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Cooking

  • 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.

  • 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?”

  • You can cook almost any vegetable right on your grill

     Many vegetables feel right at home on the grill, but some just aren’t cut out for it, especially those with a high water content. Cucumbers are a no-no on the grill, as is celery, lettuce or most leafy greens.

    A highly skilled backyard chef like me has no trouble grilling asparagus, eggplant, onions and even cabbage. Bell peppers, or even the hot variety, and onions are natural grilling choices.

     

  • Carrots make a tasty addition to a variety of cooked dishes

     Mel Blanc, the original voice of Bugs Bunny, was not very fond of carrots, but his carrot-chomping character sure was!

    Carrots are available all year long. Although there are many varieties from which to choose, the ones typically found in local farmers markets and supermarkets are about 7 to 9 inches in length and 3/4 to an inch in diameter. Many baby carrots are actually longer carrots that have been peeled, trimmed to 1-1/2 to 2 inches in length and packaged. True baby carrots are removed from the ground early and actually look like miniature carrots.