Kitchen Tips - July 2007

  • When chopping a lot of fresh herbs at one time, such as cilantro or Italian flat leaf parsley, try an extra-sharp pizza cutter. It doesn't crush the leaves or reduce them to mush like a food processor might and gives you more control than a knife.
  • Tomatoes should always be stored at room temperature. When placed in a shallow ceramic bowl, they make a beautiful centerpiece to add color to your table. For under ripe garden fresh tomatoes, place in a sunny spot or in a brown paper bag on the counter for two to four days, checking every day to catch them at the right time.
  • When chopping something juicy and messy like fresh tomatoes, place a large rimmed baking sheet underneath the cutting board to prevent the juices from running all over the counter.
  • To keep green beans bright green when cooking, they should be blanched. First bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. (The more water you use, the less it will cool down when you add the vegetables, and the quicker it will come back to a boil.) Add a good amount of salt to the pot which helps retain the bright green color. Cook the beans to crisp tender. Quickly remove cooked beans from the boiling water; drain. Immediately plunge into a sink full of ice water; cool completely. Blot dry with a towel and refrigerate in a zipper closure food storage bag for up to one day. To serve, heat equal amounts of butter and olive oil in a large skillet; add beans and sauté, tossing frequently, just until they are hot. This method works well for any green vegetable.

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