Aren’t They Just Pots and Pans: Is Expensive Cookware Worth the Price?

There’s an old adage that “You get what you pay for.” This couldn’t be any truer when it comes to cookware. If you wander into any “big box” store you can probably find a slew of pots and pans, including complete sets, for under $50. But then, there are also pieces of cookware that will run you several thousand dollars. This begs the question: is it really worth it? After all, you probably aren’t an executive chef working in a gourmet kitchen. Do you really need all this high priced … [Read More...]

Got the Winter Blues? 7 Options for Cooking Indoors

Who doesn’t love a good grilled steak or even veggie kabob?  It’s something about a grill that makes even the most hesitant cook step up and want to give it a try.  But right now, 2016 is off to a very frigid start with an epic snowstorm that has left much of the East Coast buried. Even if you aren’t contending with record snow drifts, chances are you don’t want to get chilly outside with your grill as the only heat source.  Here are seven options for cooking indoors this winter that are sure … [Read More...]

Pumpkin Carving!

Forty years ago, pumpkin carving was a little simpler.  Take a pumpkin, empty out the “guts” that are inside of it, and then carve a crooked smile, nose, and eyes.  But in the past decade, pumpkin carving has become an art form and everyone is getting in on it.  Whether you decide to use a pencil or carve your pumpkin “freehand” here are some supplies you are going to need for this great Halloween tradition. Pumpkin Carving Kit—If you go into any “Big Box” store or grocery chain, you will … [Read More...]

Cooking Vegetables with Herbs – Confused?

Pairing vegetables with the right herbs can take some practice and using a non-complementary herb with a vegetable can really ruin an otherwise delicious dinner.  When you go through the trouble of cooking a delicious meal you don’t want to destroy your efforts by using the wrong herb. Here is a list of vegetable and herb pairings that have stood the test of time and can change a bland-tasting vegetable dish into something amazing. Vegetables and Herbs Combinations Asparagus-tarragon, … [Read More...]

Delicious Summer Soups

Usually you think of soup as an autumn or winter food, but truthfully, nothing beats a great summer soup. Tomatoes, eggplants, summer squash, onions, and basil are all natural classic combinations that are hard to get wrong. But cucumbers, carrots, sorrel, and lettuces are often overlooked but make fantastic ingredients in summer soups. When these veggies are in season it’s hard to improve upon the delicious flavors of ripe and tender vegetables from a garden or farmer’s market. Summer soups … [Read More...]

The Dirt on Potatoes

Potatoes come in a huge assortment of colors, flavors, and textures; and like apples, certain varieties are better suited for certain recipes. It’s important to choose the right potato for the recipe. The quantity and differences of moisture content and starch among different varieties really makes a difference when cooking with potatoes. Potatoes come in two main categories: starchy and waxy. Starchy or High-Starch Potatoes These type of potatoes are lower in moisture, higher in starch and … [Read More...]

Deep Fryers – Are They Worth the Money?

Some small kitchen appliances are worth the space they take up in the kitchen and that’s true with deep fryers. We all know we should avoid fried foods and too much fried food is not a good thing. But sometimes, nothing quite beats the taste of fried onion rings, home-made French fries and fried chicken or chicken wings. What I like about using a deep fryer is that you can achieve restaurant-quality fried foods at home, with little mess and clean up. You can also re-use the oil as long as you … [Read More...]

Recipes Using Homemade Yogurt

So now that you’ve starting making your own yogurt at home, what other uses are there besides topping with fruit and granola or making delicious smoothies in the blender? There’s a lot of ways you can use yogurt in cooking: Substitute in Recipes: Yogurt makes great substitutes in cooking and baking for recipes that call for buttermilk, sour cream and mayonnaise. Simply substitute using a one to one ratio. Make Fruit Dip: Yogurt is a tasty dip for sliced fruit. Mix ½ teaspoon vanilla … [Read More...]

