Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Seasoning and Maintaining Your New Wood Cutting Board

Before using a new wood cutting board, you should take the time to properly season your cutting board.

In fact, you should oil your boards about once a month in order to keep wood cutting boards in good condition.

 

 

Seasoning your wood cutting board regularly will help prevent staining, warping, and cracking.

 

When choosing an oil to season your board, you want to look for an oil that is inexpensive, easily available, and food-grade.

Mineral oil is the oil most commonly recommended oil for seasoning your wood cutting boards…more on this later…

 

Seasoning Your Wood Cutting Board

Heat the oil slightly.

Rub the oil into the board, rubbing in the “direction of the grain.”…yeah, I hate it when I’m told that also and usually have to ask someone to show me what that means…don’t feel like you’re all alone in this…jk…

Allow the oil to soak in for about thirty minutes.

After about thirty minutes, then decide if you need to rub even more oil onto the board.

In fact, the very first time you season your board, you need to do this about four to six times.

 

Other Ways to Maintain the Integrity of Your New Wood Cutting Board

In addition to this, you can use a cutting board refinisher, such as this tool from  Ace Mart from time to time. This will remove the top level of wood, along with its nicks and scratches, leaving you with a smooth surface again.

As far as taking care of your wood cutting boards on a routine basis, scrub the board with hot soapy water immediately after each use.  

 

 

Two more things to remember as far as taking care of wood cutting boards…

Never run your wood cutting boards through the dishwasher

Never let soak in water.

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Sources for Cooking Utensils

Quality cooking utensils are key to quality cooking results, regardless of the cooking method that you are using.

And so here I’ve highlighted a few of the sources of quality cooking utensils that you can refer to as we finish discussing the various cooking methods…

I also used this as a chance to find which one spatula to buy to go next to my brand new saute pan.

 

1. di Oro Seamless Spatula

  • Material…BPA free, US FDA and German LGFB certified silicone with 18/10 stainless steel reinforced core
  • Size: 11.2″ x 2.5″ with 3.25″ blade
  • Cost…$11
  • Awards…Chosen America’s Test Kitchen  & Cook’s Illustrated “2017 Best All-around Silicone Spatula
  • Colors…Black, Red
  • Easy to Clean…Dishwasher Safe
  • Temperature Resistance…to 600ºF
  • Warranty…Forever Guarantee…Every spatula or utensil bought from them is guaranteed. forever.
  • Weight: 3.2 oz

  • Material…BPA Free and FDA Approved Silicone
  • Colors…red, orange, purple, and blue
  • Design…one-piece design
  • Heat Resistant…to 450°F
  • Easy-to-clean…dishwasher safe…stain and odor resistant
  • Durability…will not discolor, warp, melt or chip.

3. OXO Silicone Sauté Paddle

Silicone Saute Paddle 3647
  • Cost…$9.99
  • Colors…available in black or red
  • Easy to Clean…dishwasher safe

Vremi

West

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Choose the Right Spatulas to Saute Food

Now that we’ve learned how to choose the right saute pan, let’s move on to the next tool that you will need in order to saute food—the spatula.

Using a good spatula as you saute food in your new an is important because you don’t wants to scratch your pan or shorten its lifespan.

Don’t settle for using the metal spatula that you’ve been using for the last thirty years or a metal spoon to stir your food. This will definitely damage the surface.

Not only does having a good spatula keep your new pan looking like new, it also makes it easier to turn your meat, as well as softer foods—such as egg, pancakes, or tender fish—smoothly without disrupting their shape.

Although it’s always a good idea to have several different types and sizes of spatulas on hand to handle various cooking jobs, right now we’re only talking about one method—sauteeing…so we’re only going to choose the right ones for this job.

There are several factors to consider as you shop for your new spatula. These include…

  • Design
  • Durability
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Heat resistance
  • Long lasting
  • Materials used
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Style

Design...

