The Best Tomato Varieties For Your Container Gardening

The Best Tomato Varieties For Your Container Gardening

A great alternative for the tomato gardener with limited garden space is to use buckets, pots or containers to grow tomato plants.

Container gardening offers many advantages, such as growing a few plants in containers is a lot less intimidating to beginning gardeners than trying to plan and care for a large vegetable garden. Without a doubt, it is much easier to care for and maintain a small container garden than a large outdoor area.

Planting your tomatoes in a portable set up allows you to move your tomato plants around so they get the necessary sunlight each day. Though growing tomatoes in the sun is necessary, but the fruit themselves do not need sunlight to ripen, as the tomato actually ripens fastest in the absence of sunlight. Tomatoes ripen because of heat and ethylene gas, not because of sunlight (Gardening Know How).

A word to the wise, not all tomato varieties are perfect for container gardening. To ensure that you receive great tasting tomatoes, and the biggest possible yield, then take a look at these three tomato varieties.

Container Gardening With The Right Tomato Plants

Japanese Black Trifele

Japanese Black Trifele TomatoAlthough the Japanese Black Trifele is considered a great container tomato, be advised that it can be found in both indeterminate and determinate varieties.

Before buying a particular plant, you’ll want to make sure the ones you are considering are the more compact variety.

The pear-shaped fruits of the Japanese Black Trifele will develop a deep mahogany color as a sign that it is ripe. This beautiful fruit is as visually appealing as it is delicious. You can expect a sweet and smoky, multi-layered taste.

Rareseeds says the plants produce loads of fruit all summer long, and has been a favorite with many seed savers.

Sungold Cherry Tomato

 Sungold Cherry TomatoThe Sungold cherry tomato is a indeterminate hybrid. These tangerine-orange cherry tomatoes are super sweet and savory.

The plant boasts as a vigorous, disease resistant plant, and as such this cherry tomato plant is very strong and requires very little care.

Also, a single Sungold plant can give you cherry tomatoes all summer long.

Brandywine

Heirloom Organics says that the Brandywine tomato is among the oldest heirloom tomato varieties, and have been grown for well over 100 years. The fruit is a large, slightly sweet, pink, beefsteak tomato that can weigh 1 ½ pounds. It is an indeterminate growing vine plant that can reach 9 feet in height with plenty of light and heat.

This tomato variety consistently wins first place in tomato taste tests not only in the United States, but throughout the world.

Some other great tomatoes to grow in your container garden include the Wapsipinicon Peach, with its delicious and fuzzy fruit or the intriguing Black Krim heirloom variety which yields large purple and red fruits.

The tomatoes we have mentioned here is far from a comprehensive list. With thousands of tomato varieties to choose from, you are sure to find great options for your container gardening.

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Which Tomato Will You Grow For Your Homemade Sauce

Which Tomato Will You Grow For Your Homemade Sauce

With thousands of tomato varieties available today, selecting the variety of tomatoes you want to grow in your garden can seem like an overwhelming project. Tomatoes are very diverse, as each variety offers up its own unique set of characteristics, such as flavor, size, and even color.

Is your objective for growing tomatoes to serve up tasty tomato sauce, then it would be well worth knowing that some varieties, not all, are better suited for making the sauce.

There are some speciers of tomatoes that have few seeds in their flesh, and a firm meaty texture. Let’s take a look at 5 varieties that fit the bill for a tasty tomato sauce. These 5 varieties of tomatoes may be familiar to you, and possible not.

Great Choices Of Tomatoes For Your Perfect Sauce

Russian Big Roma

Russian Big Roma at a Farmers Market

Russian Big Roma

The University Of California – Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners program says the Russian Big Roma is disease-resisting, and a favorite heirloom paste variety, as well as using to make sauces.

Unlike most paste and sauce tomatoes, this is an indeterminate variety which produces lots of large (2 x 4 inch), dark red fruit, with a splendid “tomatoey” flavor.

San Marzano

Compared to the Roma tomato, the San Marzano tomatoes are thinner and more pointed. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic. Expert tomato growers describe the taste as bittersweet.

Again, the Mater Gardener’s program says the San Marzano is a “Tomato Festival” favorite.

This Italian tomato variety produces an 8 ounce, deep red fruit, that is 4 inches in length. And though the San Marzano in the raw or uncooked has a lot to be desired in respects to flavor, the process of cooking them down to make sauce releases magic qualities, and therefore you will want to grow them year after year.

Polish Linguisa

Polish Linguisa tomato

Image credit: Tomato Geeks

The Polish Linguisa is a variety of tomato from Eastern Europe, and it was brought to the USA by Polish gardeners in the 1800’s.

