Wednesday, January 21 , 2015

Simple Solution for Food Scraps

If your favorite kitchen food-prep area isn't conveniently located near a waste bin, cooking can be a chore...all that back and forth! You can follow those wise celebrity chefs who use a “garbage bowl,” but we have another solution…

Use a smallish plastic bag—the kind you would get from a drugstore or use in a bathroom waste basket—fold over the edges, and use that as your garbage bowl. (Double up if you want to ensure no leaks.) Chuck into it all your onion skins, chicken fat, carrot peels. When you're finished with your food prep, tie the ends of your “garbage bowl” tightly to contain the odors, and voila! No bowl to clean, and your main garbage bin won't reek of last night's dinner.

More help in the kitchen…


Tuesday, January 13 , 2015

Take the Bite Out of Onions

Onions add a unique flavor to dishes…unfortunately they also have a stinky bite! But when we hold the onion from our salads or sandwiches, we miss that distinct onion taste. Here's what we do to sweeten the taste of raw onions.

Cut the onion into thin slices, and put them in a bowl. Then pour just-boiled water over them. Let the slices stand for two to three minutes, then drain and refrigerate until the onion is cold…and sweet.

More ways to make vegetables taste great…


Monday, January 12 , 2015

Pancakes Lighter Than Air

Are your gluten-free (or gluten-filled) pancakes a little on the heavy side? Here's a trick to make them light and fluffy.

Instead of using milk or any other liquid called for in your pancake recipe, use the same amount of seltzer or club soda (at room temperature). The carbonation bubbles will cause the pancakes to rise higher and stay airier.

More help in the kitchen...


Tuesday, January 06 , 2015

Better Way to Store Your Wine

Don't store wine in the kitchen on a rack on top of the refrigerator—this is often the warmest part of the house. Or in a sunny corner—warm wine loses its flavor and can even turn to vinegar. Regular refrigerators are too cold for certain kinds of wine. What to do? Wine fridges are great, but they can cost a pretty penny. Here's a way to store your wine with what you have.

Store your wine collection in a cool closet. The darkness is good for the wine…and the temperature will be pretty close to drinking temperature for both reds and whites (you'll want to pop the whites in the fridge but it won't take long). And you don't even have to invest in an expensive wine rack. If you're keeping wine in a closet, use the boxes the wine comes in, stacked on their sides.

Thanks to Jeff Siegel, author of The Wine Curmudgeon's Guide to Cheap Wine (Vintage Noir Media), for help with this tip. WineCurmudgeon.com

More ways to enjoy wine for less…


Tuesday, December 23 , 2014

Don't Grate Your Fingers

Food processors don't produce the even shred that we like for salads or toppings or whatever. Sometimes you just have to grate by hand, which can be a tricky endeavor when you get down to the stubs...no one wants to waste so much or have grated fingertips in their food! Here's a super solution: Go to a sewing-supplies store, and get thimbles that fit the fingers that are in jeopardy each time you use your grater...usually your thumb, index and middle fingers. With the thimbles in place, you'll be able to grate faster and more completely—no more leftover stubs of potato, carrot or cheese!

Tuesday, December 23 , 2014

Our Favorite Beef Marinade

Marinades aren't just for great flavor. They can also make your meat more healthful, if you use the right ingredients. This is what to do…

A marinade made from white vinegar will destroy bacteria as it tenderizes meat. Use one-half cup vinegar on a two- to three-pound roast (double up on larger roasts). You can use red wine vinegar or balsamic for extra flavor if you'd like. Add one-quarter cup of chopped fresh rosemary to protect against cancer. According to recent research, marinating or seasoning meat with rosemary produces two natural antioxidants, camosol and rosemarinic acid, that destroy heterocyclic amines—cancer-causing carcinogens that occur when you roast, grill or broil meat. Studies found that animals given rosemary extract after being exposed to a carcinogen had less DNA damage and fewer tumors (read this).

Let your roast beast marinate overnight, and then prepare the meat per your recipe after draining, but without rinsing.

More healthy food ideas…


Wednesday, December 17 , 2014

Don’t Be That Guy Who Buys Too Little Champagne

If you're having a party tonight and you're trying to figure out if you bought enough champagne for your crew, this is what to do…

If you want to figure out how many bottles of bubbly to buy for your New Year's bash, instead of winging it, start with a list of the people who are coming (don't forget yourself!). Then write down how many glasses of champagne you think each guest is likely to drink—for some it may be none or one…for some, two or three…and for others, well, you are collecting car keys at your front door, right? If you've invited people whose drinking habits you don't know, count each in for two drinks to be on the safe side. Once you've added up all the expected servings, you can figure that each bottle of champagne will provide about six four-ounce servings (or 12 two-ounce servings, if you're toasting with mini portions). If you want to add regular wine to the blend, figure about five glasses per bottle (people tend to pour a little more wine in a glass than champagne). Now you can do the math and then go out and buy the indicated number of bottles…plus one. Like we said, you don't want to be that guy who runs out, right?

More help with celebrations…


Wednesday, December 17 , 2014

Wine Cork Disasters

Did you get some bits of cork in your excellent bottle of wine? Not all of us can be expert wine uncorkers. Don't throw the wine out or bother decanting. It's still very drinkable once you get the cork bits out. A restaurant-manager friend told us an easy way to do that…

Stick a paper-covered straw (like the kind you see in bars or in McDonalds…grab a bunch when you get a chance) into the bottle, and the cork will adhere to the paper like a magnet! Carefully pull out the straw. Don't let anyone make you laugh.

More great tips on wine…


Tuesday, December 16 , 2014

Keep Your Cake from Sticking to the Plate

'Tis the season for lots of goodies! If cake is going to be the centerpiece of your next party and you want to avoid a lot of aggravation, here's a tip for you...

To prevent your cake from sticking to the serving plate, sprinkle the plate with powdered sugar before setting down the cake. Easy! Now you're ready to cut and serve!

More great dessert ideas...


Thursday, December 11 , 2014

Flax Cocktail

Do you need to get more fiber in your life? It'll help you with you-know-what. Here's a way to get some easy roughage…

To get more daily fiber, fix up a flax drink. Boil a few cups of water with two tablespoons of flaxseeds. Strain and cool, then add a teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (which helps aid digestion) and drink. The fiber and liquid combo can help move things along without the super strength of pure flaxseed hitting you too hard at once.

Thanks to Kitchen Cabinet Cures by Sara Altshul with Dr. Pamela Hops (Reader’s Digest and Bottom Line Books) for help with this tip. (To purchase Kitchen Cabinet Cures, call Bottom Line Books customer service at 800-678-5835.)

More natural food cures…