Friday, October 17 , 2014

Better Than Brillo

Broiling provides great flavor, but the high heat does a great job of searing food onto your pan! You could soak and scrub your fingers raw, or try this easy fix...

While the broiler pan is still hot (or reheat it slightly if it has cooled), carefully sprinkle on some powdered laundry detergent—enough to cover the burned-on food. On top of that, place wet paper towels (whatever you need to cover all the detergent). Leave everything for about 15 minutes, then remove the towels. The burned-on stuff should easily come off with a gentle scrape.

More easy ways to clean...


Wednesday, October 15 , 2014

Taming Plastic Wrap

It's a common kitchen hassle—wrestling with your plastic wrap as it tries to tangle and cling to everything in sight. If plastic wrap gets unmanageable, chuck the box in the freezer. Cold plastic wrap will behave the way you want it to. And what if you can't find the edge of the sticky roll to pull out? Here's what to do...

Take a piece of tape (any kind), and dab at the roll until it picks up the loose edge.

If plastic wrap won't stick to the bowl or dish you're wrapping, dampen the outer edge of the bowl or dish, and then put the plastic wrap on. It will seal with a kiss!

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Thursday, October 09 , 2014

Crustless Apple Pie in 3 Minutes

There's so much to love about fall. One is the bountiful harvest of so many different kinds of apples! They're great to eat on their own, and here are three easy, healthful recipes that taste great and will have you thinking beyond high-calorie apple desserts.

Nutrition expert Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz says that eating this apple treat as part of a balanced breakfast can help curb cravings for the rest of the day...

Nutty Candied Apple

Slice one small apple. Sprinkled slices with cinnamon, and dip them into one-and-a-half tablespoons of almond butter mixed with one of teaspoon honey. Makes one serving.

Daniela Jakubowicz, MD, is a former professor of medicine and endocrinology at Virginia Commonwealth University and is now at the Wolfson Medical Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel. She also is the author of The Big Breakfast Diet: Eat Big Before 9 am, and Lose Big for Life (Workman).

Here’s a delicious apple salad filled with nutrients...

Apple-Jicama Salad

Core two apples (a firm red variety is best—these include honeycrisp, jazz, empire, Jonathan and others—with skin intact) and julienne into matchsticks. Place in a bowl.

Julienne one peeled medium-sized (about one pound) jicama (a crisp, slightly sweet root vegetable), and add to bowl.

Add a handful of orange segments (cut into smaller pieces if you prefer) and a handful of chopped mint.

Mix together with an orange-lime vinaigrette—one to two tablespoons each of orange juice and lime juice with two to three tablespoons of olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a bed of watercress with some toasted pecans scattered on top.

Serves four.

David Joachim, chef, based in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, and author of numerous cookbooks, including Perfect Light Desserts (William Morrow), The Science of Good Food (Robert Rose) and Fire it Up: More than 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything (Chronicle).

This guilt-free dessert takes just a few minutes to make…

Easy Crustless Apple Pie

Core an apple, and place it, peel-on, on a microwavable dish. Into the center of the apple, spoon one teaspoon brown sugar and one-half teaspoon whipped butter. Drizzle the apple with lemon juice and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Microwave on high three to four minutes or until tender. (If your microwave tray does not turn automatically, rotate the dish one-quarter turn halfway through the cooking time.) Makes one serving.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the author of 25 books on nutrition and cooking, including Comfort Classics: Hearty Favorites Made Healthy (a Barnes & Noble Bargain Book). She is based in Pleasant Hill, California, and wrote the nationally syndicated column “The Recipe Doctor” for 10 years.

More ways to healthy eating...


Wednesday, October 01 , 2014

How to Stop Your Rice from Sticking

We love plain old long-grain white rice...the most versatile side dish ever. But we hate it when cooked rice sticks to the pot bottom! We do three things to make sure that never happens.

Most people make rice by measuring out the rice and the water, putting them into a pot and bringing it all to a boil.

