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Caesar Salad With Parmesean Twill

Featured Recipes

Travel

Stromburg, Stromberg, Germany

Along the riverbanks of Rhine and in the midst of the Rheinland forest, sits the ancient fortified castle of Stromburg turned luxury hotel and restaurant. Husband and wife team Sylvia and Johann Lafer, both celebrated chefs, turned the ancient premises into a place of warm luxury and a respected gastronomic destination. To get the castle, guests pass by a 15-minute scenic drive through the Bingen forest. The interiors of the castle are rooted in tradition but provide all the luxurious comforts of a modern hotel. The restaurant serves one of the finest cuisines in the region and is well acclaimed throughout Europe.
A household name in Germany, Chef Johann Lafer pioneered cooking shows in Germany and most of his shows are filmed and produced in the castle. He is frequently shown on German television and is one of the countryâs first celebrity chefs. His philosophy revolves around the use of high quality, fresh produce, and noble ingredients with origins that can be traced from production to the very moment it gets to his kitchen. Chef Lafer draws inspiration from tradition and the countryside and is influence by French, Italian, Mediterranean, and Asian cooking. Typically, the product itself is what gets Chef Laherâs imagination going. He believes that besides the flavor and the texture, the terroir itself is what makes the product unique and from there, one can take a journey of the senses.
Some of his specialties include Larded liver served on a rosette of caramelized apples, Roe buck fillet cooked in Indes-verbana vapour, Stuffed mushrooms with bilberries and glazed chestnuts, and the famous Tête de nêgre. 
The convergence of tradition and history, the fortified castles, the vineyards, all make of the Rhine banks such a wonderful region. Nowadays, it is The German Embassy in Paris, which appeals to Chef Johann Lafer and calls upon his services to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Berlin Wall Fall.
Stromburg, Stromberg, Germany
Kasteel Wittem, The Netherland

Situated in the beautiful Geul Valley in southern Limbourg, the historical Wittem Kasteel was for centuries a redoubtable citadel. It is only a 20-minute drive from Maastricht, Aachen and Valkenburg and is surrounded with age-old trees, large parkland, brooks, rivulets, marshland, and castle moats making it a dreamy and romantic place to stay ideal for grand parties and weddings.    
The 12th century castle was transformed into a luxury hotel and a gourmet restaurant with a brasserie that serves lunch and the local specialty Limburgian pie. The award-winning gastronomic restaurant serves some of the finest cuisine in the area with emphasis on local and fresh ingredients. On the occasion of favorable weather, coffee or lunch can be had on the terrace. The property consists of 7.5 acres of parkland with picturesque creeks and ancient trees. Nearby are endless possibilities for leisure activities including golf, tennis, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, cycling acrosss forests and parks, and strolling along the promenades. Nearby local attractions include the De Valkenier Amusement Park, Valkenburg Castle, Valkenburg Holland Casino, Wilhemina Toren, and Theodor Dorrenplein.    
A member of the luxurious Relais et Châteaux since 1980, Kasteel Wittem is one of the most elegant places to stay and dine in the Netherlands. It was fully renovated and was completed in early 2011. Inside the medieval castle, there are 12 lodgings furnished with neo-gothic fixtures updated with contemporary styles using warm colors and intricate fabrics. The rooms are also equipped with modern amenities such as LCD televisions, high-speed wireless Internet access, TV Internet, and cable channels. The bathrooms are also modern with handheld showerheads, bathtub, vanity mirrors, hair dryers, and toiletries. Beds are fitted with Select Comfort mattresses, down comforters, and premium sheets and bedding. Most rooms have large windows that look out to the garden, river, or courtyard. The Tower Suite is one of the best rooms in the castle and offers breathtaking views of the landscape.
Kasteel Wittem, The Netherland
El Raco de Can Fabes, San Celoni, Spain

