Category Archives: Tips

Soup Stock from Would-be Compost

Before you go tossing out your kitchen scraps, why not get some use out of them by making soup stock? It’s SO easy and is a great way to put kitchen scraps to use before you compost them.  Use onion skins, orange peels, meat bones, cartilage, fibrous bits, seeds, stems and even not-so-fresh fruits and veggies as long as they aren’t rotten or moldy. Soft or brown spots? No problem!

You need one large stock pot, water, salt and whatever scraps you have lying around. Place it on the back burner and add a very generous amount of salt. Cover and simmer on med or low. Cooking a big feast? Keep it on the stove all day if you want.

When you’re sure you have nothing left to add, and everything in the pot is soft and lost most of it’s color, pour the mixture through a kitchen strainer and into a bowl. Allow it to cool thoroughly. Then divide it into smaller containers and freeze for as long as you like. Next time you have a recipe that calls for stock, you’ve got your own home made batch.

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Tips for Working with Fresh Herbs

Fresh RosemaryTip 1: When work working with fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme, you should typically leave the stems or any woody parts out. I find that the easiest way to separate the leaves from the stem is to hold the sprig at the very end with one hand and then slide my fingers down towards the base, working opposite the direction the leaves grow. They’ll fall right off. See the photo to the left!

Tip 2: If you wind up with extra herbs, unless you plan to use them right away, don’t put them back in the fridge. They go mold or get slimy very quickly. Instead, tie a bunch together with a string and hang it from a hook or thumb tack in your kitchen to dry. They smell and look great and will come in useful some time if you don’t have anything fresh around.

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Tip: Cook Bacon in the Oven

Mmmmmmm BaconThe next time you’re going to cook bacon, rather than jumping around the kitchen to avoid hot grease spattering out of the frying pan, why not just bake it? You’ll have less mess and the pieces will come out perfectly flat rather than wrinkly.

Just take out a baking sheet and lay bacon across it. I’d recommend putting a piece of parchment down first to soak up the grease. You can place the pieces as close together as you’d like without touching. Since they don’t expand like cookies, you can fit plenty on there. Bake it in a preheated 450º oven for about 15-20min. Keep an eye on it because cooking times depend on the quality of your bacon and how well calibrated your oven is. (I’m told this only takes about ten minutes in a convection oven.)

When you’re all done, just take them out of the oven and using tongs, immediately cool them (+/-5min) on a cooling or a plate. Be sure you don’t let them cook on the baking sheet or the grease will stick to them.

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