Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mom Money-Saving Tip 93

If you love fresh cherries but are shocked at the price, look for twinned cherries. Some stores refuse to sell this odd-looking fruit.  But those that do, sell them cheaper.  There is nothing wrong with twinned cherries. Twinning occurs when the weather is too hot when the cherries are in the process of budding.  Twinned cherries are a double-barreled eating pleasure.

                                                 See all my Money-Saving Tips!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Israeli Couscous: What Is It and How Do I Cook It?

Top: uncooked Israeli Couscous - Bottom: Cooked Israeli Couscous 
Israeli Couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is like regular couscous but on steroids.  Uncooked and poured out onto a plate, this kind of couscous resembles a pile of white peppercorns. Traditional couscous look like large grains of sand.  Bob’s Red Mills describes Israeli Couscous, which the company markets as Traditional Pearl Couscous, as “essentially small ball-shaped pasta.” 

Cooking it is simple.  Add 1 cup Israeli Couscous to a pot, pour 1 1/4 cups boiling water on top, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Drain and serve.  That’s faster than cooking rice or potatoes. 

Hot Israeli Couscous works as a side dish on its own or added to soup or stir-fried vegetables.  Cold Israeli Couscous is a good addition to salads.  This couscous is very bland.  To add more flavor, cook and then briefly pan-fry in butter or olive oil, along with some garlic and chopped onion.  Or serve it with a a dish that has lots of sauce.

                         For more recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mom Cooking Tip 146

Here’s a convenient way to use up a few cups of leftover cooked pasta: put it in a greased baking dish, add some cut-up cooked vegetables, 1 cup homemade or jarred sauce and 2 well-beaten eggs and mix well.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese.  Cover and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

                                                   See all my Cooking Tips!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mom Money-Saving Tip 92

Here’s a way to re-purpose leftover cooked corn on the cob.  Put several ears on a non-stick frying pan, turn the heat to medium-high and let the kernels heat up and start to brown.  Turn the ears every minute or so that different kernels brown.  Serve while the corn is still hot.

                                                    See all my Money-Saving Tips!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Dinner for One

Salmon and Asparagus Risotto
There are at least three ways to look at the idea of cooking just for yourself.

1) It could be such a nuisance that you get a takeout meal and forget about cooking altogether. 

2) You could treat yourself to your favorite dish.

3) You could try something new that you think you’d like but hesitate to feed someone else in case it doesn’t turn out well.

I used to choose option 2 because that was the only way I ever got to eat Spaghetti with Garlic Sauce or Fried Eggs on Toast, two of my favorites. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Question for Mom

I recently bought a 5-pound bag of short-grain white rice and cooked some for dinner.  It turned out incredibly sticky.  What am I doing wrong? –Nevin G

Short-grain rice is covered in starch, which causes it to be sticky after it’s cooked.  Some stickiness is good if you’re using chopsticks.  But too much stickiness is unappetizing.  Here’s a solution.

Fill a large pot with water and begin heating over high heat.

While it is coming to a boil, take 1 cup of the raw rice, put it in a sieve and run cold water over it to wash away some of the starch.  Continue until the water runs clear.

When the large pot of water begins to boil, toss in the rice and cook for about 15 minutes uncovered.  Test to see if it has softened enough.  If yes, drain the rice, put it in a bowl and serve.  If it is too chewy, cook another minute or two and test again.  Drain and serve.

                                           See all Questions for Mom

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Portobello Mushrooms: What Are They and How Do I Cook Them?

Portobello mushrooms, or portobellos, as some cooks call them, look like mushrooms on steroids.  Some of them measure at least six inches in diameter and can weigh more than one-quarter of a pound. 

Portobellos are more expensive than standard mushrooms, but they offer dining opportunities that smaller mushrooms don’t.  They can be stuffed and baked, broiled or grilled and offered as a main dish.  I often serve them in a bun, like I would a hamburger.  If you cut portobellos into 1/2-inch slices and then sauté them in butter or olive oil, they make an excellent side dish.  

Baby Portobello mushrooms, which are about 2 inches across,