This particular tomato has bright red fruit, and according to the Tomato Geeks, it has a broad range of uses:

  • Paste
  • Sauce
  • Canning
  • Drying
  • Freezing

Jersey Devil

one half pound Jersy Devil tomato

Image Credit: Teresa Giovanzana

The Jersey Devil tomato is a extremely prolific producer of 4-5” long, bright red fruit that are shaped like banana peppers.

They are very meaty and sweet, with few seeds. The Master Gardeners say it is an excellent tomato for canning as well as eating fresh.

Teresa Giovanzana boasts a 1/2 pound Jersey Devil in the 2013 tomato season.

Amish Paste

Amish Paste tomatoes produce bright red fruit up to 12 ounces that vary greatly in shape from ox-heart to a rounded plum shape.

From the Pennsylvania Amish (USA), the tomato is a large, meaty, bright red heirloom with superior taste, and a nice balance of sweet and acid.

The Amish Paste has been chosen by Organic Gardening magazine as a top paste tomato, as it is juicier than most other paste tomato varieties. Though it is a great tomato to make paste, it also is worth eating straight from the garden. Add some to your favorite salad or sandwich, but make sure you save enough to makes lots of thick and full-bodied sauce!

Tomatoes on VineAll the tomato varieties above are – indeterminate, also called vining tomatoes. The plant will grow continuously until it dies, usually in Fall with the first deep frost.

Once they produce flowers and set tomatoes they will do so continuously until the plant dies.

The five tomato varieties that we reviewed, is far from comprehensive, as there are lots of other terrific choices that can be used to make succulent pastes and sauces.

These tomatoes are a great starting point, because you can easily find seeds at your local garden centers or online. Try adding some or all of them to your garden this year for truly outstanding results during harvest time.

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Nashville’s Style – Hot Chicken

Nashville's Style  Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken is a local specialty in Nashville,Tennessee (USA). If you ever plan to visit Nashville, you can find prepared Hot Chicken while out and about at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack among other restaurants.

Hot Chicken is prepared using the breast, thigh, or wing of the bird, and are marinated in a water-based blend of seasonings, and flour. After the chicken pieces have been breaded and fried, a spicy hot sauce using cayenne pepper is drizzled over the chicken pieces. The hot chicken is served over slices of white bread with pickle chips.

Already mentioned, there are several restaurants in Nashville that serve up hot chicken. There is even a city-wide festival and competition commemorating the dish. Check it out here: Nashville Hot Chicken Coalition.

Here’s a easy Hot Chicken recipe, so you can give it a try.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into tenders

1 tablespoon freshly-ground black pepper

2 tablespoon kosher salt

Hot Chicken

Image Credit: Joe Buglewicz/The Bitter Southerner

Brine Mixture:

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Sriracha

Buttermilk Breading Mixture:

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk or whole milk

2 Tbsp. hot sauce

Seasoned Flour:

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon spanish paprika

½ teaspoon celery salt

½ teaspoon dried sage

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

½ teaspoon onion flakes

Nashville Hot Chicken Sauce:

3 tablesppon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic salt

½ cup vegetable oil for frying, such as refined coconut oil or avocado oil for high heat cooking

Directions

Sprinkle the tenders with salt and pepper.

Whisk buttermilk with hot sauce in a large bowl, then place the tenders in the bowl.

Cover and chill for two or more hours (or overnight).

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce for buttermilk breading mixture in a large bowl.

Whisk all of the ingredients for the seasoned flour together in another large bowl.

Fit a deep pan with a lid, or a Dutch oven with a thermometer, and pour enough vegetable oil to measure 2 inches inside the pan.

Heat the oil over medium-high until the thermometer registers 325°F.

Remove the bowl of marinating tenders from the fridge, then take the tenders out of the bowl and pat them dry.

Working with 1 tender at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shake off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture. Allow any excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge the tender again in flour mixture and place on a baking pan.

Place 3 to 4 tenders in the hot oil, one at a time.

Fry tenders, turning occasionally, until coating is golden brown and crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. If you want, you can check the tender doneness by inserting a meat or instant thermometer into the tender; it should register 165°F.

Continue to fry your tenders in batches of 3 or 4, allowing the oil to return to 325°F between batches.

Place finished tenders on a tray lined with paper towels.

On the side, whisk cayenne, brown sugar, garlic salt, and paprika in a medium bowl; then whisk in ½ cup frying oil.

Arrange the finished tenders on a serving platter and drizzle with the spicy oil.

Serve with dill pickle chips and white bread.

____________________________________

Article Credits:

Recipe adapted from: Wonder How To – Food Hacks 

Header Image Credit: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

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Condiments – Sauces – and Dips – Oh My!

Condiments - Sauces - and Dips - Oh My!

Supermarket-Condiments-Aisle

Image Credit: Fooducate

Depending on what you are going to eat, no meal is complete without condiments, sauces and dips.