Making Your Own Yogurt

Making your own yogurt not only saves you money, but is seriously delicious and healthy for you. When you make it from scratch, you’ll find yourself eating more yogurt than ever before. While there are many automatic yogurt makers available, it’s also very easy to make yogurt at home as long as you have a warm place to let it rest. Here’s a very basic method I’ve used plenty of times to create a delicious creamy yogurt. Homemade Yogurt Recipe Makes about 2 quarts yogurt Ingredients 1/2 … [Read More...]

FDA bans trans fat

The Food and Drug Administration announced that the food industry has three years in which to totally eliminate all artificial trans fats from food products. This comes as a big win for consumer groups who have worked diligently trying to eradicate trans fats from our food supply. Removing trans fat, a major contributor to heart disease in the United States, from our food supply is expected to save thousands of lives a year. “This is the final nail in the coffin of trans fats,” said Michael … [Read More...]

Common Cooking Mistakes Made By The Impatient Cook

Overcrowd the pans Since as food cooks it releases moisture you need to leave plenty of room for the steam to escape. When you’re impatient or in a hurry, it’s tempting to overcrowd a pan, especially when you have a large amount to fry or brown. But those crusty bits of brown are critical for great flavor, especially with lower-fat recipes. This browning principle applies to quick-cook foods like potato pancakes and chicken breasts. Leave breathing room in the pan for the best results. If … [Read More...]

Electric Hand Mixer vs. Stand Mixer: Which Is Best?

When it comes to choosing between a hand mixer and a stand mixer, both are very practical kitchen appliances. Basically, it comes down to price, versatility and function. Each type of mixer has its own pros and cons. Here's a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Electric Hand Mixers Advantages Costs less than a stand mixer Fast cleanup Easy to store out of sight Great for quick mixing jobs, like whipping cream, egg whites or cake batter Can use with any … [Read More...]

All Star Kebab Party

Summer is the time for outdoor parties, but who wants to stand over a hot grill and do all the cooking while your guests are having all the fun? How about putting your guests to work and they won’t even know it? If that sounds good to you, then consider throwing a kebab party. Not only will guests enjoy the fun but they’ll create a meal exactly how they want.   Quick-cooking proteins Slice all of the proteins into pieces of equal thickness and arrange in trays. I like to put them in big … [Read More...]

Outdoor Grill Essentials

It’s summer and you’re ready for some outdoor entertaining. Do you have all the essentials ready and at hand to make your party a success? Here’s a checklist for everything you need to make sure you’re ready and raring to go whether you’re grilling burgers, smoking meat, or frying up a fish dinner. Check out these grilling essentials for a party you won't forget. Grill Whether you choose a propane or charcoal grill, invest in a grill that won’t fall apart after the first season. While a … [Read More...]

Steak Buying Tips for the Home Cook

With summer right around the corner that more means steaks on the grill. Do you know how to choose the best steak? Get Chummy with your Butcher Don’t be afraid to ask the butcher for help. Even if you buy your steak at the grocery store, the butchers behind the meat counter are there to help you. You’d be surprised how eager they are to offer advice, from how to cook a certain cut of meat to what’s a good buy this week. Not only will they recommend the right steak for a certain meal or recipe, … [Read More...]

Decorating Outdoor Spaces for Summer Parties

Summer’s here and that means you’ll be spending a lot more time outside. When the weather is nice, nothing beats outdoor entertaining. Here are simple ways to create a wonderful and inviting outdoor space for summer parties. Pillows Add Color and Comfort to Outdoor Seating Use colorful pillows and cushions made from outdoor fabric to spice up any outdoor area. You can find them at any of your favorite stores. Get creative--mix stripes and checks with fun polka dots and nautical prints. Add … [Read More...]

Summer Squash Recipes and Health Benefits

Have you started your summer garden yet? If not, make sure to plant summer’s most prolific producers – the squash plant. Squash has been around for years. In fact, scientists found a variety of summer squash seeds that were preserved in Mexican caves from over 10,000 years ago. The History of Sumer Squash Native Americans planted squash with corn and beans. This trio was referred to as the three sisters. Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb and bean vines stabilize the corn … [Read More...]

