Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Will work for tips........

I just thought of a few tips that I thought I'd add.....I'll post others as I think of them (uhhh...if I do!):

1. I always have a block of fresh parmesan cheese because that stuff in the plastic bags and the green plastic bottle tastes like plastic! I have a grater that grates the cheese in tiny, light pieces....I have to grate twice as much as I need because Dennis likes to sneak in and grab a mouthful! But wait....don't throw away the rinds!!! I throw them into a zip loc bag and keep them in the freezer. When I'm making a marinara sauce or some soup, I throw one melts and adds a great flavor. The whole thing won't melt, so dish it out before you serve. Also, look for the good stuff, not the kind that's prepackaged in's worth the extra $$$$s!

2. Who doesn't love garlic....and LOTS of it! I always have a head or two that I’ve baked in the oven...drizzle with olive oil, and baked at 350 degress for an hour. It’s great just to smear on fresh baked bread, chicken, steaks, potatoes, vegetables...yumm! You can also buy already peeled garlic cloves....just drizzle the oil over them, wrap in foil and bake! Simple!

3. Closest thing to fresh garlic and herbs - Gourmet Garden makes a line of herbs and garlic that come in squeeze tubes. You can find them in the vegetable section at the grocery store. I always have a tube basil (because it only grows during the hottest months), garlic (because sometimes it’s quicker to just squeeze it and this stuff tastes fresh) and parsley (because it adds a freshness to foods and a clean, fresh taste, but has no shelf life).

4. Stock - Kitchen Basics makes a line of stocks (beef, chicken, ham, turkey, vegetable) that are fabulous. They aren’t “broths”...they are much richer! They’re great for gravies and wonderful for soups....much quicker than making your own stock!

5. Good knives - My absolute favorite is my Wusthof Santoku knife. But having a great knife is nothing if they aren’t sharp! Farm Fresh will sharpen your knives for FREE! Just drop them off while you shop and they’ll take care of them! They do a great job, too! I gave these as one of my "favorites" for Christmas a couple of years ago. Hint: when I mince garlic, I keep the blade wet so the garlic won't stick to the blade as helps...a little.
6. Olive Oil - When I’m using olive oil in a recipe that will be served hot, I use extra virgin olive oil. If I’m making a salad dressing, I use the light olive oil....the EVOO is just too heavy in salad dressings.

7. If your hands get stinky (garlic, onion, etc.) just run cold water through the faucet, wet your hands and run your hands over the outside of the faucet....every stinky inch. I heard this on a Martha Stewart show many years ago and it does work. You can even buy a stainless steel bar (which I did....but I think I gave it to someone!)....the faucet works better and it's easier to get in between your fingers.

8. This one I discovered by accident, which is a long story, but I just love the McCormick Peppercorn Medley Grinder!!! I thought it was just a blend of the black, white, pink and green peppercorns, but it's not! It contains not only the peppercorns, but coriander and allspice (I originally thought it was nutmeg...close). I love this stuff and it goes well with EVERYTHING! It's by McCormick and it's called a Peppercorn Medley Grinder. You just have to try it! Now I just have to figure out how to get them out of the bottle and into my own grinder (I'm a control freak and I like to control the grind of my pepper....weird, I guess...)
That's all I can think of right now......but I'll be back!

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