Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mom Cooking Tip 40

Before hard-boiling an egg, make a tiny hole in the large end with a needle, pushing it in about 1/4 inch, just far enough to pierce the membrane inside the shell. There’s also a gadget available to do this job for you. It’s called an egg pricker. When the egg is cooked, it will be easier to peel.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mom Money-Saving Tip 38

A good place to shop is your pantry. Check to see what canned or boxed foods you have overlooked or have gotten pushed to the back and forgotten.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chocolate Again…and Forever

I just can’t keep away from chocolate.  It’s never far from my thoughts, possibly because various forms of it are stashed all over my kitchen.  Hiding in one cabinet is a bag of chocolate discs I melt to make candy.  Also there is a box of Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels made by the Girl Scouts and a bag of Dark Chocolate Acai and Blueberry Flavor balls.  No more Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups left over from Halloween, alas.

Another cupboard contains two 17.6-oz. bars of Trader Joe’s 72% Dark Chocolate Bars imported from Belgium, a 3.5-oz. bar of Godiva 50% Cacao Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, a 3.5-oz. cardboard tube of Droste Chocolate Pastilles, five boxes of Bakers 4-oz. 100% Unsweetened Baking Bars, a 72-oz. bag of Nestle’s Chocolate Chips, an 8-oz. can of Baking Cocoa and a 4-oz. bottle of Pure Chocolate Extract.

On my kitchen bookshelves are 14 chocolate cookbooks, including “Chocolate on the Brain”, which I wrote with my son Kevin.  I guess we weren’t exaggerating with the title.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mom Cooking Tip 39

When grating lemon peel, stop when you get to the white part under the yellow skin. It’s bitter.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mom Money-Saving Tip 37

Make sure you actually get the sale prices advertised. Occasionally grocery stores don’t align their scanners with their promotions.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

The ICK Factor

Roast Chicken
Many recipes have what I call “The ICK Factor.”  For some, it’s cutting onions, which can make you cry.  For others, it’s washing the dirt off fresh spinach, leeks or beets.

Cracking eggs and getting raw egg white on your fingers is icky.  So is cutting away fat from a raw pork chop.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mom Cooking Tip 38

Whenever you bake potatoes, bake a few extra. Cut them into 1/2-inch cubes and add them to stuffed tortillas or salads. Or fry them with a cut-up onion and serve as a side dish.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mom Cooking Tip 37

Store butter in the freezer. To get it to room temperature more quickly, cut it into 1/2-inch slices with a heavy knife. Or if you need it for baking but are not supposed to melt it, grate it into a bowl, using the largest holes of a grater.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Flour Overload

Pre-Baked Pie Crust
Maybe I went a little overboard the other day on my baking.  How many home cooks do you know who would be able to use 12 cups of flour making three different baked products in one afternoon?  I made 2 loaves of whole wheat bread, 1 pie crust for a quiche and 4 pizzas.

I like to bake, and I’m not afraid of yeast, but I don’t normally bake this much at once. However, our bread supply was running low.  I’ve made bread every week for years—not to save money but because we like homemade bread, especially when it’s toasted. That accounted for 7 cups of flour.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mom Money-Saving Tip 36

To get the last drops of honey that have crystallized in the bottom of the bottle, put the closed bottle in a bowl of hot water and shake until the honey warms up and liquefies.

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mom Cooking Tip 36

If you peel potatoes more than 15 minutes before you plan to cook them, submerge them in cold water to keep them from turning brown.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

“What was the best chocolate chip cookie you’ve ever eaten?” I asked Bart earlier today.  “The last one,” he said, licking off some crumbs left from the cookie he had just demolished.  Never make a batch of chocolate chip cookies two days before you need them.  My 60-cookie dessert tray was now down to about 40 cookies.  When he wasn’t looking, I hid the rest.

It’s true that any chocolate chip cookie is better than no chocolate chip cookie.   For some, size matters.  I’ve eaten chocolate chip cookies the size of small dinner plates, and I didn’t mind sharing them because they tasted too much like cake.  I’ve also had chocolate chip cookies no bigger than a quarter, but eating 10 of them to get my chocolate chip cookie fix seemed piggish.

My mother made a good chocolate chip cookie using the recipe on a bag of NESTLÉ® chocolate chips.  I tried the same recipe, but they never seemed to taste as good.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Mom Money-Saving Tip 35

Buy meat in bulk, divide it into portions for 2 or 4, wrap well and freeze until needed.

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