Archives for June 2010

Yogurt Unplugged (almost)

Written by Lynn of Cookie Baker Lynn.

Iam a sucker for kitchen catalogs, those gorgeous, glossy advertisements that come in the mail. They do a wonderful job of tempting me, but when I’m done drooling, usually I just pitch the catalog without placing an order and without longing regret.

How am I able to turn my back so resolutely on those fabulous tools, gadgets, and machines that promise to pluck the last olive from the jar, take out strawberry hulls with ease, and make baby food at the press of a button?

I’ve learned a valuable secret. When you buy a single purpose gadget, you not only have to pay for it, you also have to store it. Most of us don’t have kitchens as big as a barn in which to store gadgets. It’s much tidier (and cheaper) to only invest in good quality tools that serve a multitude of purposes. A set of sharp knives will take the place of hundreds of kitchen gizmos and a solid set of pans will be in use years after you’ve put that hinged omelet pan in the garage sale.

One small appliance that falls in that category for me is a yogurt maker. If you have one and you love it, super, you need read no further. But if you have always wanted to try making yogurt, but didn’t want to buy a machine, read on. [Read more…]

14 Ways to Enjoy Ripe Tomatoes

Tomatoes have arrived. Tomatoes that actually have flavor, that taste sun kissed, and have ripened naturally.

I herald the arrival of the fresh summer tomatoes just as enthusiastically as flip-flops and sundresses. Like most produce, they are best enjoyed simply adorned.

Marinated Tomatoes

Here’s what I’m suggesting you do right now. Yep, before you’ve had your morning coffee, before you even open Google Reader.
Go select five or six of the ripest summer tomatoes on your counter and gather extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, a few cloves of firm garlic, and some fresh herbs. They can be basil, oregano, or thyme.

Wash & slice the tomatoes, then tip them into a large bowl. Drench them in olive oil (1/2 cup) and add salt & pepper. Crush the garlic, chop the herbs and toss everything together. Let it marinade on the kitchen counter until lunch.

Now you’ve got an ace up your sleeve; a base for a handful of delicious meals. [Read more…]

Weekend Reading

Here’s what caught my eye and made my stomach growl around the web this week…

Here are two brand new sites I’d like to draw your attention to… [Read more…]

20 Simple & Practical Kitchen Hacks for Everyday Cooks

We all strive to improve our efficiency and frugality in the kitchen for obvious reasons; time and money are valuable!  Both attributes can be learned over time, yet often a helpful tip at just the right moment can be more useful than months -or even years- of experience.

Here are twenty of my favorite kitchen hacks, shortcuts and secrets. They will save you money, time, and wits.

Gleaned from many years in the professional cooking industry and passed along from fellow chefs and home cooks alike, they are 100% applicable for everyday cooks–and I use all of them as I cook daily for my family.

I hope you can put a few of them to good use and help simplify your cooking and baking.

[Read more…]

Strawberries and stuff

I completely forgot about Meatless Monday this week. We were squeezing in a last-minute Ikea grab before my family arrives (tonight!) and I realized our impromptu supper of soft tacos with shredded cold chicken had been decidedly carnivorous.

Oh well, no one is checking up on me, are they?

This morning was spent setting up sleeping arrangements for 15 in my three-bedroom house and a final blitz to the market for decent bread, cheese and a bottle of gin, for my brother. He will be on holidays, after all.

I also picked up another flat of strawberries (my fourth in 2 weeks). My New Mexican sister is supposed to be bringing good tequila and strawberry margaritas will be consumed.

Speaking of strawberries, the kind Susan Schwartz from the Gazette interviewed me last week for an article she was writing on strawberries. What was intended as a few quotes for her article, turned into another, shorter article about Simple Bites, strawberries and me.

You can read the full article online here, or grab the paper today and check out the Arts & Life section.

If you’re in the mood for a little baking, be sure to check out our recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie with Whole Wheat Crust on Simple Bites today. My contributor, Elizabeth, actually submitted the post to me while in labor with her daughter. Such is the dedication of my writers–and it tells you how excited she was to bring us this pie recipe!

I am admittedly going to be fairly M.I.A. for the next few weeks, what with hosting our family reunion and all. I am looking forward to playing with my nieces and nephews and rubbing shoulders in the kitchen with my siblings–all of whom are great cooks.

Undoubtedly, our house is going to be the best place to eat in town.