hour, if you wish, you can stir in your favorite nuts, candy, sweetened coconut, mini chocolate chips or other ingredients, or 1 tbsp. of your favorite liqueur then freeze for about another hour or a little longer. Scoop it out and enjoy!

Dating Tips for Middle-Eastern Girls

Dating can be a tricky endeavor for anyone. When you add potentially stifling culturally conservative viewpoints on top of the standard difficulties of dating, it can seem downright impossible. Middle-Eastern girls, whether they’re dating within the Middle East or elsewhere in the world, must consider several key questions as they enter into the dating scene. Consideration of these questions will enable a Middle-Eastern girl to make conscientious, personal and independent decisions on whom to date and how to date.

For a Middle-Eastern girl, dating can pose a multitude of important questions.

The Preference Question

  • As with any woman looking to hit the dating scene, perhaps the first and most important question to answer is whom you are interested in dating. Your individual answer to this question will encompass a large range of topics such as sexual preference (gay, bisexual, straight), personality type, body type, profession, background and so on. Consider consulting a local relationship expert, searching for a dater’s survey guidebook at your local library or using a free online dating service when establishing your personal preferences.

The Parents Question

  • Though often important for many daters, the issue of parental approval may be particularly tricky, depending upon your ethnic and religious background. For example, in more traditionally conservative Middle-Eastern cultures such as Jordan and Iran, parents — particularly fathers — may ask or even insist upon certain traditional courtship demands, such as adult accompaniment on any and all outings between his daughter and her suitor. Even if you decide the best “answer” to the parent question is an outright dismissal of outdated and traditional restrictions, you will still need to engage the issue prior to dating.

The Religion Question

  • Though the Middle East is incredibly diverse in terms of religion, it is also an area of the world in which many religiously conservative cultures are located. For example, large conservative religious enclaves exist in Israel (Hasidic Judaism), Afghanistan (Taliban) and Turkey (Armenian Catholics) have extremely conservative doctrines relating to women’s behavior and even what women can and cannot wear, doctrines which could potentially affect who and how Middle-Eastern women date. Though all women are empowered to make personal decisions about who to date and how to date, the religion question could prove potentially problematic in a way quite similar to the parents question.

The Approach Question

  • Since the advent of the Internet, interpersonal communication devices and programs have opened up a multitude of ways all women can approach dating. All women, including Middle-Eastern women, can choose to take an “old-fashioned” approach to meeting and dating, or they can opt for a more contemporary method, such as the utilization of an online dating service or some other social networking service (SNS). Given some conservative cultural elements, however, utilization of SNSes or other online dating services could be problematic. For example, in the early 2000s in Iran, several dozen young men and women were arrested for using online matchmaking services.

How to Make Ham Salad

No longer simply a spread for bread, ham salad has moved from the sandwich list to the full meal deal. You can cut ham into strips, ground or dice it to combine with a variety of vegetables and fruits as well as tender salad greens. Move beyond mayonnaise and create your own ham salad dressings and vinaigrettes to celebrate textures and elevate flavors.

How to Make Ham Salad
Ham PreparationRoasting a whole, bone-in ham allows you some control over the flavor of the leftover meat. Complement ham’s saltiness with a slightly sweet sauce or rub during baking, and the resulting flavors will also enhance your ham salad. A simple glaze of brown sugar or honey, cloves, herbs or a fruit sauce make a savory ham. Even if you opt for precooked ham that requires little or no actual baking, you can personalize the flavor later with your choice of salad ingredients and dressing.

Tempting VariationsYour personal preferences rule when making ham salad. A bed of spring greens, baby spinach or colorful mesclun mix makes a visually appealing presentation for any ham salad. Other choices might be rice, quinoa or couscous topped with a colorful blend of fresh produce tossed together with diced ham. Use favorite vegetables such as briefly steamed and chilled grated carrots, baby peas or snow pea pods, tiny broccoli florets, corn kernels, raw bell pepper tidbits or cherry tomatoes. Incorporate fresh fruits to bring out the flavors of a fully cured, smoked ham. Diced apples, pears, grapes, apricots or pineapple chunks add color as well as taste. Another option is pasta salad. Pasta provides extra nutrition and flavor, especially whole grain and rainbow pasta made with vegetable powder. For pasta salad, combine the ingredients, and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Flavorful AdditionsDepending on the spices or baking sauce cooked with the ham, choose salad additions with flavors that mingle. Add some heat with thinly sliced hot peppers, or cool down the flavors by serving the salad over a bed of paper-thin cucumber ribbons. Black olives, celery, fresh sliced mushrooms and scallions each contribute a different flavor profile to a ham salad mixture. Onions can be overpowering, so choose sweet, mild varieties such as Vidalia onions, sweet red onions, pearl onions, or shallots or chives.

Zesty DressingsBind together the salad components with a special dressing you make yourself. A simple buttermilk dressing consisting of buttermilk, Greek yogurt and a touch of lemon juice whisked together with snipped chives, dill and parsley is a cool and creamy alternative to mayonnaise. Another choice is a fruity vinaigrette that adds sweet and sour notes. Stir together about a cup of fruit juice, about 1/4 cup of sesame oil, and honey and spicy mustard to taste. Use lemon or orange juice and add zest from the peel to make a citrus dressing.

Serving IdeasTo keep brown bag or picnic sandwiches from getting soggy, make them on the spot. Take bread separately, with the prepared ham salad in a container in a cooler. Fill pitas with chunky ham salad; spread a soft ham mixture on flat bread then roll it; or pile the salad on a toasted crostini. For a change of pace, spoon ham salad into a hollowed out tomato or sweet pepper.

Ideas for a Middle Eastern, Indian or Arabian-Style Room

When searching for decorating ideas for your home, you may often find inspiration in styles from other cultures. Middle Eastern, Indian or Arabian decor is an intriguing option because it incorporates a variety of influences, including Asian and Western European design styles, so it can provide a complex, diverse look for your home. If you are thinking of decorating a room in Middle Eastern, Indian or Arabic style, try to keep the decor as authentic as possible to give the space a truly dramatic and inviting look.
Decorative oil lamps are an ideal accessory for a Middle Eastern or Arabian-style room.

