Random But Helpful Cooking Tips

* Do not use metal bowls when mixing salads.
    Use wooden, glass or china. 

 * A Perfect Pastry Crust?  In your favorite recipe, substitute a
      4:1 ratio of lard:butter.

 * To make your own corn meal mix: combine 1 cup corn meal, 1 cup
      all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 teaspoons baking
      powder. You can store it in a tightly covered container for
      up to 6 months.

 * It’s important to let a roast — beef, pork, lamb or poultry —
      sit a little while before carving. That allows the juices to
      retreat back into the meat. If you carve a roast too soon,
      much of its goodness will spill out onto the carving board.

 * Microwave a lemon for 15 seconds and double the juice you get
      before squeezing.

 * Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds and the skins slip
      right off. 

 * When slicing a hard boiled egg, try wetting the knife just before
   cutting. If that doesn’t do the trick, try applying a bit of
   cooking spray to the edge.

 * Rescue stale or soggy chips and crackers: Preheat the oven to
   300F. Spread the chips or crackers in a single layer on a
   baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool,
   then seal in a plastic bag or container.

 * The best way to store fresh celery is to wrap it in aluminum
   foil and put it in the refrigerator–it will keep for weeks.

 * Store freshly cut basil on your kitchen counter in a glass
   with the water level covering only the stems. Change the
   water occasionally. It will keep for weeks this way,
   even develop roots! Basil hates to be cold, so NEVER put
   it in the refrigerator. Also, regular cutting encourages
   new growth and healthier plants. 

 * A dampened paper towel or terry cloth brushed downward on a cob of
   corn will remove every strand of corn silk. 

 * Fresh eggs’ shells are rough and chalky; old eggs are smooth and
   shiny. 

 * No “curly” bacon for breakfast when you dip it into cold water
   before frying. 

 * When working with dough, don’t flour your hands; coat them with
   olive oil to prevent sticking.

 * Use a gentle touch when shaping ground beef patties. Overhandling
   will result in a firm, compact texture after cooking. Don’t press
   or flatten with spatula during cooking.

 * Never heat pesto sauce – the basil will turn black and taste bitter.

 * Butter pie pastry scraps: sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and
   bake like cookies.

 

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Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

SNACKS!

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

 If you need a dessert or snack for your family, try this recipe.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutesoatmeal%20raisin%20cookie-saidaonline

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups oats, rolled (raw) quick/ old fashioned
  • 1 cup flour all-purpose
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped

Preparation:

Lightly grease cookie sheet with shortening. Combine shortening, brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla; beat with mixer on high speed to blend well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; add to shortening mixture and combine until just blended. Stir in raisins and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 for 10-13 min., or until lightly browned. Cool 2 min. on cooling rack.

 

 

Popcorn Balls

If you are looking for a snack, try this recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes285056335_35ba5d05e3

Ingredients:

  • 2 qt Popped popcorn
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1/3 c Corn syrup
  • 1/3 c Water
  • 1/4 c Butter
  • 1/4 ts Salt (omit if popcorn is already salted)
  • 1 t Vanilla

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 250. Put popcorn in a large, 4 inch deep buttered baking pan. Keep warm in the oven. Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, butter and salt in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Cook until mixture reaches 250 on a candy thermometer, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in vanilla. Remove popcorn from oven. Pour syrup mixture over popcorn, stirring to mix well. Form into balls. Makes approximately 8 balls.

 

 

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

They are made with crispy chocolate cereal and peanut butter chips.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutesaugust food 044

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10oz) marshmallows
  • 6 cups chocolate flavored crispy rice cereal
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, optional

Preparation:

Grease a 13X9 inch pan. In a large pan over low heat, melt the marshmallows and butter, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients; mix well. Press mixture into the pan, cool, and cut into 36 bars.

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fast Food Going Healthy?

I think not!

