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  • Always undercook pasta that will be baked.
  • Cleaning Mushrooms – to remove the sand from mushrooms, place in bowl of water with 1 TBS lemon juice. Swirl around and drain quickly.
  • Store nuts in the freezer to preserve oils.
  • Store bulghur wheat, semolina and sesame seeds in freezer for a longer shelf life.
  • Knives - Keep sharpened.
  • Berries  - Freeze summer berries for winter use.
  • Ginger – Peel ginger and freeze in storage bag. When needed, grate into your recipe.
  • Clarifying Butter - when using melted butter for pastries, it is best to clarify it first. Melt the butter over low heat or in microwave. Skim off the froth at the top. Pour the golden butter. Discard the milky white solids at the bottom.
  • Peeling Garlic - Lay the flat side of a wide knife on the garlic. Press down hard with the heel of your hand until you feel the clove crack. The peel will come right off.
  • Lemons - before squeezing lemons, zest the skin and add to the recipe that the lemon will be added to. This enhances the flavor. Always use freshly-squeezed lemon, instead of store bought lemon juice.
  • Cooking Spray - always, always, always have cooking spray on hand in the kitchen. Use it on cake pans, cookie sheets, and casseroles.
  • Molds - are very useful in presenting a dish. Place tuna salad, egg salad, or rice dishes in a mold and turn onto a serving platter lined with greens. Garnish with slices of lemon, cucumber, tomato, parsley, olives or any assortment. Everyone will think you are a caterer!
  • Onions - Sometimes I feel like I have peeled and chopped tens of thousands of onions in my life. When does it end? Here are a few things I have learned.
    1. If you refrigerate the onions, you cry less when you chop them.
    2. I peel several onions at once and place them in the fridge for when I want to use them. They usually last up to a week.
    3. Use the food processor: Quarter the onions and pulse, on and off till you get the onion at the desired size. DO NOT just turn on the food processor as it will make the onions way too small and mushy. 
    4. You can cut or chop many onions at once and freeze them. I like to put 1C of onions in resealable bags in the freezer. This makes it easy for me to take them out and use them in most recipes.