Choose Vibrant Colors

  • Middle Eastern, Arabian and Indian decor typically draws inspiration from a vibrant color palette. When decorating a room in this style, you can choose both cool and warm tones, as long as they are rich and saturated shades. Deep blues and greens work well, as do purple and fuchsia shades. For warmer tones, opt for vibrant gold, orange and red. In a small room, using a dark shade on the walls can make the space feel smaller, so opt for a lighter shade of one of these tones and use the darker tones in accent pieces throughout the room. In a large space, you may opt to paint the walls a rich blue or wine color for maximum impact.

Decorate with Fabric

  • Bold fabrics and textiles are an important feature in Middle Eastern and Indian decor and are an easy way to incorporate color and pattern into a room. Use tapestries to decorate walls; you can even use a colorful bed sheet if you cannot find a tapestry that matches your decor. Colorful scarves may also be draped over lampshades for a decorative look, and a Persian rug with a vibrant pattern can be used to center a seating area in a living room or dining room.

Use Authentic Lighting Fixtures

  • To give your room an authentic feel, use Middle Eastern, Arabian or Indian-inspired fixtures to brighten the space. Look for lighting fixtures that are made of brass and feature intricate, carved details. There are several options, including sconces, pendant lights and table lamps. A Middle Eastern–style chandelier is an ideal option for above a dining room table or seating area in a living room. Multicolored hanging pendant lights can brighten a bedroom and add a decorative element as well. For a fun touch, opt for decorative lamps that mimic the look of traditional Middle Eastern oil lamps. Candlelight also complements this style of decor, so keep some candles on hand in your living room, dining room and bedroom for mood lighting.

Incorporate Plants

  • Middle Eastern decor often incorporates natural elements. Place potted plants throughout your room for added greenery and texture. Palm trees are ideal for placing in the corner of a room and work well in smaller rooms because they grow vertically. Lining a window sill with smaller, leafy plants can create an attractive look for a living room or dining room.

How to Use a Hand Cranked Ice Cream Maker

There is something so nostalgic about making ice cream in a hand crank ice cream maker. Maybe it has something to do with our childhood and the memories it evokes, or maybe it’s the chance to make something with our own muscle makes it so delicious. Whatever the reason, mention the fact that you are having a summer party and serving hand cranked ice cream and friends will be glad to come. The cranking is easy enough at first for even young children and the ingredients are common and easily found at most stores.
Use a Hand Cranked Ice Cream Maker

Instructions

  1. Prep your ice cream churner by adding a few quarts of water to the wooden section to allow the wood to swell and form a tight seal. Sometimes after a few months of sitting unused, the wood will shrink. Let it sit while preparing the ingredients.
  2. Make your custard about 3 hours before before you plan on churning the ice cream, or the night before. It will need this time to chill thoroughly. Using a 2 qt. saucepan, heat the milk, salt and sugar until it just comes to a boil, stirring often with a wooden spoon. At the same time, in a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs until they are of uniform color. Turn off the heat under the milk and add about a 1/2 cup of the milk into the eggs, beating vigorously. Add two more batches of the hot milk to the eggs in 1/2 cup increments and then slowly whisk the whole bowl of eggs and milk into the milk pot. Turn on the heat for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and pour into a pitcher to refrigerate.
  3. Assemble your hand crank ice cream maker by setting the inner container into the groove at the bottom of the barrel. Pour in your cold custard. Put the lid on and align the crank apparatus on top, locking it into position. Fill the sides with about 4 inches of ice, and then sprinkle a cup of rock salt over the ice evenly. Add another 4 inches of ice and another cup of salt and repeat. Don’t fill beyond the top of the ice cream container. Pour about 2 cups of water over the ice and start cranking.
  4. Crank the ice cream, adding ice if necessary, for about 20 to 25 minutes or until it is noticeably harder to crank. Take turns cranking as it will get tiring. After it firms up, remove the hand crank assembly, holding the lid of the ice cream on carefully to keep the salty brine out. Check to see if it is frozen. If it is, lift the ice cream container out of the brine and set in a sink or on a hard surface. Don’t place it on the lawn, as the salt will kill the grass. Uncover and lift out the blades, scraping them down as you lift them out. At this point the ice cream can be eaten if you desire a soft-serve consistency. For the old fashioned way, continue.
  5. Empty the ice cream maker barrel ice and brine into another large container. Place the ice cream container back into the barrel setting it into the small groove at the bottom. Pour the ice brine back over the container, adding more ice if necessary but making sure not to get it into the top hole. Allow the ice cream to cure for an hour or more. (This can also be done in your kitchen freezer.)

How to Neutralize a Bitter Lemon Flavor

Bitterness is not necessarily a bad thing in a dish — the best dishes have a balance of all types of flavors. But if the bitter taste of lemons overpowers other flavors, there are ways to distract your taste buds from focusing on that unpleasantness. You can neutralize lemon’s bitterness during the cooking process or you can balance it in other ways after a dish is finished by adding its opposite or its complementary flavor.

Small lemon tart

Sugar or Honey

  • Sweetness balances the bitterness in lemons, so be careful of skimping on the sugar or honey in lemon recipes. If your lemon dish is still bitter after cooking, add sweetened whipped cream or ice cream to a dessert or 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey, syrup or sugar to a lemon sauce, marmalade, vinaigrette or other lemon dish.

Fats and Oils

  • Fats of all types add richness to dishes and provide relief from the bitter flavors of lemons — you’ll be less aware of any bitterness. The butter in the shortbread of lemon bars, for example, offsets the powerful lemon flavor in the topping. So too, a topping of whipped cream to lemon desserts adds the richness of cream and well as sugar. Add a pat of butter to any lemon sauce or lemon risotto if the dish is too bitter.