Fast-food restaurants have taken a lot of heat recently about their contribution to the nation’s growing obesity problem. Consumer advocates have criticized these eateries for the amount of fat-laden choices on their menus, their “super-sized” portions and lack of nutritional guidance to diners. McDonalds has taken the first step in trying to become part of the solution rather than the problem. McDonalds has recently come out with a new entree salad, including choice of Caesar, California Cobb or Bacon Ranch salad, with or without meat, and a selection of Newman’s Own dressings. For those who rely on fast food restaurants because of time or budget, their efforts for a healthier menu can be encouraging. But are their efforts really turned over a new leaf ?

A plain McDonald’s Caesar salad contains 6.7 ounces of crisp mixed greens, tomatoes, shaved carrots and grated Parmesan cheese and weighs in at 90 calories, with 4 grams of fat. Take the grilled chicken version and you gain about 20 grams of protein, along with salads.RowPar.0001.ContentPar.0001.ColumnPar.18780.Image120 calories and 3 fat grams. The chicken, served warm, is tender and pleasantly spicy. Skip the creamy Caesar dressing that comes with it (190 calories, 18 fat grams); instead, ask for the light balsamic vinaigrette dressing (90 calories). The result: a healthy, decent-tasting light lunch for under 300 calories. Not bad for fast food.

Opt for the bacon ranch salad and it’s another story. The basic model, mixed greens topped with cheddar and jack cheeses and bacon bits, has 140 calories, 10 fat grams. Take the grilled chicken option and you’re at 270 calories; go for crispy chicken and it’s 370 (21 fat grams). Toss on a packet of ranch dressing and you’re at 660 calories with 51 grams of fat.

You might as well have a Big Mac (590 calories, 34 grams) or – what the heck? – two slices of pepperoni pizza at Domino’s, a mere 560 calories and 20 fat grams. Salad? No thanks, I’m on a diet!
The pickings are no better – in fact worse – at other fast-food eateries. Burger King’s sole entry in the salad sweepstakes is its chicken Caesar. With Parmesan cheese, croutons and creamy dressing, it weighs in at 495 calories and 27 grams of fat.

Taco Bell gets the prize, however, for least healthy salads. Its express taco salad with chips has 620 calories (31 grams of fat); or go for the taco salad in a fried tostada shell, a whopping 790 calories and 42 grams of fat.

McDonald’s deserves credit for at least trying to offer more wholesome choices. But for those trying to eat a sensible, healthy diet, it’s still a case of “buyer beware.”

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 5:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dessert Anyone?

Chocolate Crinkles:11aaDSC00021-1

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Topping:

1 cup

confectioners (powdered or icing) sugars, sifted in a stainless steel bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) At this point beat in the vanilla extract and then stir in the melted chocolate mixture.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to shape into balls (3-4 hours, or even overnight).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

Place the confectioner’s sugar in a shallow bowl. With lightly greased hands, roll a small amount of chilled dough to form a 1 inch ball. Place the ball of dough into the confectioners sugar and roll the ball in the sugar until it is completely coated and no chocolate shows through. Gently lift the sugar-covered ball, tapping off excess sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue forming cookies, spacing about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. (If you find the dough getting too soft for rolling into balls, return to the refrigerator and let chill until firm.)

Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or just until the edges are slightly firm but the centers are still soft. (For moist chewy cookies do not over bake. Over baking these cookies will cause them to be dry.)  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

These cookies are best eaten the day they are baked.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

 

Lemon Bars:lemon-bars-lg

CRUST:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup confectioner’s (powdered or icing) sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

FILLING:

1 cup granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately two large lemons)

1 tablespoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

TOPPING:

Confectioner’s (powdered or icing) sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.   Grease with butter (or use a cooking spray) an 8 x 8 inch pan.

FOR CRUST:    In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together.  Press into the bottom of your greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.

FOR FILLING:  In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until nice and smooth.  Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine.  Fold in the flour.  Pour the filling over the shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 

To serve: Cut into squares or triangles and dust with powdered sugar.   These are best eaten the day they are made but can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

Yield: 16 – 2 inch squares or 32 triangles.

 

 Butter Balls: raspberry_thumbprint_cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1 large egg, separated

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup hazelnuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (See Note)

1/2 cup jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat just until combined. (If the batter is too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.)