The Big Difference Between Ice cream and Gelato

Is gelato just the Italian name for ice cream? Or is there more of a difference than just the name? There actually is a difference in both how they taste and how they’re made. If you’ve ever eaten gelato, it’s got a denser, milkier texture and a more intense flavor than its American cousin, ice cream. Some people describe gelato as having a soft, elastic texture and slow-to-melt milkiness with a clean taste. According to Morellis Gelato, a worldwide gelato creamery since 1906, they describe … [Read More...]

Clever Kitchen Gadgets

A really clever kitchen gadget is not only ingenious but helps you do a job in the kitchen that is annoying and time consuming. These clever gadgets get the job done and look awfully cute in the process. These are perfect gifts for bridal showers where you’re asked to bring a kitchen gadget or utensil, for the young person getting their first apartment, or for yourself just because you really need it! I love this. I’ve seen videos on using plastic bottles to separate the yolk from the egg. I … [Read More...]

Gourmet Grilled Cheese

In France they’re called Croque Monsieur or a Croque Madame if there’s a fried egg on top. In Puerto Rico it’s a jibarito and in Mexico a quesadilla. The English call them cheese toasties or simply toasties. Australians call them jaffles. But no matter where you live one thing is universal, cheese and toasted bread make a great combo and are absolutely delicious. In the U.S. the grilled cheese sandwich became popular in the late 1920s when the invention of the bread slicer made distributing … [Read More...]

Gotta Get a Glop? Shapeable Tableware For Multiple Uses

Between automated temperature control and apps for cooking, and now Bendy Tableware, we’re really seeing advances in cooking technology. I saw this and knew I just had to get a Glop as soon as it comes on the market. What is a Glop, you ask. Berta Julià Sala is a Spanish designer who created a line of platinum silicone kitchen vessels that embodies the term “multi-tasking.” Glop is a set of five, non-breakable, malleable food containers: a cup, a bowl, a dish, a bottle, and a big bowl. What … [Read More...]

Automated Cooking with an App

What do you think about a smart knob that fits right onto your gas or electric range and automatically monitors and adjusts the cooking temperature through the use of a special app on your smartphone?  It’s sort of like a Nest used to adjust the temperature in your home but made specifically for adjusting the temperature on your range. If you're a professional chef used to getting the right temperature just by looking at the gas flame, you might not be so interested. But for those of us who … [Read More...]

Five Healthier Ways to Make Chicken Nuggets

We’ve all read McDonald horror stories but did you know that Chicken McNuggets contain an industrial chemical? According to Natural News Special Report, they state that McDonalds’s Chicken McNuggets are made with ingredients including sodium phosphates, “partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil with mono -and diglycerides,” sodium acid pyrophosphate, ammonium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate, “hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness” and … [Read More...]

Dying Easter Eggs Using Nature’s Colors

We spent Saturday dying Easter eggs at the, Valley Crest Farm and Preserve using an organic approach to decorating them. The host of the workshop, Marija Aksena, a Lithuanian-born artist and farmer, taught us the old-world European dying technique using nature’s hues and prints derived from vegetables, leaves, fresh flowers, plants and more. Each participant created six unique eggs using onion skins. Supplies: 12 eggs water onion skins (pieces as large as possible) vinegar old … [Read More...]

How to Make Delicious Pizza at Home

We’ve been making pizza at home for a long time.  Making homemade pizza using prepared dough is a quick and easy dinner to make any night of the week. Almost any grocery store sells frozen dough and many sell fresh dough. I’ve even bought dough directly from my local pizzeria. Of course, you can always make your own. There’s tons of recipes online. Rolling in the Dough There’s lots of preferred methods to roll out the dough, but I like to either use parchment paper or a baking sheet so I’m … [Read More...]

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