You could become easily over whelmed as you stroll your shopping cart down the condiments, sauces, and dips aisles of your favorite grocery store, as there are so many choices.

Even on Pinterest, Instagram, and other social networks you can find amazing, delectable and tasty-looking condiments, sauces and dips that you can create on your own to enhance your meals.

In the United States alone, the production of marketed condiments was valued at 5.6 billion dollars (USA) in 2010 and was estimated to grow to 7 billion dollars (USA) by 2015. 

Condiments are the second largest bought specialty food with the first being cheese.

What Is A Condiment

A condiment includes a spice, herb, salt, pepper, and sauce. The word “condiment” was coined from the Latin word condimentum, which means spice, seasoning, or sauce. The Latin word condere, also means, to preserve, pickle, or season.

The preparation of a particular condiment is added to food to render a distinct flavor, and/or to intensify a culinary dishes flavor. The term originally described food items like pickles, tarter sauce, mustard, ketchup, or Tabasco sauce, but has shifted meaning over time.

Link here to check out a List Of Condiments referred to on Wikipedia.

What Are Sauces and Dips

ranch dip with vegtables, tomatoes and crusted bread

Ranch Dressing or Buttermilk Dressing Dip With Vegetables, Tomatoes and Crusted Bread

Sauces are a liquid plus some sort of thickening agent along with other flavoring ingredients served with food, usually savory dishes, to add moistness and flavor.

About Food says there are 5 Mother Sauces, and they include…

  • Béchamel Sauce
  • Velouté Sauce
  • Espagnole Sauce
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Classic Tomate Sauce

About Food explains that the term “mother sauce” in culinary arts, refers to any one of the five basic sauces just mentioned, which are the starting points for making various secondary sauces. They say that they are called “mother sauces,” as each sauce is like the head of its own unique family of sauces.

types of Mexican SalsasSalsa is the Italian and Spanish word for sauce, and in English speaking countries salsa usually refers to the sauces typical of Mexico’s cuisine, referred to as salsa picante, particularly those used as dips.

Salsas are most often prepared with a tomato-based sauce or dip which is heterogeneous or diverse in character, as it can include the addition of onions, chilies, beans, cilantro, corn, and assorted spices that are customarily piquant, ranging from mild to very hot.

Salsas can be runny or thick. Both types of salsas are also used as dipping sauces, such as platters that are prepared with corn chips, beans, sour cream, and salsa.

guacamole dip and corn chips

Guacamole With Corn Chips

Dips are a thick food item, for dipping other finger foods into.

Dips are usually dairy based, like a buttermilk based dip, or a sour cream or cream cheese based dip, as well as tomato based.

You can even mix a salsa with sour cream to form a dip.

Dips can be thick or a liquid, and they can include a spinach dip, fruit dip, like guacamole, or a pizza dip, such as a tomato sauce based dip, or a garlic sauce.

Creative Condiments – Sauces – and Dips

Add coconut to your curry sauce. This gives it a more south-east Asian flavor. Just sauté some onions, ginger, curry powder, and sugar. Add some coconut milk and allow to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Add fresh, frozen, or peach preserves  and spices to a favorite barbecue sauce. Mix in some peach preserves, a little sriracha, and your favorite barbecue sauce, and turn some yum into a wow in an instant.

You can create a great slider sauce or marinade for grilling meats by using Dijon mustard, key lime juice, Himalayan salt and pepper.

Here are some great Condiments – Sauces – and Dips prepared here at Splendid Recipes and More…

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Making Japanese Kokedama’s For Indoors Or Out

Still life with blooming violet and garden shovel over grey background

japanese grass planted the kodedama method

Japanese Grass Planted The Kodedama Method -Image credit: Cafe Maria

Kokedama is a Japanese variant of the bonsai. Basically, kokedama, translation from Japanese literally means “moss ball.”

It is the practice of removing a plant with its roots from a planter or pot, then surrounding the roots with a mud cake, then wrapped with moss, and held together with string.

This type of planting works well with succulent plants, such as those that are placed in doors, as well as herbs, and other out door plants.

The Telegraph a newspaper distributed in the United Kingdom, says that the kokedama method of planting started in Japan, and skipped over to the Netherlands before finding its way to the United States, and since 2015 the method has found its way to England and into the hearts of plant lovers there.

Collage of Fedor Van der Valk ‘String Gardens’Fedor Van der Valk of the Netherlands acknowledged as the king of contemporary kokedama, took the planting method one step further and suspended his moss wrapped botanicals from pulleys. Mr. Van der Valk calls his creations string gardens.

There’s nothing new though about hanging garden’s. King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon indulged his queen with what is now one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the hanging gardens of Babylon, built around 600 B.C.

