AT THE STORE
A sure sign that the iced coffee craze is on the way out is the number of bottled versions available at the grocery store. Arizona, Starbucks and Blue Luna are just three of the companies producing coffee beverages to be poured over ice. They taste okay but are loaded with sugar and calories; their main draw is convenience. However, iced coffee is a snap to make at home. Pour cooled coffee over ice, adding milk and sweetener to taste. Want mocha flavor? Stir in some chocolate sauce such as Hershey's. Get fancier still by adding whipped cream and a shake of cocoa.
EXPLANATIONS FROM THE INSIDE OUT
The Essence of Emeril
Food Network chef Emeril Lagasse's trademark "Bam!" is always accompanied by an energetic toss of the "Essence" on his culinary creations. Here's the formula for his secret blend: 5 tablespoons paprika, \ cup salt, \ cup garlic powder, 2 tablespoons each freshly ground black pepper, onion powder, cayenne, dried oregano and dried thyme. Store in an airtight container for up to three months. You can order Lagasse's specialty spices online at http://www.emerils.com or by calling (800) 980-8474.
"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."
Humorist Calvin Trillin
Buttermilk originally was the liquid remaining after butter was churned. Now it is made commercially by adding bacteria to milk, giving it a tangy flavor and thicker texture. If a recipe calls for buttermilk but you don't have any, substitute 1 cup of plain yogurt or 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
THIS WEB SITE COOKS
Cookingformen.com bills itself as "the only Web site devoted to the enjoyment of cooking from a man's point of view." Its motto is "Never trust a skinny cook," and it asks only that ardent male chauvinists visit. The site has lots of recipes, a list of what every man needs in his kitchen (a sink and different size whips, among other things) and some really bad jokes (Question: What do snowmen have for breakfast??? Answer: SnowFLAKES!!!!"). These guys are cooking all right, just maybe not on all four burners.
How do you want your Oreos? With milk, of course. A line of "Got Milk?" tableware including plastic plates and platters and ceramic mugs is available at Lechter's, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. Other images include chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes. Most pieces are less than $5.
Most women don't get the 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium they need every day. To help keep track, Kraft Foods is offering a free counter which operates like a slide rule. Of course, cheese is included in the food list, but there are many other foods, including a half-cup of cooked black-eyed peas (106 milligrams) and one 10-inch flour tortilla (90 milligrams). Call (877) 878-7394.
CAVEAT ON CAVIAR
If you like Russian caviar, the news isn't good. Russian exports of black caviar are expected to plunge this year due to pollution and a big increase in poaching, according toRussia's State Committee for Fishing. The country will export between 50 and 60 tons of black caviar this year, compared with 170 tons in 1999.