of May 27, 2007
to Cook Fresh Asparagus
Saucepan or Steamer: Cook fresh asparagus in a
small amount of boiling water until tender. Fresh
asparagus will be crisp-tender in 5 to 8 minutes.
Place a strip of folded aluminum on the bottom
and up the sides of the pan, extending over the
edges. Bring water to a boil; add asparagus spears
and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to
5 minutes. Use foil strips to gently lift the
spears to a serving dish.
Boiler, Stock Pot or Percolator:
To steam asparagus in an upright position, fasten
the stalks into a bundle using a band of foil
or string. Stand the stalks upright in the double
boiler or percolator with the tips extending an
inch or more above the boiling, salted water.
(A glass cooking vessel works best.) Cover and
cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
Cut spears diagonally in 1/2 inch pieces, leaving
tips whole. Stir-fry pieces in butter or hot oil,
in a skillet or wok at medium high heat. Stir
constantly until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
Microwave fresh asparagus by placing one pound
in a microwavable baking dish or serving bowl.
If cooking whole spears, arrange with tips in
center. Add about 1/4 cup water and cover tightly.
Microwave at 100% power for 4 to 7 minutes for
spears, 3 to 5 minutes for cuts and tips. Stir
or turn halfway through cooking time.
of May 21, 2007
in Corn Husks
If you are trying to grill something too delicate
to hold together on the grill, there are several
packet options available. One of the best packets
are corn husks. Corn husk wrappers are not only
cheap, easy to work with and add extra flavor
You can use either fresh or dried husks. If you
happen to purchase fresh corn on the cob, go ahead
and remove the husks, wash them and use these
to wrap your food. Make sure you get all the silk
off beforehand. If you have dried husks you don’t
have to soak them before you use them unless you
need a more pliable wrapper.
They also don’t need to be soaked to prevent
burning. The charring of the corn husks adds a
great smoky flavor to foods while they cook, so
if you do need to soak, only soak them long enough
to make them workable. Soak corn husks in hot
water, but do not boil them.
wrapping foods, make sure you have enough space
to completely wrap the food item. Lay the corn
husks out in layers to provide an area large enough
to go all the way around. Tie the packet with
kitchen twine or tear a couple of husks into thin
strips and use these strips to tie the package
is always a good choice to wrap in husks. Corn
husk packets are also a great way to mix food
items together. By letting the meats and vegetables
grill together in packets, the flavors blend.
You can also slice or cut meat and vegetables
before you cook it. This lets you serve straight
from the grill in an attractive package. Make
sure you select items that can be grilled in about
the same amount of time.
packets over a medium heat, turning to prevent
the husks from burning. Charring is fine and the
smoke will add flavor to whatever you cook.
of May 13, 2007
and Storing Tomatoes
As long as they are kept at room temperature,
tomatoes picked at the mature green stage will
finish ripening in supermarkets and after you
purchase them at home. Within a few days, they
will soften slightly, still with a firm texture,
turn red anddevelope their full flavor and aroma.
avoid interrupting this process, place the tomatoes
on a counter or in a shallow bowl at room temperature
until they are ready to eat.
REMEMBER DON'T REFRIGERATE THEM IF YOU WANT FULL
When tomatoes are chilled below 55° F, the
ripening comes to a halt and the flavor never
speed up the process, keep 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
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
of May 6, 2007
to Cook Perfect Corn on the Cob
spring and what better way to find the most delicious
and sweet corn than at your local farmers' market?
if you do not cook it correctly, all that lovely
freshness is lost.
you ever tried to boil corn on the cob only to
wind up with hardened kernels, no matter how long
it's been on the stove?
It may be that you're adding salt, which toughens
kernels, to the cooking water. Instead, fill a
large pot or straight-sided skillet with cold,
unsalted water ¾ of the way up and bring
to a rolling boil. Then, carefully drop in several
shucked cobs of corn, making sure they're all
immersed in the water. Return to a boil. Cover
and turn off the heat, allowing corn to remain
in the pot 4-6 minutes for perfect, crisp-tender
corn every time.
if you still have to have that extra sodium, just
sprinkle ears lightly before serving.