There comes a time in every cook's life when we find ourselves confronted with a pile of tomatoes and a recipe that instructs us to peel them. It seems pointless, onerous, time-consuming. But for the sake of a silky-smooth tomato sauce or soup, we do it anyway. Here are three ways to get the job done without driving yourself crazy. We thank Thekitchn.com for sharing this tomato wisdom!
In 2014, The KosherEye Team aspires to. . .
Make at least 1 recipe from every cookbook we own
Bake More Pie---Learn to make Cronuts
Experiment more with the slow cooker and cast iron skillet
Make vegan mac and cheese
Explore more recipes using kale, quinoa, chia and farro
Clean out spice cabinets and try new, exotic spices
Make sauerkraut, pickles, and pickled veggies
Use more leftovers - Reduce food waste
What are your food resolutions?
Some resolutions Inspired by The Huffington Post
According to Buzzfeed.com:
• You wait too long to buy a turkey
• You forget that a frozen turkey takes four days to thaw
• You don't let your turkey come to room temperature before roasting it
• You don't dry the turkey really well both inside the cavity and on the outside
• You don't use a roasting rack inside your roasting pan
• You cook stuffing inside the turkey
• You roast the turkey at one temperature instead of starting it in a really hot oven and then lowering the heat
• You "freak out" about the skin browning too quickly and turn down the over temperature
• You don't use a thermometer
• You check the temperature at the wrong time and in the wrong place
• You cook the turkey past 165 degrees
• You don't let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes before carving
• You destroy the turkey when carving (cooking.com)
• You carve the whole bird even if half of it will be eaten on Thanksgiving
• You use a huge bird, instead of a smaller bird and favorite parts
Want to know how to correct these common turkey errors? Go to Buzzfeed.com.
For Turkey cooking tips, we like this New York Times article about easy turkey preparation.
Quick Cook One Pan Pasta
No need to use a huge pot of boiling water to cook pasta. Here's a great video tip from cooking scientist Harold McGee on how to cook pasta in a deep frying pan. Use less water to cook the pasta. Any broth can be substituted for the water to add a depth of flavor.
One Pan Pasta Aglio E Oglio
After cooking pasta in deep fry pan, reserve some of the liquid – set aside.
Pour some olive oil into the same pan—add garlic; sauté until fragrant. Add some crushed red pepper (to taste) and salt. Return pasta to pan; Heat toss and serve. If too dry, add a bit of the reserved liquid.
Optional: Toss in some roasted red peppers or roasted tomatoes
What is Canola?
A reader asked us a simple question: What is a Canola? OOPS, we did not know. KosherEye buys canola oil all the time; in fact- we often choose it instead of plain vegetable oil...but what is canola and why should we use it?
We referred to canolainfo.org for the following:
Canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of the canola plant. Canola is part of the Brassica family. Cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower are also part of this same botanical family. Each canola plant grows from 3 to 6 feet (1 m -2 m) tall and produces many yellow flowers.
As the plant matures, pods form that are similar in shape to pea pods, but about 1/5th the size. Each pod contains about twenty tiny round black or brownish-yellow seeds.
Once harvested, canola seeds are taken to a facility where they are crushed to extract the oil contained within the seed. This oil is then further refined and bottled as canola oil.
Basic characteristics of this cooking oil include a pale golden color, light texture, neutral taste and high heat tolerance. The average canola seed is 45% oil. The remainder of the seed, which is very high in protein, is processed into canola meal and used as a high quality animal feed.
Canola is grown primarily in the prairie regions of Western Canada, with some acreage being planted in Ontario and the Pacific Northwest. Smaller volumes are also grown in the North-central and South-eastern United States.
Canola oil has generated a lot of research interest into its potential health benefits because of its low level of saturated fat, high monounsaturated fat and good balance of omega 3 and 6 fats.
One additional question arises about Canola oil—does it contain toxins?
We found an answer from the Mayo Clinic
From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Health concerns about canola oil are unfounded. Canola oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant, is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.