Complementary Ingredients

  • Complementary foods for lemons provide sweetness, fats or some other component that deepens the flavors of the tangy fruit and gives your taste buds more flavors to experience, directing attention away from lemon’s bitterness. Nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts and walnuts, bring fats and flavor to any lemon dish, while herbs, including basil, mint, rosemary and thyme, have bitter notes of their own that effectively mute the bitterness of lemons.

Lemon Rind and Baking Soda

  • You can experiment with recipes to reduce the bitterness of lemons. For example, if your recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon — the lemon flavor in your bread or cake may be less intense, but so will the bitterness. If a baked product with lemons contains only baking powder, experiment with adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda as well, which neutralizes acid, and bitterness, during cooking.

How to Make Creamy Fruit Salad Desserts

This creamy dessert is a big hit at all family gatherings. It can be made the night before, and just popped out of the refrigerator when you are ready to serve it. Even those who aren’t particularly fond of sour cream will dive into this refreshing dessert!

How To Make A Creamy Fruit Salad

  1. Open the six cans of fruit cocktail . Set a strainer over a large glass or bowl. Dump four of the cans of fruit cocktail into the strainer to remove the juice. The juice from these four cans can be saved for something else, or makes a great juice drink. There is usually someone waiting in my kitchen to gladly drink it!
  2. Put the four strained cans into a large bowl that has a lid. Add the two remaining cans, juice and all. Empty the 8-ounce container of sour cream into the bowl with the fruit and stir it together to mix in the sour cream.
  3. Scoop the 16-ounce container of whipped topping into the fruit mixture and stir thoroughly. Place the lid on the bowl and refrigerate it overnight. That’s it. You will have a delicious dessert to serve your family, or to take to a potluck. People will rave about how delicious it is, and it hardly took any time at all.

About Ice Cream Parlors

Chocolate malt? Check. Waffle cone? Check. More chocolate sauce than any one person can cope with? Check! It’s an ice cream parlor, an integral part of American nostalgia and history. Take a seat on the spinning stool and listen up, whippersnapper. Here’s a little more info on ice cream parlors.

About Ice Cream Parlors

History

  • The first counter service ice cream parlor was opened in 1903, originally called a soda shoppe or a soda fountain. Initially such places were opened at drugstores trying to lure in noontime business. They became an integral part of 1950s culture, especially with the popularity of the jukebox and its association with teenage “cool.” During Prohibition, people claimed that soda shoppes were the perfect antidote to alcohol.

Significance

  • Ice cream parlor provides a family-friendly atmosphere to enjoy a treat. Several ice cream parlors also play on the history of soda shoppes in America by being decorated in a way that lends an antique feel to their establishments.

Types

  • There are dine-in ice cream parlors like Friendly’s, where you sit and can usually enjoy a meal with your ice cream, and there are window or fast-service parlors with little or no seating, where you eat your ice cream and go about your day rather than staying for an extended period of time.

Benefits

  • For a lot of Americans, ice cream parlors are a big part of the summer culture where young children are promised treats after sports games and families and friends, literally and figuratively, hang out at one of the coolest places in town.

Misconceptions

  • While Americans hold claim to the image of an ice cream parlor with its antique, marble-topped counter and spinning stools, ice cream shoppes had already been wildly popular in Italy (called gelato, of course, with some key differences from ice cream).

Difference Between Kobe Beef & Wagyu Beef

Kobe beef is a high-quality, expensive beef made from Wagyu cows specially bred and raised in the Kobe region of Japan. While the term “Kobe beef” is protected by law, the term “Wagyu beef” refers only to the breed of cow, and can be used for meat from any location.

History

  • Kobe beef is made from the Wagyu (literally “Japanese beef”) breed of cows, which are related to Northern European cows because of crossbreeding more than 2,000 years ago.

Definition

  • Kobe beef is a tender, flavorful meat with extensive marbling. The fat has a melting point of 77 degrees, meaning that Kobe beef literally melts in your mouth, and will melt if overheated.

Kobe Beef Labeling

  • Legally, in order to be labeled “Kobe beef” the meat must come from a Wagyu cow born, raised and slaughtered in the Hyogo prefecture.

Wagyu Beef Labeling

  • In contrast, meat from a Wagyu cow can be labeled “Wagyu beef” regardless of how or where it was raised. Meat from Wagyu cows, sometimes crossbred with Angus cows, is often sold as “Kobe-style beef.”

Market

  • American Wagyu or “Kobe-style” beef costs about $100 per pound, about a third of genuine Kobe beef. As a result, it is a popular substitute both in the United States and in Japan.

Can I Cook Gyro Meat on a Rotisserie?

Whether you say “yee-ros” or “jy-ros,” gyros are Greek “sandwiches” of lamb, beef or pork served on a pita with tomatoes, onions and cool, creamy, cucumber-infused tzatziki sauce. Popularized as a street food in Athens, gyros migrated across Europe and to America, where they are served in the traditional Greek style of either pork or lamb, or as “Greek-American” gyros with a mix of lamb and ground beef. Although some recipes instruct the meat to be cooked in a loaf pan like a meatloaf, gyro purists prefer to cook the meat on a vertical rotisserie to get the crispy, salty flavor and texture gyros are known for.

Preparing the Meat

  • Ground gyro meat, whether lamb, pork, beef or a combination, is mixed with seasonings including marjoram, oregano and rosemary for traditional Greek flavor. When thoroughly blended, the meat mixture should be refrigerated from 1 to 2 hours or overnight. Chill the blade and bowl of a food processor in the freezer while the meat is refrigerated. Puree the chilled meat in a food processor for about 1 minute, or until it is a paste.

Cooking and Slicing the Meat

  • In the traditional Greek cooking style, large pieces of lamb or pork are sliced thin and layered horizontally on the vertical spool or skewer of a rotisserie and then cooked and sliced vertically into strips. Greek-American gyros’ pureed meat mixture is packed in a mound around the spool, cooked and sliced vertically before serving. By grilling gyro meat on a vertical rotisserie, the crispy outside meat is shaved off and the next layer is exposed to the heat to become the new crispy outer layer, thus achieving the gyro’s salty, crispy texture.

