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Cooking

  • Local farmers markets have an abundance of fruits and veggies

    It’s summertime and the salads are easy. Fruits and vegetables are now at the peak of their season, so all you have to do is clean them, peel or cut them and just toss them into a salad bowl and enjoy their raw, fresh taste.

  • Many dishes are passed down from friends and family members

    I’ve been writing this food column for just over four years now, and occasionally I like to share some of the many recipes from readers who have been kind enough to forward them to me.

    Some of you even provided me with a sampling of your creation. I must admit I enjoy the occasional break from cooking.

    I have also received e-mails asking me for recipes that you had saved and can no longer find or you just need a specific recipe for a special occasion. I hope my responses have been helpful.

  • The best French onion soup I've ever had is made with chicken broth

    When it comes to making good, hearty French onion soup, most cooks would consider it heresy to use chicken broth. Thirty years ago, when Americans started making French food (thanks to Julia Child), beef broth was the only way to go.

  • Before tossing that steak on the grill, let's review the basics

    This holiday weekend is the beginning of the grilling season for many in the country, and no matter where you live, new equipment, new techniques, new cookbooks, new recipes and ingredients can add to your cooking repertoire.

    Gas grills are still the most popular type of barbecue, and some even include a built-in smoker box for smoke cooking. Charcoal grills are still used a lot today.

  • Braising is a cooking method using both moist and dry heat

    Many of you have probably used a braising method when cooking meat or vegetables and didn’t even know it!

  • The secret to Chicken Winston is its seven-ingredient de jonghe sauce

    Everyone at one time or another has been to a restaurant and had a really fantastic meal that you wish you could make at home. And you probably could, if only you knew the exact ingredients, how to prepare the special sauce and how long to cook it. But it always seems there’s an ingredient or two you’ve left out, as it just doesn’t taste quite the same as what you had in the restaurant.

  • Brown ground beef ahead of time for quick and convenient use

    Do you hate it when you brown ground beef for tacos, chili, casseroles or spaghetti sauce and end up with large chunks that are hard to break down? Or maybe you just like it all chunky.

    When making spaghetti sauce, you’ll want to have the beef in small pieces, which gives the sauce a smoother texture and at the same time allows you to have meat with every bite. The same goes with chili, as it can be quite a messy food to eat with large pieces of ground beef clumped together.

  • Whitefish is lower in fat than any other source of animal protein

    “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime,” asserts an old Chinese proverb.

    Well, not quite. There’s one more step. You also have to teach the man how to cook the fish.

    The general rule of thumb for cooking fish is: Lean, white flesh fish is best suited to poaching, sauting, pan frying and deep frying; fatty fish is best with dry cooking methods such as grilling and broiling, and moderately fatty fish is amenable to most cooking methods with the possible exception of deep frying.

  • Trying hard to lose weight? Just eat more food and more often!

    We’ve heard all the notions about weight loss, some of them generations old.

    “If you eat grapefruit before a meal, you’ll burn off calories.” “A shot of unprocessed apple cider vinegar cleanses your body and helps you lose weight.” “Eating after 8 p.m. packs on the pounds.” Are those old wives tales or solid advice?

  • Swiss chard is available year-round but is best in summer

    Chard is a type of beet, which along with spinach, is a plant in the goosefoot family; so named because some of the plants in this category have leaves shaped like their namesake.

    Unlike traditional beets, chard roots are inedible. Chard is prized for its large leaves and crunchy stalks. The two main types found in most supermarkets are red chard and green.

    The red has red stems and dark green leaves with red veins. The green has lighter green leaves with white stalks. The red variety has a stronger flavor.