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Archive for the ‘Kitchen Basics’

Vinaigrette Salad & Dressing Tips

November 08, 2008 By: Brook Category: Kitchen Basics, Recipe Categories:, Salads, Side Dishes No Comments →

1) In a small lidded jar, vigorously shake your vinaigrette dressing until emulsified.

2) Use a little Dijon-style mustard (1 to 3 teaspoons) not only for flavor, but to bind and
thicken the dressing as well.

3) Use dressing at room temperature; if stored in the fridge—take out and bring to room
temperature before using.

4) Re-shake and lightly dress the salad just before serving.

5) Dressing your salad is an instance when “less is more”—you don’t want an “oil slick” or
“puddle” at the bottom of your salad bowl!

6) Salad greens should be washed and patted or spun dry (remember oil and water do not
mix!), so the dressing adheres better to dry lettuce. Salad greens may be washed and patted
dry ahead of time; placed in the salad bowl in the fridge; and covered with damp paper
toweling—your greens will be crisp and clean and waiting for you at dinner time.

7) Toss the greens lightly with dressing, drizzled on just until greens are lightly coated and
glossy. Serve.

Example easy vinaigrette recipe:
Simple Vinaigrette (serve over mixed leafy greens)

5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fines herbs
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Pinch sugar

Shake all ingredients in a small, tightly lidded jar until blended. Use at room temperature. Re-shake just before dressing the salad. Use just enough to lightly coat the greens and make them glossy. Toss the salad as close to serving time as possible.


Mix 2 parts oil with 1 part vinegar (some people prefer 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar for a little less tart dressing)

Side Dishes for a Festive Table

May 08, 2008 By: Brook Category: Kitchen Basics No Comments →

Be inventive with your side dishes. Try a new way to serve potatoes (such as our potato puff) with that favorite roast. Add a new twist to your vegetable dish (using often-over-looked parsnips). Add a make-ahead gelatin mold (combining two wonderful canned fruits plus some healthy cottage cheese). Today we offer these three side dishes to grace your table along with that “Spring Roast of Lamb.”

Beef it Up

May 03, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Kitchen Basics 1 Comment →

To thicken stews and casseroles try adding a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs.

Flavoring Soups and Stews

May 03, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Kitchen Basics No Comments →

When cooking a soup or stew, replace water with wine, tea, broth or beer. Not only will experimenting with these liquids add a delicious flavor, they will also help tenderize meat.

Salty Stew?

April 03, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Kitchen Basics No Comments →

Next time you find yourself with a too-salty stew—don’t despair! Grab a potato, cut it into 1-inch chunks and toss it in the pot. Once the potato is soft, remove it from the stew. This will help draw out excess salt.

Coriander Seed

March 30, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Kitchen Basics No Comments →

Coriander is the seed of Coriandrum sativum, a plant in the parsley family. The seed is globular and almost round, brown to yellow red, and 1/5 inch in diameter with alternating straight and wavy ridges. Coriander is not interchangeable with cilantro, although they are from the same plant.

Ground Coriander seed is traditional in desserts and sweet pastries as well as in curries, meat, and seafood dishes with South American, Indian, Mediterranean, and African origins. Add it to stews and marinades for a Mediterranean flavor.

Coriander is probably one of the first spices used by mankind, having been known as early as 5000 BC. Sanskrit writings dating from about 1500 BC also spoke of it. In the Old Testament “manna” is described as “white like Coriander Seed.” (Exodus 16:31) The Romans spread it throughout Europe and it was one of the first spices to arrive in America

Chicken Cutlets

March 30, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Kitchen Basics 1 Comment →

To flatten chicken breasts for cutlets: place individually between layers of plastic wrap, or in a plastic baggie.  Pound the breast on a flat surface with the back of a heavy wooden spoon (or a mallet made for that purpose) until you reach thickness desired. Remove from plastic and cook according to recipe instructions.  This pounding process aids in both tenderizing the meat and having uniform cooking times for each piece. This process can also be used to form scaloppini, cutlets, fillets, and any boneless meat (such as veal) that you want to flatten for a specific dish.

Prepping Cake Pans

March 30, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Kitchen Basics No Comments →

For easy release of cakes from their baking pans, you must prep the pans before baking – the traditional way is to lightly grease them with shortening (NOT butter, margarine, or oil) and then dust with flour to coat the bottom and sides of the pan (shaking off any excess), before filling with batter.

Or use a baking spray, such as Pam® Baking Non-stick Spray with Flour!  Since its original non-stick spray, Pam® has come up with a variety of sprays to accommodate our every cooking need and taste.