Before cooking rice, we first rinse it using a fine-mesh strainer under cool running water. Then we add the rice to a pot of simmering water, bring it to a second boil and then stir before lowering the heat. After the rice is finished cooking, we let it sit (covered) for at least five minutes (up to a half-hour). No stuck rice! Anything that rests is always more cooperative.

More help in the kitchen…


Friday, September 26 , 2014

No More Hard Edges On Your Cheese

You know those hard, translucent edges that form on your block of cheese when it sits in the fridge for more than a few days? Here's how to keep cheddar cheesy and delicious.

Coat the exposed edges of the cheese with a thin layer of butter—the moisture from the butter will prevent the cheese from getting hard and inedible. Wrap in foil, and store the buttered cheese in the refrigerator. When you're ready to eat the cheese, just wipe off the butter...or not.

More help with food storage...


Thursday, September 25 , 2014

Make Bread Fresh Again

You just bought that baguette yesterday, and it's already feeling a little too stiff to eat. Here's an easy way to bring it back to delectable...

To make stale bread fresh again, spray it with a bit of water or milk and wrap it in aluminum foil. Put it in a 350°F oven for about eight minutes, and the bread should taste as though it just came out of the oven…for the first time.

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Thursday, September 18 , 2014

Elegant Way to Serve Butter

Are you planning a special dinner party or another event where you want every element to say “elegant”? Here's a special touch for the table that's fun to do.

Serve a bowl of butter balls instead of putting out sticks or individual pats of butter. Simply place a melon ball scooper in very hot water for about five minutes. While it warms up, prepare a bowl of cold water with lots of ice cubes in it. When the melon baller is warm, scoop out the butter balls from a large container of slightly softened butter, and drop each of them in the bowl of ice-cold water. Let them sit in the ice water for 10 minutes or so, and then remove the balls carefully with a spider strainer or a slotted spoon. Keep the balls cold in the refrigerator until you're ready to put them on the table for your guests.

Ways to save on entertaining…


Tuesday, September 16 , 2014

You’re Cooking Bacon Wrong

What beats the smell of bacon and coffee on a sunny weekend morning? Here are some tips for perfectly fried bacon...

First, rinse the slices in cold water before frying, and they won't curl in the pan. To minimize the shrinkage of the bacon, do not preheat the skillet. Just plop the bacon into a cold pan, and turn the heat to medium. Try to turn the bacon only once to keep the slices as flat as possible. (We know that's hard to do!)

If you throw a few celery leaves into the pan along with the bacon, the grease will stay in the pan instead of splattering. Another way to prevent splatter is to add a thin layer of water to the pan with the bacon before you turn on the heat. Check this tip out here.

And don't forget to save the bacon fat for delicious (and cheap) future frying!

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Thursday, September 04 , 2014

Easy Way to Make Meatballs

We just discovered this, and it works great. If you are pan-frying a close-knit group of delicate, small food items that each need individual attention (such as meatballs), don't flip them with a wide spatula (which will puncture your other meatballs) or a pair of tongs (which might cause the fragile meatballs to fall apart). Use this instead...

A metal pie cutter is angled to a point and can work around the tight spots between your meatballs or fritters, making it easy to turn each one over. This tip comes from a happy accident—Joan didn't have a regular spatula nearby and used the first thing she pulled out of our utensil drawer. It worked like a charm!

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Wednesday, August 27 , 2014

The Right Way to Ripen Tomatoes

We love it when our local farmers' market has freshly picked tomatoes right off the garden vines! Or maybe you grow your own and are in the middle of a delectable harvest. Here's what to do to ripen your picked beauties quickly and to enjoy them more.

To ripen tomatoes quickly, place them in a brown paper bag with a banana or a few apples. The ethylene gas emitted by the fruit will help the tomatoes ripen fast. Check the bag frequently (every day) because you don't want overripe tomatoes.

Best way to slice a tomato for an unsoggy sandwich: Tomatoes have ovary walls, and when you cut into them, the pulp and juice tend to slosh out. But if you slice a tomato vertically—from the top of the stem down to the bottom of the fruit—the slices will stay firmer, which will keep your sandwich drier. Also, vertically cut tomatoes will not juice up your salad as much.

More help in the kitchen...