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Friday, February 11, 2011

Slow Cookers The Comfort You Need In Cooking

Homeschooled children in the kitchenImage via Wikipedia
By Estella James


Cooking can be easy but there are things that you need to consider especially the materials that you are using. You can cook your food as delicious as you want it to be with slow cookers. You can do it without much hustle. You can also add ingredients as more as you want because of its special features. You can leave your food while cooking and set your own desired time you don't need to stay in a hot stove and keep looking on your food. As mothers providing great food for your family is the best thing you can do.

5 Unique Cocktails To Perk Up Your Valentines

"Flaming" cocktails contain a small ...Image via Wikipedia
By Neela Vazzana


Set your Valentine's Day glorification on fire and spice it up with some smoking cocktail that will assuredly keep the love blazing. However, there are countless cocktails to pick. Which are the perfect choices that would blend perfectly with the hot and greatly special affair? Here is a mini list that would furnish spice to your Valentine loving.

Condiments and Sauces

Olive oil with Balsamic VinegarImage via Wikipedia
By Juvy S. Iliwiliw




              Don't  you know that olive oil with different herbs and spices steeped in it turns into a unique condiment perfect for serving with breads. It may also be used in your favorite recipes to add a flavorful twist!

            A word of caution, though: there are unsafe ways of making flavored oil, and you need to be very careful to prevent food poisoning. The main thing to remember is that adding any substance containing water-and these would include garlic, fresh herbs and spices, fresh peppers or citrus peels-to the oil can create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
           Flavored oils should be kept refrigerated, and to ensure this, the bottle you put them in should carry this reminder on labels that cannot be easily removed.

HERBED OLIVE OIL

You will need:

2       tbsp dried herbs (combination of oregano, rosemary, basil or marjoram)
2       tbsp. dried peppercorns (black is okay, but you can find green and pink
         peppercorns at delis and specialty food shops)
2       cups extra virgin olive oil

Here's how:

        Place the dried herbs and peppercorns in warm sterilized jars and add the olive oil. Seal well. Store for two weeks in the refrigerator to let the flavor develop.


BASIL AND GARLIC VINEGAR
This recipe isn't actually hard to make but requires extra care in preparing ingredients and sterilizing jars. You can also make flavored vinegars with dried herbs, using a few tablespoons for every 2 cups of vinegar.

You will need:

1/2      cup chopped fresh basil
1/2      head garlic, peeled
2         cups vinegar
           Fresh basil leaves

Here's how:

          Place the basil and garlic in warm sterilized glass jars. Heat the vinegar until almost boiling. Pour the vinegar over the basil and garlic and seal jars tightly. Let stand 3-4 weeks to let the flavor develop. Strain the vinegar through several layers of cheesecloth (katsa) until it runs clear. Pour into warm sterilized jars. If you like, insert a couple of fresh leaves of basil for a decorative touch. Add a tag with your favorite vinaigrette as a suggested recipe.


CHILI and GARLIC VINEGAR
If you like things hot and spicy, this vinegar is for you! You may use the small red or green chilies (siling labuyo) or the elongated somewhat milder finger peppers (siling haba). Serve as a dip with grilled foods or ihaw.


You will need:


1/2      cup small red and green chilies or 4 finger peppers
1/2      head garlic, peeled
2         cups vinegar
           Additional chilies and garlic cloves (optional)

Here's how:


         Place the chilies and garlic in warm sterilized glass jars. Heat the vinegar until almost boiling. Pour the vinegar over the chilies and garlic and seal jars tightly. Let stand three to four weeks to let flavor develop. Strain the vinegar through several layers of cheesecloth until it runs clear (or give as is, even if it's a bit cloudy). Pour into warm sterilized jars. If you like, insert new chilies and garlic for a decorative touch.


DAYAP VINEGAR


You will need:


Peel of 2 dayap (lime), or substitute lemon
2   cups vinegar
Additional peel of 1 dayap

Here's how:


       Remove the peel from the fruit in long strips, avoiding the white pitch. Place the peel in warm sterilized glass jars. heat the vinegar until almost boiling. Pour the vinegar over the peel and seal jars tightly. Let stand three to four weeks to let the flavor develop. Strain the vinegar through several layers of cheesecloth until it runs clear. Pour into warm sterilized jars. Insert a new dayap peel (try to cut a long continuous spiral for best effect) for a decorative touch.


FLAVORED BUTTERS
Try this sweet butter on toast or pancakes! If you prefer, use grated lemon or lime peel.


You will need:


1       cup softened butter
3/4    cup honey
1       tbsp. grated orange peel

Here's how:


         Beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the honey until smooth. Stir in the grated peel (if you beat in, the peel will tend to stick to the beaters). Transfer the butter to decorative crocks or other containers and chill until firm.


