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30 September 2015

September Splendor

Okay, okay.  Referring to the creations I made this past month as "splendor" might come across as a bit braggy and I realize this.  Which is exactly why I'm not necessarily referring to them as such.  I chose "splendor" in the post title for two reasons:

  1. I wanted something that kinda, sorta rhymed with September (and come on bonus points for the use of alliteration.)
  2. It's an excellent word to refer to the changing season, namely that the leaves are just starting to turn and the air is getting that fall feel to it.
So, there's that long winded explanation.  Oh, and speaking of fall, how about a few of my favorite things about this season?

29 September 2015

Slow Cooked Greatness

Want to get the most out of your slow cooker?  Keep these tips in mind:
  • Fill your slow cooker at least halfway but not more than two thirds full - this will allow the food to cook properly and safely.
  • You can forgo morning prep and prep ahead of time by placing all the ingredients in the crock then covering and refrigerating over night.  In the morning, place the crock in the slow cooker and turn it on.
  • Don't open the lid to stir or "check" the dish during cooking (unless the recipe specifies that you do so).  Each time you lift the lid, you increase the cooking time by 20 to 30 minutes.

22 September 2015

Pesto Preservation

In most cases, you can make pesto ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 1 week.  Or, better yet, freeze small portions in an ice cube tray.  Once fully frozen, transfer to a resealable bag and defrost as needed.


15 September 2015

To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Ah, the expiration date.  It's a safety feature that, I'll admit, I probably ignore more often than I should.  Sometimes if it passes the smell and looks test, I move on to a taste test and if it passes that, I go ahead and eat the food even if the expiration date says not to (within reason of course).

Oh, don't look at me like that!  Who wants to waste more food than necessary?!  Depending on the type of expiration date on the container, that food may still be perfectly good.  But how to know?  Here's some of the most common expiration date styles and what they mean according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service:
  • Use By - this date is the last date recommended for the use of product while at peak quality; the date has been determined by the manufacturer.  Often you'll see this on fresh foods like dairy and meat products; either use or freeze these items by the "use by" date and don't purchase items past their "use by" date.
  • Best Before/Best If Used By - this date is recommended for best flavor and/or quality; it is not a purchase or safety date. Products with these types of dates are generally still safe to consume even after the "best before" date.
  • Sell By/Packed On - this date tells the store how long to display a product for sale; you should buy the product before the date expires, but that doesn't mean you have to consume the product by then.
And one bonus,

  • Closed or coded dates - these are dates or codes are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer, they have no impact on expiration.  They are used to help rotate stock and in some cases for interstate commerce.
So, that jar of pickles with the "best by" date that passed a week or so ago is most likely still edible, no need to throw it out just yet!


08 September 2015

Chipotle Peppers - What Do I Do With the Leftovers?

I love, love, love Mexican and Spanish influenced dishes, so I often come across recipes that call for one (1) chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.  That's great, but they don't exactly sell 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce in the store - what am I supposed to do with the others?

Luckily, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 6 months.

No more buying a whole can for just one pepper!


03 September 2015

Just Some Considerations

Consider this:

It's the 3rd day of September and with this blog post, I will have posted all the goodies from August.  Getting things posted to the blog so quickly hasn't happened in quite some time.  I admit, I feel a bit ninja-like.


01 September 2015

Good Eggs

Egg turnover in my refrigerator is seldom a problem with all the baking I do; though occasionally I'll fail to rotate the stock like I should and will find myself down to the last eggs in the fridge with a well past "Sell By" date.

Turns out I can determine which eggs are still good eggs and which eggs are past their usability (i.e. bad eggs) with this simple method:
  • Fill a bowl/cup/etc with water (preferably a glass container or one that you can see through).  Make sure you have enough water in the container to completely cover + some the egg.
  • Gently place an egg in the container.
    • If it floats, you've found a bad egg.  It's no good; toss it immediately.
    • If it sinks, you've found a good egg.  Yay!  Keep for future use.
    • If it stands on one end, you've found an egg that's starting to go bad.  You can still use these, but you need to do so as soon as possible.