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Different colors of maple syrup sit on the windowsill at Maple Ridge Sugar House in Loudon on Saturday, March 22, 2014.  Visitors could see maple syrup being made, tour the farm, visit with a horse, a cow and pigs and taste maple treats.

(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

USDA revises maple syrup grading with descriptive terms

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grading standards for maple syrup have been revised to match international standards, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday, and now consumers can have a better understanding of what topping they’re buying. The revisions to the voluntary standards were released yesterday. The move comes in response to a 2010 petition from the International Maple Syrup Institute, which represents maple producers …

Pack in protein — and save the budget — with beans and rice

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When I was growing up, beans and rice were an end-of-month staple. As money got tight, my mom would whip up a beans and rice casserole, a healthy, budget-friendly choice that stretched our pantry a bit longer. Not that we necessarily appreciated it. “It’s a complete protein!” Mom would proudly announce as my …

Swiss Guard’s cookbook reveals Vatican culinary treats

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cookbook reveals Vatican culinary treats If an army travels on its stomach, what does the world’s smallest army eat? A chef who serves in the Swiss Guards, David Geisser, is shedding light on the culinary tastes of the pope’s army with a new cookbook. Buon Appetito features recipes on the soldiers’ current menu …

California: Bar glasses that are anything but ordinary

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Have some fun with your collection of barware. These glasses are anything but ordinary. Major Scale Musical Wine Glasses Musical notes are labeled on the outside of the glass – so you can tap or run your finger …

Even as popular discount ends, Market Basket customers are loyal

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Evelyn Smith placed a box of bright orange clementines in the trunk of her car, parked outside Market Basket on Fort Eddy Road in Concord. Smith is one of the famously loyal customers who frequents the grocery chain …

New diet guidelines might pull back from meat

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Where’s the beef? A panel that advises the U.S. Agriculture Department appears set to recommend that you be told not only what foods are better for your own health, but also for the environment. That means that when …

Transform junk food image

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Fast-food chains have a New Year’s resolution: Drop the junk. As people express distaste for food they think is overly processed, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other chains are trying to shed their reputation for serving reheated meals that …

New Year’s Eve a night to rake in the dough at Concord restaurants

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

If you are in the restaurant business, few nights are as lucrative as New Year’s Eve. “Tonight will be crazy busy,” Thomas Kum, owner of Moritomo Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar in Concord, said yesterday. Both the …

Venezuela faces ice cream shortage

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Setting aside for a moment whether it is appropriate to be serving trout-flavored ice cream, let alone scoops of something called “mushroom in wine sauce,” the closure of a favorite Venezuelan ice cream shop has turned into a new symbol of the country’s fast-melting economy. This week the …

Pork meets grapes in an elegant dance

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pork and fruit is one of those classic Fred-and-Ginger, peanut butter-and-jelly combinations. It makes perfect sense, as the sweetness of the fruit brings out the succulence of the meat and enhances its subtly rich, earthy flavor. You typically see pork paired with apple. But over the years I …

Rains fuel Northern California mushroom boom

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Recent heavy rains have brought a mushroom boom to parts of Northern California. The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports that lands parched by a three-year drought just a few months ago are now seeing an explosion of both poisonous and edible mushrooms after about 2 feet of rain saturated …

Dinner in 30 minutes: Spicy Mango Shrimp

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A bright dish for dinner If the toasted coconut garnish on this shrimp is not to your liking, substitute toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds. Serve alongside steamed rice for a simple, bright dinner. Spicy Mango Shrimp 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut 1 to 2 large, firm mangoes …

An ode to cabbage

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My grandmother, who lived to be 92, always said the key to her good health was that whenever possible, she ate cabbage. Now if that isn’t a motto worth needlepointing somewhere, I don’t what is. But maybe Grandma …