Situated in the valley of the Tordera river between the ranges of Montseny and Montnegre, the town of Sant Celoni sits on the left bank of the river and where one of the best restaurants in Spain can be found, El Raco de Can Fabes, a three star Michelin restaurant serving authentic Catalan cuisine inspired by Mediterranean and French nouvelle cooking.   
Created by Angel and Santi Santamarria the Raco De Can Fabes began as a family home gradually transformed into a top culinary and gastronomic destination. From a modest tavern opened in the 1980s, Chef Santamaria slowly developed and mastered his cuisine, becoming one of the most acclaimed in the country. He is renowned and respected for elevating Catalan cuisine into international gastronomic fame and is also the first Catalan chef to have received three Michelin stars. Sadly, Chef Santi Santamaria passed away on February 2011 at the age of 53 leaving the management of his legendary restaurant to the capable hands of his protégé Xavi Pellicer and wife Angel Santamaria.  
El Raco de Can Fabes is charmingly housed in a small citadel, in a building that is about three centuries old. The country chic interiors and elegant rustic setting provide an inviting and cozy ambiance. Aside from the acclaimed restaurant, the premises also include five quaintly decorated guestrooms for those who wish to stay for a night or two after a ravishing meal.
All the facets of the Catalan of todayâplural, dynamic, artistic and progressiveâare reflected in the inventive modern cuisine of El Raco de Can Fabes. A combination of the old and the new, the cuisine here is based on fresh and seasonal ingredients so the menu may vary depending on what is available in the local market. Some of the signature dishes in the famous Catalan restaurant include the Tender pigeon with duck tartare, Hot and cold mackerel with cream of caviar, Spicy foie gras with Sauternes and puree of sweet red and green peppers, and Festival of Chocolate.
El Raco de Can Fabes, San Celoni, Spain
Le Château de Goulaine, Le Marquis de Goulaine,France

A former castle fortified in the 12th century and transformed by the Goulaine family into a chateau, Le Château de Goulaine is also the home of the estate-bottled wine Le Marquis de Goulaine. Located near Nantes, France in the Loire Valley, the chateau has been home of the marquis de Goulaine and family for over a thousand years. The high pitched slate roofs of the chateau has similarities with the central Loire estates of Château de Chambord and Château de Blois, but Château de Goulaine was built earlier and thus has a more conservative style of architecture.  
It was during the 12th century that the first Goulain, Jean de Goulaine, leader of the city of Nantes at that time, fortified the castle to defend against the attacks of the Normans. The Goulaine were recorded in the Seventh Crusade in 1248 and were of old nobility. The Goulaine fought for the Catholic League during the Wars of Religion and took the chateaux or Trogoff (Plouescat) and of Kérouzéré (Sibiril) in 1590. The ownership of the estate remained in the hands of the Goulaine family until 1788 and then was sold to a Dutch banker, which saved the chateau from destruction during the French Revolution. In 1858, a member of the Goulaine family reacquired the chateau and until today it remains in their possession.       
Perhaps the oldest known wine business in existence, the estate of Château de Goulaine has been producing wine for centuries initially for family consumption and later for commercial purposes. Le Château de Goulaine is the third oldest commercial enterprise in the world and the oldest European family owned business. The chateau is also one of the last Châteaux de la Loire that produces wine to this day. The estate produces mostly Muscadet as well as Sancerre, Vouvray, and the first commercial Chardonnay in the western Loire Valley. Château de Goulaine also grows some Folle blanche.
Le Château de Goulaine, Le Marquis de...

Napkin Folding

Hosts and restaurant owners take into consideration not just the food and the taste. Even the table setting becomes an art form on its own. The table napkin has not only served its purpose of wiping excess food on the lips. It has now become a small piece of art welcoming a crowd of diners as you sit down for dinner. These table napkins are folded in various ways, usually in attractive shapes, flowers, animals, and other amusing shapes with just a fold and tuck. It’s actually very interesting to see the table linen shaped like a flower or swan welcoming you for dinner.

Folded napkins also serve the purpose of storing silverware in a prettier way. Not only do they serve as keeping utensils, but the utensils also help in preventing the napkins from flying off when a strong gust of wind approaches. Remember, napkins are usually made of light material, such as paper and cloth. If the event is outdoors, say a garden wedding, lunch, or afternoon barbecue, a little weight from silverware may help keep them in place and prevent unnecessary chasing of that cloth swan folded in place.

Napkins also come in paper or cloth. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Cloth does not tear as easily as paper, and may be used throughout the entire meal and absorbs liquid better. Paper of course, is more convenient for picnics and fast foods. They also prove to be more cost-efficient in some diners as there’s no need for additional laundry costs. There is also the option of being stiffer than paper so they can be folded into a lot more shapes.

Cloth and paper napkins come in a lot of swatches or colors. Even basic white has variants like ecru, ivory, cream, and bone. Red, pink, or blue, and other colored and printed napkins may be used for themed parties or may be matched with the restaurant’s interior. Attractive napkin rings may be purchased to keep them in place, and in weddings and parties, they may also be used as giveaways. The shape of the napkin when folded may also be themed according to the occasion, such as flowers and hearts for Valentine’s Day, animals for a children’s party, and so on.