Marisa Lopez of Saving My Culture, says that kokedamas are elegant, and can be placed in any environment or in your garden.

This technique provides a simpler alternative to the bonsai, and is easy to grow – even for people who do not have much time to take care of plants.

Would you like to learn how to make your own Japanese kokedama to hang out in your garden from your trees or other support?

Lowe’s has a 40 second video demonstrating the ease of making kokedamas for inside your house or out in your garden.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and FigsThe number on producer of sweet potatoes in the United States alone, is the state of North Carolina, planting and harvesting more than 40% of the national supply.

3 popular sweet potato varieties sold at market

Image Credit: Saveur Magazine

The website for the sweet potato industry, North Carolina Sweet Potatoes say that the list of sweet potato varieties changes rapidly and new varieties are released almost annually.

The most popular varieties sold at your local market are, Covington Sweet Potato, O’Henry Sweet Potato, and the Japanese Sweet Potato.

The popular food magazine, also found on line, Saveur says that shopping for sweet potatoes, particularly during the Thanksgiving holiday (USA), you can came across a surprising range of varieties, 16 to be exact.

They go on to say that a consumer can find both heirlooms and new hybrids alike, all which are being grown in the United States.

Our feature recipe – Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs – uses three different types of sweet potatoes, which are the speckled purple sweet potato, which is named because of their flecked magenta flesh.

An heirloom variety with pale orange skin and flesh, and not to forget the Hannahs varity which has tan skin and an off-white interior. When roasted the flesh takes on a yellow cast, a lightly sweet flavor, and a dry texture.

Here is what you will need to prepare – Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs in your own kitchen.

2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, different colors

5 tablespoons olive oil

Himalayan salt and fresh black pepper to taste

6 dried figs

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 peeled coins fresh ginger

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar

12 scallions or green onions (white and green parts), cut into 1 1/2 inch segments

1 red chili,halved, seeded, thinly sliced

My mother had two fig trees in her garden, both a black and green variety. Fresh figs can be very fragile, and need to be eaten within a day or two of harvesting. We used dried figs in our recipe because they are just as versatile as fresh figs when re-hydrated.

Read more here about the Benefits Of Figs Help Fight Against Common Ailments.

Recipes directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Scrub potatoes and slice each one into wedges.

roasted sweet potatoesToss wedges with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, s teaspoons of Himalayan salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle and roast until soft, about 25 minutes.

rehydrating fdried figs with lemon zest, juice, sugar and fresh gingerMeanwhile, place the dried figs in a medium saucepan with lemon zest, juice, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Cover with fresh water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer until figs return to plump fig pose.

dried figs rehydratedScoop figs from saucepan with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towels. Let dry, and quarter the figs, cutting away the stems.

In a small saucepan, stir together the balsamic vinegar, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 4 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Figs - close upArrange roasted sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a sauce pan and heat. place in onions, and chili. Fry for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Spoon the oil, onions, and chili over the sweet potatoes.

Nestle the figs among the wedges and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Suggested to serve at room temperature.

Ginger and Lemon Juice WaterMaybe you are wondering what to do with the water solution that was used to dehydrate the figs? Put it into your Nutri-Bullet or blender, and blend for about 30 to 40 seconds and drink down a nutritious anti-inflammatory drink.

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Cooking Simple With Your Family

Collage of adults cooking with their children - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyWe have been interviewing Keisha T. Prosser – The Mobile Cooking Teacher on Using Your Cooking Skills To Teach Others About Good Nutrition (March. 15, 2016) and  The Mobile Cooking Teacher – Inspiring A New Generation Of Cooks (March. 19, 2019). To see the interviews again just click and follow the above links.

Keisha T. ProsserSplendid Recipes: Today we are going to let Keisha explain the right time to start teaching your children cooking skills. Okay Keisha, we pass the platform over to you.

Keisha: Thanks Randy. Do you have children? Have you ever thought when would be a good time to start teaching my child how to cook? But not only cook, but cook healthy meals.

It is true we are all busy, but our children will not always be with us, and they need to know the importance of COOKING. And it doesn’t matter if they are a girl or boy, we all should have some basic cooking skills.

Okay, so when is a good time to start teaching your children? Let’s talk about age groups and what are some skills they can learn during those ages.

Teaching Children Age Appropriate Cooking Skills

Here are the age appropriate cooking skills to teach your children.

Preschoolers – 6 years old

young boy learning to cut with a knife - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyThis age group can help preparing fruit and pasta salads, help with setting the table, and for those who can read, they can read the recipe ingredients and directions with you. Doing so will help them learn to follow recipe directions.

They can measure ingredients, learn how to use a food timer, including a meat thermometer. They can help with making smoothies by allowing the child to place the ingredients into the blender.