One-piece design…Choose one that is only one unit, that does not have both a handle and body because these always tend to…

  • be difficult to clean
  • breed bacteria
  • detach from one another
  • get food stuck at the joint
  • Slotted…f the food you are cooking typically has a lot of grease, using a slotted spatula will allow the grease to pour off before you put it on the plate or serving platter

Handle…Three factors to look for as far as the handle are…

  • Flexible…they should be flexible enough to help you scrape out your pans
  • Heat-Resistant…will not turn hot when exposed to hot materials
  • Sturdy…they should be sturdy enough to handle meat

Hanging loop…Look for a hole at the end of the spatula that will allow you to hang it as you finish organizing your kitchen, should you choose not to stash it in a drawer or cram it into some sort of jar with every other utensil in your kitchen.

Materials…As far as materials, there are at least three different choices, including…

Plastic...Don’t even bother getting one of these to saute your food. They tend to curl at the ends and melt easily when used on heated pans and cookware, are very flimsy, and cannot handle much if any weight.

Silicone

  • Durability…extremely durable…will not melt or become misshapen…made to last decades…will look the same year after year unless they are purposely destroyed…won’t flake, peel, break, crack or even fade
  • Easy to Clean…can be washed in the dishwashee
  • Health Factor…bacteria resistant
  • Heat Resistant…able to withstand high heat…handles are cool to the touch so there is no fear of the user getting burned, even if it is left on the stovetop or somewhere else that is hot
  • Use…great for using on any kind of cookware, designed to handle high heat such as when stirring hot sauces on the stove

Wood

  • Easy to Clean…not dishwasher safe …also require conditioning from time to time so that they will not wear out.
  • Heat Resistance…poor conductora of heat…so you can comfortably hold it without getting burned
  • Use…great for scraping the browned bits of food off the bottom of the pan…can also be good for stirring….not very efficient for scraping since they do not have any flexibility

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Here’s to a Super Bowl

Now that we’ve learned that there are way more salad greens to choose from than the ordinary iceberg lettuce, let’s talk about the good stuff that actually makes salad good.

One major difference that makes a salad that you actually enjoy eating better than the salad that you dread seating is using just as many vegetables as your do leafy greens.

Raw veggies and other add-ins will give your salad texture as well as more surface area for dressings and toppings.

Here are some of the most common choices as far as salad add-ins…

Note…I was going to be more detailed when I first started this, but decided that since one of my goals is to finish working my way through the Raw Foods yamid, thought that this would be rather redundant, and for making salads, this would be more useful instead…

Vegetables…

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Baby Carrots
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Black Olives
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Corn kernels
  • Cucumbers
  • Green bell pepper…
  • Green olive…
  • Heirloom Tomato…
  • Jicama
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  •  Pickled beets
  • Portabello mushroom
  • Radishes
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini

Fruits

  • Apple
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Strawberries

Legumes

  • Chickpeas.
  • Kidney beans

Carbs

  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
    peanuts

    pumpkin seeds,
    Sesame seeds,
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • xsummer squash, hot peppers, possibilities are endless!

  • minced garlic,
    garlic powder,
    cayenne pepper,
  • oregano,
  • cumin,
  • paprika,
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • pepper 
  • black beans,
  • lentils,
  • pinto beans
  • Herbs
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano

Meats

  • Bacon
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Steak
  • Turkey
  • ————————————————-
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

You Mean There Actually Are Other Leafy Greens Besides Iceberg?