Various tutorials online as well as books are available for those who would like to learn a few shapes to do in the next dinner party. You don’t have to own a five-star restaurant to be able to make a table setting just a little more special.

Frozen Cream

Everyone’s heard of ice cream, sherbets, sorbets, frozen yoghurt–popular icy dessert confections made with varying amounts of milk (or none at all) flavored with chocolate, fruits and many other ingredients. But what is frozen cream? Is it a kind of food or an ingredient?

To the ordinary layman and maybe even novice chefs unfamiliar with dairy or dessert terminology, frozen cream could be taken for ordinary cream that is frozen. A quick online search for the exact words will not yield much formal explanation on this exact product and direct the searcher to lots of information about ice cream.

There’s one site that describes frozen sweet cream as an additive-free product made from pasteurizing then freezing cream that is separated from fresh whole milk. The resulting product is a white creamy homogenous liquid that is free from any visible fat. This is probable not produced in large quantities in most countries as cream is a dairy product doesn’t hold well to freezing temperature. Another possible reason is that plain cream not that difficult to produce, store and use. In fact, there’s so many different kinds available with vary amounts of fat and some do not even need refrigeration–as in the case of canned cream.

Pasteurization is a process of subjecting foods to high temperature for a prescribed amount of time to kill off potentially harmful microorganisms and extend shelf life. Unpasteurized products, usually juices and dairy products, just stay fresh for a few hours if not kept in the refrigerator or freezer. Unfortunately, for raw foodists, the high temperature compromises health benefits such as heat sensitive phytonutrients and enzymes. An alternative treatment done by some companies and homemakers, particularly for raw milk is to ferment it with different cultures of beneficial microorganisms that increase the good bacteria and kill off the bad.

Sour cream, a high-fat product made from the fermentation of regular cream by some strains of Lactobacillus bacteria, can be frozen to extend its shelf life but this will affect the texture of the product after thawing–it will separate and not have the same creamy texture as the original. It still has the beneficial bacteria and health benefits but should be used in recipes wherein the texture is not important.

Ice cream and other frozen confections are a different story as the dairy ingredients, namely milk and cream with varying amounts of fat, are usually combined with other ingredients that act as emulsifiers and stabilizers which, as their names suggest, act to keep the resulting product smooth and creamy despite being frozen.

Cooking Recipe Videos

There are many ways to improve your cooking skills: reading great cookbooks, taking cooking classes, and good old fashioned practice in the kitchen are traditional methods. But these days, online cooking recipe videos are another excellent resource for aspiring chefs. Here's how to get the most from the cooking videos you encounter.

Find Them

There are lots of cooking recipe videos out there, but not all are created equal. Before you spend time watching any, consider the source. If you want to widen your cooking horizons, videos featuring famous chefs are a must. Such chefs might include television personalities (who may or may not have formal cooking backgrounds), cooking legends (like Julia Child, Graham Kerr, and Wolfgang Puck), or Michelin star-awarded chefs who've impressed the cooking world with their expertise and talent.

Live Demos

Once you find cooking recipe videos by esteemed chefs, you will probably discover you learn the most if you watch the videos more than once. In the first viewing, you'll likely only get the overall picture of what the chef is doing. If you watch the video once or twice more, you may notice and remember details you didn't before.

Bear in mind that you're not just learning how to make a particular recipe. You're also hoping to learn cooking techniques you can rely upon for other dishes. For example, you might see a Michelin chef chop up food in a faster, simpler way than you've ever seen before. Or you might see how a meal is flambéed. Or you might learn a new way to cook meat so it's crisp on the outside and tender and juice on the inside. There is nothing quite like a live demo, to make those techniques stick in your brain and come to life next time you are in the kitchen.

Share it

Although cooking recipe videos are helpful and educational, they're also fun. You can make them even more entertaining by sharing them with friends. What does your best friend think about trying to make a flambéed meal with you? Does she have a funny story to tell about attempting this on her own? Does your work mate drool over gourmet desserts as much as you do? Are you and your friends inspired by a certain video to try a pot luck gourmet party? Let cooking videos be part of you and your friends online entertainment, and you'll have fun while you improve your cooking skills.

Try it Out

After watching cooking recipe videos, it's a great idea to make the recipes in your own kitchen. The best cooking video websites also have printed recipes to go along with their videos. Print one out and give the recipe your best go.

Or, you could just try out one or two techniques you learned by watching a great chef. For example, maybe you've never tried blanching vegetables before. After watching a chef demonstrate this on a video, you can try the technique almost any time you're preparing veggies.

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