This is also a wonderful age group to let help with young girl helping to make cookies - Cooking Simple With Your Familybaking cookies, as they can learn the effort that goes into making one of their favorite snacks.

Explain to them how herbs and spices flavor a recipe. You might think teaching this to a preschooler to 6 year old would be something they wouldn’t understand, which may be true at first. But repetition is key to teaching children the skills of cooking.

Other things this age group can help with in food preparation is preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner, helping with menu planning, as well as helping to clean up the kitchen after eating.

This age group is the right time to start and teach them the importance of eating healthy.

Ages 7-12

young boy learning to cook - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyContinue with what they have learned up to age six, that is measuring ingredients, making smoothies, menu planning, and help with cleaning the kitchen.

Ages 7 to 12 is a good age group to start teaching kitchen prep work, that is cutting up fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and cheeses that will go into the recipe you are preparing.

Continue with teaching them the importance of healthy eating, flavoring foods with herbs and spices, including following and reading recipe directions.

 

Ages 13-18 

 teen boy preparing a recipe - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyThis age group can start learning to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner by themselves.

They even make their favorite cookies on their own, including learning how to cook different cuisines, like a simple Asian stir-fry or Mexican food, like tacos.

They still should be encouraged to read and follow recipe directions. At this age let them sit with a paper and pencil and plan out the weeks menu.

Letting them do this will help them learn appreciation for planning ahead to eat, instead of waiting to the last minute when you are really hungry, and may go for some junk food.

Cooking Simple

We all would like meals to be done in 20 minutes or less, at least I do.

young girl cooking - - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyHere are some simple ingredients you can teach your child to mix together to form different recipes in the kitchen.

You can do 3 easy things with these ingredients: Lemon, Garlic, Salt, Sugar, Olive Oil, and Onion.

Salad Dressing: Lemon, Olive Oil, Garlic, Onion, Salt and Lemon Zest.

Marinade: Lemon, Garlic, Onion and Olive Oil

The ideas are endless with these simple ingredients.

Having your family helping in the kitchen more is one way to make sure everyone is eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Preparing meals together brings you closer as a family. You are teaching your family how to cook healthier and smarter.

Remember, the heart of the home is in the kitchen, and a healthy kitchen, is a healthy heart.

Splendid Recipes: Thanks so much Keisha, for taking the time out to share all that you have with us on teaching good nutrition through cooking, inspiring future cooks, and cooking together as a family.

Keisha: No thank you Randy for this opportunity. And I appreciate any one who would like to follow me on any one of the social net works I am on.

Splendid Recipes: Yes follow Keisha on any one of the following social net works and keep up with the latest adventures of – The Mobile Cooking Teacher.

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The Mobile Cooking Teacher – Inspiring A New Generation Of Cooks

The Mobile Cooking Chef - Inspiring A New Generation Of CooksWe continue our interview with Keisha T. Prosser – The Mobile Cooking Teacher (view first interview here: Using Your Cooking Skills To Teach Others About Good Nutrition).

Keisha T. ProsserSplendid Recipes: Welcome back Keisha.

Keisha: Hi Randy and thanks, I am glad to be here again.

Splendid Recipes: Would it be fair to say that you as an instructor in cooking are inspiring a new generation of cooks?

Keisha: Yes I feel that I am. Young children and teens today are exposed to a lot of unhealthy foods, such as junk food as it is referred to.

Splendid Recipes: Tell us what are the first things that you are teaching this new generation of cooks?

Keisha: I am teaching them the basics to good cooking.

Splendid Recipes: And what are the basics Keisha?

Keisha: Well, there are five things all cooks should know and incorporate regularly when it comes to preparing a wholesome meal.

young boy in a cooking class

A Young Boy Learning To Cook With Keisha T. Prosser – The Mobile Cooking Teacher

Splendid Recipes: I like the way you say “wholesome meal.” Besides teaching these young children and teens to cook, you are also passionate about the food being wholesome.

Keisha: Yes Randy that is correct. They need to learn that they can make great food for themselves without depending on ordering food out from a fast food establishment.

Splendid Recipes: Okay, so explain to us the five things you explain to your students before you start cooking.

washing hands before cooking

A Cook Or Food Server Should Always Wash Their Hands BEFORE – DURING – and AFTER Preparing Food

Keisha: The very first things you need to do before you even touch your cooking utensils, recipe card or book, and food items, is wash your hands. Washing your hands cannot be overemphasized, as it can prevent food borne illnesses.

A lot of food borne illness come from cooks and food servers who are not washing their hands properly.  A cook, either it be one working in public food serve or a home cook needs to always make sure they wash their hands just before they get started.

That includes after touching raw meats, taking out the trash, going to the bathroom, smoking a cigarette, and even answering the cell phone.

