Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mom Cooking Tip 97

Remove bones from salmon or other fish using needle-nose pliers. Sometimes fingers just won’t do it.  Bones come out more easily when the fish is at least partly cooked.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Chickpeas: What Are They and How Do I Use Them?

Dried Chickpeas
I first heard the word “chickpeas” when I asked somebody what hummus was?  Growing up in a small town in Western Pennsylvania, I didn’t encounter a wide variety of Middle Eastern food until I moved to Manhattan and had dinner at Cedars of Lebanon.  That restaurant is now closed, but I’ve never forgotten the sampler plate I ordered.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Mom Money-Saving Tip 77

Leek and Potato Soup
Serve soup at the start of a meal, and you will need less of the main dish.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Can I Leave This Ingredient Out?

Mushroom, Onion and Pepperoni Pizza
Occasionally an hour before dinnertime I get cooking question calls from family members and friends.  Often it involves a missing ingredient, and the question goes something like this: “I’m in the middle of making pizza dough and just realized the recipe calls for 1/2 cup cornmeal.  Do I need to stop what I’m doing and rush to the store to get some?”

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mom Cooking Tip 96

(Left) Cilantro        (Right) Parsley
If the recipe calls for parsley or cilantro, make every effort to use the fresh versions.  And if possible, add them just before serving.  These two particular herbs lose most of their taste when dried.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fingerling Potatoes: What Are They and How Do I Cook Them?

Fingerling potatoes are what I like to call “designer potatoes.”  They’re cute, have a certain style to them and are available in gold, red and dark purple.  Because of their size—think of chubby fingers—they cook quickly.  Boil them for about 10-12 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife.  Or drizzle them with oil and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-5 minutes.  Don’t bother peeling them because their varied colors add to the final presentation.

Not all grocery stores sell fingerlings, and when they do they’re likely to be prepacked in 1-to-2-pound bags.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mom Cooking Tip 95

(Left) Smooth, Shiny Skin  (Right) Thick, Bumpy Skin
If you juice oranges, choose oranges with smooth, shiny skins.  These oranges tend to have more juice than ones with thick, bumpy skins.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Emergency: Bring on the Ground Turkey

I try to make a list before I go get groceries, although sometimes I leave the list on the counter.  Other times I’m in the store looking at the list and somehow failing to see one of the items I’ve written down.  I have yet to understand why that happens.  I’ve just been to the eye doctor, and I am not going blind.

Maybe to compensate, I always buy a package of ground turkey when it’s on sale—even if it’s not on my list.  I probably just forgot to write it down.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mom Cooking Tip 94

If garlic tends to burn when you add it to hot oil—a direction often given in recipes--add it later, after you’ve added some liquid or other ingredients..  Any raw garlic taste will disappear during cooking. 

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Mom Money-Saving Tip 76

Be sure to label any foods that you store in the freezer. It seems obvious, but many’s the time I’ve said to myself, ‘Oh, I’ll serve that soup next week.’ And then I forget it’s there. Six months later I’m wondering, ‘What is in that storage container?’ At least half of the time it ends up uneaten.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Question for Mom

What is a microplane?  Edie N.

A microplane is a very handy kitchen device that takes up almost no space in your gadget drawer.  Used for grating lemon, tangerine or orange peels, hard cheeses and garlic, it produces delicate shavings (called zest) with little chance of injuring yourself.  The microplane started out as a woodworking tool, but cooks quickly realized how useful it could be in the kitchen.

To Grate Lemon Peel, Push Lemon up the Microplane to Create Zest

Underside of Microplane to Show Lemon Zest
      For easy recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Mom Cooking Tip 93

(Left) Dried Cilantro  (Right) Fresh Cilantro
1 teaspoon dried herbs equals 1 tablespoon fresh herbs. 

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Welcome Home, Real Tomatoes

Basil and Tomato Soup
I just read that tomatoes may be getting their flavor back!  This probably sounds odd to anyone under 30, who may well assume that tomatoes are used in salads and sandwiches mostly for their color.

Those who’ve eaten “heirloom tomatoes” may have some idea of the way this fruit—yes, tomatoes are a fruit--used to taste.  But even heirloom tomatoes—the name refers to tomatoes eaten in the good old days—don’t always taste very good.