Serving the Gyro

  • Gyros are distinctive for what is served with the grilled meat: chopped tomatoes, onions, feta cheese and a yogurt-based tzatziki sauce cradled in a soft, rich pita bread. Tzatziki sauce, the signature condiment of a gyro, is a cool, tangy blend of strained Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice and mint in its traditional preparation; modifications include using sour cream or mayonnaise, dill and parsley. When serving, wrap a traditional gyro in aluminum foil and eat with your hands.

Safety Tips

  • Whether the meat is layered in the Greek tradition or mounded in the Greek-American style, cook gyro meat thoroughly to an internal temperature of 160 degree Fahrenheit. Many charcoal or gas grills include a rotisserie attachment, and you should follow the same safety guidelines for using a rotisserie as for grilling. Grills should be placed in a level location for safety and to ensure the rotisserie operates correctly. Place a fireproof material such as a sheet of metal or a patio protector under the rotisserie if it’s being used on a wooden deck. Don’t operate rotisserie grills in windy locations, and keep children and pets away from rotisserie grills when in use.

Substitutes for Lemon Juice

Wine, like lemons, contains an acid that gives it some sourness, allowing you to substitute it in a marinade to tenderize chicken or fish. But, you would never substitute wine for lemon juice in lemonade. Other acidic ingredients and liquids work in the same manner, becoming acceptable substitutes for lemon juice for some recipes, but not for others. Whether you have run out of lemon for lemon juice, or you just want to experiment, you have plenty of options for substitutions.Orange juice and zest substitutes for lemon juice in baked goods.

Other Forms of LemonWhen you really want the flavor of lemon baked into cakes or muffins or as a glaze for desserts, both lemon zest and lemon extract provide the taste you want without affecting the texture. In a cake, add the zest from up to three lemons to the batter so it permeates the cake. Wash the lemons thoroughly under running water before zesting them, and freeze leftover zest for up to six months. Use as much as 2 tablespoons of potent lemon extract in a cake and smaller amounts for less lemony flavor.

Other Citrus JuicesAny citrus juice adds fresh, fruity and tangy flavors to baked goods, frosting, glazes, custards and curds, changing the flavor of the dish, but without causing any other effects. Substitute the juice of oranges, limes, grapefruit or tangerines on a 1-to-1 basis with lemon juice for those recipes. Maximize the amount of juice you get for any of these fruits by juicing the fruit at room temperature and rolling it on a countertop before juicing to break apart the juice sacs.

Vinegars of All KindsVinegar, like lemon juice, helps brighten the taste of both sweet and savory dishes, and it also balances sweetness with acidity, giving foods depths of flavor. You won’t taste the vinegar directly as you would lemon juice, but it will make all the other flavors taste better. Instead of adding a splash of lemon juice to sugared strawberries for dessert, add a splash of balsamic vinegar. And, instead of lemon juice in risotto, use 1/2 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar for each 1 teaspoon of lemon juice called for in your recipe.

Other Forms of AcidityIn some recipes, powdered citric acid from the grocery substitutes for lemon juice when you make jams and jellies to help fruit set and give a tang to the final product. Use 1/8 teaspoon of citric acid instead of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for each cup of fruit. A similar product, citric salt, adds tart flavor when you sprinkle it sparingly on soups, such as borscht or risotto, instead of lemon juice.

How to Open an Ice Cream Franchise

Opening a branch of an ice cream franchise can be a lucrative business. However, before you can open a branch of an ice cream franchise you need to make sure that your heart is in the ice cream business, research the costs and benefits of opening an ice cream franchise economically, and think about whether owning your own ice cream store is something that you truly want to do.

Instructions

  1. Think about why you are interested in opening an ice cream franchise. Do you think about ice cream toppings constantly? Are you fascinated by ice cream machines. Do you simply want to serve your favorite brand of ice cream at your own branch of your favorite ice cream franchise? Think about your reasoning for wanting to open your own ice cream franchise.
  2. Decide which ice cream franchise you are interested in. The most famous ice cream franchise companies include Baskin Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s, and Coldstone Creamery. All of these ice cream franchises have different rules and regulations for opening a branch of their specific ice cream franchise. For instance, if you open a Ben & Jerry’s franchise you will have to follow different rules than if you open a Coldstone franchise. You should also consider opening a franchise of a local ice cream company.
  3. Research the economics of ice cream franchises. Depending on which ice cream franchise interests you and the location you want for your new ice cream franchise, you may need anywhere between $50,000 and $200,000 for start-up costs.
  4. Pick a prime location. The best locations for ice cream franchises are in areas with lots of foot traffic. For instance, an ice cream franchise in a large shopping center that includes a movie theater and several restaurants is likely to have successful ice cream sales, while an ice cream franchise on the side of the road with no parking or surrounding stores will be likely to fail.
  5. Apply to your preferred company to open an ice cream franchise. You will need to fill out all of their paperwork and prove to them that you have the capacity and the interest necessary to open a successful ice cream franchise.

Middle Eastern Fighting Styles

The ancient cultures of the Middle East have long and extensive ties to the martial arts, each partaking in regionally practiced fighting styles as well as creating its own home-grown techniques and forms. These styles are unique to these cultures and play a special role in the traditions and societies of the Middle East.

This region has a long and storied history with the martial arts.

Varzesh-e Pahlavani

  • This style, originating in pre-Islamic Persia (modern-day Iran), is a form of wrestling consisting of a set of dance-like movements. Originally created in the 11th century BC as a combat style for Persian armies, it has over the centuries developed into a spiritual, moral and philosophical system that is said to convey a well-rounded representation of Iranian mores and values. The style utilized a pair of wooden clubs, a bow and a shield, all of which are generally used in individual training rather than in combat or sparring. It also uses a group of simple musical instruments which lead the participants in choreographed movements meant to help them tap into the spirituality of the sport.

