Category Archives: Kitchen Tips

An Easy Way To Mince (and Cut) Fresh Ginger

wash the ginger to remove debris, and freeze it. When you want to slice it thinly or mince it, take it out of the freezer, but don’t let it thaw.
Rinse quickly the part of the root you want to use. Use a metal spoon or the back of a thin knife to scrape off the peel. Cut or mince the ginger immediately, before it thaws. Be careful, as always, when using the knife.
It’ll be fast and easy.
All Done! ^_^

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Cleaning Oil Off The Floor

So, blah blah blah, and the oil spilled on the lovely linoleum floor in the kitchen. I guess there is a limit to multitasking, who knew?

At first I used washcloths to absorb it. It was great for an ‘at first’ stage, but not sufficient. Then I sprinkled, generously, baking soda on the oily spots, and used a washcloth soaked in vinegar to scrub the floor and remove the baking soda and oil off the floor.

It did the trick, and I was happy to have a very clean and not slippery floor. Hooray for baking soda and vinegar! ^_^

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Cooking Thin Pasta

To avoid mush incidents when cooking Angel Hair and other types of thin pasta or noodles, Follow the Japanese method.

  • Bring water to boil on medium-high heat, like you’d do with pasta normally.
  • Add thin pasta to the pot.
  • When the water starts boiling again, add a cup of cold water.
  • Repeat the above step 2 more times.
  • Cook shortly until the noodles are al dente. Bite a noodle and see how the middle feels and looks like. The noodle should be cooked through but still have a bite to it.
  • Drain. Add sauce and serve, if eating hot.
  • If the pasta is to be eaten cold, rinse it under cold water while ‘massaging’ it gently between your hands.

Enjoy!

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Adding Raw Nuts to Salads

A quick tip- soak them! 0.5-6 hours of soak in cold water, or even 30 minutes in warm-hot water, will make a difference. The flavor seems to be much better, less bitter, and the nuts are also softer. All in all, they seem to be happier mingling with others ingredients after a good bath.

The length of soaking time depends on the type of nuts. Walnuts seem to benefit even from a 1 hour soak. Cashews get pretty soft within 30 minutes. Almonds take longer, and don’t forget to peel them after soak, as the skin loosens during the soak.

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Chanukah Candle Cookies

Candle cookies, complete with a flame.

Well, almost…

What You Need:

Sugar Cookie Dough in 2 colours ( I had plain and cocoa)

Candle Cookie Cutters*

Crushed Hard Candy, in red, yellow, orange, or any combination of the colours

Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat

How To:

Roll out the dough in 2 colours.

Cut out of each colour a big rectangle.

(At this point, you might want to transfer the rectangles to the cookie sheet and finish working on it there, OR transfer later, very carefully,  using a spatula.)

Cut out the smaller rectangle for the candle, and the ‘flame’**.

Put the cocoa candle in the hole for the plain candle, and vice versa.

At this point, if you hadn’t done it yet, transfer the cookie to the cookie sheet. Make sure you line the cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. It’ll help a lot with releasing the cookies without risking the candy sticking to the cookie sheet, and causing the cookies to break…

Fill the hole for the flame with crushed hard candy.

Bake as usual. Few minutes before the baking is done, take the cookie sheet out of the oven and add more crushed candy to the flame. Return to oven to finish baking.

Let cool in the pan for a minute or two, and then cool on a rack completely. Be careful when removing the cookies.

*The cookie cutters were made in a similar way  to the way I made the shofar cookie cutter, and they consist of a small narrow rectangle for the candle, a small teardrop for the flame, and a bigger and wider rectangle to ‘frame’ the candle.

**I cut the rest of the dough into rectangles, and attached  the ‘flame’ cutouts to the candle rectangles. You can also bake them as tiny tiny cookies, or re-roll the dough.

Happy Chanukah!

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How To Cut Grapefruit Segments

So. I’ve only seen it done in a way that you hold the grapefruit in your hand, whole, and then cut the segments. I honestly don’t know how it’s possible to cut nice segments this way. It’s also very messy and not very safe.

This way works better for me.

*Cut the top and bottom of the grapefruit, so the fruit shows (or, in other words, cut the white part off too).

*Put the grapefruit on a cutting board, and carefully cut the peel and the white part off the grapefruit. Follow the curve of the grapefruit as much as you can, so the segments will look nice and round. (needless to say, the previous step should also be done carefully).

(Here comes the trick part.)

* Separate the grapefruit into halves or quarters. It can be done easily if you push your thumb into the middle on the bottom.  Turn the two halves so the flatter side is towards you. Do you see the white ‘stem’ part in the middle of the half? Cut it off very carefully with a paring knife. You can quarter the grapefruit to make it easier.

*Separate the segments by hand, peeling the membranes between them. It’s easier than it sounds.

That’s it! You’re done! Enjoy your nice looking segments 🙂

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Baby-is-coming Pantry and Quick Meal Ideas

Less than 2 months to go, and I’m starting to build up a pantry to help with the weeks after the baby comes.

What I need are semi-prepared meals to put in the freezer and will cook fast, meals that will be very very simple, easy, and fast to make (less than 5 min. preparation), and meals that can be eaten without preparation or just be warmed up.

The idea behind freezing meals that are not cooked, is saving room in the freezer for more meals and some cookie dough.

I have a list of  things to make, and ideas for dinners. I’ll update as I go along.

Semi-Prepared Meals to put in the freezer:

Jambalaya Rice mix. Each bag is a double batch, so I used 2 cups rice in each. all is needed is to put it in the pot, add water and tomato sauce (or reconstitute it from tomato paste- the paste can be frozen in the same bag with the rice), bring to boil, cover and let cook for 20-25 minutes. Chunks of sausage can be added to make a complete meal.

Chickpeas and Vegetables (carrot, onion, squash, and spices), also in the freezer. The chickpeas are cooked. I’ll need to add some orzo and water to it, bring to boil and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Rice and Lentils. The same idea- add to the pot with water and cook.

Fast Cooking Meals

Pizza on Bagel

Omelette sandwich. You can add to the omelette toppings like: cheese, olives, mushrooms,chopped onions, basil, salsa, red peppers, tomato, or whatever else you like.

Baked Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Spaghetti Squash (don’t peel any- just scrub well). To be served with sour cream and some cut up fresh vegetables.

Pumpkin Soup (You can put a pumpkin in the oven when you bake the potatoes and use it for soup the next day).

Pasta with a simple tomato sauce (add some italian seasoning to a can of crushed tomatoes, and heat up).

Spaghetti with baked beans. You can heat the beans up with some salsa, or taco seasoning. I like to add some cumin, coriander, onion powder, oregano and some crushed tomatoes to the beans.

Chicken nuggets with french fries, store-bought, baked in the oven (to spare the time standing near the stove to turn them over).

Sloppy Joe on a bun.

Chicken and vegetables in the slow cooker. No need to get fancy- just scrub few potatoes, add baby carrots and some spice, and put with the chicken in the slow cooker for as long as it takes. You can add rice or barley instead of the potatoes, to spare some more time.

No Cooking Required Meals and Light Meals/ Snacks

PB & J Sandwishes (Ok, ok, it doesn’t have to be for dinner, you can have it for breakfast or as a snack).

Tortillas or Tacos with baked beans, sour cream, cole slaw, and salsa.

Bagel with cream cheese, or egg salad, or tuna salad, etc.

Granola and Yoghurt

Hot Oatmeal Cereal (a homemade mix is much cheaper)

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