Categories
Food

My Favorite Dessert Treats

Those who are familiar with Judge Napolitano, as a serious judge for 8 years in the state of New Jersey Supreme Court, a Law Professor, the author of 9 books, and a legal analyst for Fox News. But even legal experts and former judges have their guilty pleasures and he is no different. Here are a few of his favorite desserts.

Tiramisu

Like all Italians, the Judge favors Tiramisu as his favorite Italian Inspired dessert.

Tiramisu, also called Veneto, is probably all of Italy’s favorite desserts.

A robust layering of coffee-soaked sponge biscuits and a rich cream made of cheese, eggs, and sugar. The results produce a smooth and soft dessert

Sometimes described as the “final bite,” by Italian chefs, this dessert has become extremely popular in Italian restaurants all over the world. The name Tiramisu means

pick-me-up in Italian.

A relatively new dessert on the Italian scene, typically most amateur Chefs like the judge can whip up some Tiramisu in around 45 minutes

Bonet or Piedmont

A combination of eggs, milk, sugar, cocoa, and liqueur, (usually rum or Cognac) together with amaretto biscuits, this is a dessert that is best prepared at a restaurant as the preparation takes considerable skill, nevertheless, this is among Andrew Napolitano’s favorite desserts.

Cannolis

Cannolis, of Sicilian origin, are another treat although it is possible to make at home, they are most likely purchased at either a restaurant or a bakery.

Cannolis are tube-shaped pastry shells that are deep-fried and filled with a sweet and creamy filling.

Generally, Cannolis at most high-end bakeries are sold by the pound, not by an individual cannoli.

One word of caution about cannolis. If you eat the large ones, perhaps topped in caramel or chocolate chips, be easy on your diet otherwise as a large cannoli can contain as much as 440 calories.

Lombardi

The Judge loves this crumbly cake (the name actually means crumbly,) Lombardi is made by combining corn, white flour, almonds, and butter, together with sugar, eggs, and a hint of lemon.

This dessert goes terrific with sweet wine and should be broken up into small pieces before eating.

Pasticciotto Leccese

Another favorite on the Judge’s palate, and we can hardly blame him here is Pasticciotto leccese.

Originally made in Puglia Italy around 1745, this delicious dessert looks like apple pie on its surface, but it is decidedly different. It does have a soft, round, oval crust made mostly by combining butter, flour and egg yolks, it is the filling that is delicious.

Pasticciotto leccese on the inside is filled with cream cheese and egg filling and frequently spiced up with a dab of tart cherries.

One chef recounts that once you have tasted a warm Pasticcio straight out of the oven, it will be deeply imprinted into your taste buds and you will want it again and again.

Categories
Drink

Benefits of Drinking Tea

For many, the debate is usually coffee vs. tea. For those that swear by coffee, there is no comparison to how it benefits them. It is typically claimed to be the beverage needed to kickstart a morning and provide a needed boost to start the day or even give a jolt during the 3pm afternoon slump that often occurs just when someone needs to make it over the finish line to the end of a busy day. And for some, it is a way to close out an evening meal with dessert even if it means ordering decaffeinated so as not to disrupt sleep.

But for another large segment of the population, including Helen Lee Schifter, it’s all about the tea (and not the gossip kind). Tea has always seemed to be the “healthier” alternative to coffee. Tea drinking goes back thousands of centuries and its benefits have been studied throughout history. Though some coffee drinkers would argue it’s not true, Schifter believes tea has more health benefits than coffee. Certain types of tea can even be the magic cure to staving off some pretty devastating illnesses. For instance, in general tea has health benefits that include antioxidants, immune boosters ,less caffeine, ability to help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, and even help with weight loss. Certain types of teas like green, white or black teas claim to be the purest of teas and offer benefits such as the unique antioxidants called flavonoids. These potent antioxidants may help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.

