January 16, 2013

3 Winning Tips for Better Salads

I’m not talking about fancy salads, what I mean about better salad is one that can lighten up our system from the heavy and rich meals that we have in the past few weeks. Fresh ingredients matter, breakout mandolin or cutlery, and experimenting with unexpected ingredients. Better salads offer a completely special kind of wholesomeness that matters a great deal.

[Editor’s Note: If you don’t have a mandolin, quality sharp knives have the ability to thinly slice vegetables, adding visual interest to your salads.]

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3 Winning Tips for Better Salads

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December 30, 2012

Holiday Recipe: Peppermint Cream Squares

Peppermint cream squares, perfect for a holiday dessert. This year, perhaps you can try adding notes of mint to your dessert. From the color, shape and taste, I see this recipe as a true delicious recipe. It lists all the necessary ingredients and provides a step by step explanation to make it easy for you and me. Let’s see.

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Holiday Recipe: Peppermint Cream Squares

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November 9, 2012

Woll Diamond’s Best Nonstick Expands Induction Line

I have been an advocate of Wool Diamond’s Best nonstick  cookware for some time.  The diamond surface is one of the best performing coating available and it has fantastic heat distribution characteristics which improves your cooking.  Now they have expanded their induction line as well.

There has been a growing demand for induction cookware and Woll is continuing to grow their assortment of products with an 8″ diameter sauce pan that complements the 8′ fry pan.  These are perfect for small kitchen and smaller families and couples.

Additional pieces are expected this year and will be announce on the Your Smart Kitchen site as soon as we receive the announcements.   Included in the expected release will be a 10 piece set including extra large items such as a soup pot and stock pot to go with the 11′ saute pan.

All of the induction cookware has an extra thick stainless steel base that provides event heat distribution which combined with the diamond coating results in superior performance.  The uniform temperatures make these pans perfect for browning, searing and deglazing.  These work well with all other cook tops.

They are oven safe to 500 degrees;  metal utensil and dishwasher safe; PFOE free and have a lifetime warranty.

These can be found here or contact chef@chefwannabee.com and I will personally handle your order.

 

 

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October 8, 2012

Chef Knives – Basic Essentials for Your Kitchen

Every kitchen needs a good set of knives. They are the cornerstone of every meal’s preparation and ultimately effect the presentation. Without a well constructed knife a chef will need to use more muscle power to cut, dice, mince and chop while the accuracy of the cuts is less than desirable. A kitchen knife setof quality sharp blades is a good place to start for most any kitchen, especially for the new chef or cook. A good set of kitchen knives provide a means to perform almost every needed function in the kitchen and can be found in a variety of materials and price points.

A good starter set from Paderno is their 5 piece set and is comprised of a 9 ½ inch chef’s knife and each subsequent blade gradually becomes smaller for more precise and more meticulous cuts. The chef’s knife is the most basic knife of the kitchen and can be use for dicing, mincing, chopping, and slicing vegetables and fruits along with filet cuts and some carving if no specialized knife is available in the kitchen. The Paderno blades have a patented ergonomically designed handle which helps to relieve pressure and eases the use of the knife.

The Paderno 5 pc. Knife Set

Along with advanced ergonomics, the Paderno knife set is forged in a carbon steel alloy. The carbon adds to the strength and vitality of the knife; carbon steel is used in military applications due to these properties. The hardening process of the carbon steel is what gives the blade its strength, and it is this strength that allows the blades to be passed to the next generation. Carbon steel is an investment, much the same as a good Dutch oven or paella pan and the small amount of additional cost is well worth it for the extended life of the knives.

The Paderno chef’s knives are balanced for further comfort and ease of use. The handles are made from an inert plastic and stainless steel inserts. The quality construction leads to more precise dicing and chopping as well as added safety. A chef or cook needs to be very comfortable using a knife; balance adds to this comfort which in turn leads to better cuts and a higher level of safety. Don’t forget that the knives are aesthetically pleasing as well. They add to the professional look of your kitchen, even if you happen to be a novice.

A set of reliable and quality cutlery is essential in any kitchen, professional or home, and a great starting point is a chef’s knife set. The 5 piece chef’s knife set from Paderno supplies quality craftsmanship and balanced knives for the beginning cook or experienced chef. A large 9 ½ inch blade allows for slicing, dicing and even filleting of fruits, vegetables, and meat such as poultry and beef. The versatility of the knives and their carbon steel forged blades adds to their value and your performance in the kitchen.

