S.A.T. Cookbook Video Contest Finalists Need Your Vote!

The video most-viewed by April 10, 2012 wins 1st prize!

Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. Video Entry by Alex Zakon:

Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. Video Entry by Amber Stefanski:

Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. Video Entry by Justin Quinn:

Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. Video Entry by Michael Ferandes:

Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. Video Entry by Ross Scott:

Eating In Is The New Eating Out

Photo of I-95 for "eating in is the new eating out" post by Charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t

Our "Rhode" trip from Rhode Island to Florida.

“Eating in is the new eating out” has become a MANTRA in my family. As we head home from our southern road trip, I’m hearing it more and more in my mind. If you are health CONSCIOUS, southern cuisine presents a special challenge. Grease and grits excite my brother, but don’t nearly have as much appeal to me.

Photo of fruit for "eating in is the new eating out" post by Charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t

I'm craving fresh fruit.

In the olden days, before fast food was available, eating out was more of an occasional treat than a daily routine. These days, eating out happens nearly as much, if not more than eating in. Fast food USHERED in convenience at the expense of nutrition.

 Photo of fast food nutrition facts for "eating in is the new eating out" post by Charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t

Chicken nuggets "nutrition facts" = oxymoron.

I have had one too many plates of southern fried chicken, shrimp and grits and macaroni and cheese. Because we are on vacation for 10 days, we have eaten out at different restaurants, 30 times. Right now I’m craving vegetables, salad, fruit bowls, roasted chicken and every other “clean” food. The advantage to eating in is that you can make exactly what you want and consume healthier and more nourishing food. For me, eating out just doesn’t have the same appeal as it used to. If we eat out with more rarity, then it just might put back the excitement into restaurants.

Charis

  • MANTRA = motto
  • USHER = lead
  • CONSCIOUS = aware

Fried Green Tomatoes in St. Simons, Georgia

Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. posts photo of fried green tomatoes for blog.

Fried green tomatoes are a great southern appetizer, and "Blackwater Grill" knows how to make them well!

Following a six-day stay on Useppa Island in Florida, we’re heading back home. Tonight we ‘ve stopped in St. Simons, Georgia, a QUAINT and charming southern town. 

For dinner, we dined at the “Blackwater Grill,” a restaurant featured on an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” The food proved to be MEDIOCRE, with the exception of their scrumptious fried green tomatoes. In addition to their perfect crisp, the sweet roasted red pepper sauce perfectly complemented the tomatoes and also added color to the almost PELLUCID fried tomatoes. I have my own recipe for this dish in “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.,” but was thrilled to try a different version!

  •  QUAINT- old-fashioned
  • MEDIOCRE- average
  • PELLUCID- transparent

Charis

Dolce Italia: Seek And You Shall Find

Photo of restaurant Dolce Italia in Sarasota, Florida for blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

An oasis of great food in Sarasota, Florida.

My spring-break family road PEREGRINATION landed us in Sarasota, Florida. Contrary to popular opinion, fantastic food can be found in all cities…if you look hard enough. My Dad is a good-restaurant-magnet and he uncovered “Dolce Italia,” a family-owned Italian eatery. Tiziana and Pippo emigrated from Naples a few years ago and have been serving traditional Neapolitan dishes ever since. We sampled the antipasto, caprese salad, meat lasagna, spaghetti alla puttanesca, and a red fish that was served with a delicious tomato-based sauce and finished with a touch of cream.

Photo of restaurant Dolce Italia, Chef Tiziana in Sarasota, Florida for blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Tiziana is truly an Italian spirit.

Seeing the restaurant from the outside proves that one should not judge a book by its cover. “Dolce Italia” is located in a DISMAL strip mall on a busy road, but once inside, the charming ambiance and delicious food transports you to Italy. The highlight of the meal was the spaghetti alla puttanesca, (puttanesca is a tomato sauce with capers and olives) which was a more TANGY version of what is traditionally prepared in America. The pasta dishes were perfectly al-dente. The service was excellent and the waiter/waitresses  got out the food in a timely manner. The portion sizes were a little small, but didn’t diminish the dining experience.