Splendid Recipes: Remind us the proper washing of the hands before, during and after preparing food.

Keisha: Wash your hands under running water for 20 seconds, and be sure it is warm water. You also need to use an anti-bacteria soap and a single paper towel.

Splendid Recipes: Okay now your students have their hands washed. What instructions do you teach about preparing raw uncooked foods?

Keisha: Always make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables before using them to cook with. Also a meat thermometer is not only for use during Thanksgiving. We need to use a meat thermometer all year around, every time you cook with meat.

Food, and that includes raw meat and produce, needs to be cooked at its proper temperature.

Splendid Recipes: Can you tell us the proper use of a thermometer in cooking?

Keisha: Sure. First I would like to say that it is very important to make use of a cooking thermometer, because in the United States alone, 1 in 6 Americans or about 3,000 individuals will get sick and die from food poisoning this year.

Splendid Recipes: And all because a food preparer failed to take precautions and wash their hands. Wow, it’s so important to do that. Okay now tell us about the proper cooking temperatures.

Keisha: The proper way to use a cooking or meat thermometer is to place it in the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone, fat or gristle. Wait for 3 to 5 seconds to read the thermometer.

Splendid Recipes: What are the proper cooking temperatures for the different types of raw meat cooked.

Meat ThermometerKeisha: Well, for beef, pork, or veal it needs to be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62.78 °C). Ground Meats need cooking to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71.1 °C), poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.8 °C), that includes a chicken that is either whole, cut into sections or ground.

Eggs and any dish that is made with eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71.1 °C), and fish needs only be cooked to 145 F. Fahrenheit (62.7 °C).

Splendid Recipes: What about leftovers?

Keisha: Thanks for asking that question. Even left overs, though they have been properly cooked, still need to be warmed to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.8 °C) to kill any possible illness causing bacteria.

Not cooking or rewarming your food properly is another way to get a food borne illness.

Splendid Recipes: Okay, so we have discussed two tips that are important to cooking. 1. Washing your hands, before, during, and after food preparations. And 2. Cooking foods to their proper temperature.

Both of these tips help to avoid food borne illnesses. I think you have 3 more tips Keisha?

cooking-class-students-following-recipe-directionsKeisha: Yes I do. The third one makes reference to a French culinary phrase, which is Misen En Place, which means, putting in place. I explain to my students that being a good cook requires everything to be in its place.

You also need to read the recipe through to make sure you have all the ingredients and cooking utensils needed. Because it’s not fun when you’re ready to start baking some cookies and you don’t have any baking soda, vanilla extract or eggs.

Splendid Recipes: So, once the student cooks have their, Misen En Place as you called it, what’s next?

Keisha: A good cook needs to keep their kitchen area and prep area organized and clean. A cook needs to make sure they keep raw meat and ready to eat foods separate. I recommend that you start prepping your vegetables first. Place them in a bowl off to the side and then start on your raw meat.

It is also important to have separate cutting boards, that is one for your raw meat and another for your vegetables. You can buy color coded cutting board for this very purpose.

color coded culinary cutting boards

Color Coded Cutting Boards

Splendid Recipes: Yes, we have written about that here at Splendid Recipes and More. Our article was Stocking the Kitchen with Useful Gadgets for Healthy Cooking. We wrote that to reduce the chance of cross contamination, why not use flexible cutting boards, which are of different colors for use with different types of food such as raw meat, cooked meat, dairy and vegetables.

Keisha: Yes that is right. I show my students the different colors they need, such as a beige colored cutting board for fish, blue for cooked foods, green for fruits and vegetables, red for raw meat, white for dairy products, and yellow for uncooked or raw poultry.

Splendid Recipes: You mentioned Keisha at the start of our interview that you are teaching your young students the basics to good cooking. Would it be fair to say your hope is, after your students have gone through your cooking classes, that they will rely on their own kitchen, fresh food and their cooking skills to eat healthy.

 Keisha: Oh yes, that is so right.

Splendid Recipes: Okay, that is 4 tips. What is the fifth tip?

shopping listKeisha: The fifth one is making a shopping list. The wasteful thing to do is to go to the super market without a shopping list and even on a hungry stomach.

If you go to the market hungry, then your stomach will actually be your shopping list. You are so hungry, that you may just walk up and down all the wrong aisles. And you end up going home with over 95% of your shopping bags filled with process foods and junk foods.

The best thing is to always make sure you go shopping on a full stomach, and with a shopping list. Having one will help you to avoid walking down the aisles that have boxed cereals, candy, canned foods, bagged chips and other foods.

Splendid Recipes: So the secret to shopping for food, is go to the store on a full stomach, and have a shopping list to buy only what you need, and too avoid the canned and boxed food aisles.

