nina | October 25th, 2011 - 4:00 pm


Healthy Howard is a community-based effort to improve health for those who live, work, learn and play inHoward County.  Launched in 2007 by theCounty Executive and Health Officer, they seek to build a model public health community through the advancement of “healthy” policies at the institutional level.

The Healthy Workplaces Program recognizes Howard County work places that are committed to improving employee health and well-being through six main areas of worksite wellness: Culture of Wellness, Physical Activity, Mental Health, Environmental Health, Nutrition, and Safety.

This accreditation program was developed from a review of evidence-based worksite wellness activities, guidelines from existing efforts by the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society as well as recommendations from the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and the Horizon Foundation.

There are three award designation levels for certified businesses: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.  After submitting an application, we were selected and presented a Healthy Howard Award plaque to honor our efforts.

Chef’s Corner – Saval Bistro Steak Sandwich

nina | October 13th, 2011 - 9:00 am


6 oz Teres major, Flattened
1 ea Ciabatta
2 T Onion, diced
2 T Red Pepper, diced
2 oz Hickory Heaven
1 T Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

Season beef with salt and pepper and grill to desired temperature.  Sauté peppers and onion and add Hickory Heaven sauce.  Slice and warm Ciabatta.  Layer steak and pepper- onion mix in Ciabatta and serve.


nina | October 12th, 2011 - 9:00 am


The calendar may say it’s autumn, but the heat is still screaming summer. In fact, the record drought is taking a toll on a classic symbol of fall.

The stage has been set for the celebrations of autumn. If only the weather would follow suit.
The corn mazes are ready to go. So are the geese, goats and the racing pigs. But the biggest draw this time of year is the pumpkins.

It’s been so dry in some parts of the country that farmers didn’t even bother to plant pumpkins this year, instead opting to buy them from farms in other parts of the country.

A lot of farmers had a total loss on their crop. And they’re going to be really hard to find.  They are also going to be 15 percent more expensive, not to mention smaller. Texas production of pumpkins has been cut in half by the drought, and Hurricane Irene took a toll on production in the northeast.

Talk about feast or famine—October accounts for about 75 percent of some farmers annual business.

A lot of people have no intention of buying pumpkins, but they bring small kids out to farms and their families and take a thousand photos and buy Fall produce and food.

After all is said and done, the farms with fall festivities will have truck loads of pumpkins shipped in.  Each load weighs approximately 40,000 pounds with freight charges probably costing more than the pumpkins themselves.

So hug your pumpkin and show your appreciation this Fall season!

Source: sept 2011


nina | October 11th, 2011 - 9:00 am

Put a slight spin on satisfying “comfort-food” favorites for an intriguing menu additon.

I don’t have a precise answer, but it seems safe to say that after two bubbles, three recessions, and about 20 years of repeated refreshing and reinvention, the comfort-food trend is not so much a trend at all, but rather a permanent feature of the American culinary landscape.

Times have changed. Our economic downturns seem to be lasting longer. The geopolitical landscape has undergone seismic shifts. But comfort foods remain very much in favor. It’s a cuisine interestingly impervious to the vagaries of foodie fashion, and positively oblivious to modernist trends that would relegate the pot pies and stalwart casseroles of the past to culinary purgatory.

Surveying today’s comfort food, it becomes clear that the secret to finding success with new menu items based on tried-and-true comfort-food favorites lies in taking a familiar offering—say, the grilled-cheese sandwich—upscaling the ingredients just a bit to reflect consumers’ growing fixation on product quality and variety, and tweaking the basic ingredient formula ever so slightly to create a novel twist on the basic form.

The good ideas begin with the menu item itself. Grilled cheese is simple, more than a little decadent, exceedingly familiar, nostalgia inducing, and deeply satisfying.

Perhaps most important of all, every single item within the basic formula (bread, cheese, optional meats and vegetables, and some sort of butter for grilling) is capable of being upscaled, tweaked, or enhanced just a smidge to yield a new variation on the basic theme. There’s endless room for experimentation, and this leeway ultimately challenges the restaurateur’s creativity.

The key is not to venture too far afield of the familiar in the course of crafting new items.

Instead of buttering the bread lightly, you heap it on a little heavier so bread gets a little crunchier under the intense heat of grilling. Instead of commercial white or wheat slices, you hack off a couple slabs of a rosemary-garlic loaf from a local purveyor. Instead of American singles or simple Swiss, you use a sharp cheddar or intensely flavored emmental or gruyère—regional, higher-end variants with much more provocative flavor profiles. And rather than toss in a couple of pieces of standard bacon, you layer on an applewood-smoked variety, or a thin-sliced artisan ham.

You’ve effectively intensified the entire grilled-cheese experience and created a destination-worthy item by changing out three ingredients.

Grilled cheese makes for a great example, but this basic formula has been applied to countless other menu items over the past couple of decades, to the point where the new versions have become mainstream. Saffron-garlic mashed potatoes, truffled macaroni and cheese, duck-fat-fried french fries, gourmet pizzas topped with exotic cheeses, expensive meats, pesto sauces … the list goes on.

