Kitchen Tips - March 2009

  • For a crunchy, colorful green bean side dish, blanch fresh green beans in boiling salted water 3-4 minutes, then drain and add to bowl of ice water. When beans are no longer warm to the touch, drain again and dry with paper towels. Transfer beans to a zipper closure food storage bag and refrigerate up to two days. When ready to serve, stir-fry beans in melted butter over medium heat about 3-4 minutes until heated through.
  • For a flavorful Horseradish Cream Sauce to pair with beef, in a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup drained prepared horseradish, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 minced clove garlic and 1/4 tsp. sugar; let stand, covered, at room temperature 1-1 1/2 hours to thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate up to two days.
  • The stems on shiitake mushrooms are too tough to eat, but add great flavor to broth for soup or risotto. They are difficult to twist off, so just trim the stems where they attach.
  • When browning meat as the first step in many recipes, follow these simple steps: 1) let the pan and oil get hot first; 2) blot off moisture before adding meat to the pan; 3) use a big pan with room for air to circulate so the meat will brown, not steam; and 4) let the meat sit longer than you think it should before turning. If it sticks, let it sit a few seconds longer.
  • The tasty browned bits that stick to the bottom of the pan when you are browning meat provide the flavor foundation for many sauces. These bits are called fond, French for "core" or "base." Add stock or wine and stir to release these morsels from the bottom of the pan for a sauce that will be the perfect complement to your meat.

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