Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't overlook the obvious

Don't overlook the obvious

How many times has this happened to you? Work ran a bit late, traffic was unusually heavy on the way home, and of coarse everyone is counting on you for dinner. So what to do? Lets all go out ! Seems like a pretty cool solution until the questions and comments start. You know the ones... Where do we want to go, what do we feel like eating and everyone has a different idea right. Then there's the, well they're bit pricey or they always have a long waiting time and we're hungry now. Ok you can admit it you've been there right? Fast food just doesn't even sound like the answer heck you just had that for lunch. So what to do, where to go? Well that's when you think hey Cracker Barrel sounds perfect. We haven't eaten there in a while. They have a great menu which should suffice even the pickiest eater of the group.

There's always a nice down home atmosphere with friendly service too. That almost guarantees some quality dinning time with your family, which is a major plus. They have a convenient country store to browse with many of items you don't find in other stores or shops. The main dinning hall has a fireplace which is always stoked up in the winter time. Of coarse my favorite is the old artifacts on display in the entire building, it's like walking into a museum of sorts. A step out of the hustle and bustle world in which we find ourselves all to often. Good family or friends down time surrounded by an era of a less confusing times you might say. The overall view is relaxed and casual.

Cracker Barrel history is interesting in it's self. Getting it's start some years ago. Its founder based his idea that family time was important. Good meals and friendly service was the focal point of their mission for success. So maybe the next opportunity you get, your local Cracker Barrel will fit the bill for you and your family.

Oh yeah, they make a pretty good meatloaf and don't forget about the hash brown casserole. Your gonna love it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cream of Tartar

Cream of Tartar

Well here's another one of those food additives
that isn't anything like it's name. It's not a
cream or dairy product nor does it have anything
to do with it, and no it isn't for your fish
sticks either.

Cream of tartar is mainly used as a stabilizer in bake goods. It actually increase's the volume of egg whites for perfect meringue's and souffles. It is also used to improve texture in certain cakes and cookies. Cream of tartar creates a creamier texture in candy and frosting's too. Usually not much of this secret ingredient is needed to achieve these changes. Your recipe will indicate the amount needed in each application. Cream of Tartar is also a key ingredient in baking powder. It has a long shelf life too if kept in an air tight container. You can find this in the spice section of your local grocery store or at your favorite online spice outlet such as Basil and Things.

So where does this unique additive known as cream of tarter derive from ? Well actually it is an acidic type salt that is produced as a by product during the fermentation process of wine making. For all you chemist out there it is better known as potassium hydrogen tartrate. Tartanic acid is found in grapes and other types of tart fruits. Now without trying to sound like a science professor this is a rough explanation of how it is processed. After the wine has done it's thing and is removed from it's container, the residue left behind is collected. Then this residue goes through a filtered and purification process which then takes it's form as an odorless fine white powder. Ready to be utilized in many culinary applications.

Ok I see where you might still be hung up on the whole acid wine thing, Well that's ok because the truth is many of the foods we consume have some form of acidic or alkaline profile in there general make up. We just never really think about it because it is a food we are familiar with. So even though cream of tartar may sound rather harsh to us it really is fine for our consumption.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that cream of tarter also sidelines as a great cleaning agent too. Very Eco friendly for you and our environment. By just adding some common household ingredients with it you will be able to clean copper, brass, tile grout, fabrics and more. So whether your cooking or cleaning cream of tarter can do it all. Now that's one handy product wouldn't you say?