Unlike coffee, teas have herbal varieties and these too have been well researched in how they provide health benefits. Though these herbal teas do have less antioxidants in their makeup, they have been shown in some instances to help with weight loss, stave off colds, and bring on restful sleep. Chamomile, a popular choice of herbal tea, may help prevent complications from diabetes and stunt the growth of cancer cells. Echinacea, though not completely conclusive, tends to be the go-to herbal tea that can help fight the common cold. Other herbal options like Hibiscus and Red tea also have been found to have some medicinal qualities but support for these is a bit more limited.

It is important to note that there are teas out on the market that claim to have health benefits but their claims are often unsubstantiated and can actually be more harmful than beneficial. For example, detox teas are extremely popular and well marketed claiming to aid in quick weight loss however these teas are laced with laxatives that can be very harmful. Fancy teas and lattes dressed up in local coffee chains are often loaded with sugar and lose all of their intended nutritional value.
Overall there are many studies that support the benefits of drinking tea. While some brews provide more health advantages than others, Helen Schifter thinks there’s plenty of evidence that suggests regularly drinking tea can have a lasting impact on overall wellness.

Categories
Food

My Favorite New York Pastry Shops

New York City is known for many great things. One of the sweetest things it is known for its pastries. George Rutler is one of the most spiritual men in the city but even he takes the time out of his schedule to enjoy some tasty pastry. These are some of the best pastry shops in New York City based on his recommendations.

Make My Cake

This pastry shop is on the Upper West Side. It is operated by a third-generation baker and there are many different types of cakes to select from. If a person has a special occasion coming up they can get a cake with some of the most elaborate decorations in the city. This shop is known for its moist German chocolate cakes and sweet red velvet cakes. The cheesecakes come topped with fruit and they are rich and creamy. If a person is not ready to indulge in a full cake they can select from several different flavors of cupcakes.

Two Little Red Hens

This shop has some great smells and a person can smell their baked goods from down the stress. They have everything from pies to scones. There are cupcakes, cheesecakes, and many different cookies. A person should try the sour cherry crumble pie or the pear ginger scones. The Brooklyn blackout cupcakes are filled with chocolate pudding and frosted then topped with additional chocolate for icing. A person should also taste an authentic New York cheesecake at this bakery. This is Father Rutler’s most favorite pastry shop.

The French Workshop

This pastry shop is operated by a father and son team. They are one of the newer pastry shops and opened up in 2016. They offer taste bourdaloue which are poached pears that come with an almond creation. There are chocolate bombs and an opera cake. The pies are crumbly and they are a must have at this pastry shop.

Cannelle Pastry

This is said to be one of the finest shops in the city. There are many classic French pastries. The chocolate croissants are highly recommended as well as the cinnamon roll apple Danish. This place will offer a great sweet treat and is open early for breakfast so a person can start the day off with a sweet beginning.

Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria

This shop is known for pizza and flatbread but they also make some tasty pastries. The cannoli is made to order so it cannot get fresher. The mini chocolate bundt cake is soft and moist. The pistachio cornetto and the bomboloni filled with jam make a nice addition to any meal.

Mah Ze Dahr Bakery

This shop is known for a chocolate layer cake and cream puffs with a cookie like texture. There are some great donuts such as the brioche doughnuts that are filled with vanilla cream. The chocolate chip cookies are also a must have.

These are some of the best pastry shops in New York City and they come highly recommended. These shops will allow a person to satisfy their sweet tooth and enjoy some of the finest baked goods in the city.

Categories
Food

Origin of the Quesadilla

Where did quesadillas originate? It all started from one of the world’s most beautiful countries, home to many musical and food traditions, and also home for successful people such as Salma Hayek, Carlos Santana, and Diego Ruiz Duran. Quesadillas actually means “the little cheesy thing” and that’s exactly what it is! This flour and cheesy melted sensation has been around the northern and central parts of Mexico since the 16th century. Aztec people were believed to be some of the first settlers that discovered this gourmet treat. Long before today’s traditional ovens, the Aztec used clay ovens to produce quesadillas and stuffed them with squash and pumpkins. To have a food that existed from the 16th century and survive to the 21 century, speaks volume that this delicate small dish is not to be underestimated.

