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28 July 2015

Seeing Red


Every once in a while you might notice a bright red spot on a chicken breast, even after it's been fully cooked.  That bright red spot is probably just a vein - it stays red even after fully cooking and it's completely edible.  If it bothers you, you can check the raw pieces of chicken for the red spots and slice them off before cooking.

Mmm...tasty!


23 July 2015

Ba-Na-Na

Well...we all know they are taking over the world.  They are in movie theaters, McDonald's Happy Meals (maybe even cussing, according to some news stories), clothing, home goods - absolutely everywhere.  And, now, they are even in cake...

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Apologies for the poor photo quality - it was late.  And, I haven't yet figured out how people who live in humid areas work with fondant and get it to cooperate!  It was humid in these parts when I built these two and the ruffles on the skirts just wouldn't hold - I can only guess that it was due to the humidity.  But, hey, at least it's been raining!

21 July 2015

Against the Grain


What does it mean to cut meat against the grain?  First things first, the "grain" of the meat refers to the direction of its muscle fibers.  So cutting against the grain means cutting across those parallel fibers to make the meat easier to chew.

How do you know what direction to cut?  Examine the meat's surface and find the direction of the muscle strands.  Place your knife perpendicular to those strands, then slice.  This is easiest to do with cuts like flank steak or tenderloin.

Mmm...tasty!


14 July 2015

Great Granola


If you've ever made homemade granola, you've probably noticed that it starts out crisp and crunchy, but often loses that crunchiness after a few days, especially if it contains dried fruit.  (The moisture in the fruit softens the oats.)

To keep it crisp, freeze the granola in zippered storage bags; it'll keep for up to six months.  Freezing will also prevent the nuts in the granola from spoiling.  Let the granola come to room temperature a few minutes before serving.

Mmm...tasty!


09 July 2015

Let Freedom Ring

Did you have a great Independence Day ?  I did!  Enjoyed some nice time with friends, ate WAY too much good food, and, as is the American way, set off a few fireworks.

How do you refer to the 4th of July?  Is it the "4th of July" or "Independence Day?"

I whipped up several things for our celebration, but the only one I managed (ok, maybe more like remembered) to snap a photo of was the frosting shots.

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08 July 2015

June Bug

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Did you know ladybugs are considered good luck?  And that they are sometimes referred to as "ladybirds?"  Just a little trivia to start off our jaunt through the June goodies.

07 July 2015

Can I Use "Tub" Butter When Baking?


You've decided to bake a batch of cookies, but as you are preparing the ingredients you realize you are out of butter or margarine sticks...you don't want to make a trip to the store, so you'll just use the butter in the tub (i.e. spreadable butter).  It'll be fine, right?

Probably not.  In fact, you'd be better served in nearly every instance to either go to the store or wait to bake up those cookies until you have sticks of butter or margarine.  Why?  Most spreads, light margarines, or whipped margarines contain more liquid than regular stick butter and margarine.  The result - cookies that won't brown, are either soggy or overly tough, and in some cases, even oily.

If you choose to use margarine, rather than real butter, be sure that it contains 80% fat.  You can typically interchange margarine sticks for real butter sticks, but in the cases of candy making or when making sugar cookies, shortbreads, or pastry crusts, always use the real stuff.

Mmm...tasty!