Tahtib

  • An Egyptian art originating nearly 4,000 years ago, Tahtib is the practice of choreographed mock fighting using 4-foot wooden sticks. It resembles Brazilian capoeira in that it is performed within a circle of onlookers to a rhythmic tune. The dance/fighters are accompanied by a bass drum and a high-pitched pipe, and they make wide circles and figure-eights over their heads with the stick as the tempo and pitch of the music escalate. The collisions of the opponents’ sticks are timed with the climax of the music. The goal of the game is to make contact with the opponent’s head, midsection or legs with the stick.

Krav Maga

  • Developed in the 1940s by Israeli paramilitaries, this hand-to-hand combat style is practiced as a violent and aggressive combination of self-defense and simultaneous offensive moves. It lacks the philosophical and spiritual element of many martial arts and is largely focused on violence. It has been adopted by many US police forces, counter-terrorism organizations and all sectors of the Israeli armed forces. It has also achieved worldwide popularity as a method of individual self-defense and fitness, as the training is a vigorous regimen of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

    Krav-Maga is a horizontal system that makes use of all sorts of common objects for defensive purposes. Instructors teach students throws and falls to all directions and angles, as well as the art of the attack and counterattack.

How to Make Jamaican Beef Stew

Jamaican cuisine is one of the healthiest because it gets its flavors from fresh vegetables and natural spices. If you want to try a Jamaican twist on a classic American recipe at home, you can make Jamaican-style beef stew. What sets this stew apart from the American kind is that Jamaican beef stew incorporates sweet potatoes and ground allspice, two traditional ingredients in Jamaican cuisine. Put a healthy and exotic pot of beef stew on the table by trying a Caribbean region’s spin on beef stew.

Instructions

  1. Place the beef in a large bowl with 3 tbsp. of flour, 1/4 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. of pepper. Use your hands to completely coat the beef in the flour mixture.
  2. Put large soup pot on stove. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and turn the heat to medium high. While vegetable oil is heating, cut an onion in half with a sharp knife on a cutting board. Remove the skin and slice it into ¼-inch pieces.
  3. Hold your hand (palm-side down) about 6 inches over the pot and if you feel heat, the oil is ready. Add the beef and onion, stirring approximately every two minutes until both the beef and onion are brown.
  4. Use a sharp knife and cutting board to chop the sweet potato into 1 1/2-inch chunks while the beef and onions are browning. Add the potatoes to the pot when the beef and onions are done.
  5. Pour 1/2 cup of beef stock into the pot with 1/4 tsp. of ground allspice and stir everything together. Put a lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low.
  6. Let it simmer for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours, depending on how much time you have. Approximately 15 minutes before it’s done cooking, add peas or green beans and let them heat through for the last portion of the cooking time.
  7. Taste the stew and add more salt and pepper to your preference.
  8. Ladle stew over plates of prepared rice, mashed potatoes, biscuits or eat it by itself.

Arabian Nights Party Decoration Ideas

Arabian Nights-themed parties are rare compared to more common themes like toga parties or generic Halloween parties. That means there’s a great opportunity to create a truly memorable night with a smart decoration scheme. The best part about Arabian themes is that they’re flexible thanks to a plethora of options: you can pull it off with almost any budget.

Arabian Nights Party Decoration Ideas

Décor

  • The first thing to do is find fabric from a fabric or decoration store that you can hang from the ceiling or drape in doorways. Sheer see-through fabric works best for Arabian Nights parties.

    Beyond fabric, tents are also worth looking into, and can work for both inside and outside parties. And around the party floor, it’s smart to have as many throw rugs, cushions or bean bag chairs as possible. Many households have a beanbag chair buried somewhere; ask your friends to round some up.

Mood

  • To enhance the Arabian mood, there are two big guns you could pull out, depending on how expensive you want to go or how much of a mess you want to make. The first is sand, sprinkled liberally throughout the party area. The second is a smoke machine. Combined with tents, rugs, and beanbags, it creates a terrific “Arabian luxury” atmosphere. A much easier trick that does a lot to enhance the mood is to play Middle Eastern music, which you can find online or at any big music store.

Props

  • Pastel-colored fabric and décor and gold-colored props or fake rubies provide great accents. Dig up some old tacky jewelry or any fake gold. A cheap, effective option is to buy chocolate coins that come in gold-colored foil wrapping; sprinkle them throughout your food table or centerpieces.

    Oil lamps, incense, and hookahs can get expensive but look quite authentic. Empty wine bottles or teapots decorated in gold paint can double as “magic lamps.” Hula hoops and arm bracelets can be found easily. And if it’s a party for kids, they’ll enjoy scimitar-shaped cardboard swords covered in foil or gold paint.

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream cake is a favorite summer dessert among the young and old. The best part about ice cream cake is that it’s incredibly easy to customize to your taste and preference. Whether it’s a chocolate cake batter with vanilla ice cream, as shared in this recipe adapted from Joy the Baker, or the latest trendy flavors you find at the grocery store, ice cream cake can be tailor-made to your exact liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box classic devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • Half a gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 1: Make the Boxed Cake Layers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray, oil or softened butter; set aside.

Combine the cake box mix with the water, vegetable oil and eggs. Mix with a hand-held mixer or a whisk until batter is smooth. Evenly distribute the batter among your 2 prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for at least 10 minutes before flipping them both out onto a wire cooling rack. Let them cool completely; then, return the cakes to their pans and place in the freezer to chill for approximately 2 hours.

Step 2: Form the Ice Cream Layer

Meanwhile, place your ice cream out on the counter at room temperature to slightly soften, about 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can soften the ice cream by placing it in the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to when you want to use it

Line the inside of a 9-inch cake pan with a sheet of plastic wrap. Smooth out the ice cream in the pan until you’ve got an even layer. Place the pan of ice cream in the freezer to chill for 2 hours.

Step 3: Prepare the Frosting

With a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, whisk the heavy cream on high speed for 1 minute, until soft peaks form.

Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Step 4: Assemble the Cake

After the cake layers and ice cream layer have chilled, remove them from the freezer, and flip one of the cake layers onto a 10-inch cake board

Flip the ice cream layer out of the pan and onto the first cake layer; peel off the plastic wrap. Top with the remaining cake layer.