Photo of restaurant Dolce Italia, spaghetti alla puttanesca in Sarasota, Florida for blog post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Pasta puttanesca is a classic Neapolitan dish.

Road trips don’t have to be SYNONYMOUS with “Applebees” and “Olive Garden.” “Dolce Italia” proves the ADAGE, “seek and you shall find.”

Charis

  • PEREGRINATION- trip
  • DISMAL- dreary
  • TANGY- zesty, acidic
  • SYNONYMOUS- having same or similar meaning
  • ADAGE- proverb

Cooking Brain Power Breakfast on WTNH

Cook your way through the SAT: wtnh.com

“Eggs are brain food” is a mantra I was INDOCTRINATED with since I was little. My Mom fed me and my brother eggs every day between the ages of about 1 -3 years old because our pediatrician told her that’s when maximum brain connections are formed, and she wasn’t about to let that opportunity get away. Now, it’s impossible for me to take any important test without a breakfast that includes eggs.

My Dad fixed me steak and eggs on the morning I took the SSAT and my Mom credits all that choline in the egg yolks for my results . . . which is why, when WTNH anchors Teresa LaBarbera and Jocelyn Maminta invited me back to cook a breakfast for the morning of the S.A.T., I knew exactly what to do.

I cooked Buttermilk Biscuit with Poached Eggs Florentine, which I call “Breakfast For Dinner” in Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. I had so much fun and I hope I am asked back to Connecticut Style to cook on the “In The Kitchen” segment again.

Here are a few fun facts* about eggs, which get MALIGNED for raising cholesterol levels:

  • Eggs are actually a multivitamin (except vitamin C)
  • Eggs are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D
  • Eggs are a complete protein, which means they are one of the few foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids

Charis

*Thanks, Mom. You are a REPOSITORY of egg information.

  • INDOCTRINATE = brainwash
  • MALIGN = slander
  • REPOSITORY = storehouse

It’s Spring Break And . . . I’m Cooking!

Photo of poached eggs Florentine on biscuit for blog by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way through the s.a.t."

My recipe calls for the poached eggs Florentine to go on a buttermilk biscuit instead of this English muffin

It’s finally that time of year again…spring break! Words cannot begin to describe how happy I am to be able to take a short (but much needed) break from school, unwind, spend time with my family and do fun things. Tomorrow, I kick off my spring break by cooking on In The Kitchen, a segment of the Connecticut Style show!

I did the show during my Thanksgiving break and had a great time making my “Fish In Parchment” recipe from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. with the two hosts, Jocelyn Maminta and Theresa LaBarbera. They invited me back and this time I am making the ultimate breakfast to CONSUME before taking any ASSESSMENTS, especially standardized tests.

I will be making poached eggs with spinach on buttermilk biscuits. In addition to cooking, I will be talking about why eggs are one of the best things to eat before  taking a test, due to their high content of protein. My Dad cooked me steak and eggs before I sat for the SSAT and I am convinced the meal helped my score. I had scrambled eggs this morning before my math final. Wish me luck with that, and with the show!

Charis

  • CONSUME = eat
  • ASSESSMENTS = tests

 

Hummus From Scratch

Photo of raw chickpeas for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Raw organic chickpeas

Canned food may be contaminated by BPA, so I updated the hummus recipe in “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” using raw chickpeas. It takes planning to make the hummus from scratch because the chickpeas have to soak for many hours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried organic chickpeas (garbanzos)
  • ¼ cup organic tahini
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp EVOO + more for drizzling
  • 1 cup parsley, shredded + more for garnish
  • ½ tsp cumin + more for garnish
  • ½ tsp salt + more to taste
Photo of raw chickpeas submerged in a bowl of water for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

The chickpeas float until they absorb water, then become submerged

 Prep:

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight for 15 hours. Drain the water and soak them again, covered in fresh water, for 3 hours. Drain the chickpeas and rinse with fresh water.
  • Place the chickpeas in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1½ hours. Remove the foam and peels that form and float on the boiling water. Drain, saving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend into a thick paste. Add cooking water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse until the desired texture, smooth and creamy.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Transfer the hummus to a bowl and chill. Dust with cumin, drizzle with EVOO, and garnish with parsley just before serving.
Photo of raw chickpeas cooking in pot for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Skim the foam and peels from the pot as needed

Photo of all ingredients in a food processor for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor

Photo of hummus finished product for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Hummus from scratch, the finished product

Here’s the fun fact blurb for the “”Nancy’s Hummus With Pita Chips” recipe in Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.:

Fun fact blurb for hummus recipe from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. by Charis Freiman-Mendel

Hummus recipe fun fact blurb

Try to figure out the vocab in context before you take the match test. The correct answers are listed alphabetically in the vocabulary word list on this website.

Vocabulary match test for hummus recipe fun fact blurb from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. by Charis Freiman-Mendel

The vocabulary match test for the hummus fun fact blurb

Hummus is high in protein so it’s a great dish for vegetarians. It’s delicious and the recipe can be varied to include your favorite herbs and spices.

Charis

School Library Journal Review Of CYWTTSAT

Text of review of "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T." published in the School Library Journal February, 2012 nonfiction for grades 5 and up

Thanks to School Library Journal for reviewing “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” in the February, 2012 “non-fiction for grades 5 and up” section. The review has some S.A.T. vocab both in the criticism and in the praise.

  • Criticism: The paragraphs aren’t ELOQUENT (ouch!)
  • Praise: but their BREVITY lends itself to memorization and review.
  • Praise: Her mother . . . stays DISCREETLY in the background.**

Charis

** my Mom especially thanks SLJ for their description of her.

  • ELOQUENT = fluent, persuasive
  • BREVITY = conciseness
  • DISCREETLY = unobtrusive

 

Every Day With Rachel Ray Vocabulary

Photo of alphabet soup bowl with the word "obsequious" spelled out for Every Day With Rachel Ray March 2012 issue featuring Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Alphabet soup not only tastes good, it's good for your S.A.T.

Thank you to Allyson Dickman, writer for Every Day With Rachel Ray magazine, for mentioning “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” in the March, 2012 issue. I love their photograph, which shows that alphabet soup can be put to use when you’re studying standardized test vocabulary.

OBSEQUIOUS = servile

Charis

Book Review: Kitchen Confidential By Anthony Bourdain

photo of two books, cook your way through the s.a.t. by charis freiman-mendel and kitchen confidential by anthony bourdain for book review of kitchen confidential by charis freiman-mendel

Bestseller wannabe and bestseller

I was just home for the weekend and looked through my collection of favorite books. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain was part of my “recreational reading” during my 7th grade homeschool. Bourdain, who worked every position in a restaurant, allows the reader to experience the culinary world through his SARDONIC outlook. He uses lots of raunchy language and doesn’t know the meaning of the word GINGERLY.

Many of his stories are laugh-out-loud funny and many are informative. After reading the book, I now know what to eat when and what not to eat why. For example, it’s never an advisable strategy to eat frittatas for Sunday brunch because the chef fills them with leftovers from the previous week.

photo of two books, cook your way through the s.a.t. by charis freiman-mendel and kitchen confidential by anthony bourdain opened and showing circled vocabulary words for book review of kitchen confidential by charis freiman-mendel

I marked up my copy of "Kitchen Confidential" using "read, circle, lookup"

I did “read, circle, lookup,” with Kitchen Confidential.  Here are some words I circled two years ago:

  • SKULKED = lurked
  • COMMISERATE = sympathize with
  • HANDILY = easily

Kitchen Confidential is a great read and has tons of standardized test vocabulary. That’s win – win for a foodie like me.

I strongly recommend it!

Charis

  • SARDONIC = sarcastic
  • GINGERLY = cautious