Jun 152011

Despite the multitude of cookbooks in my kitchen (and in the dining room, and the den, and the guest bedroom), the Internet is my first stop when I’m looking for food inspiration, recipes and ideas. Probably because I’m umbilically attached to my computer. I thought I would share my favorite foodie websites with you, to spread the wealth, and I hope you’ll share your favorite sites in the comments. King Arthur Flour blog (and store!) The folks at King Arthur Flour are the baking EXPERTS, in my opinion. And their blog is an excellent step-by-step source for baking recipes. For […]

Jun 062011
Five Essential Knives for Your Kitchen

I have a lot of knives. Two knife blocks (one of them a 22 slot), plus a small drawer, plus two sets of steak knives. I’ve accumulated them over the years, like chotchkies I can hurt people with. But if my house was burning down (probably from a flaming cookbook), I would grab these five knives before fleeing the scene. 1. The Paring Knife. AKA, the knife for little stuff. My paring knife is basically my fruit knife. I use it for capping strawberries, sectioning oranges, peeling peaches, cutting lemons for squeezing, etc. Basically, tasks where a large knife would […]

Apr 222011
7 ways I'm more Earth-friendly in the kitchen

In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share seven steps I’ve taken the past few years to be more environmentally friendly in the kitchen, beyond changing light bulbs and buying organic. 1. Glass storage containers I made the change from plastic to glass containers partly for health reasons, but it has an environmental benefit, too. The jury’s still out on which material is easier to recycle or costs less energy to produce, according to my research. But I had to regularly buy new plastic containers to replace ones that got warped, scratched, or damaged. My glass storage containers, on […]

Apr 202011
Lessons learned from burnt bacon

We had 7 people for brunch this past Saturday morning. Normally, brunch is a piece of cake for me. Eggs, grits, maybe scones or biscuits (in this case scones), a potato of some form, fruit, and bacon. Hubby handles the bacon – cooking it on a large electric skillet on the breakfast table, out of my way in the kitchen. I cook everything else, and have made brunch so often that I can do it in my sleep. At least, usually that’s how it works. Now, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for me – our dog’s had 2 […]

Apr 142011
A sweet little flowchart and a sweeter debate

In my reading today I came across this cute but important little chart entitled “How to Choose a Sweetener” from the BeFoodSmart website. I’ve never heard of this site before, but as I’m very concerned with the chemicals in my food, I will definitely explore BeFoodSmart more in the coming days. I made the switch 5 or 6 years ago to stevia in my morning pot of tea. I used to use a tablespoon of sugar, because I couldn’t stand artificial sweeteners. Back then, only a handful of companies made stevia packets, and some of those were bitter or off […]

Apr 122011
Fabulous, Inexpensive, Almost Effortless, Roast Beef

Ever wish you could make your own deli roast beef at home? Luscious, tender (and lean) roast beef without the $12 a pound price tag? Well, today’s your lucky day! (Unless you’ve never wished you could have deli roast beef at home. In which case, you don’t know what you’re missing! Or, you’re like a friend of mine, and allergic to beef, in which case I weep for you.) But I digress. Delicious roast beef, from the January/February 2008 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. Did I mention this recipe is only 4 ingredients? Salt, pepper, beef, and canola oil. That’s it. […]

Mar 252011
What would you want for your last meal?

Hubby and I were watching the next-to-last episode of Top Chef Masters tonight (yes, a couple of days late, but it’s hard for us to watch anything live), and it got me thinking. No, not about who’s left in the final two. I’m disgusted that three women entered the finals in the Bahamas and all three went home. (Carla! Tiffany! Antonia! What was up with that?) Hubby and I agree we wanted Carla and Antonia in the finale. Sigh. Anyway, for the competition the three remaining chefs had to create a meal to reflect the desired last suppers of three […]

Dec 162010
Entertaining tip: Have a party before the party!

A party just isn’t a party without friends. I found out this year that party prep is a whole lot more fun with friends, too. Completely by accident, we are starting a new tradition: The Pre-Open House Friday Night Prep Party. I’ve learned over the past few years (and am still learning) that when friends offer to help you, you should let them. My mother (if her health is good) and a couple of close friends come a few hours early each Open House to assist me, and my college friend B– spends the weekend here so she can help. […]

Dec 132010
Entertaining tip: The art of delegating

Every year that I put on this Open House, I feel I get a little better at delegating. Not just delegating, but letting go of the idea of perfection. The first year that I gave my friend B– free rein of the fruit and vegetable platters for the party, I nearly cleaned off the trays and started over. It wasn’t that what she did wasn’t beautiful – indeed, she’s very artful at arranging crudites. She just didn’t arrange them exactly the same way I would. For example, she arranged the fruit like a rainbow, with one color blending harmonious into […]

Dec 042010
Open House - T minus 7 days and counting

The two weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Open House are crunch time. Ideally, with a week left before the party I want the decorations to be completely finished and the house mostly clean so I can spend the final week focused on cooking. It never quite works out that way. The tree is done, at least. THE tree, not the dozen I have scattered around the house in heights varying from 1 feet to 6. I love my theme trees, and take great joy in them, but my Christmas tree, the one that counts, is the live Frasier Fir in […]