Celebrating July 4th!

Food Talks Blog | Sponsored by The Women's Journal

July 4th  Hosting a July 4th barbecue for the first time may have some hosts anxious about throwing a summer soirée to remember, but fun is sure to be had if hosts remember to include the following backyard barbecue essentials this Independence Day. 

July4thJuly 4th Celebration Hosting a July 4th barbecue for the first time may have some hosts anxious about throwing a summer soirée to remember, but fun is sure to be had if hosts remember to include the following backyard barbecue essentials this Independence Day. 

The 4th of July is fast approaching and revelers across the nation are preparing to toast their independence with family and friends. For many Americans, backyard barbecues are synonymous with the Fourth of July, a day that, in the United States of America, commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
Precious few Americans can say they have not been present at a 4th of July barbecue or witnessed a fireworks display honoring America’s official declaration of independence from Great Britain. Hosting a July 4th barbecue for the first time may have some hosts anxious about throwing a summer soirée to remember, but fun is sure to be had if hosts remember to include the following backyard barbecue essentials this Independence Day.
Food
No Fourth of July barbecue is complete without food, so hosts should be sure to stock up on popular barbecue fare like hot dogs and hamburgers. Though such foods likely won’t be mistaken for gourmet fare anytime soon, Fourth of July revelers often embrace the tradition of grilling up some hot dogs and hamburgers even if they tend to avoid such foods throughout the rest of the year. Hosts should not feel pressured to provide gourmet fare on July 4th, but it is a thoughtful gesture to ask guests in advance if they have any food allergies or need to avoid certain foods for other reasons.
Beverages
It goes without saying that guests will need refreshing beverages at parties held in early July, but be sure to stock up on a variety of beverages so guests are not forced to consume drinks they don’t want. Be sure to have plenty of water available to guests, and provide sodas, iced tea and lemonade as well. Offer alcoholic beverages to adult guests, but don’t go overboard stocking up on alcohol, as that might encourage guests to overindulge.
Games
Backyard barbecues are most fun when guests are entertained, so plan to have some games available for guests of all ages. Encourage guests to bring a change of clothes or swimsuits if games will involve water or something that might soil their clothing. If you have a pool, purchase some pool games so swimmers can do more than just wade in the water or take a few laps. Plan a Wiffle® ball game for kids and dig some horseshoe pits or buy a ring toss set so adults can engage in some friendly competition as well.
Safety
Though no one wants to think of a 4th of July celebration taking a turn for the worst, hosts must prepare for emergencies. Restock the first-aid kit if necessary and keep a constant eye on guests, especially children, to ensure everyone is having a safe and happy time. Program a list of local taxi companies into your phone so you can easily call for transportation should any guests have too much to drink during the festivities. Hosts should abstain from alcohol so they can serve as designated driver should the need arise at the end of the night.
Backyard barbecues are a staple of July 4th, and there’s no reason your summer soirée can’t be one to remember for years to come.

Captivating the Square – One Pizza at a Time!

Food Talks Blog | Sponsored by The Women's Journal

Courthouse Pizzeria

Pizza Collage

The scent of pizza is an aroma most people could describe with their eyes closed; mozzarella melting, tomato sauce simmering and pepperoni sizzling.

 

 

Jeff Miller owner of the Courthouse Pizzeria on Medina’s Historic Public Square intends to permeate the Square with the compelling smell of pizza.

Jeff believes the Square is missing something; pizza.  Jeff has thirty years in food service, eight of those at Damon’s.  He wants to bring his own craft pizza sauce and dough to Medina.  Jeff will locally source many of the ingredients for his New York style pizza from local Farm Markets.  I anticipate Jeff will keep our local farmers busy with the 120 pizza’s he plans on serving daily by the slice or a whole pie.

The former Whitey’s Army & Navy store is being restored and renewed to make way for a mammoth pizza oven, stainless steel walls and a gigantic P660 dough mixer from Dayton.  A vintage brick wall is being unexposed and will feature black & white photos of vendors, our historic Square, and horse and buggy pictures.  Old school lockers will adorn another wall for employees to use.

