How to slice bread, or how I get around a round

Round loaf

Slicing a round loaf of bread in half will let you carve off similar-size slices for sandwiches instead of having the slices be uneven in size as you slice the loaf from one side. Photo by Laura Groch

 

 

 

Maybe it’s just me. Who am I kidding? It probably IS just me.

I have a thing about the uneven slices you get from a round loaf of bread.

Don’t get me wrong. I love round loaves of marble rye, sourdough, Italian (oh, Italian …) and multigrain whatever. I have fond memories of my Italian great-aunt holding a basketball-size loaf under her arm as she carved off massive slices with a formidable Continue reading

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A new (old) method of cooking rice. And it works just fine.

brown rice

Brown rice cooks up even faster and fluffier in the boil-like-pasta method, IMHO. Photo by Laura Groch

I have to confess I am late to this rice-cooking party. But I’m here at last, so here goes:

It’s not easy cooking rice on the stovetop. This seemingly simple task is the bane of many home cooks (and why those boil-in-bag rices, which are parboiled, were invented):

Two cups water to one cup white rice, or two and a half cups water to 1 cup brown rice. Heat it up in a saucepan and boil it, but not too hard. Keep the pot lid on but a little askew so some steam can escape. Cook 15 minutes for white rice, closer to 40 minutes for Continue reading

When life gives you avocados, here’s how to keep them green

Avocado, mashed and seasoned with lemon juice, holds well in the freezer in a plastic bag. (Photo by Laura Groch)

It may not be the prettiest thing, but avocado, mashed and seasoned with lemon juice, holds well in the freezer in a plastic bag. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Avocados are a wonderful treat, full of so-called “good fats” and other nutrients, and delicious in all kinds of dishes. But once they’re cut — or mashed — it can be hard to keep them green. They oxidize, like cut apples. And it’s hard to just plain keep them, once they’ve decided to ripen. They can go bad pretty fast.

With avocado crops booming — and with Cinco de Mayo on the horizon — I’ve got a Continue reading

Time to spill some Thrifty/Nifty ideas

A simple paper plate in the microwave oven saves a lot of cleanup. (Photo by Laura Groch)

A simple paper plate in the microwave oven saves a lot of cleanup. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Well, I guess I can’t say “Let’s start the New Year with some Thrifty/Nifty tips,” but I can say “Let’s wrap up February with some Thrifty/Nifty tips.” (Let’s just say it’s been a busy beginning of 2018 for me.)

Anyway, one of the purposes of this little bitty blog is to offer some help in the kitchen (since I can’t be there with you) and some ways to save time and perhaps even money. So let’s try these on:

— Save cleanup time in the microwave by protecting the rotating glass plate with — ta- Continue reading

Net worth: Recycled wreath for Christmas

Christmas netting wreath

You know I hate to waste stuff and love to recycle when I can. So I crafted this Christmas wreath of red plastic netting from grocery store produce. (Photo by Laura Groch)

I had to show you my colorful Christmas wreath. Look closely, and you’ll see it’s made of the red plastic netting that my grocery store uses to package for-quick-sale fruits and veggies. I had been saving these lengths of netting for something — I wasn’t quite sure what, but I knew it would be good for something besides scrubbing — and then hit upon the idea of a wreath.

I already had an empty wreath form — two concentric wire circles, held together by some other welding — and basically just knotted the lengths of netting together as I wrapped them around the wreath form. That was step one.

Continue reading

Thanksgiving recipes bring back memories

Pie crust

Pumped-up piecrust awaits its custardy filling. No spills with a raised-edge crust. Photo by Laura Groch

Well, we’re coming close to crunch time for Thanksgiving cooks. You’ve probably already got your recipes in hand, but just in case you still need some ideas, here are some of my favorites:

First up, a sweet potato-and-apple dish that I actually enjoy: Find it here. Next, my Italian grandmother’s stuffing recipe, which you’ll find here. How to make hearty turkey soup from the leftovers here. Some hints for your pumpkin pie crust here.

And, in case you’d like to be reassured that even seasoned cooks can make kitchen Continue reading

Post-pumpkin, a few tasty ideas

pumpkin oatmeal

Pumpkin is a warm, welcome addition to your morning bowl of oatmeal. Photo by Laura Groch

Halloween is over, but pumpkin is still with us. And will be with us through year end. And really beyond, because pumpkin is just too good not to eat more often than just in chilly weather.

It’s nutritious, full of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber, and you can use it in myriad cakes, pies, muffins and cookies — none of which I’m going to discuss here.

Instead, I’m going to suggest a few simple ways to use the rest of that can of pumpkin you Continue reading