MAPLE SPICE BUTTER
Substitute honey if you can't find maple syrup or want a cheaper alternative.


You will need:
1      cup softened butter
3/4   cup maple syrup
1/4   tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg

Here's how:
        Beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the maple syrup and spices, then beat until blended. Transfer to decorative crocks or other containers and chill until firm.


GARLIC HERB BUTTER
Fresh herbs are best for this-use a combination of parsley, basil, oregano or marjoram. Tarragon is best by itself and without the garlic. Another time, use just fresh dill and serve with boiled or grilled seafoods. Rosemary and garlic are great on steaks.


You will need:
1         cup softened butter
3 or 4  cloves garlic, crushed
2         tbsp. chopped fresh herbs

Here's how:
          Beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Blend in garlic and herbs. Transfer to decorative crocks or other containers and chill until firm.


RED PEPPER BUTTER
Try this colorful butter on grilled chicken or vegetables like baked potatoes and boiled corn.


You will need:
1        cup softened butter
3 or 4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4     cup finely chopped pimiento
          A dash of salt and pepper

Here's how:
         Beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the garlic, pimiento, salt and pepper until blended. Transfer to decorative crocks or other containers and chill until firm.


FLAVORED HONEY
Look for the local honey sold on the roadsides when you go out of town and use that for this recipe. Local honey is not only fresher, but also cheaper than imported honey from the supermarket. You can find pots of sage and thyme fairly easily at the many organic markets that have sprung up all over the city.


You will need:
A few sprigs of fresh sage or thyme,
      washed well and dried
2     cups honey

Here's how:
        Put a sprig or two of fresh sage or thyme in small warm sterilized jars. Cover with honey and seal well. Let stand for a few weeks to let the flavor develop.


LOW-CALORIE TOMATO DRESSING
Salad dressings don't have a long shelf life, but they make an interesting gift packaged with, say, a head of lettuce and a few nice red tomatoes. Your recipient will have to make use of both the dressing and the greens fairly quickly. Don't shop for your salad fixings at the supermarket; visit an organic or regular market for fresher and cheaper produce!


You will need:


1        six ounces can of tomato juice
2        tbsp. finely chopped onion
1        tbsp. finely chopped celery
1        tbsp. finely chopped green pepper
1        tbsp. grated carrot
1        tsp. calamansi or lemon juice
1/2     tsp. sugar
1        tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/2     tsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1/4     tsp. each salt and black pepper

Here's how:


        Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to jars or cruets and store in the refrigerator until ready to give away. Shake before using.



HERB VINAIGRETTE
Give this with just a basket of the best tomatoes you can find.


You will need:


3/4     cup olive oil
1/4     cup wine vinegar
1        clove garlic, finely minced
2        tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, parsley,
          green onions or a combination of these)
1/4     tsp. each salt and pepper

Here's how:


         Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to jars or cruets and store in refrigerator until ready to give away. Shake before using.












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Special-All about Cooking

cooking schoolImage by hannahspanna via Flickr
By William Evans


## What are cooking schools?

Cooking schools help you learn how to cook in ways that are interactive and fun. You'll be taught how to make a number of delicious dishes, and you may take the recipes home with you.

## Let's say I've never cooked before?

Cooking schools seek to instill a love of cuisine in their students, particularly in novice cooks! The course instructors are good at making every student feel at ease, and you will be creating tasty dinners before you know it.

## What kind of food will I learn to cook?

So you are curious about what cooking classes Melbourne has available. Most schools teach casual dining and will often offer a wide variety of simple and fast dishes. If you would like to be taught a distinct type of authentic cooking, look for a specialty school, like:

- Greek

- Japanese

- Spanish

- Italian

- Thai

- Vegetarian Food

## Are these meals healthy?

Most cooking schools emphasize using fresh, local produce in their recipes. These meals are not processed or full of preservatives, so they're much healthier than typical restaurant food. The cooking school can provide you with the nutritional information for each recipe you'll prepare. They may also offer a "healthy eating" menu featuring foods that are low in fat, salt, or sugar.

## Are these classes costly?

You will find most instructional classes priced under one hundred dollars. For this fee you will discover how to prepare a number of complete meals, including an appetizer, main course, plus a dessert. You'll have the recipes in hand so you can make them time and again. You'd spend about the same amount dining out 3 times, but with little to show for it but an expanding waistline! The money spent is a wise investment.

## Just how can I sign up for a cooking class?

Simply contact one of the numerous schools for cooking classes Melbourne has to offer. You'll be able to find them by carrying out an internet search, or by turning to your local yellow pages. Menus generally vary week to week, so be sure that the day you choose has some of your favorite meals on the list of options.




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