Keisha: Yes, that’s right. The secret is to walk the parameter of the store, and do you know why?

Splendid Recipes: I have an idea, but tell us why?

Keisha: The parameter of the store contains the food you need, which includes fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and dairy.

Splendid Recipes: So to recap the 5 tips you shared.

Keisha: Yes, the tips included…

  1. Wash your hands with soap and warm water.
  2. Cooking foods to their proper temperature.
  3. Misen En Place or make sure you kitchen area and prep area organized and clean. Also make sure you have everything before cooking or baking.
  4. To prevent cross contamination and food borne illnesses, use color coded flexible cutting boards.
  5.  Have a shopping list, don’t go to the store on a empty stomach, and shop the  parameter of the store.

Splendid Recipes: Will Keisha, that is all the time we have. What will you share with us next?

Keisha: I would like to share about cooking together as a family.

Splendid Recipes: Great we look forward to that. Return March 20, 2016 to hear what Keisha will share with us on cooking together as a family.

Follow Keisha “The Mobile Cooking Teacher” on any one of the following social networks:

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Using Your Cooking Skills To Teach Others About Good Nutrition

cooking class, culinary, food and people concept - happy group of friends and male chef cook cooking in kitchen

The more you know the easier learning something new becomes. That also applies to cooking. Yes, anybody can acquire cooking skills. When you know and understand the basics of cooking, that leads to preparing good nutritious meals, something you can’t find at a sit down, or drive through restaurant.

Some individuals have taken their knowledge of cooking and preparing nutritious meals a step further. How so?

With their knowledge of cooking and nutrition, they want to share with others the benefits of turning food preparation in a home kitchen into a healthy nutritious meal.

Our guest today is one such individual. Her name is Keisha T. Prosser, and she calls herself: The Mobile Cooking Teacher.

Keisha T. ProsserAn Interview With Keisha

Splendid Recipes: Hey Keisha, how are you today?

Keisha: Doing just fine. Thanks for asking.

Splendid Recipes: Ready to answer some questions?

Keisha: Sure, but not to personal.

Splendid Recipes: No, nothing personal. Okay Keisha tell us, where are you from?

Keisha: I am a native of Philadelphia (USA).

Splendid Recipes: How long have you been working in the food industry?

Keisha: I have over 20 years’ experience in the food service industry.

Splendid Recipes: Wow, over 20 years. Where have you worked during those 20 years?

Keisha: I worked at Whole Foods Market, School Distract of Philadelphia, and as a Private Chef.

Splendid Recipes: What did those jobs teach you then, which have helped you now in the food service industry?

Keisha - The Mobile Cooking Teacher

The Mobile Cooking Teacher – Teaching a hands on healthy cooking class cooking class

Keisha: I learned how to be a better person and cook, and with that I have helped others to become good at healthy cooking. I don’t really look at it like a job, more like making new friendships.

I really enjoy cooking and showing others to prepare and cook different cuisines. Just seeing my client’s faces when they taste the food is priceless.

Splendid Recipes: Where did you learn your cooking skills?

Keisha: I graduated from “The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College” with an Associates of Science in Pastry Arts.

Splendid Recipes: For those of you who may not know where Walnut Hill College is, it’s in Keisha’s home town of Philadelphia.

The college was founded in 1974 and at the time was America’s first private college to offer career training in fine dining and the luxury hospitality industry.

The college offers four majors: Culinary Arts, Restaurant Management, Pastry Arts and Hotel Management. The majors are offered at the Associate and Bachelor’s degree levels.

Splendid Recipes: Keisha tell us what inspired you to want to work in the food industry?

Keisha: What inspired me was a nutritionist who came to our middle school. There was this one particular time, I believe it was March, yes the National Nutrition Month.

She came to our school and talk about the eating healthier and why we should. Though, I will say she brought food that I was not really familiar with.

Splendid Recipes: Oh really, what food was that?

Keisha -The Mobile Cooking Teacher - Talking to school children about homemade sugar cookies and life

Keisha -The Mobile Cooking Teacher – Talking to school children about homemade sugar cookies and life

Keisha: Green tomatoes, I don’t know much than about green tomatoes and personally I didn’t like green tomatoes. The nutritionist always seemed to bring food that to me did not make sense from where I come from.

Splendid Recipes: I guess at the time you might have not realized it, but March is also Dr. Suez Month, and Green Eggs and Ham is a favorite for many children. I guess therefore the green tomatoes and connection to good nutrition.

Keisha: Yes, that would be right.

Splendid Recipes: Tell us Keisha, what are you doing now with what you learned at Walnut College?

Keisha: I enjoy cooking, and I teach, “Healthy Cooking and Food Safety Workshops” at the local library, and Jenkintown Day Care Centers, both in Philadelphia.

