of August 31, 2008
and Storing Tomatoes
Keeping tomatoes at room temperature will all
tomatoes piced at a green stage to mature and
ripen in supermarkets and after you purchase
them. Within a few days, they will soften slightly,
turn red and — most important of all —
develop their full flavor and aroma.
the tomatoes on a counter or in a shallow bowl
at room temperature until they are ready to
eat. Don't refrigerate them!
When tomatoes are chilled below 55° F, the
ripening comes to a halt and the flavor never
can also speed up the process by keeping tomatoes
in a brown paper bag or closed container to
trap the ethylene gas that helps them ripen.
Adding an ethylene-emitting apple or pear to
the container can also hasten ripening. Store
the tomatoes in a single layer and with the
stem ends up, to avoid bruising the delicate
they are fully ripened, tomatoes can be held
at room temperature or refrigerated for several
days. When you’re ready to use them, bring
the tomatoes back to room temperature for fullest
to Techniques for Tomatoes
To peel: Fill a saucepan with
enough water to cover tomatoes; bring to a boil.
Immerse tomatoes about 30 seconds; drain and
cool. Remove stem ends and slip off skins.
To seed: Cut tomatoes in half
crosswise. Gently squeeze each half, using your
fingers to remove seeds. To reserve the juice
for use in dressings, sauces or soups, seed
the tomato into a strainer held over a bowl.
Tomato Shells: Cut a 1/2 inch
slice off the stem end of each tomato. Using
a spoon, scoop out the pulp.
Roast: Preheat oven to 450°
F. Halve tomatoes crosswise. Place halves, cut
side down, on a shallow baking pan; brush with
oil. Roast until lightly browned, about 20 minutes;
cool. Remove skins and stem ends.
Slow-Cook: Preheat oven to
300° F. Remove stem ends; slice tomatoes.
Place slices on a shallow baking pan; brush
with oil. Cook until tomatoes soften and shrink,
about 45 minutes.
1 small tomato = 3 to 4 ounces
1 medium tomato = 5 to 6 ounces
1 large tomato = 7 or more ounces
1 pound of tomatoes = 2 1/2 cups chopped or
1 1/2 cups pulp
of August 24, 2008
to Make a Great Salad
with the freshest greens possible.
cut the leaves too small or they will lose their
distinctive shapes and a lot of their crunch.
On the other hand, you don't want to serve giant
leaves that won't fit on the plate or that are
difficult to maneuver.
with small leaves, such as arugula, basil, purslane,
watercress, and young spinach, should be stemmed
but the leaves left whole. Larger leaves, from
greens like romaine, large red oak leaf, and
escarole, should be trimmed cutting away thick,
woody stems. Tear large leaves like romaine
and large oak leaf along the central rib; they'll
retain more of their character. Use a sharp
knife to slice off stems like those found on
arugula and watercress.
out tough ribs completely like found on large
spinach leaves. Fold the leaf lengthwise and
gently pull up on the stalk, ripping the rib
out as you go.
on about a large handful of salad per person;
double the amount if the salad is a main course.
rinsing your greens under running water won't
get rid of all of the dirt. Instead, submerge
them in a large bowl or in a sink full of cool
your greens with a brief soak. Gently swirl
the leaves in cool water to dislodge any grit,
and then lift the greens out with loosely splayed
fingers. Repeat until all grit is removed.
Any excess water on the leaves will dilute the
flavor of your dressing. The dressing also will
not cling well to wet greens. A salad spinner
does a good job of drying greens. If spinning
for a large salad, dry them in batches. If you
don't have a spinner, spread out the leaves
on a clean dishtowel and pat them gently with
Never dress your salad on salad plates. Use
a bowl that leaves you plenty of room to toss.
Excess oil and vinegar will be left behind in
the bowl instead of in a puddle on the plate.
the best flavor, use the highest-quality oils
and vinegars you can find. Experiment with different
varieties of each. Stronger-flavored oils and
vinegars, such as nut oils and balsamic vinegar,
are best reserved for heartier greens, such
as watercress, arugula, and the chicory family.
gently but thoroughly. Use your hands or two
large spoons to gently turn the greens over
in the bowl until they're well coated.
the salad immediately or the dressing will cause
it to wilt.
of August 17, 2008
Safety: Barbecues and Picnics
Try to plan just the right amount of foods
to take. That way, you
won't have to worry about the storage or
safety of leftovers.
taking foods off the grill, put them on
a clean plate, not
the same platter that held raw meat.
When preparing dishes like chicken or cooked
meat salads, use
chilled ingredients. In other words, make
sure your cooked
chicken has been cooked and chilled before
it gets mixed with
other salad ingredients.
It's a good idea to use a separate cooler
for drinks, so the one
containing perishable food won't be constantly
opened and closed.
A cooler chest can also be used to keep
hot food hot. Line the
cooler with a heavy kitchen towel for extra
insulation and place
well wrapped hot foods inside. It's amazing
how long the foods
will stay not only warm, but hot. Try to
use a cooler that is
just the right size to pack fairly tightly
with hot food so
less heat escapes.
Wash ALL fresh produce thoroughly. When
lettuce, break into pieces - then wash.
Cook foods to the required minimum cooking
F > Poultry, poultry stuffing, and
F > Ground Beef, fish, and seafood.
F > Pork and food containing pork.
F > shell eggs and foods containing
BY ALL MEANS, REMEMBER
Bacteria on food will rapidly multiply when
left at a temperature between 45 F and 140
F. Avoid this danger zone as much as possible.
of August 10, 2008
To substitute honey for sugar in recipes, start
by substituting up to half of the sugar called
for. With a little experimentation, honey can
replace all the sugar in some recipes.
When baking with honey, remember the following:
Reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for
each cup of honey used. Add l/2 teaspoon baking
soda for each cup of honey used. Reduce oven
temperature by 25 F to prevent over-browning.
Because of its high fructose content, honey
has a higher sweetening power than sugar. This
means you can use less honey than sugar to achieve
the desired sweetness.
When measuring honey, coat the measuring cup
with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil
before adding the honey. The honey will slide
To retain honey's wonderfully luxuriant texture,
always store it at room temperature; never in
the refrigerator. If your honey becomes cloudy,
don't worry. It's just crystallization, a natural
process. Place your honey jar in warm water
until the crystals disappear. If you're in a
hurry, place it in a microwave-safe
container and heat it in the microwave on HIGH
for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
Remember, never boil or scorch honey.