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Cooking

  • 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’.

  • Outdoor grilling isn’t just for steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs

     With all these warm, blue sky days over the last few weeks, it’s time to fire up those outdoor grills and enjoy some great home-grilled cuisine. Grilling has become more popular year after year, but there is a misconception concerning outdoor cooking. Most everyone assumes that if you’re cooking outside, then you must be “barbecuing.” Not so!

  • Preparing meals for two can make cooking fun again

     When my wife and I go out to a restaurant, the dinner always seems special. A table for two, whether you’re a couple or just a couple of old friends, always seems like a special occasion. Unfortunately, when that table for two is at home, the occasion isn’t regarded with the same kind of reverence.

  • Bell peppers are amenable to a wide variety of cooking methods

     Possessing a thick, sweet and juicy flesh, bell peppers, or sweet peppers, as we have come to call them, are available in a rainbow of colors, including green, red, yellow, orange, purple, black, white and even striped.

    Named for their bell shape, green bell peppers tend to be the least sweet — almost slightly bitter — while the yellow, orange and the red ones are the sweetest. The green peppers, however, are almost always the cheapest.

  • Cinco de Mayo is celebrated worldwide in many different ways

     

  • What's cookin'?

     Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the ultimate fast food

    Our local newspaper once published over 50 different ways to prepare chicken breasts. I’ve since decided that figure must be closer to five thousand! But if you’re like me, they can also be boring. You throw them in a skillet and then wonder, “Now what?”