In each case, the minds behind the menu items have applied their creativity and vision to a familiar formula and come out with something that resonates with consumers’ centers in a slightly new way.

The bottom line: Don’t for a minute underestimate the synergistic effect of infusing new ideas into familiar comfort foods. The trick is not to venture too far afield of the familiar in the course of crafting new items.

In the end, if it isn’t readily recognizable as a new twist on grilled cheese, a new take on the french fry, or a novel approach to the pot pie, you’ve probably gone too far. But within the basic frameworks, feel free to go wild and reap the rewards.

Source:, oct 2011

Chef’s Choice – Chicken Wings from Around the World

nina | October 10th, 2011 - 9:00 am

Asian Sesame Wings 1 cup Teriyaki Glase (#48000) 1 Tbs Sesame Oil (#44651) 1 Tbs Sesame Seeds (#82955) Texas BBQ Wings BBQ Sauce (#44810) Buffalo Chicken Wings TexasPete (#44442) Caribbean Jerk Wings 1 cup Melted Butter 2Tb Caribbean Jerk Seasoning (#82250) Thai Coconut Curry Wings 1 can Coco Lopez (#46600) 1Tb Curry (#82965) 2Tb Shredded […]

Fun Food Trivia

nina | October 7th, 2011 - 9:00 am

1.  What did Wrigley Company do to promote its chewing gum nationwide in 1914?
Answer:  It mailed Doublemint gum to everyone listed in U.S. phone books.

2.  What are the five frequently consumed fruits in the United States?
Answer:  The banana, apple, watermelon, orange and cantaloupe (according to the Food & Drug Administration).

3.  What recipe did Texas ice-cream maker Elmer Doolin buy for $100 from the owner of a San Antonio cafe in 1933 – – and use to make a fortune?
Answer:  The recipe for tasty corn chips that he marketed as Fritos.  He made them at night in his mother’s kitchen and peddled them from his Model-T-Ford.

4.  When was coffee first sold in sealed tin cans in the United States?
Answer:  In 1879 – – by Chase & Sanborn.


nina | October 6th, 2011 - 9:00 am

Overall potato volume coming from the Red River Valley could be down as much as 25% in 2011.

Some 17% of fish caught commercially were harvested unintentionally.

Apple harvests in Ohio are on track for an average to above-average season.

California’s kiwi crops will top last year’s volume with nine million trays.

Mexico will make an attempt to become a bigger exporting source with berries.

Avocado volume building after a year of light supplies, high prices.

More than 11,00 tons of blueberries will be shipped from Argentina to the U.S. during the 2011-2012 season, tripling the amount of blueberries exported to the U.S. over the past five years.

Increased chocolate consumption in Asia is reshaping the cocoa industry.  Until recently, suppliers had so much extra cocoa powder it was sometimes burned in boilers as a fuel. 

The 2011 corn harvest is 15% complete, one percentage point below the five-year average, but lower than last year’s harvest by 11 points. 

The effects of the BP oil spill on the Louisiana killifish could indicate trouble for fish populations, as researchers found biological changes that may cause future problems with development and reproduction. 

The predicted La Nina forecast sets a favorable tone for farmers of winter grain crops such as wheat, oats & rye.


nina | October 5th, 2011 - 9:00 am

General Rule of the Brew. 
A guide to perk up your dessert menu.

Pair richer desserts with darker roasts, and lighter desserts with lighter roasts.  Once you’re satisfied with your selection, do a taste test and see what matches up best with your menu.

Light-Roast Coffee.   Characterized by a smooth, mellow taste and golden-brown color.  Try with:
    * Light cakes, cookies & loaves.
    * Cooked-fruit desserts, such as a crisp, compote or cobbler.
    * Desserts with fresh fruit, such as a atart, shortcake or meringue.

Medium-Roast Coffee.  Well-rounded and robust with a deep, brown color.  Try with:
    * Creamy desserts with light textures, such as creme brulee, tiramisu or flan.
    * Spiced desserts, such as carrot cake and apple pie.
    * Lighter-style desserts that still hold some decadence, such as cheesecakes with fresh fruit or whipped-chocolate   parfaits.

Dark-Roast Coffee.  Bold, rich and full of body.  Try with:
    * Coffee-flavored desserts, such as mocha cake or espresso ice cream.
    * Decadent desserts, such as dense cheesecake or ice cream.
    * Grains, such as muffins, biscotti, scones, or croissants.
    * Rich chocolate desserts, such as cake, sundaes, mousse or truffles.
    * Desserts with caramel and/or nuts.

Tips for Brewing a Great Cup of Coffee:  The right coffee and dessert pairing is important, but making sure that the coffee you serve tastes great is even more essential.

Here are 3 reminders for making the coffee grade:
1.  Correct coffee pack size for your equipment.
2.  The right equipment for the right brew.
3.  Clean water and instruments.

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