Category Archives: Cooking

What are quick cooking oats?

Quick Cooking Oats

Quick cooking oats are an ingredient that I like to use a lot in baking, and they frequently show up in my recipes for oatmeal cookies and cakes. Quick cooking oats are rolled oats that have been coarsely chopped into smaller pieces to allow them to cook more quickly than regular oatmeal. Usually, they’re about 1/4 or 1/3 the size of a regular rolled oatmeal ... Read More »

How to use edible seeds in baking

Chia Seeds

Edible seeds – such as chia and flax seeds – are becoming more and more common, with the potential health benefits of adding them to your diet touted loudly by their packaging. But although they are small, the little seeds are something of a mystery to many bakers and chefs who often aren’t sure how they’re supposed to use them! Fortunately, these edible seeds are ... Read More »

Cook’s Country rates Processed Egg Whites


Meringue-topped pies and angel food cakes need a lot of egg whites. It can be tempting to reach for a carton of prepackaged egg whites in the grocery store when you know you are going to need a lot, rather than separating a dozen or more whole eggs ¬†yourself. These processed products might do in a pinch when you’re looking for a way to cut ... Read More »

Foodie New Year’s Resolutions 2013

New Year's Resolutions?

January 1st is a good time to make new plans, set some goals and look ahead to the rest of the year. Of course, you could make resolutions any day, but it helps a little bit to use a firm date to get started and not procrastinate too much. My own resolutions are often food based, and this year is no exception. I’m keeping the ... Read More »

How to store vanilla beans

Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans are one of the most amazing ingredients a baker can have in the kitchen, perfect for adding a wonderfully floral vanilla flavor to anything from ice cream to pound cake. Vanilla beans can be quite expensive, however, so many bakers reach for vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans, preferring to save the beans for those special recipes. Vanilla beans can last for years ... Read More »

What is ricotta cheese?


Ricotta cheese is a fresh cheese with creamy, fine textured curds that is very commonly used in many types of recipes, from savory pasta dishes to decadent cheesecakes. The name “ricotta” translates to “recooked.” The cheese gets its name because it is made with the whey leftover from other cheesemaking processes, which is recooked with an acid until the proteins left in the whey come ... Read More »

How to scrape a vanilla bean

Scraped vanilla bean pod

Vanilla extract is the most popular way to add vanilla flavoring to anything that you are baking or cooking. It is easy to use and less expensive than using whole vanilla beans. Vanilla bean seeds give baked goods a fantastic look, however, and you just can’t beat the flavor that a real vanilla bean can add when making something where that flavor can really stand ... Read More »

What is pectin?


Pectin is a naturally-occurring thickening agent that is most often used by adding it to jams, jellies and similar products to help them gel and thicken. Pectin creates a thick, clear set when it gels. It is a carbohydrate (a polysaccharide) found in and around the cell walls of plants, and helps to bind those cells together. All fruit has pectin in it, but the ... Read More »

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