Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Basic Vinaigrette

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better….

When it comes to eating light and fresh, one of the easiest things you can do is swap out bottles of purchased salad dressing in favor of a homemade vinaigrette.  Simple, quick, and easy, the basic vinaigrette is truly a thing of beauty.  Not to mention it tastes considerably better and avoids any unknown or suspicious ingredients.  But there is also a method to the beauty, as making a vinaigrette is more technique than recipe. The key to success starts with Continue reading

Recipe: Raw Kale Salad with Sweet Red Peppers and Kalamata Olives

We’re on our last leg of the kale season and I just couldn’t say goodbye without one last recipe highlighting easily one of the greatest superfoods out there.  While the new and vibrant vegetables of spring are something to look forward to, the loss of kale is not.  I will miss it sautéed, mixed in with grains, thrown into soup, roasted and crisped into chips, and raw in a salad.

Raw kale may not be your first idea in salad greens, but it might be after you try this Mediterranean version with peppers, olives and almonds. Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Perfect Poach

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better….

Poaching is a gradual and gentle cooking process, using very little heat.  It is best for very delicate foods, such as eggs, fish, white meat chicken and fruit.  Poaching allows the proteins in foods to uncoil, or denature, slowly, without squeezing out moisture, leaving food plump, juicy and flavorful. Fish and chicken are typically poached in broth or a court bouillon (broth, acid, herbs, and carrot/onion/celery mixture).  Fruit is often poached in sweet wine, juice or water with spices added to it.  Eggs are generally poached in water with a bit of vinegar.  Poaching is a technique near and dear to my heart as liquid—not fat Continue reading

Recipe: Ginger Miso Spread

In honor of yesterday’s Spring vegetable post, today’s recipe pays homage to the always vibrant and delicious pea pod.  I originally saw a version of this recipe in Food and Wine magazine and have adapted it to my liking.  If fresh pea pods haven’t hit your local grocery store or farmer’s market yet, you can easily substitute frozen peas (or shelled Continue reading

The Fruits and Vegetables of Spring 2011

It’s that time of year again.  Time to clean out the clutter and heaviness Winter left behind and lighten up with the growth and renewal of Spring.  With this comes a change in dress, energy, and as you would expect, diet.  So say goodbye to heavy stews and casseroles and welcome the beauty of bright and colorful seasonal produce.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables benefit from optimal freshness, taste, and nutrients, not to mention financial savings. Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Blanch and Shock

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better….

While blanch and shock may sound a lot like shock and awe, this pre-cooking method is quite the opposite.  Blanching and shocking is a time saver, color enhancer, and all around nifty cooking technique. To blanch is to cook an item (usually non-starchy vegetables and herbs) partially and very briefly in salted boiling water to improve color and flavor, loosen peels (esp. tomatoes) and pre-cook items that require further cooking right before serving.  To shock is to Continue reading

Second Harvest Japan: A Food Bank Responding To Tragedy

I was in Florida this past week visiting my in-laws.  I played golf, went to a dinner/dance at their country club, and ate more cheese and m&m’s than I’d like to admit.  It may not be the exact way I’d like to spend a week away with my husband, but I genuinely look forward to this trip every year.  I find great importance in spending time with my family and partaking in the activities they enjoy.  While I was there I learned of the extreme tragedy happening in Japan.  Continue reading

The Latest Major U.S. Food Recall: Skippy Peanut Butter

Check your pantry for Skippy peanut butter products.  On Friday, Skippy announced the recall of “reduced fat” peanut butter jars, both the creamy and super chunk varieties.

The recall is due to possible Salmonella contamination.  The press release, linked to on the Skippy website, explains: Unilever United States, Inc. today announced a Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: Peeling Ginger

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better….

If you’re peeling carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, or even beets, I can’t think of anything I’d rather use than the quintessential kitchen peeler.  When it comes to ginger though, while using a peeler may seem intuitive, it actually wastes part of the aromatic goodness and takes more time than necessary. There is an easier and quicker solution. Continue reading

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Bark with Roasted Cashews and Cranberries

In honor of yesterdays post on the health benefits of dark chocolate, here is my super simple and delicious recipe for roasted cashew and cranberry chocolate bark.  I like to make a batch, break it into small pieces, store it in the fridge, and have a little piece every night after dinner.  Or if you’re my husband, have quite a few pieces… Continue reading