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September 12, 2012

Chopped Greek Salad with Fresh Herbs

It may be a little known fact that “true” Greek salads don’t actually contain any lettuce. This chopped Greek Salad remains true to its originality and only requires greens, lemon juice, olive oil, and feta cheese. This is usually pair with grilled chicken to serve as the main course at a meal.

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Chopped Greek Salad with Fresh Herbs

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August 27, 2012

American Classics: Frog’s Eye Salad

The author grew up in place where dessert salad was unfamiliar. Her first try was the Strawberry Pretzel Salad which is a Jell-O cheesecake filled with strawberry and pretzels. Utah is a popular place for desert salads. Frog’s Eye Salad is a bit of a turn off for salad but it really good.

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American Classics: Frog’s Eye Salad

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August 21, 2012

The Food Lab Lite: The Best Corn Chowder

If you are a lover of a good corn chowder then you will be surprised to find the secret of great corn chowder. The savory sweet taste of great corn chowder lies in the corn that is picked from the field and the fresher you can find the corn for your chowder the more savory your chowder will be.

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The Food Lab Lite: The Best Corn Chowder

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August 10, 2012

Preparing for a Gourmet Salad Garden

Growing your own gourmet salad garden is a lot of fun to do at home. It gives you the chance to eat fresh and flavorful leafy vegetables. Since most of them grow upward rather than outward, they don’t take up a lot of space in the garden. You will not only harvest the greenest salad greens but fresh, crunchy and healthy salad ingredients that you can easily tweak with your healthy meals throughout the season. Often, the most colorful greens are higher in nutrients.

Beets, turnips, rutabagas are basically the most favorite root veggies,  along with cabbage, all types of peas and lettuces,  spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and most of all the greens – mustard, collard, kohlrabi and Swiss chard.  These are cool weather crops. Since they won’t do well in the spring or the summer season, make it your best time to prepare for a gourmet salad garden. Lettuces will get you started. Bibb, Boston, Endive, and Romaine are very interesting greens to begin with, as well. Greens are economical as they grow quickly so they can start from seeds instead of transplants.

One of the joys of growing a gourmet salad garden is being able to plant once but harvest multiple times. Leafy vegetables can be cut down almost to ground level and will re-grow additional leaves for your next harvest.  So before  summer ends, be ready with what you need for your fall planting. Fall and spring are actually the best times of the year to grow leafy greens. I’ve learned how fall offers more fling to a garden of lettuces, radishes, mache, arugula, spinach and chard before days of freezing temperatures set in.

Of course that doesn’t mean that you can plant whatever you want and whenever you want. Some things just don’t grow as well in summer as they do in winter and vice-versa. While you are planning for autumn planting, it’s only best to know what BEST to plant. Though it could require a little work, a fall salad garden is easy and these vegetables take only a few short weeks to grow.

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August 2, 2012

Grilled Peach, Vidalia Onion and Bacon Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Most people will find it hard not to love a recipe that includes bacon, grilled peaches and onions, and buttermilk dressing on top. While is why this salad should satisfy nearly all your guests. The hardest prep is the dressing, which involves some herb chopping; the peaches and onions just sear a bit on the grill, and the bacon could even be made a day in advance.

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Grilled Peach, Vidalia Onion and Bacon Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

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July 31, 2012

What Is a Good Kitchen?

Aside from color and design and careful placement of appliances, a well-stocked kitchen is a good kitchen. Why? Because it’s a great money saver.

Having a well-stocked kitchen allows you to often prepare tasty, simple foods at home very easily and quickly and with minimal cost. It’s not actually what you want to put into your pantry but what your pantry needs to provide you with good and healthy meals.

The biggest problem is that many people claims its hard to acquire a well-stocked kitchen for financial reasons, so they often end up having a few stuff to get buy. While this is generally fine, I still suggest that a little extra effort about well-stocking the pantry can be possible. You only need to list down the things you most need that those you think you’re going to use.

So how does all these save you money?

Cooking at home is a lot less expensive than eating out. When you have even the scratch of the scratch ingredients on hand, you get to prepare every recipe you have in mind, so a few dollars could be all you need to provide the staple items like garlic, onions, oil, salt and a few cheap vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, beans and pumpkin.

All kitchens that use fresh ingredients for cooking requires cutting of vegetables or meat. This means that knives are a basic essential in the kitchen. For this reason, people buy knives for the sake of cutting. However, experts would always suggest knives made of higher quality steel because they are easier to sharpen. A sharp set of knives would make one good kitchen.

Kitchen knives are used for most cutting chores, and if you are slicing, dicing, mincing, chopping, making julienne cuts, disjointing large cuts of meat and even smashing garlic, you will need a knife. What do you think?

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