Misinformation about canola oil may stem from the fact that the canola plant was developed through crossbreeding with the rapeseed plant. Rapeseed oil contains very high levels of erucic acid, a compound that in large amounts can be toxic to humans. Canola oil, however, contains very low levels of erucic acid.
Canola oil is also low in saturated fat and has a high proportion of monounsaturated fat, which makes it a healthy and safe choice when it comes to cooking oils.
Should we "Love it or Lose it"?
Do you have the same daily dilemma we do.. When we open the pantry or the fridge - should we "Love it or Lose it"? What do expiration dates, sell by dates and use by dates actually mean? Is it safe to keep foods past their prime? One of our favorite TV doctors weighs in on this very important topic.
An excerpt of an article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Time.com
Use-by dates are contributing to millions of pounds of wasted food each year. A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic says Americans are prematurely throwing out food, largely because of confusion over what expiration dates actually mean.
"Use by" and "Best by": These dates are intended for consumer use, but are typically the date the manufacturer deems the product reaches peak freshness. It's not a date to indicate spoilage, nor does it necessarily signal that the food is no longer safe to eat.
"Sell by": This date is only intended to help manufacturers and retailers, not consumers. It's a stocking and marketing tool provided by food makers to ensure proper turnover of the products in the store so they still have a long shelf life after consumers buy them. Consumers, however, are misinterpreting it as a date to guide their buying decisions. The report authors say that "sell by" dates should be made invisible to the consumer.
Most consumers mistakenly believe that expiration dates on food indicate how safe the food is to consume, when these dates actually aren't related to the risk of food poisoning or foodborne illness. Food dating emerged in the 1970s, prompted by consumer demand, as Americans produced less of their own food but still demanded information about how it was made. The dates solely indicate freshness, and are used by manufacturers to convey when the product is at its peak. That means the food does not expire in the sense of becoming inedible.
For un-refrigerated foods, there may be no difference in taste or quality, and expired foods won't necessarily make people sick.
But according to the new analysis, words like "use by" and "sell by" are used so inconsistently that they contribute to widespread misinterpretation — and waste — by consumers. More than 90% of Americans throw out food prematurely, and 40% of the U.S. food supply is tossed--unused--every year because of food dating.
The result is a confused public — and tons of wasted food. Correcting these entrenched misconceptions, however, won't be easy. The report authors say the re-education could start with a clearer understanding of what the dates mean.
To read more about food safety and expiration dates, visit http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/19/health/sell-by-dates-waste-food/index.html?iref=allsearch
Preparing Cake Pans
Watch this video as Bridget Lancaster from America's Test Kitchen Cooking School shares her tips to prevent cakes and cupcakes from sticking to pans:
As we approach the days of YomTov, we spend hours, and hours, and hours cooking and baking in our kitchens-- slicing, chopping, dicing, mixing, simmering, reaching– Get the picture?
Artwork by Carl Wiens for the New York Times
A recent article in the New York Times by one of our favorite columnists, Jane E. Brody, reminds us and warns us to be careful in the kitchen. This is a must read for every cook, and every 'helpful in the kitchen' family member. Read the article here:
Remember schmaltz? Your mom and Bubbie likely used a lot of it in their cooking. Schmaltz, or chicken fat, has a great flavor and richness, and is part of Jewish culinary tradition.
Rendered chicken fat adds rich flavor to many recipes and makes use of parts of the bird that would otherwise be wasted. (Our Bubbies wasted nothing!) It is traditional to use schmaltz in chopped liver recipes, but schmaltz is also good for cooking potatoes and other root vegetables. What was old, is new again--in moderation, please!
To make schmaltz (a.k.a. rendered chicken fat), begin by saving bits of fat and skin removed from raw chicken. You can stockpile these in a sealable bag or container-and store in the freezer until about 3 cups are accumulated.
Place the fat and skin scraps in a heavy bottomed, non-reactive pan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the scraps render most of their fat and begin to brown.
At this point, some add a chopped onion. Raise the heat to medium. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the chicken scraps are golden brown and crispy, but not burned. Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Strain through a fine meshed strainer, or a cheesecloth. Store in a sealable container
Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 4-6 months.