Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kitchen Tricks

"The Splendid Table's How To Eat Supper" by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift Clarkson Potter Publishers $35 338 pages

"The Splendid Table" is a program on public radio and the women who run it have put together a book of "Recipes, Stories and Opinions" which is quite interesting. Some tidbits ...

The Vinegar Man - Lawrence Diggs -- runs the International Vinegar Museum in beautiful, downtown Roslyn, SD. It features vinegars made from all kinds of plants, paper made from vinegar (!) and the Web site is

Bag your own lettuce; store-bought bags can carry salmonella. Buy a head of lettuce (any kind,) wash and thoroughly dry the leaves (don't tear them up into salad size just yet) then put them in a ziplock bag with a paper towel to wick up any moisture. Squeeze out all of the air, seal the bag shut and put it in the crisper. Ozygen and water are a lettuce's enemies.

Learn to measure dry ingredients without using cups or spoons. Next time you have to measure something, use the proper spoon -- 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 --but dump the contents in the palm of your hand, not the dish. You'll very quickly learn how much you need. Just don't do this when baking; baking is a precise science (and probably why I hate to bake and do it so badly.)

Freshening frozen shrimp: Squeeze the juice of a lime into a medium-sized pot, add the rinds and about a quart of water. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Raise the heat, add the frozen shrimp -- even in a block of ice -- cover the pan, bring it back to a boil and immediately take the pan off of the heat. Drain the water off, but keep the shrimp in the pan -- off the heat -- partially covered for 15 minutes then go ahead and use them.

This sounds suspiciously bad to me, but perhaps you are more open-minded ... It's called a "65 degree egg" and what it is is this. Turn your oven on to 150 degrees and wait 20 minutes. Put the raw eggs -- in their shells -- on the oven rack and forget about them for two hours. (Salmonella dies at 140 degrees.) When the eggs have been in there for a couple of hours, remove them, gently crack the shell and ease the egg out, being careful not to beak it. The eggs are said to be exceptionally creamy. Eat with a spoon.

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