Jeff wants the Pzzeria to have a ‘communal atmosphere’ and plans on giving back to the community by raising funds to help our local nonprofits.  The pizzeria will have 38 seats inside with high-tops looking out onto the Square and a few cast-iron two-tops on W. Liberty St.

Jeff’s excitement for his hometown of Medina and the Courthouse pizzeria is contagious.   His pizza recipes have been handed down from one generation to the next dating back to a small town in the Italian countryside.  The recipes have been modified adding a touch of New York but keeping the Ohio influence.  Jeff has set goals that made me weary just listening; a second Pizzeria in six months and thirty more within 10 years.  Look for the captivating aroma of pizza on the Square in late June!

Courthouse Pizzeria – 2 Public Square Medina, Ohio  44256

330-952-1743

pizza@courthousepizzeria.com

www.courthousepizzeria.com

My Hubby has a New Grill!

Food Talks Blog | Sponsored by The Women's Journal

 My hubby has a new grill!

GrillCollage

I bought my hubby a new grill for his birthday along with all the trimmings. Of course, we are having ‘discussions’ on how to grill and especially how to clean the grill. So I Googled “How to clean your grill during summer party season?’

Grilling season has arrived, and amateur grillmasters everywhere are gearing up for another summer of backyard barbecues and family dinners outside under the summer sun. But once you fire up that grill and cook your first hot dog of the season, your work is not quite done. Cleaning the grill after you have eaten makes it easier to prolong the life of your grill and ensure the foods you eat are safe to consume.

  • Turn the grill off. Unless you own a charcoal grill, chances are your grill has dials that govern how hot the grill gets when cooking. Make sure these dials are turned to the off position before you start cleaning. If your’s is a gas grill, disconnect the gas while wearing gloves to reduce your risk of accident or injury.
  • Use the residual heat to make cleaning easier. The sooner you start cleaning the grill after you cook, the easier it might be to make the cooking surfaces sparkle. That’s because the residual heat can make it easier to remove any leftover buildup from barbecue sauce or seasoning that stuck to the grill after you removed yourfood.
  • Use a wire brush to clean the cooking grates. Wire brushes are ideal for cleaning cooking grates. Such brushes can quickly remove grease and foodparticles, saving grill owners the trouble of scrubbing away with traditional sponges. Once the wire brush’s work is done, you can then clean the grill with a soapy sponge.
  • Removefoodthat fell into the well. Food inevitably falls into the well of a grill no matter how skilled a grillmaster might be. If left to fester in the well, such foods can pose a safety risk and promote the growth of bacteria.
  • Clean the remaining areas of the grill. Marinade, sauce or condiments may find their way onto areas of your grill, and if left unattended, such substances can make a grill very dirty over time. Remove these substances after each barbecue to keep your grill looking new through the summer.

I will let you know how many ‘discussions’ we have when we clean our grill next.

 

Everything Wonderful! 111 Bistro=Chef Scolaro

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I first met Chef Scolaro at Main Street Medina’s ‘Dine & Bring Wine’ event in May.  It wasn’t the first time though that I heard of Chef Anthony Scolaro. Chef Scolaro created a buzz last summer with his new concept of garnering local financial support in exchange for a fine dining experience. Supporters also received a brick with their name placed on the stunning entry wall.

Bisto CollageChef Scolaro features a seasonally driven menu featuring local ingredients from local suppliers. His philosophy is to support local merchants who offer quality ingredients.  Among the local merchants are Dancing Desserts, Soleil Sol Farm, MorningSide Farm, Yellow House Cheese, Camel Creek Farm, Lucky Penny, Beeler’s Pure Pork, Holiday Sausage, and Scolaro says still more to come.

The Dine & Bring Wine event is hosted by Laura Parnell owner of Cool Beans www.coolbeansmedina.com and Main Street Medina www.mainstreetmedina.com. Chef Scolaro brought new taste sensations to the second Dine & Bring Wine event featuring stewed rabbit(sourced locally) with a bright briny olive sauce with an ancient grain as the backdrop.  Not to overlook the elaborately herbed shrimp appetizer placed so generously on slices of French bread. A very sophisticated creme brulee- infused with ginger and a dollop of fig compote was the final element of an extraordinary meal.