In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Place the chopped nuts on a plate. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Taking one ball of dough at a time, dip first into the egg white and then lightly roll into the nuts. Place on the prepared Baking Sheet spacing about 1 inch apart. Using your thumb or end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation into the center of each cookie and fill with about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of jam.

 

Bake for about 13-15 minutes, or until cookies are set and the nuts have nicely browned. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. 

Note: To toast the nuts. Spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes (almonds, pecans and walnuts). The nuts are done when they are light golden-brown in color and fragrant. Toast the hazelnuts for about 15 minutes or until fragrant and the outer skins begin to flake. Remove from oven and place the hot nuts in a dish towel. Roll up the towel and let the nuts sit (steam) for a few minutes then rub the nuts in the towel briskly to remove the skins. Let cool completely. Once the nuts have cooled, place them in your food processor and process until finely chopped. Alternatively, you could chop them by hand. 

Note: If you are planning to store these cookies, I like to bake them without the jam. Just reduce the baking time by a few minutes. These cookies can be stored for about a week. Fill the cookies will jam the same day as serving.

Makes about 20 cookies

 

 

Black Bottom CupcakesBlackBottomCupcakes

Cream Cheese Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil (I use safflower)

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, or generously butter or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.

Cream Cheese Filling: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until creamy and smooth. Set aside while you make the Chocolate Cupcake batter.

Chocolate Cupcakes: First, in a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl mix the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until nice and smooth. Evenly divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. Then spoon a few tablespoons of the cream cheese filling into the center of each cupcake.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cream cheese filling is a little brown and the cupcakes feel springy to the touch (a toothpick inserted into the chocolate part of the cupcake will come out clean). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

These cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 – 4 days.

Makes 12 cupcakes

 

Madelines madeleines

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

First, melt the butter and allow it to cool while you make the batter.

In a small bowl place the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until well blended.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted (about 5 minutes).  Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Sift a small amount of flour over the egg mixture and, using a large rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the beaten eggs to lighten it.  Sift the rest of the flour over the egg mixture and fold in being sure not to over mix or the batter will deflate. 

Whisk a small amount of the egg mixture into the melted butter to lighten it.  Then fold in the cooled melted butter in three additions.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or several hours, until slightly firm.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Generously butter two 12-mold madeleine pans.  Dust the molds with flour and tap out the excess.  (Could spray pans with Bakers Joy instead.) (Make sure the pans are well greased or the madeleines will stick and be hard to remove.)

Drop a generous tablespoonful of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center.  (This will result in the classic “humped” appearance of the madeleines.)

Bake the madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched.  Do not over bake these cookies or they will be dry.

Remove the pans from the oven and rap each pan sharply against a countertop to release the madeleines.  Transfer the madeleines, smooth sides down, to wire racks to cool.  The madeleines are best served the same day but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.

When serving dust with confectioners sugar.

Makes about 24 – 3 inch madelines.

Published in: on June 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm  Comments (1)  

Restaurant Review: The Cliff House

All over San Francisco there are great. There are even delicious hotdog or pretzel venders that always hit the spot for me after a day of shopping. But a lot of the time I like to visit my favorite sea food restaurant, The Cliff House. The Cliff House has a great variety of cuisines: American, Mediterranean, Seafood, and Californian.

        logo  The Cliff House is a definite must see for any visitor or local looking for a memorable San Francisco dining experience. With panoramic views of the California Coastline, you’re so close to nature, you’ll hear the crashing waves accented by seals’ barking. The Cliff House was also recently named the “Best Restaurant with a View” and honored with the 2006 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. And if you weren’t looking for the beautiful view from the floor to ceiling windows the food isn’t bad either.cliffhouse-top

The Cliff House offers a casual dining experience featuring classic San Francisco fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Warm fresh popovers, the Cliff House Crab Louis, and their award-winning clam chowder are just a few of the local favorites. From seafood omelets to the half-pound cheeseburger to the macadamia nut crusted halibut, there is something to please everyone. So, if you are ever in the mood for a great meal and beautiful scenery, check out The Cliff House.