  • So we’ve decided to raise the bar on our salad bar…
  • And learned that as far as nutrition goes, iceberg lettuce is at the bottom of the totem pole…
  • But what leafy green is out there lurking at the local grocery store or farmer’s market?
  • Below is a list of several varieties that you could use instead…

Arugula

  • Also called…rocket, Italian cress, Mediterranean rocket, rugola, rugula, roquette, rucola
  • Leaves…small, flat, frilly-edged leaves
  • Most Common Uses…salads, wraps, sandwiches, pasta, risotto, and Italian dishes like pesto
  • Nutrition…especially high in vitamin K
  • Originated…the Mediterranean
  • Taste…distinct peppery taste and aroma

Butterhead Lettuce

  • Also called…butter lettuce, Boston, bibb (limestone)
  • Leaves…soft and smooth like buttee

Cos Lettuce

  • Leaves…dark green, long, narrow
  • Taste…..sweet and tangy
  • Texture…crispy and crunchy texture

Cress

  • Leaves…tough, fibrous stem and small green leaves
  • Taste…peppery taste
  • Varieties…watercress, upland cress, curly cress, and land cress

Endive

  • Color…off-white center with loose, lacy, dark green outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Leaves..loose, lacy, dark green outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Taste…slightly bitter
  • Uses…salads and soups

Dandelion Greens

  • Leaves…the green leaves from the so-thought-of “weeds” in your yard…stiff leaves with pointy, fine “teeth.”
  • Taste…sharp bitter flavor
  • Uses…a classic French bistro salad, salads with roasted beets

Endive

  • Leaves…unique oval shape
  • Texture…soft and satiny
  • Taste…slightly bitter
  • Uses…scooplike shape makes for serving small appetizers

Escarole

  • Color…various shades of green
  • Head…loose, elongated heads
  • Leaves…broad, wavy leaves with smooth edges
  • Other Names…Batavian endive, scarole, broad-leaved endive
  • Taste…darker green leaves are lightly bitter and spicy; but the paler interior leaves are milder
  • Uses…soups and beans…popular in Italian cuisine.

Frisee

  • Color…pale green
  • Leaves…feathery leaves tinged with yellow and green
  • Other Names…curly endive, chicory, chicory endive, curly chicory
  • Taste…bitter

Iceberg

  • Leaves…tightly packed leaves on dense, heavy heads
  • Water Content…contains more water than most other leafy greens

Kale

  • Nutritional Value…high in fiber
  • Taste…earthy, slightly grassy taste
  • Uses…salads, soups, pasta, and smoothies
  • Varieties…include curly, baby, and lacinato

Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dino Kale)

  • Other Names…Tuscan kale or black kale
  • Leaves…very dark blue-green or black-green leaves
  • Taste…earthy and  nutty flavor

Leaf Lettuce 

  • Color…can be either green or red
  • Leaves…large, frilly-edged
  • Taste…mildly sweet and delicate taste
  • Uses…sandwiches, burgers, popular lining for hors d’oeuvres platters

Mâche

  • Other Names…Field salad, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, field lettuce, fetticus
  • Taste…mild and slightly sweet flavor
  • Leaves…very small
  • Notes…expensive, very delicate, will bruise easily

Mizuna

  • Leaves…petite elongated leaves with spiky edges similar to miniature oak leaves
  • Origin…Japan
  • Other Names…Japanese greens, spider mustard, xue cai, kyona, potherb mustard, and California Peppergrass
  • Taste…peppery

Oak Leaf Lettuce

  • Color…reddish-purple
  • Leaves…very similar to leaf lettuce, but with more of an oak leaf shape
  • Taste…super-mellow, sweet

Radicchio

  • Color…burgundy-red leaves with white ribs
  • Other Names…Chioggia, red chicory, red leaf chicory, red Italian chicory
  • Taste…mildly bitter with a subtle spicy undertone
  • Texture…quite firm but still tender
  • Uses…in salads, as a cooked vegetable, and grilled or roasted and mixed with other grilled vegetables

Romaine

  • Nutritional Value…particularly rich in folic acid and vitamin K
  • Taste..light, almost grassy taste
  • Texture…a satisfying crunch
  • Uses..Caesar salads, wraps

Spinach

  • Color…dark green leaves
  • Leaves…smooth, sturdy, deep green
  • Taste…mild, lightly herbal
  • Uses…salads, wraps, and smoothies

Sweet Potato Greens

  • Taste…lovely, almost sweet flavor with no discernible bitterness
  • Uses…soups or stews

