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Cooking

  • To eat shrimp, you should know the best way to peel them

     There is a right way and a wrong way to peel shrimp. Boiled or uncooked, if you’re going to eat shrimp, you need to know the best way to peel them.

  • Families celebrate summer with simple backyard dining

     Remember when picnics used to be the norm? Well, maybe if you’re too young to remember, many picnics used to be communal. Barn raisings and other types of rural work were frequently followed by dances and outdoor meals. Many small towns in the Midwest had a small public park, usually in the center of town, where they frequently hosted dances, bands, socials and picnics.

  • Browning your meat is essential for a great French stew

     All chefs learn about it early in their training; they also know it as the browning reaction.

    If you are planning to make a full-flavored French stew, known as either beef bourguignon or beef in burgundy, your first instructions are to brown the meat, a messy and time-consuming step. You may choose to ignore this step and just dump the raw beef chunks into the stewing liquid. This shortcut may save you time, but the flavors enhanced by the browning reaction will never be activated. Your great French stew will likely taste flat and lifeless.

     

  • Avoid messy cleanups using slow cooker liners

     Recently, I received some promotional material concerning Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. They are made of heat-resistant nylon and designed to make slow cooker cleanup fast and easy. The liners help you avoid all that soaking and scrubbing that is associated with slow cooking.

    Simply place the liner in the slow cooker bowl, add ingredients and cook as you normally would. After cooking, remove meal from the lined-slow cooker; allow to cool and then simply toss the liner away. The liners are optimally sized to fit 3 to 6.5 quart round or oval slow cookers.

  • Baseball, apple pie and barbecue … what’s more American on the 4th?

     This holiday weekend, why not start some fireworks in your own backyard with some hot Independence Day barbecue recipes? I think that everything tastes better off the grill, so nothing could be simpler, right? Actually, there is more to barbecue than just tossing that raw steak on the grill.

     

    Timing is everything

  • Toppings on your hot dog can create endless possibilities

     A few days ago, we decided to have some hot dogs on the grill for dinner, along with some baked beans, potato salad and coleslaw. Being from northeast Ohio, my favorite topping is Stadium Mustard, which had its origin at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Stadium Mustard is sometimes available in Shallotte at Big Lots store!)

  • Low and slow is the answer when barbecuing your ribs

    Getting down the technique of indirect heat is the difference between grilling and burning your ribs. When it comes to barbecue sauce, don’t even think about it until the last 15 or 20 minutes of cooking. Then, think about it constantly.

    When finishing ribs with sauce, coat one side of the ribs with sauce, flip them over, coat the other side and then flip them over again. Repeat the basting process at least three or four times during the final minutes of cooking to ensure the ribs are well coated with sauce and evenly caramelized, not burned.

  • Sesame oil is a popular ingredient in Chinese cooking

     

    Thought to have originated in India or Africa, sesame is one of the oldest seeds known to man. It’s unclear when sesame first found its way to China, but there is no doubt that today it is a mainstay of Chinese cuisine.

    Toasted sesame seeds are sprinkled on salads, sesame paste is added to sauces, and aromatic sesame oil is used to flavor everything from dips to marinades.

     

  • Onions lend themselves to a variety of cooking methods

     Related to the lily family, onions are highly versatile and lend themselves to a variety of preparations and cooking methods. Choose ones that are firm with no soft spots and store them in a cool, dry place. Once cut, unused portions should be wrapped in plastic first and then stored in the refrigerator. The sooner you use them, the better.

  • Strawberries in abundance for picking at farmers markets

     Strawberries typically peak during May in the South and in June and July in the North, but this season, because of our prior freezing conditions, the season has stared a little later than usual.

    Plants are loaded with fruit, and it’s anyone’s guess how long the season will last. The berries seem to be all ripening at once, rather than gradually over a period of time. Local farmers markets in our area now have an abundance of strawberries ripe for the pickin’.