Posts tagged pantry basics
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

a better use for your butter wrapper

butter wrappers

I stopped by a friend’s house recently while she was in the middle of baking something. She had softened her butter earlier in the day and was about to cream it with sugar. Carefully, she peeled the wrapper off the butter, and into the mixer bowl the butter fell. Then, she crumpled up the butter wrapper and threw it away.

“Don’t…” was all that I managed to blurt out, but it was too late – the wrapper landed deep in the garbage bin.

“What? Why? It’s just a butter wrapper,” she said.

A wrapper that’s been generously slathered with softened butter – that could’ve been used for buttering the pan that she was using to bake. When I’m baking with butter, it’s a natural by-product, so instead of softening more butter, I just use what is left on the wrapper and most of the time, it manages to be enough. Plus, it’s a great way to be efficient and frugal in the kitchen.

Continue reading a better use for your butter wrapper.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

how to prepare fresh tomatoes for tomato sauce

how to prep your tomatoes for a sauce

I don’t know whether to rejoice that it’s September or to cry. On the one hand, it’s my favorite month. I don’t know what to get excited about the most: Apples! Sweaters! Bourbon! Things generously scented with cinnamon!

On the other hand, I’m frenetic as I try to get to the greenmarket every few days so that I can preserve whatever produce there’s left to savor. I carry my weight in plums and other remaining stone fruit, and try to eat it all before it goes bad. A few peaches may or may not have been unceremoniously tossed out – but let’s not blame anyone. But what concerns me now more than anything is tomatoes.

Continue reading how to prepare fresh tomatoes for tomato sauce.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

how to keep your radishes crisp for over a week

Making radishes last all week

Every week when I go to the market, I pick up a bunch of radishes, among other things. I can’t get enough of them in the summer, and yes, I realize that this blog is named for a radish so it’s no surprise that I am awash in these guys come spring and summer. I love to just bite into them and dip them in soft butter flaked with fleur de sel; I love to generously slice them to my favorite summer salad; I’m a huge fan of the butter-herb-radish crostini – I’ll talk about it next week.

But radishes are great on day one and then are so so, and by the end of the week, they’re soft and have lost their crunch. There’s almost an unpleasant leathery chewiness to them that’s just not appealing.

So how to keep radishes from losing their bite and crunch all week? I believe I’ve found a solution.

Continue reading how to keep your radishes crisp for over a week.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

honey syrup – or how to make good use of that last bit of honey

Honey syrup or how to not waste that last bit of honey at the bottom of the jar

I always struggle with the honey at the bottom of the jar. Perhaps, the best solution is to just get a spoon with a handle long enough to scrape the bottom of the jar, but then I find that I wind up covered in honey and sticking to everything. Or I find that everything sticks to me, like that time, when I was walking around my neighborhood with a receipt stuck to my hip, but that’s a story for another time.

I’ve decided that my favorite way to get to that last bit of honey is to make a honey simple syrup. I could say that cocktail weather is upon us, but if you ask me, it’s always cocktail weather in my book. And just about anywhere you can use regular simple syrup, a honey simple syrup should work just fine.

Just add the same amount of hot water as you have honey, screw the lid back on, and vigorously shake the jar. Voila – honey simple syrup, which you can refrigerate and use as a sweetener to tea, lemonade, or cocktails.

I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you what I used it in!

Monday, March 5, 2012

preserved lemons

the humble beginnings of the preserved meyer lemons

You’d think I fell down a rabbit hole; I might as well have. This is what happens when you hand in one book to an editor, and without so much as taking a day to breathe, plunge into another one.

That’s right, I’m doing another book. I won’t yet go into it yet, but in time, I will divulge. It’s very exciting, I feel immensely fortunate and lucky to be involved in this project. And with each passing day, even though the pressure mounts, I feel luckier and luckier. To be doing this, however stressful the struggles are, is something I have been wanting to do for so long. Is it scary? Absolutely? Do I question my abilities about this every day? Yes. And do I worry about how financially sustainable my career choice will be? Yes. This isn’t an easy path, but it’s the one I love and have chosen.

Continue reading preserved lemons.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

homemade chicken stock

Pantry Basics - Chicken Stock

There’s no one single way to make chicken stock. Sometimes I do it with odds and ends from a chicken: wings, neck, gizzards, other random bits. But most often, and by far my favorite way to make stock – is to use 2 carcasses of roasted chickens. You roast a chicken and then you wind up with the carcass. Instead of throwing it away, you make that chicken work for you in double time. You can freeze it until you get another chicken carcass, which you then throw together with water and aromatics and cook it for a few hours. There’s very little hands-on time needed – just your presence around the house to keep an eye on the stock. The result – rich and flavorful stock you can’t get from a carton. Plus I get a kick knowing I can use one chicken for two separate purposes.

This is a great way to stretch that chicken further than just one meal. I add little salt here because I want my stock to be as much of a pure distillation of the chicken flavor as possible. Later, when I use stock to make soup, I will add as much salt as the recipe calls for, but this way I get the flexibility on how much seasoning the future soup will need.

Continue reading homemade chicken stock.