Archives for February 2015

cocoa-beans (400x400)

Know Your Chocolates

by Jane Wangersky February 27th, 2015| Cooking Basics
Homemade chocolate desserts are, all by themselves, enough reason for anyone to learn to cook. When you control the amount of chocolate that goes into your concoction, new extremes of flavor are within reach. (If you’re careful, they’ll be extremes of good flavor.) The different kinds of chocolates you
cranchocpears (400x400)

Chocolate-Cranberry Pears

by Jane Wangersky February 26th, 2015| Desserts, Recipes, Simple Solutions
We’re still working our way through a large delivery of pears here, and I’ve made pear crisp more than once. Well, now it’s time for another pear dessert, good in a different way, and even easier to make.

The inspiration for this came from several different sources, including my go-to
strawberry champagne mascarpone trifle

Strawberry, Champagne, & Mascarpone Trifle

by Michele Pesula Kuegler February 25th, 2015| Desserts, Recipes
I don't know how it took me so long to create this dessert; it includes several of my favorite ingredients. I have made many strawberry desserts and a couple desserts with mascarpone, but until now I hadn't incorporated champagne into the dessert itself. Add to this my first use
peanut butter cookies (400x400)

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

by Elizabeth Skipper February 25th, 2015| Chef Recipe, Recipes
These cookies can be made with all-natural peanut butter made of only peanuts and salt or one of the big brands like Jif or Skippy. One you grind on site at a natural health food store may not give the best results, however. If you choose to use chunky-style
peanut butter cookies (400x400)

Baking With All-Natural Peanut Butter

by Elizabeth Skipper February 24th, 2015| Ask the Chef
I buy all-natural peanut butter for our house. We all like it in sandwiches and on crackers.  However, I can’t imagine using it in cookies. I wonder if it is will be creamy enough and if I’ll need to use extra sugar. Do you have any advice?

You’re right to
sugar (400x400)

There’s Nothing Like Sugar, and That’s Okay

by Jane Wangersky February 20th, 2015| Cooking Basics
As you begin to cook and bake more from scratch, you also begin to get a feeling for how much sugar goes into our culture’s typical desserts. And that can be a little shocking. After all, we know that sugar, at the very least, is full of empty calories,
pear crisp (400x400)

Butter-Oat-Pear Crisp: Simple and Good

by Jane Wangersky February 19th, 2015| Recipes, Simple Solutions
The fruit-and-vegetable people brought us a lot more pears than I’d expected (should’ve read the list more carefully), and I needed to create a simple dessert, so guess what’s the main ingredient this week? I thought about honey roasted pears, pears poached in cheap red wine, baked pears (like
chili (400x400)

Slow Cooker Chili

by Elizabeth Skipper February 18th, 2015| Chef Recipe, Recipes
The best cuts of meat for a slow cooker are those with some fat and connective tissue. Long, slow cooking breaks these down, making the meat tender and juicy. Lean cuts, on the other hand, will dry out in a slow cooker. When making chili, I prefer ground chuck
crock pot (400x400)

Make Chili in the Crock-pot With Raw Meat?

by Elizabeth Skipper February 17th, 2015| Ask the Chef
I love using my crockpot for weeknight meals, especially stews and roasts. I want to make chili in my crock-pot, but every recipe I find says that I have to brown the meat before adding it. The point of the crock-pot (for me) is to shorten my prep time.
deconstructed ricotta

Deconstructed Cannoli- A Fun Dessert

by Michele Pesula Kuegler February 16th, 2015| Desserts, Recipes
As I've written in many posts, I love cheese. This adoration covers almost every type of cheese, from gruyere to parmesan to brie to ricotta. I've always enjoyed ricotta in lasagna, but in the last few years I've begun making my own ricotta and discovered that this
egg separator (400x400)

Separating Eggs: Why and How

by Jane Wangersky February 13th, 2015| Cooking Basics
Separating eggs from what, you may ask. It’s actually about separating them into yolk and white. Why? Mostly because of the really impressive things egg whites can do when they’re on their own -- though the yolks can come in handy also. But for now, let’s look at the
orange melon (400x400)

Orange-Melon Gelatin

by Jane Wangersky February 12th, 2015| Desserts, Recipes, Simple Solutions
I nearly called this Melon Marmalade Gelatin, but after thinking about it I decided that wouldn’t be right, since it doesn’t contain any marmalade. However, if you like the taste of marmalade, you’ll like this dessert. Using undiluted orange juice concentrate gives it a strong flavor similar to what