Tatsoi

  • Leaves…small and rounded much like little spoons, hence its other name, spoon cabbage
  • Other Names…Tat soi, spoon cabbage, rosette bok choy
  • Taste…mildly peppery and sweet, with only the faintest hint of cabbage flavor.
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Raising the Bar at the Salad Bar

If you’re gonna eat lettuce and carrots like a rabbit because you’re on a diet or a diabetic or health nut…you will very quickly get sick and tired of the average bagged salad that sits in your fridge drawer quickly forgotten until it starts smelling bad or you stumble on it when looking for something else behind the mayo and mustard.

If you’re gonna eat lettuce and carrots like a rabbit, you must learn to raise the bar on your home salad bar…otherwise eating salad will become just another health food to log into your food diary.

But before we talk about all of the different leafy greens that are available, let’s learn a few basic rules that you should remember…

Nutrition…As far as nutrition goes, all leafy greens are good for you—being great sources of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and calcium…but not all leafy greens are as healthy as the rest of the family.

As a general rule, the darker the green, the healthier the green.

Kale and spinach are always better choices than iceberg lettuce or endive.

Lettuce is about 95 percent water…and gives you half as much of the recommended daily value of vitamin K and vitamin A.

Selecting Leafy Greens...Make sure that the leafy greens are buying to make your salad are fresh and crisp… not wilted, limp, and withered.

Avoid any leafy greens that have brown or yellow edges, or dark or slimy spots.

If you are buying bagged greens, always check the use-by-date.

Storing Leafy Greens..Always rinse your leafy greens before using because the folds in leafy green vegetables easily accumulate dirt.

The best way to store your leafy greens is to wash and dry them, layer the leaves in wet paper towels or a kitchen towel, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate in the crisper drawer.

Never store greens near fruits, such as apples or bananas, Fruit gives off ethylene gas as it ripens and will cause the greens to develop brown spots and decay rapidly.

Drying Greens…Always make sure that the greens are bone-dry before using them in your salad. Otherwise the dressing will not cling to the leaves and you’re more likely to have a soggy salad.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Let Us Talk About Lettuce

  • Whether you are a diabetic or on a diet or a vegetarian or raw foods advocate, it might seem like you are eating salad night after night after night…not to mention for lunch also.

  • But the same old salad made the same old lettuce can get extremely boring…extremely…
  • So why not add some variety to your mandatory salad by adding more leafy greens to your instacart order?
  • There is a wide range of leafy green vegetables to choose from other than lettuce…
  • But these can seem to overwhelming, and you’ve only been eating lettuce for how long…
  • So let’s now take a look at the various leafy greens vegetables that are available—starting with the basics of selecting, storing, and using them in salads. ..as well as the nutritional value of different varieties…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Sing A Ballad to the Salad

So now that we all know how to make the perfect soup…

Now what?

 

 

Well, since my goal is to work my way through the Raw Foods pyramid in an effort to learn how to cook more healthy for the sake of my newly-diagnosed diabetic husband,

and the base of the Raw Foods yramid is leafy greens…

 

It only goes to reason that eventually we’d talk about salad, right?

 

…but salad can get so very boring…especially when you are constantly eating  bagged salad night after night after night.

 

So let’s see what’s required to make a salad actually worth eating, and then sing ordinary baggad salad a farewell ballad.

In the next few posts, we’ll be taking a look at…

  • Leafy green
  • Vegetables
  • Add-ins
  • Dressing your salads
  •  

So let’s get ready to all raise the bar on our at-home salad bar, ready?

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Finish the Dish

But what?

But what if you go to all this trouble and simply find your soup one great big inedible or at least tasteless mess…

Then what?

There are still some things that will help rescue your failed soup and to also make your soup one that you would even be happier to feed your family.

Such as what?

