Kitchen Tips - February 2008

  • When making fresh salsa with all of the locally grown tomatoes available this time of year, removing the seeds becomes a time-consuming job. An easy shortcut we found puts your salad spinner to work. Simply core the tomatoes and dice them. Place the tomato pieces in the basket of a salad spinner and spin until most of the seeds are released. Repeat the spinning process as necessary to remove all of the seeds.
  • Other fresh salsa ingredients, such as onion and garlic, can cause your cutting board to retain these strong odors long after the salsa is made. To eliminate these odors, make a paste of 1 tbsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. water. Scrub the entire surface of your plastic cutting board with the paste and wash with hot, soapy water. The next time you use your board there will be no tell-tale signs of your latest culinary creation.
  • If you are like most Minnesotans, your grill is getting a lot of use this summer. To keep your favorite grilled foods from sticking, remove cooked on food when the grill is hot using a long-handled wire grill brush, both before and after each use. To further reduce sticking, oil your hot grill rack with a paper towel folded and saturated with vegetable oil. Hold it with a long handled tongs and rub it over the area you will be using.
  • Every now and then our plans change, and the meat we thawed for dinner doesn't get cooked. Can you refreeze it for later use? According to the USDA, food that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator is safe to refreeze in its raw state. The only drawback is the loss of moisture that refreezing causes. So while it is safe, don't expect that steak to be as juicy as it would have originally been.

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