Category Archives: Cooking

What is gluten?

homemade baguette

The word “gluten” is probably so well know these days because we are all so much more aware of people with gluten intolerances and products that are gluten free. Of course, this doesn’t really describe what gluten is. Gluten is protein in wheat flour and some other cereal grains. Gluten is elastic, and when combined with water, the proteins first come together in long strings. ... Read More »

Browning butter in the microwave

Browned butter in the microwave

Browned butter is made by cooking butter until the milk solids in the butter begin to toast and turn a lovely brown color. This is typically done on the stove in a sauce pan, over medium or medium-low heat where it can be watched closely for color and doneness. The solids in the butter can go from toasted to burnt very quickly. This is a ... Read More »

What is Greek yogurt?

Greek Yogurt

Yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk can all be lumped into the same category when it comes to baking. They’re all dairy products that help to tenderize baked goods and can be a bit on the tangy side. At least, plain yogurt can be a bit on the tangy side. For years, it seemed like the only way you could buy yogurt was pumped full of ... Read More »

Flour Storage Tips

Buying food, especially dry goods or other products with fairly long shelf lives, in bulk is a good way to cut back on your grocery bill. You get a lower overall price per pound or per ounce. The only problem with buying in bulk is that whatever you buy has to be stored properly to give it its optimal shelf life and to prevent spoilage. ... Read More »

What is lemon verbena?

Lemon verbena

Turn the pages of almost any cooking magazine and you’re likely to come across an ingredient that sounds both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time: lemon verbena. Granted, it might not be in every issue of every magazine, but it has gone from an uncommon ingredient to one that even very mainstream magazines (versus smaller circulation specialty mags) don’t hesitate to include. Lemon verbena ... Read More »

Troubleshooting homemade ice cream

Vanilla Gelato, churning

Making homemade ice creams and frozen yogurts is fun, but even when you have a good quality ice cream maker, there can be some difficulties with the process. The top two concerns that people have are (1) the ice cream is too soft and (2) the ice cream is too hard. Ice cream made in a machine designed for home use often doesn’t freeze ice ... Read More »

What is masa harina?

masa harina

When a recipe calls for cornmeal, it is usually referring to a slightly coarse and sandy flour made from ground, dried corn. It’s perfect for cornbread (for instance) and is widely used in other types of cooking, but in Mexico, Central and South America, this coarse type of cornmeal is not popular and a different type is used: masa harina. Masa harina is a very ... Read More »

ToasTites

toastite sandwich

Before there were panini, there were ToasTites – at least, that’s the way it happened in my house. A ToasTite (also “toas tite,”as two words or with a hyphen) is a grilled sandwich maker. To the best of my knowledge, they originated in the 1930s and 1940s and were made to cook sandwiches over a hot, open flame. The earliest models have round toasting plates ... Read More »

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