1.If you like crumbly cheese, add some crumbly cheese such as…

  • feta
  • goat cheese
  • ricotta salata

2If you like grated cheese, add grated cheeses such as…

  • Asiago
  • Parmesan
  • pecorino

3. If you want to add some creaminess, add… 

  • crème fraiche
  • sour cream
  • yogurt

4. If you want to add some crunch, add…

  • croutons
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • toasted sesame seeds

5. If you would like to give you soup more of a kick, add one of the following, depending on which tye of sou you are making…

  • apple cider vinegar
  • beer
  • white wine

6. If you want a brighter flavor, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of vinegar.

7. If you want a savory flavor, add one of the following…

  • anchovy paste
  • fish sauce
  • miso
  • soy sauce
  • Worcestershire

8. If your soup is too salty, add one of the following and then boil for about twenty minutes more…

  • raw otato
  • finely shredded cabbage
  • cooked beans
  • rice
  • pasta

9. If your soup is too watery or simly boring, add… 

  • canned or frozen mixed vegetables
  • cooked kidney or white beans
  • corn
  • drained canned tomatoes
  • finely shredded cabbage

10. If you want to add even more flavor, add some fresh herbs, such as…

  • basil
  • chives
  • cilantro
  • dill
  • parsley

11. If the bottom of the dish has scorched…Leaving the heat on too high or not keeping an eye on the sou as it cooking often means that your sou will burn at the bottom. If this haens, salvage whatever liquid you can from the to without scraing the bottom cra into the sou, but do not scrape the burned meat and veggies into the rest of the remaining good sou, or you’ve just wasted your time and your ingredients for nothing.

12. If you would like to reduce the fat content in your soup, make the soup a day or two before and refrigerate. When you get ready to serve it, simply scrape off the fat that will rise to the top and reheat.

13. If you want your soup to taste even better, cooking and refrigerating like this makes them also taste better.

And if your soup is too hot, take a walk around the block…

Who knows…you might even find Goldilocks at your house when you get back?…Just hope that you don’t see a bear…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

The Spice Is Right

Now that you have created or chosen your base liquid…and sliced and diced and maybe even roasted your veggies…it’s time to add any spices and other seasonings that you might like.
The seasonings that you add to your soup at this point will honestly be a matter of personal preference, Feel free to add only one seasoning, but also experiment to find a spice combination that you and your family all enjoy.
Seasonings also can be based on what you are cooking. Good choices would be…

  • Beef soups…marjoram, rosemary, thyme
  • Chicken soups…celery seed, marjoram, thyme, parsley, and sage
  • Chilis…chili powder, cumin
  • Cream soups…parsley, thyme.
  • Meaty, hearty soups…cumin
  • Tomato-based soups…basil, oregano or fennel

Regardless what you are making or what seasonings you are adding, never use so much seasoning that it is overpowering.

 

Here are a few of the most commonly used seasonings…

 

1. Fresh herbs…You can add only one fresh herb or a combination of herbs to your soup, based on what your family likes best.

You can add the fresh herbs either with the woody stems still attached or not. It really doesn’t matter because the stems and leaves will drop off as they cook, Once your soup is finished, simply remove these can be removed with tongs or a slotted spoon before serving.

Fresh herbs will have a more intense flavor if added near the end of the cooking time.

 

 

2. Garlic…Garlic is a flavor enhance rhat brings out the flavors of the other ingredients in the soup. Garlic…Garlic is a flavor enhancer that brings out the flavors of the other ingredients in the soup. Even if a soup recipe doesn’t call for garlic, you can always add two or three cloves of garlic without worrying that your soup will have a garlicky taste.

 

.3. Ginger...Ginger is another flavor enhancer. Adding ginger to vegetable and chicken soups adds a slightly sweet taste and aromaFresh herbs…Fresh herbs provide an intense and complex flavor. Use three or four tablespoons of chopped, fresh herbs for ten to twelve cups of soup.

4. Spice Cabinet Spices…Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground spices per ten to twelve cups liquid.

Some of the most commonly used spices include…

  • allspice
  • cinnamon
  • clove
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • fennel
  • turmeric