Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mom Cooking Tip 31

Instead of using large unpeeled carrots for roasting or making soup, cut up baby peeled carrots instead. Saves time and trouble.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mom Money-Saving Tip 29

If you aren’t already sick of turkey, watch for birds at half-price or less after Thanksgiving. Store a whole turkey in a large freezer, if you have one. Otherwise, cut it up, roast the pieces and freeze until needed.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Easiest Ever Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Unless you’re wedded to can-shaped cranberry sauce, make your own.  It’s probably the easiest dish you will ever create, and you will be unduly praised for it.

Of course, there is always a way to go wrong—adding too much water.  My mother often wound up with cranberry soup.  But even that can be remedied by continuing to cook the cranberry sauce until the excess water boils away.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mom Cooking Tip 30

If your vegetables are not in pristine condition, cut them up and make vegetable soup. Even wilted lettuce can provide a little color, although not much flavor.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Plantain: What Is It and How Do I Cook It?

The first time I saw a plantain in the produce aisle, I thought, “Who would buy this overripe banana?”  The skin was mostly black.  In fact, the whole pile of what I thought were big bananas looked ready for the compost pile.
Banana at top, Plantain below

Here’s what I didn’t know:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mom Money-Saving Tip 28

Impulse purchases are supposedly a bad idea, but you can save money if you stumble across a sale. Be flexible enough to rethink your upcoming meals while pushing your cart down the aisle. Meat, poultry and fish are usually the most expensive items in a non-vegetarian meal, so think about stir-fries and stuffed tortillas when you come across a bargain. If you can’t use it this week, pop it in the freezer.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mom Cooking Tip 29

When using a lot of ingredients in a recipe, line them up on the counter in the order of use and as you use them either put them away or push them out of the line so that you don’t inadvertently add them again.

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

It’s 6 pm and I Haven’t Planned Dinner

Risotto Parmigiano
At least once a week I have no idea what I’ll be making for dinner.  Too late to run to the grocery store, I have to scrounge through my pantry to find something, anything, that will make a presentable meal. 

What basics do I always have available?  What can be defrosted in 15 minutes?  What is easy and quick? 

Right at the top of my mental list is Risotto,

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mom Cooking Tip 28

When frosting a cake, place strips of wax paper under the edges of the cake to collect icing that falls off the knife during the icing process. When the cake is fully iced, pull away and discard the strips so the cake plate doesn’t look messy.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mom Money-Saving Tip 27

Investigate restaurant and chef supply stores, which may offer better prices than chain grocery stores. They also sell cookware and hand-to-find cooking items at competitive prices.

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Chocolate Calamity

Intensely Chocolate Cocoa Brownies
The worst four words in the English language are: I burned the chocolate.

Not only is burned chocolate inedible but also it smells nasty.  There is no guaranteed way to revive it, so you have to start again.  

However, if the chocolate turned gritty while melting but didn’t actually burn--AND if you’re an optimist--you can try to rescue it:

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mom Cooking Tip 27

Store cookies in the freezer. Out of sight, out of mind – and yet you can actually eat them without defrosting them. Not true of brownies, which need at least 15 minutes at room temperature to soften up.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mom Money-Saving Tip 26

Buy spices in bulk, as long as you use them frequently. Dried spices tend to lose their punch after six months. If that happens, add 1 1/2 or double the amount you would normally use—although be careful if it’s cayenne pepper.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Disasters in the Kitchen

Usually they’re my fault—dropping a hot turkey on the floor, miscounting the cups of flour, not realizing my oven was overheating, forgetting to add something important, misreading the directions. 

Once in a while I’m over-hopeful about a new recipe. Pizza baked on a grill sounded delicious to me, but it was my biggest disaster ever.  I stepped away from the grill for 30 seconds and returned to a charcoal crust.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mom Cooking Tip 26

Want to speed up cooking times? Cut meat and vegetables thinner or into smaller pieces. They’ll cook faster. For instance, make mashed potatoes in less than 15 minutes by dicing raw potatoes into 1-inch squares and boiling them for 8-10 minutes. They will be soft enough to mash.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mom Money-Saving Tip 25

Go rogue at the grocery store if you see a real bargain. Accepted wisdom is to buy only what’s on your list. But if you find that whole chickens are 50 per cent off, buy one (or three if your freezer is big enough).

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