Apply the prepared frosting all over the sides and top of the cake using a rubber spatula or offset spatula, smoothing it out evenly across the entire exterior of the cake.

Grab hold of the cake board underneath to transfer the entire cake to a cake carrier. Place the carrier’s lid over the cake to cover, then return the cake to the freezer to chill. About 20 minutes prior to serving, place the cake out at room temperature to slightly thaw and soften

Storing the Cake

Ice cream cake should be stored in an airtight container in the freezer. A standard cake carrier will work just fine as a proper storage container. Cake should be frozen for no longer than 1 week. While it is not unsafe to eat the cake after this date, ice crystals have most likely formed over the ice cream layer by this point and it probably won’t be as enjoyable to eat.

How to Eat a Jicama

Jicama comes from Mexico and Central America, where it’s a very common vegetable to eat. Much like a potato, it’s high in vitamin C, has little sodium or calories and has no fat. Because it’s a healthy and versatile vegetable, the jicama’s popularity has grown in the U.S.

Instructions

  1. Select firm jicamas with unblemished skin. They should be free of bruises, and the roots should be dry and mold free. A well-chosen jicama will last two weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
  2. Remove the brown skin from the jicama before you eat it, whether eating it raw or cooking it. While the skin in not consumable, the rest of the white flesh is delicious to eat.
  3. Substitute the jicama for water chestnuts in recipes. When cooked, the vegetable takes on the flavor of other foods while providing a nice texture compliment and is less expensive than water chestnuts. It’s a good addition to stir-fry dishes.
  4. Add raw jicama to fruit salads for an interesting flavor. Although it’s a vegetable, the flavor is similar to that of a pear or apple. Juicy and firm, the jicama does not brown when exposed to the air like traditional fruit. It also meshes well with seafood salads or slaws.
  5. Use jicama in its raw form in vegetable platters. Because it doesn’t brown, it’s visually appealing and the juicy, fruity flavor is a nice contrast when your usual vegetables.
  6. Marinate the raw jicama in bitter orange and top with chili powder. In Latin countries where the vegetable originates, this is the traditional way to serve and eat jicama.

How to Make a Fruit Crumble Dessert Quick and Easy

Fruit crumbles are light, refreshing and sweet desserts perfect for summertime treats. They are also quick and easy to make. If you have company coming or an event that you find out you need to bring a dish to on short notice, consider a fruit crumble as a delicious treat that tastes like it was much harder to make than it really was. All you need to get started is a few basic ingredients and your favorite fresh fruit.

Fresh fruit makes the perfect base for a quick fruit crumble.

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all fruit you’re using in your crumble in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir in 2 to 4 tbsp. of granulated sugar depending on how sweet you want your crumble to be, 1 tbsp. flour, 1/8 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. orange zest and 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice to the fruit. Stir ingredients lightly with a wooden spoon.
  2. Combine 4 tbsp. flour, 4 tbsp. granulated sugar and 4 tbsp. of unsalted butter softened to room temperature in a small bowl. Stir together lightly and pinch the mixture together to form 1/4-inch diameter crumbles.
  3. Pour the fruit mixture into four individual oven-safe serving dishes. Top each dish with a quarter of the crumble mixture. Place in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crumbles brown slightly and the fruit mixture bubbles up along the inside edges of the serving dishes.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Prepare dishes ahead of time; cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Before serving, reheat at 300 degrees in the oven for eight minutes or in the microwave on medium-high power for two minutes.

How to Become an Ice Cream Taster

If you love America’s favorite frozen treat, consider becoming an ice cream taster. Called tastemasters, sensory analysts and flavorologists these professionals taste and evaluate ice cream every day. Get the scoop on one sweet career.

Instructions

  1. Educate yourself on what ice cream tasters do. They create new flavors, develop new products and perform quality assurance tests on existing inventory. They must know how to assess the best appearance, flavor and texture for developing or selecting a product and may serve as marketing representatives for their company.
  2. Earn a university degree with an emphasis on food science (dairy), business (product development) or chemistry. Include marketing courses in brand management in your studies.
  3. Work in a “scoop” shop. Hands-on experience in a small ice cream store offers practical knowledge about ice cream flavors and preservation, consumer preferences and operating a business. If you’re not from a family who owns a dairy business or farm, this is the next best thing.
  4. Find an apprenticeship with a professional at an ice cream manufacturing company. Wash the scoops, take notes, help with focus groups, check the freezer temperature. In short, do whatever it takes to immerse yourself in the ice cream-making environment.
  5. Care for your palate. Your taste buds, tongue and mouth must all be healthy and free of flavors. Keep your immune system strong and avoid eating spicy or foods with pungent odors. Your capacity for taste must be objective.

How to Make Ice Cream With an Ice Cream Maker

Making ice cream with a hand-cranked ice cream maker is a fun project for a summer day, and a great way to impress guests with a homemade desert. It can take a bit of effort to do all the cranking necessary, but it’s a good way to keep a bunch of kids busy.

Prepare the Ice Cream Maker

  1. Choose your favorite ice cream recipe.
  2. Let the ice cream mix cool down in the refrigerator for an hour or more.
  3. Pour the ice cream mix in the metal freezer can of the ice cream maker. Don’t fill it more than 2/3 full.
  4. Put the paddle, also called a dasher, into the ice cream can and close the lid on it.
  5. Place the freezer can in the ice cream maker bucket.
  6. Attach the turning mechanism and handle. Make sure everything is securely locked inside the bucket. Make sure the lid is attached firmly so water can’t get in.
  7. Pack the area between the freezer can and the bucket with ice and rock salt. Add a 3- or 4-inch layer of ice and on top of this pour a layer of salt, at least a few handfuls. Repeat the layering until you get a little under the level of the freezer can’s lid. Don’t go above the lid.