To prepare the original Mexican flavor of a quesadilla, there are a few things needed from the neighborhood’s local grocery store to get this dish started. These ingredients include, flour for homemade tortillas, salt, and baking powder. These ingredients alone only prepare just tortillas. After mixing these items together, the next step is to add in lard and stir until the mixture has a corn mill like appeal. Early Aztecs grinded “maize” also known as Mexican corn to make tortillas. Next, add water to help the prior ingredients stick together. Once this is done, remove the now gelled dough, and let it sit until it becomes smooth. After allowing it to sit, now it’s time to roll the dough into a smooth ball to ensure all the texture is the same. Use a wood based rolling pin to even out the dough ball until it is a perfect circular formation that resembles a pizza crust. From there it’s time to sit the dough into a frying pan and sizzle until lightly coated with a light brown fluffy texture. For a basic cheese tortilla add butter and grated cheese on the tortillas, and fold so that the cheese is covered. Stick the tortilla back in the frying pan and flip a few times until it is crisp to then serve!
Quesadillas have made a major impact in the United States as the original Mexican dish has become home to many American kitchens as well. The United States has found a way to “Americanize” quesadillas through popular fast food restaurants like Taco Bell, CookOut, and Chili’s. Since the 16th century, not only is cheese added between the flour tortillas, but also meats like chicken, and veggies such as sautéed bell peppers and onions, have been added to quesadillas! Although this mouth watering triangular shaped treat may be a way to pack on calories, even Diego Ruiz Duran admits that “junk food is delicious” in an health habits article. Not even he could deny the savoring taste of this scrumptious taste bud erupting appetizer. It is safe to say that quesadillas are not only here to stay, but they are also evolving, so stay tuned!

Categories
Food Health

3 Tips for a Healthy Heart

Of all the muscles in the human body, the heart is the hardest working. Suppose someone gets lucky to live 100 years, the heart shall have beat at least 3 billion times. Despite being very strong, the heart is highly susceptible to infections. Some of these infections are caused by diet, lifestyle choices, and genetics. That said, here are three tips for a healthy heart.

1. Control The Amount of Food You Eat

Besides what a person eats, it is also vital to consider how much they eat. Filling a plate and eating faster until the stomach is fully packed might cause people to consume too many calories. The amount of food served in restaurants is always more than your body needs. Andrew Napolitano makes it a point to always watch for portion size.

 To control the portions of food people consume, consider using a small plate or bowl. It is okay to eat lots of food with low levels of calories. Try to consume a lot of vegetables and fruits, and make a daily routine.

People should make sure they are careful with the number of servings they take each day. Each food group has a different recommended number of servings that everyone needs to stick to. If there isn’t clear information about this, people can either contact their nutritionist or try to find the details on the internet.

2. Consume More Fruits and Vegetables

A heart needs a lot of minerals and vitamins, and they should come from fruits and vegetables. Note that if the minerals and vitamins come from strange sources, like processed ones, then it exposes the heart to serious complications.

Vegetables and fruits, just like other plant-based foods, don’t contain excess calories and are, therefore, safe to consume. They are also rich in dietary fiber, which is great for enhanced heart health.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in substances that might protect someone from various cardiovascular infections. Some people try to avoid too much consumption of calories by eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.

It is easy to add fruits and vegetables to any diet. However, since these are naturally sourced foods, people want to ensure that they are fresh and clean before eating them. The refrigerator can be a good store for excess fruits and vegetables in the house.

3. Avoid Too Much Sodium in Your Food

Sodium is one of the main causes of high blood pressure. This is a risk factor for heart infections. Therefore, to stick to a healthy diet, try to consume low sodium. As an adult, be aware and never go beyond 2,300 milligrams of sodium in a single day. However, it has been found that most adults are unable to do more than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day. Most canned and processed foods have high levels of salt and should, therefore, be avoided.

Final Thoughts

If people succeed in incorporating the three tips into their life, the chances are that their heart will remain healthy. The transition might be hard, but just take it slow, and before we know it, our lifestyle has changed for the better. Always have your heart in mind when eating and preparing food in the kitchen. The tips shared also act as the reasons the likes of Judge Napolitano should watch their heart health.