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Famous Chef: Thomas Keller

clip_image002 Thomas Keller started his career at a young age, working at his mother’s restaurant in Palm Beach as a dishwasher, but soon moved up as one of the cooks. It was there he discovered his passion for cooking and decided to take jobs cooking in Rhode Island when work at Palm Beach was slow. There he was discovered by the French chef, Roland Henin. Henin asked Keller to cook staff meals at his Dunes Club. There, with Henin, Keller learned the fundamentals of classical French Cooking. After the Dunes Club, Keller took a variety of different positions throughout many restaurants in Florida. He soon took on the position of head chef in a small French restaurant called La Rive. There he had free rein; he built a smokehouse to preserve meats, developed relationships with local livestock purveyors, and learned to cook entrails and offal, the internal organs of buchered animals, under his old mentor, Roland Henin, who would drop by on occasional weekends. After three years with La Rive, Keller moved to New York and the Paris. In Paris he worked as a apprentice in variuos restaraunts.

 After returning to America in 1984, he was hired as chef de cuisine at La Reserve in New York, before leaving to open Rakel in early 1987. Rakel’s refined French cuisine, catered to the expensive tastes of Wall Street executives, and received a two-star review from The New York Times. Its popularity declined as the stock market bottomed out and at the end of the 1980s. this left Keller unwilling to compromise his style of cooking to simple bistro fare.

After the decline of Rakel, Keller took various consultant and chef positions in New York and Los Angeles. In the spring of 1992 he came upon an old French steam laundry built in Yountville, California in the 1890s that had been converted to a restaurant. He spent nineteen months raising $1.2 million from acquaintances and investors to purchase the restaurant, then quietly opened in the summer of 1994. Over the next few years the restaurant earned numerous awards, including the James Beard Foundation, gourmet magazines, the Mobil Guide (five stars), and the Michelin Guide (three stars). 

Thomas Keller is now one of the most recognised chefs in America.

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 5:18 pm  Comments (2)  

Has there ever been a restaurant that you went to all the time just because of one or two dishes you were absolutely in love with? Well, it’s happened to me. But then, I found these five GREAT recipes that are delicious and easy to make. Try these, and maybe you’ll find a new dish you love, but you won’t have to leave your house to find it!  

Here are my top 5 favorite dishes.

 

#1)  Grilled Chicken Paillard with Lemon and Black Pepper and Arugula-Tomato Salad

  Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice  
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pure olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, pounded thinly
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound arugula
  • 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • Lemon halves, for garnish

Directions

Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, olive oil and black pepper in a large baking dish. Add the chicken, turn to coat and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to high. Remove chicken from marinade, season with salt on both sides and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and just cooked through.

Combine arugula, tomatoes and onions in a large bowl, toss with the vinegar and oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place each paillard on a large plate, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and top with some of the arugula-tomato salad. Garnish with lemon halves.

 

 #2) Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese

 Ingredients

  •  1/2 pound whole-wheat fusilli or other spiral shaped pasta
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, rinse it under cold water, and put it in the refrigerator to chill.

In a dry sauté pan toast the walnuts over a medium-high flame until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set the walnuts aside to cool then chop them coarsely.

In a large bowl, toss together the chilled pasta, walnuts, feta cheese, onion, and spinach. In a small bowl whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic and mustard. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 #3) Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients

  •  16 pieces bocconcini, bite sized mozzarella balls
  • 1 pint multi colored, yellow or red heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 4 scallions, whites and greens, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil, 10 to 12 leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, eyeball it
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Halve the mozzarella and tomatoes and combine in bowl with scallions and herbs. Dress salad with vinegar, olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

 

#4) White Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 store bought pizza dough – or pick one up from your favorite pizzeria
  • Extra- virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 cups whole or part skim ricotta
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella or provolone, 1 pouch
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup, shredded

Directions

Preheat a pizza stone if you use one along with the oven to 425 degrees F.

Stretch dough to form a pie and transfer to stone or pizza baking tray. Pierce the dough with the tines of a fork in several places. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil around the crust. Mix the ricotta cheese with garlic and parsley and season it with salt and black pepper. Spread the ricotta across the dough. Top the pizza with mozzarella or provolone. Bake until crispy, 20 minutes. Top the white pizza pie with the shredded basil leaves, cut and serve.