Make the Ice Cream

  1. Start cranking the ice cream. It’s best to have a number of people do this in shifts, as it gets tiring. If the ice melts add some more to the bucket. You want to keep the level near the freezer can lid.
  2. Stop cranking when it become difficult. It will take at least 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the turning mechanism and lid and check the ice cream. It’s done when it looks like soft-serve ice cream and has gained volume.
  4. Harden the ice cream. Remove the turning mechanism, lid and dasher. Then either remove the freezer can and put it in a freezer, scoop out the ice cream and put it in a resealable container to store in a freezer, or leave it in the bucket with the lid on and put ice on top of the freezer can.
  5. Enjoy the homemade ice cream.

How Is Kobe Beef Made?

Origins

  • Kobe beef is not so much made but rather produced or raised in specific conditions in Japan that over time have contributed to a unique texture, taste and marbling. Kobe beef is widely praised for its tenderness, flavor and high quality fatty marbled appearance.

    The beef is “made” according to strict Japanese government guidelines that regulate the term Kobe beef and refers to Wagyu beef born and slaughtered from the Hyogo prefecture. True Kobe beef isn’t exported out of Japan, so the American Kobe-style beef seen on menus is from a crossbreed of Japanese Wagyu and Black Angus.

Cattle History

  • Kobe is the namesake capital city of the Hyogo prefecture in Japan, to which the black Japanese cattle or Wagyu derives its name. It is in this prefecture that Wagyu cattle, known as Tajima have been raised and selectively bred for over 2,000 years. Wagyu cattle are not native to Japan. They were originally introduced to Japan and used as draft cattle. The breed was chosen for its ability to withstand physical endurance.

    Because there aren’t a lot of wide open pastures and the terrain is relatively mountainous, the breed developed at a slower rate with a smaller frame and rather large forequarters and lighter hindquarters. These physical attributes have resulted in very high quality meat considered the finest beef in the world.

Unique Attributes

  • Isolation on the Japanese islands and distinct feeding techniques resulted in bloodlines that developed and maintained qualities in Wagyu meat that differ significantly from all other breeds of cattle. During the hot summer months the cattle are fed beer while their muscles are rubbed with sake to prevent soreness from the lack of paddocks to freely graze. This original diet, handling and isolation has over time developed a far superior meat.

    The unique characteristics, such as the abundance of marbling, is believed to be the result of softer skin, which in turn produces more tender meat. According to Dr. Jerry Reeves of Washington State University, evidence indicates that the marbling in Wagyu beef contributes markedly not only to tenderness and juiciness but also to taste.

How to Make Any Kind of Juice Using a Blender

If you’ve been waiting to get a juicer to make fresh orange juice or lemonade, delay no longer — because if you happen to have a blender that you use for smoothies or soups, you already have an ideal juicer with the addition of a straining element, such as cheesecloth or a paint-straining bag. Juices prepared with a blender, as opposed to a juicer, taste best when consumed immediately or within 15 minutes. It’s especially important to consume grapefruit and navel orange juices immediately, as they get bitter after standing.

How to Make Any Kind of Juice Using a Blender
EquipmentIn addition to your blender, your necessary equipment includes a homemade strainer. One of the easiest setups entails a paint-strainer bag pulled over a glass or plastic low, wide container with an opening of about 6 to 7 inches in diameter. You can use a giant measuring cup or large glassware — or repurpose large, round plastic coffee containers. Midsized paint-strainer bags measure about 10 inches across and 10 inches deep, but are tapered at the bottom, with a closed end that’s 5 inches across. You can clean and reuse them indefinitely.

Alternatives include nut milk bags, large squares of cheesecloth and a clean piece of pantyhose, cut to include the foot and calf area.

Preparing the FruitWash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Peel citrus fruits, and core apples to remove the toxic seeds. Remove the pits from pitted fruits. Keep green tops such as those of celery, but not the bitter tops of carrots and rhubarb. For convenience, leave the small seeds in other fruits — they’ll be pulverized and strained out with the rest of the pulp. Trim away and toss any damaged areas, the FDA advises. Trim larger fruits and vegetables into cubes 1 inch across or smaller. For green vegetables such as kale and spinach, pull the leaves off the stems and tear the leaves so they fit in the blender.

Puree bananas and avocados separately and add them to the finished juice, rather than including them in the main juicing process, to keep more of their fibrous materials.

BlendingLoad your blender with the fruits and/or vegetables, in order of smallest pieces to largest, and wettest to driest. Add about 1/2 cup of water — just enough to allow the ingredients to begin mixing. Puree the fruits and vegetables until smooth.

StrainingPlace the paint strainer over a suitable vessel, and pour the pureed juice and its fibrous components — everything in the blender — into the strainer. Pick up the edges of the strainer, and then lift them up and twist the top of the strainer closed. Move carefully so the liquid juice remains in the container — it will pour out of the bottom as you lift the bag. Squeeze the pulp like modeling clay so that it releases more of the juice into the container.

Drink the juice promptly. The pulp can go into a compost heap or you can freeze it for soups. Clean the bag with soap and water, and allow it to dry in a warm place, or outdoors in the sun.

Non-Alcoholic Substitute for Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier is a distilled orange-flavored liqueur made by macerating orange peels in brandy or grain alcohol. The natural sugars in the fruit help flavor and sweeten the liqueur. Grand Marnier is often used in classic French dessert dishes like Crepes Suzette, or to flambe oranges that are added to desserts such as creme brulee. It is also commonly used in savory dishes like orange chicken or Grand Marnier shrimp, and often found behind the bar to add a bit of orange flavor to cocktails. Some orange-flavored substitutes are available when alcohol is simply not an option.

Crepes Suzette, a famous French dessert, often includes Grand Marnier.

Cooking

  • Even though alcohol burns off when cooking, you can still achieve the same flavor depth that Grand Marnier provides with nonalcoholic substitutes. Mix 2 tablespoons of unsweetened orange juice concentrate and 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract together to take the place of 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier. The juice mix is a concentrated orange flavor sweetened by the sugar in the extract for a perfect deep-orange flavor for your dish.

Baking

  • Replace Grand Marnier in a dessert recipe with the same amount of orange juice concentrate enhanced and sweetened with a bit of orange zest and a teaspoon of orange marmalade. The orange zest adds a fresh flavor and the marmalade helps keep your dessert moist.