We so enjoyed all the components of this well-honed dining  experience we made plans to have dinner at 111 Bistro with good friends  To our delight the patio awning was installed the day before, so began our summer evening at the Bistro.  I wasn’t familiar with the house white wine – Protocolo Blanco (Spain) a Pale yellow color wine with lemon zest & white floral aromatics. Our wait-staff Mackenzie offered to bring me a sample of the wine.  Although I chose another wine I was impressed that I was able to taste the wine before ordering a glass.  I need to mention the patio wine glasses; a fine lipped plastic that looks like crystal with a finger-print indentation for holding the glass.  I would love to have a set of the glasses for my own patio.

All four of us chose different entrees; scampi and clams with house made linguini, tomato confit, spinach, chili, lemon garlic buerre blanc and celery leaves.  Each item added to the complex flavors that complimented this bowl of pasta.   Summer was in full bloom with the next entrée-Quinoa stir-fry with seasonal vegetables, miso broth, curry roasted peanuts, thai ginger salt and pea tendrils.

The two remaining entrees could have been on a menu in New Orleans; smoked Jerk Chicken with the house made cavatelli, caramelized onion, peppadew, spinach complimented with a jerk cream sauce.  I chose the Saturday night special- a Soft Shell Crab po’boy dusted in a seasoned cornmeal accompanied with the 111 Rosemary Fries with thyme, parmesan and truffle oil.  Each entrée had unique flavor qualities that left me wanting for more.  I will be back!

Being a food enthusiast I enjoyed all of Chef Scolaro’s creative blend of flavor combinations.  Not to neglect the interior of the restaurant 111 Bistro has a polished concrete floor and open-design contemporary dining room that incorporates the bar and kitchen into a great room environment.

One Eleven Bistro is located at 2736 Medina Road, in the new Montville Center Plaza, in Medina. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday, from 3 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 3 p.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday for brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The phone number is 330-952-1122, and the web address is www.111Bistro.com.

 

 

 

How to Plan the Perfect Picnic?

Food Talks Blog | Sponsored by The Women's JournalHow to Plan a Perfect Picnic!  Submitted by The Medina County Health Department

PerfectPicnicNo ants, no bees, no food poisoning!  What better way to celebrate a beautiful summer day than with a picnic outside at the park, at the beach, or even in your own backyard.  Here are some tips to keep your picnic perfectly safe:

Plan ahead so you don’t forget essential items such as a food thermometer, cooler chest with ice, plenty of clean utensils, storage containers for leftovers, hand soap, paper towels, and trash bags.  Find out ahead of time if you’ll have running water, grills, picnic tables, and trash receptacles at the site.

If clean water will not be available, be sure to bring plenty of water for drinking, handwashing, and dishwashing.  Avoid drinking and using water from ponds, lakes, and streams.

Pack dish detergent to wash dishes or bring disposable utensils, plates, bowls, and cups.

In preparation for your picnic, don’t thaw meat on the counter overnight—that’s not safe.  Thaw food in the refrigerator or cook from the frozen state.  Cooking frozen meat or poultry will take approximately 50% longer than the recommended time for fully thawed or fresh meat and poultry.  Don’t partially cook meat and poultry ahead of time.  That can be risky.  It’s safest to cook meat and poultry to a safe internal temperature at the picnic.

For a worry-free picnic, place perishable foods, such as hot dogs, burgers, poultry, deviled eggs, and macaroni or potato salads in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs.  They need to be kept cold at 41ºF or below. Also store raw meats separately to keep juices from dripping on other foods.

When you arrive at the picnic site, the first task is to wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food.  If running water is not available, use disposable wet wipes. Apply hand sanitizer to clean hands before touching food and after touching raw meat as well as after changing diapers, using the restroom, or handling pets.

