Mary’s Memo – December 30th


Thanksgiving through Christmas most of us are on a fast track. Now it’s time to slow down and I can’t think of a better way to do it than with Cooking Slow by Andrew Schloss (Chronicle Books, October 2013, $35.00/hardback). In these pages, discover slow simmering (popularly known as braising), slow roasting, slow grilling and slow steaming and use your slow cooker to their best advantage with many leaveit-and-love it recipes! Andrew Schloss is a cooking teacher, food writer, and food industry consultant and cookbook author. He lives with his family in eastern Pennsylvania. Color photographs by Alan Benson, a food and lifestyle photographer based in Australia is the “icing on the cake.” Order on line from


When I eliminated Lipton Soup Mix from my shopping list because of MSG (monosodium glutamate) I had to improvise but was never completely satisfied with my replacement .... Better than Bouillon and dry minced onion. The Busy Woman’s Roast and Rice Consommé in my cookbook call for it as well as several dips. I don’t know what possessed me today to look at Spartan Onion Soup Mix for Recipes & Dips but I did and it is MSG-free! Some of you might not care whether this flavor enhancer is in so many products but I am and have already stocked up on Spartan’s product to make some of my favorite dips, entrees and side dishes that call for onion soup mix. The easiest dip to make to welcome 2014 is on the box: Mix I envelope of mix with 2 cups of Spartan Sour Cream. Serve with another new product a friend recommended in the beverage area: Xochitl, pronounced SO cheel. It’s a thin tortilla chip that got rave reviews from my girls at Thanksgiving. Xochitl are all natural with no preservatives, no cholesterol, no Trans fats, no gluten and no MSG! It’s my tortilla chip of choice from now on!


Some of you are reluctant to use white wine in recipes because you don’t normally drink it and it isn’t a good keeper once bottle is opened. An excellent replacement for white wine is vermouth and it keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator.


Once again I’m making one because I continue to buy more food than I can use at a given time. What’s the good of a bargain if half or all of it goes to waste before I can eat it? It’s not as much of a problem for families but for one and two people households it is. If I kept track of the cost of food I discard, the amount would be on the staggering side! So I resolve in 2014 to make a list and stick to it instead of adding impulse purchases to my grocery cart. How about you?


That said, is your household throwing away hundreds of dollars’ worth of usable food every year? That’s a conclusion of a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, which warns that $165 billion of edible food is tossed in the trash annually and 40 percent of US food production never gets eaten. “All those dates on food products …. sell by, use by, best before …. almost none of those dates indicate the safety of the food, and generally speaking, they’re not regulated in the way people believe,” the report states. The main criteria people should use to evaluate food safety, according to the report, is the amount of time food spends in the temperature “danger zone” of 40 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, when bacterial contamination thrives.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, December 2013.


It will be rare if anyone avoids snacking New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day and our recipe for Curried Shrimp or Chicken Tarts is so easy to have ready for the family and/or guests. You’ll find the ready-to-fill mini-phyllo pastry shells in Chief’s frozen food department.


• 1 cup chopped cooked shrimp or rotisserie chicken
• 1/2 (8-ounce) package of reduced fat cream cheese, softened
• 3 tablespoons chopped scallions
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
• 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
• 15 mini-phyllo pastry shells
• 2.5 tablespoons jarred mango chutney

Stir together first 6 ingredients. Spoon mixture into pastry shells. Put 1/2 teaspoon mango chutney over each tart. Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Southern Living recipe.


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