Cocktails

  • Replace Grand Marnier in your favorite cocktail with the juice or syrup from your favorite brand of orange-segment fruit cup. Juices and syrups used in fruit cup are usually slightly thicker than regular fruit juice, which will mimic the consistency of the liqueur. The concentrated orange flavor will replace the Grand Marnier.

General Substitute

  • If you’re in a pinch for a quick substitute for Grand Marnier in a drink or food recipe, unsweetened orange juice concentrate always does the trick. Orange juice concentrate retains all the flavor of the fruit without the water. It’s commonly found in frozen form needs to be thawed. If you have ordinary orange juice on hand, heat a cupful over a low flame until it has thickened and is reduced by half for the equivalent of a half cup of concentrate.

Making a Room Into an Arabian Tent

If your idea of an exotic room decor is an Arabian tent with a canopy overhead, thick carpets underfoot, and lots of comfortable seating and pillows, you can create that look, in resplendent style, with the use of plenty of luxurious fabrics. An authentic or near-to-authentic Arabian tent room will be a true oasis of comfort and serenity, a place for meditation, a nap, or conversation. You can take your design concept as far as you like, but the most convincing treatment will be complete, erasing all vestiges of a modern European or North American (Western culture) room.

Capture the flavor of a Middle Eastern tent room with this decorating scheme.

Colors

  • Choose your color palette. Your tent room should be filled with a happy melange of colors, all in “jewel” primary color tones like ruby red, amber yellow, lapis or sapphire blue. Balance these colors with off-white or light beige, in generous portions, such as in the “tent” fabrics and wall-to-wall carpeting so these strong primary colors don’t overwhelm the senses.

Remove Any Ceiling Fixtures

  • Turn off power to the room at the main circuit breaker box if there are any ceiling fixtures or wall sconces in the room. Since you will be upholstering the ceilings and walls with fabric, you won’t be able to use these lighting fixtures again for safety reasons. Remove all of these light fixtures. Cap off all the wires in the electrical boxes with plastic electrical nuts and close all the boxes with metal plate covers. If you intend to install a new Arabian-looking light fixture, like a Moroccan lantern, in the center of the ceiling, extend these the fixture wires approximately 8 to 12 inches below the electrical box. Cap these wires off, temporarily, with electrical nuts. Restore power to the room.

Tent the Ceiling

  • Cover the ceiling with pleated fabric to form a “tent canopy” overhead. Begin with a section of fabric and staple one end to a point that marks the center of the ceiling. Stay clear of the area where the ceiling light fixture electrical box might have been located: staple the fabric around this hole, approximately 2 inches away from the hole, and avoid contact with the capped off electrical wires as you do this, if they are present. Gather the fabric with your fingers to form loose pleats as you staple. Extend the length of the fabric to the place where the wall meets the ceiling, directly opposite your starting point on the ceiling. Pull the fabric tight. Staple this end of the fabric to a point on the wall that is approximately 12 inches below the ceiling line to create a gentle, sloped effect. Continue to gather the fabric to form the pleats as you staple this end to the wall. Install a second section of fabric alongside the first section, starting at the center of the ceiling and working out toward the corresponding area on the opposite wall. Overlap the two side-by-side sections by 2 inches so the seam between the two sections is somewhat masked. Work all the way around the room, section by section, until the ceiling is completely covered with pleated fabric.

    Create a round ceiling medallion, cut out of 3/4 inch plywood, that is large enough to cover the place where the fabric has been stapled to the center of the ceiling. Drill a hole through the center of this medallion to accomodate the light fixture wires if you intend to install a hanging light here. Mount this medallion securely to the ceiling with molly bolts. Decorate the medallion with paint or upholster it with more of the ceiling fabric: do this only after installing a hanging light fixture from the medallion if that is in your plans.

    Optional: Install an appropriate ceiling light fixture such as a Moroccan hanging lantern. The larger the lantern the better. Turn off power to the room at the circuit box. Mount the fixture to the plywood ceiling medallion and connect the fixture using the capped wires. Restore power to the room and test the fixture.

Tent the Walls

  • Line the walls with lengths of fabric. Use the same material employed in the ceiling, or a slightly different or darker fabric for contrast. Staple the fabric, loosely pleating it as you go, to long strips of 1-inch-by-2-inch lumber. Wrap the fabric around the wood and staple it on the back side of the wooden strip so the staples won’t show. Staple the top end of the fabric to a strip of wood, and then staple the bottom end of the fabric to another strip of wood to form one wall “panel” of fabric with a top and a bottom wooden “rail.” Raise the top rail and place it against the wall so it covers over the stapled ends of the ceiling “tent.” Nail or screw the rail to the wall here. Align the bottom rail at floor level and nail or screw it to the wall as well. Repeat this until you have covered all the wall surfaces from floor to ceiling, even over windows. Try to place fabric over any windows in such a way that two sections overlap at the windows: you will be able to part the fabric with your hands when you need to reach and operate the windows. It helps to start by installing two fabric sections at the window locations and working around the room from there to be sure two sections come together at the windows. Install short “filler” panels over the tops of doors; don’t cover the doors.

    Remove any doors in the room and replace them with heavy velvet curtains. Mount the curtains on cafe curtain rods installed inside the door jambs.

Carpet the Floors

  • Carpet the room if it is not already carpeted, wall to wall. A neutral or “sand” tone is best. Add layers upon layers of Oriental or Arabian carpets and rugs, one over the other. Two or three layers of different carpets are typical. These carpets should each be different in design and coloring.

Furnishings and Accents

  • Furnish the room with a ring of comfortable low couches and masses of pillows of all sizes. Traditional Western furniture is acceptable but wall-to-wall couches is the look you want. Pepper the room with small tables with round or octagonal tops, all placed in front of the couches, not at the ends. The wood finish on these tables should be a dark red mahogany.

    Decorate with Middle Eastern accent pieces, including mosaics, brass vessels, and tapestries. Remember that depictions of human beings are not acceptable art subjects in Middle Eastern design so stick with art based on Middle Eastern design patterns and animals.