bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Find the Freshest Fruits and Vegetables

This looks like a really handy resource.  Use the Seasonal Ingredient Map at Epicurious to find out what's in season where you are.  Simply choose the month and click on your state.  Being in Wisconsin, I'm not able to find anything right now, but if you live in one of the southern states you're in luck!  In Louisiana, arugula, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, fennel, lettuce, radishes, spinach, and turnips are all in season.

Me, I'll just have to wait - for both the garden and the farmer's market.

Epicurious also gives ingredient descriptions, shopping guides, recipes, and tips to help you get the most of your fresh ingredients.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fix Those Cooking Blunders

A few weeks ago one of my friends made a big pot of chili.  When her husband tasted it, he said it was too salty - which got us to trying to figure out how to fix it.  Then the rest of us tasted it and thought it was just fine, no, better than fine, it was really good!  Which was a good thing because we never did figure out how to fix it if it was too salty.  I knew I had read it somewhere, I just couldn't remember where...

So, when I found this list - Fast Fixes for Blunders - in an old Family Circle magazine, I clipped it out.  Now we'll always know how to fix super salty soup as well as fix other cooking blunders or problems.

  • To remove grease from stew, soup or gravy, drop a few ice cubes in the pot.  Spoon the cubes out once the grease sticks to the ice.
  • Neutralize super-salty soup, stew or tomato sauce with brown sugar.
  • To eliminate cabbage odors, place a small tin cup half filled with vinegar on the stove near the cabbage.
  • If brown sugar gets lumpy, put an apple wedge in it and microwave on high for about 20 seconds.
  • To absorb excess salt, drop in a peeled potato while cooking.
  • Puree overcooked vegetables, add broth or milk along with seasonings, and you'll have delicious soup.
2 tips for taking care of too much salt!  I love the idea of ice cubes to remove grease, too.  Cabbage odors aren't something I usually have a problem with, but I have found that vinegar is great for taking care of all kinds of odors.  I don't know why or how, but it works.

I usually just put a slice of bread in my brown sugar canister when it starts getting hard and lumpy.  The bread dries out, and the sugar gets nice and soft again.  (Make that half a slice of bread - while the bread is nice and soft and can easily be folded a bit to fit into the canister, once it dries out, it's not so easy - and you don't really want to break it and get bread crumbs all in your nice, soft brown sugar.  Of course, this all depends on the style of your canisters.  If the top/neck/opening of your canister is smaller than a slice of bread, you'll want to use half.  Believe me, I know!)  The bread is not a quick fix, so if you're ready to bake, and your brown sugar is hard, that apple wedge and microwave tip sounds good.  Then put the bread into the canister so you'll be ready next time.

Do you have any good tips for fixing cooking blunders?

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