Splendid Recipes: Is that all you do?

Keisha:  No, I also do public speaking at the local middle and high schools to teach the kids about the hows and whys of eating healthy.

Splendid Recipes: What is your hopes and desires when you are either talking about eating healthier, teaching others cooking skills and using that to preparing good nutritious meals?

Keisha: Since I have gone into food service, I always make sure that when I am teaching cooking skills, I do it in a way that people can understand, so they can prepare food in their own kitchens that is nutritious. I show them how to cook to benefit their health.

Splendid Recipes: Would it be fair to say Keisha, you have put cooking and nutrition into one package that will benefit your clients health?

 Keisha: Yes, that is right. My hope is that with the knowledge the individuals and families get from my workshops, will continue on to their own kitchen. Cooking and preparing food for themselves in a healthier way.

Splendid Recipes: Tell us Keisha what else you would like to share with us?

Keisha: I would like to share the importance of cooking together as a family.

Splendid Recipes: Great, we look forward to that Keisha. Thanks for your time.

Keisha: You’re welcome.

Please return for another interview with Keisha on cooking together as a family, March. 17,2016.

 Follow Keisha “The Mobile Cooking Teacher” on any one of the following social networks:
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Pork – That’s What’s For Breakfast Lunch And Dinner

Pork - That's What's For Breakfast Lunch And DinnerThe Washington Post wrote an article in October of 2014 about the Tudor Place that housed 6 generations from 1816 to 1983.

Tudor Place became one of the first 70 U.S. properties designated a “National Historic Landmark” in 1960, when the designation was created.

Tudor Place

Image Credit: City Profile

Tudor Place in Georgetown Heights (Washington D.C.) was built by Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Martha Curtis Peter and her husband.

Residents of Tudor Place had a small smoke-house that all 6 generations relied on to smoke their meats.

Can you guess what meat they smoked most often, and ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? If you guessed “Pork,” you guessed correctly.

When touring the residence, you are able to see displayed, a cookbook that served 6 generations providing the kitchen cooks with recipes that only included pork as the main ingredient.

The Washington Post wrote stating that communications officer for Tudor Place, Mandy Katz says that pork was on the dinning table 3 times a day.

Smokehouse at Tuder Place

Preservation Manager Jessica Zullinger and staff tour newly restored Smokehouse – Image Credit: tuderplace.org

The small smoke-house we made mention of was never on the tour of Tudor Place. But it was renovated and became part of the tour on the 23rd of October 2014.

The newly added structure to the Tudor Place tour was celebrated with, yes you guessed – pork. Little smokies and pulled pork sliders to be exact.

This year, 2016 is Tudor Place Bicentennial. You can read and learn more about Tudor Place by linking here: Tudor Place – America’s Story Lives Here.

Our featured recipes include pork, and they are…

  1. Smoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale Hash
  2. Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup
  3. Stuffed And Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops with Brown Sugar And Spice Glazed Carrots

Smoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale HashSmoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale Hash

2 strips of smoked bacon per serving, cut into 1-inch slices

1 medium golden beet, shredded

1/2 cup kale, remove leafy parts from steam, leaves torn bite size

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until just done. Next add beets, stir in, and cook 1 minute more. Add kale and stir in just until wilted. Plate and serve.

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup

1 lb. ground pork

2 green onions

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup3 clove garlic, minced

1 piece (1-inch) peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped

4-5 teaspoons of orange zest

4 cups vegetable broth

8 oz. snow peas, cut into thirds at an angle

1 cup of cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked black beans

Arrange oven rack 6 inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler on high. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a medium bowl, combine pork, green onions, garlic, ginger, orange zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper (both optional). Form pork mixture into bite-size meatballs (about 1 inch each).  Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Broil 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned.

Meanwhile, in covered 5-quart sauce pot, heat broth to simmering on high. Once the broth is simmering, add snow peas, rice, beans and cooked meatballs. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through and snow peas are tender.

Stuffed And Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops With Brown Sugar And Spice Glazed Carrots

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Stuffed and Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops with Brown Sugar and Spice Glazed Carrots1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic

1/4 cup butter, milted

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)

1 pound pork loin chops, thin cut

8 slices smoked bacon

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 pound carrots, sliced down the middle and cut into 2 inch slices

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Mix sugar and spices in a small bowl and set aside.

Spread some cream cheese on one side of chops. Sprinkle on some sugar-spice mix. Roll chops and wrap with one slice of bacon. Use a tooth pick or two to hold in place.

Arrange prepared chops into a 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish.

Next add melted butter to sugar-spice mix, and incorporate.  Add cut carrots to a 13 X 9 glass baking dish and mix in sugar-spice.

Roast both prepared baking dishes for 30 minutes, or until pork is cook.

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