Don’t leave foods out in the sun. Keep the cooler in the shade.  Serve food quickly from the cooler and return it fast.  In hot weather, above 90ºF, food shouldn’t sit out of the cooler over an hour. Since beverage coolers tend to be opened frequently, store them in a separate cooler.

Cook meat and poultry to a safe temperature as measured with a food thermometer.  Just because a hamburger looks done on the outside doesn’t mean it is done on the inside.  Use your food thermometer to be sure! Insert the thermometer in the thickest area of food. Fish, steaks, and pork should be cooked to 145ºF; ground meats (hamburgers) to 155ºF; and poultry and stuffed foods to 165ºF.

Insulated containers and foil should be used to transport hot foods from home. Check in advance if electrical outlets are available for keeping foods hot in roasters and crock pots.

Serve food items  from the grill on a clean platter.  Don’t use the same plate and utensils for cooked food that were used for the raw food.  Use a clean plate and utensil set for cooked food.

Leftovers
Don’t forget to unpack that cooler as soon as you return home.  Refrigerate leftover meats and salads which have stayed cold; discard if they can’t be refrigerated or stored in ice within an hour of serving .

For more information about food safety, contact the Medina County Health Department at 330-723-9688, option 3.  www.medinahealth.org

Buzz-worthy trend – CLEAN eating!

Food Talks Blog | Sponsored by The Women's Journal

Buzz-worthy trend - Clean eating!  Clean Eating is a major food movement, spurred by people from all walks of life, who want to feel good about what food they’re putting in their bodies.

CleanEatingWhat is CLEAN eating all about?

Clean eating is a growing trend among people focused on health and wellness. A relatively simple concept of selecting foods that are minimally processed; clean eating intends to instill a greater understanding of the pathway between a food‘s origins and the final products that end up on grocery store shelves,dinner tables and our stomachs.

Choosing whole or “real” foods that are as close to their natural forms as possible is a staple of clean eating. The availability of convenience foodproducts has never been greater, and not all packaged foods are unhealthy. But clean eating encourages consumers to be more aware of the ingredients in the foods they eat while selecting those foods that are minimally processed. Many foods designated as “clean,” including vegetables and fruits, whole grains, free-range meats, low-fat dairy products, unsalted nuts, and whole seeds, are straight from the farm.

Another component of clean eating is eliminating or greatly reducing the consumption of refined sugar. Many health experts advise that refined sugar is a large contributor to unnecessary calories. Many people can get all the energy they need by consuming foods with natural sugars.

If an ingredient list includes names you cannot recognize or if the natural form of the food has been changed (i.e. removing the bran from whole grains), it cannot be included in a clean-eating plan. Also, foods that have a lot of additives, including salt, sugar and fat, are not classified as Clean.

Jessica Fanzo, assistant professor of nutrition at Columbia University, advises that not all food processing is bad. Processing is sometimes necessary to prevent pathogens that can lead to illness. For example, pasteurizing milk is a processing method, but one that some people feel is necessary to stop the proliferation of bacteria. Even steaming foods is processing in some form, but it is not on par with some of the overly processed foods available.

The benefits to clean eating are numerous. Increasing intake of fruits and vegetables can boost your immune system and serve as a nutritious way to maintain a healthy weight. Clean eating may help you become more conscious of everything from meal ingredients to portion sizes.

Those interested in Clean eating can begin slowly. Start to introduce more fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and farm-fresh foods into your diet. Look for foods in their natural form, such as whole oats and other grains. Avoid highly refined ingredients and limit sugar and salt intake. Opt for fresh herbs and spices to season food. Over time you can make other changes.

Adopting a clean-eating approach to your diet is a great way for men and women to start living healthy lifestyles. Speak with a doctor or nutritionist about healthy and effective ways to transition to Clean eating.  Let me know how it goes.

The Healthy Medina initiative can help.  Visit www.HealthyMedina.com for more information.

 

 

Veggie garden tips for beginners!

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Veggie garden tips for beginners!