 

#5) Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup very finely ground almonds
  • 1 (16-ounce) container dark chocolate frosting
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 48 chocolate kiss candies (recommended: Hershey’s)

 

Directions

Pulse almonds in a food processor until very finely ground, like coarse sand. Pour ground almonds into a pie pan or other shallow bowl and set aside. Beat chocolate frosting and butter in large bowl with a hand mixer until well blended. Stir in graham cracker crumbs and almond. extract. Shape chocolate mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in almonds to coat. Place balls on a cookie sheet. Using your finger, make a deep indentation in the center of each ball. Fill the indentations with chocolate kiss candies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until cold.

I hope you have fun making these dishes!!

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm  Comments (1)  

Cooking Basics

The basic definition of cooking is adding, selecting, measuring, or combining varieties of ingredients with heat to make something edible, it’s not always tasty. Cooking allows you to do a variety of different things with the food you are trying to make, such as, changing the flavor, texture, or appearance of food. There are many different tools used in cooking, knifes, pots, pans, whisks, measuring cups, cutting boards, and there are many more.

            You may think you use all knifes the same, but that is not true. There are actually four different types of knifes that are extremely useful in cooking the perfect meals. There is the French Knife, Boning Knife, Paring Knife, and Slicing Knife.

            The French Knife offers the greatest versatility for most cutting and chopping. Used in a rocking motion where knife tip always touches the cutting board. The Boning Knife is thinner, pointed, used for cleaning meats and removing bones. The Paring Knife is small, short knife, most often used for cutting fruit. It is used in one hand; you should pull the edge toward your palm in opposition to pressure applied by the thumb. And finally, the Slicing Knife, the Slicing Knife is a longer knife with serrated edge, for cutting bread and slicing meats in a sawing fashion. The knowledge of how to use each of these knifes will affect the way your meal will come out in a positive way. Good knifes are the most important utensil for cooking, in my opinion. Here is a list of MY top ten cooking utensils that are easily found in your kitchen…

 

1)      Good Knifes-A set of good knives is a must for any well-stocked kitchen.

2)      Spatulas-Spatulas can be used for everything from scraping the batter from your mixing bowls to pan frying meats and vegetables.

3)      Whisks- Whisks are great for scrambling eggs, making sauces, and creating meringues and soufflés. The wire whisk is traditional, but many today come with a silicon coating which prevents damage to non-stick surfaces.

4)      Grater-Graters are essential for everything from cheese to top your tacos to shredded vegetables for salads or grated spices to use in recipes. Be sure to buy a grater that allows you to choose among several different size cuts for the ultimate flexibility.  

5)      Measuring Cups-Modern adjustable measuring cups are easy to use and save storage space (and the frustration of not being able to find the right-sized cup when you need it).

6)      Vegetable Peeler-A good vegetable peeler with a solid, slip-proof handle will speed your food preparation and avoid painful cuts.

7)      Corkscrews-Whether you’re planning to have a nice bottle of wine with your meal or use a splash of vino in your recipes, you’ll want to have a quality cork-screw on hand.

8)      Can Openers-can opener is one of those kitchen utensils that are easy to overlook because they’re so ubiquitous. Choose an electric can opener for ease and convenience, or a hand-held opener to save space.

9)      Cutting Boards-Good cutting boards help you avoid unhygienic situations in your kitchen. Silicon cutting boards roll up for easy storage, are washable, and come in a variety of bright colors so that you can keep your meat boards separate from those you use to cut vegetables.

10)   Sieves-A sieve is essential for draining pasta, cleaning vegetables, and straining bones and meat from stock. 

 

I hope this will help you make the perfect meal with little obstacles and in record time!

Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Getting Started

Hey!!

This blog is a very useful site for recipes, easy tips for the perfect dish, healthy eating, and food around the world. I personally love to cook. My sister and I are awften in the Kitchen trying out new recipes and adding ingredients to make our dishes great. I’m not the greatest cook in the world, but I am pretty good. I’ve created this to help you and myself find yummy new recipes to have fun making.

Published in: on May 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Published in: on May 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm  Leave a Comment