PalletteHerbPlanting a vegetable garden can be a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who has an available patch of land. Gardens don’t need much space, and even apartment and condo dwellers without yards can plant small gardens in containers they place on patio’s or window boxes.

 

 

Although establishing a garden is easy enough, beginners may make a few mistakes along the way. Those who already have paved the garden way before can offer novice gardeners some worthwhile tips.

One of the first decisions novice gardeners must make is which crops to grow. This will help determine how much land you will need and which supplies or soil amendments will be necessary. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a common error for beginners is planting too much and more than anyone could ever consume, so it’s best to start small and be proud of that small garden.

Plants such as peppers, squash and tomatoes produce throughout the season, so you may not need many plants to provide for your needs. Less prolific plants may require a greater investment to produce a similar yield.

Locate your garden in an area that gets adequate sun. Many vegetables need between six and eight hours of sunlight per day. Without enough light, they will not bear as much and could be susceptible to insect infestation. Vegetables and fruit also need plenty of water because they’re not very drought-tolerant, so keep gardens close to a water source.

Another good tip is to locate the garden near the house or barbecue grill. This way you can easily harvest fresh produce and use it when cooking.

Soil preparation is also key. Till the soil and remove debris like rocks, sticks and hard clumps of dirt. Work with organic material, such as manure or compost. Apply mulch after planting to help maintain moisture levels in the soil.

Plant the tallest crops at the rear of your garden bed. Work forward with shorter crops. Try to leave a foot or more between planting rows for cultivating.

It’s easy to get a garden started and enjoy fresh food for many months to come.

 

Summer is around the corner and so is outdoor dining!

Food Talks Blog | Sponsored by The Women's Journal

 Outdoor Dining in Medina County

Patio Collage

“Dining out” takes on an entirely new meaning when spring and summer sunshine arrives.

Can you name these patios? All are in Medina County!

 

Rather than being cooped up inside for meals, diners flock to cafes and restaurants that boast al fresco seating to enjoy a bit of scenery and fresh air with their meals.

When the sun comes out and the breezes are warm, blooming gardens and trellis-covered restaurant patios can be ideal dining spots to grab a meal. Good food combined with a hearty dose of fresh air can make everything from a cappuccino to a hamburger taste better.

Considering the best outdoor-dining spots can fill up quickly, and enjoying a meal outside takes a bit of finesse, follow these tips to make the most of any outdoor-dining experience.

* Make a reservation. Outdoor seating is not always easy to get. To ensure you will have a spot at your favorite restaurant, call ahead and reserve a table. Otherwise, you may have to wait quite a while for a table to become available or be forced to sit inside.

* If you are hoping to try a new restaurant that boasts outdoor dining ask about the layout of the space. Many restaurants, even those without ample outdoor space, cater to the outdoor-seating crowd, even if their outdoor dining area is limited to a handful of cafe tables placed near the curb. Unless you want to spend your meal with pedestrians walking by or inhaling car exhaust fumes, call or visit the restaurant online ahead of time to ensure that the outdoor seating is more amenable to an enjoyable meal.

* Choose restaurants with overhead coverage. It is one thing to want to eat outdoors, and entirely another to be subjected to the wrath of Mother Nature. An outdoor seating area should be comfortable, offering the best blend of fresh air and ample protection from the elements. Umbrellas or a covered patio can provide shelter should it start to drizzle or you need relief from the summer sun.

*  Expect some uninvited guests. Dining outside means bees, flies, birds, and other animals. Those who are deathly afraid of all buzzing insects may want to eat indoors instead.  Enjoy summer dining as it only lasts just a few short months.

Local dining with patios!

Medina

Corkscrew Saloon

Sully’s

Jo-Jo’s

On Tap Grille

111 Bistro

Girves Brown Derby

Yours Truly

Fireside Restaurant at Rustic Hills Country Club

Thyme

Tres Potrillos

Seville

El Patron

Rose Hill

Brunswick

Panini’s Bar & Grill

Red Onion

The Oaks in Chippewa Lake

The Galaxy in Wadsworth

Granite Grill in York Twp.