Risen from the dead!

Flat cookies, unleavened bread, muffins like rocks – all are products from dead baking soda, yeast or baking powder! There are a few culprits for these products dying on you, mainly age or temperature. In the case of yeast, they’re live cells; humidity and high temperatures will kill them! For baking soda and baking powder, […]

Does size really matter?

You’re making your grandmother’s famous chocolate cake and the recipe calls for 2 – 9″ cake pans. You only have 8″ round cake pans—so, the cake will be a little smaller, does it really matter? Yes! In baking, all things matter! It’s more than just that inch, it’s the volume. A 9″ cake pan has […]

Innovation :: the mother of recipes

I have to laugh during the ice storms of Minnesota because I have found one reason to cherish them: extra refrigerator space! Thanks to my non-heated garage, which remains at 36º during the winter, I am able to plop additional groceries on the shelves until I manage to find more space in my refrigerator. When […]

Re-defining “room temperature”

In many recipes (including my tips below), bringing ingredients to room temperature is imperative to the success of the recipe. However, during my recent vacation to Central America, I have recognized that room temperature to one is another’s heat wave. :) Therefore, it seems that a call for definition is in order! With that, I […]

How to store cookies

Cookie jars are the gift to everyone’s kitchen–especially when they’re loaded with yummy cookies! Unfortunately, incorrectly-stored cookies will turn into dry, crispy cookies. All too soon are gone the nice, chewy cookies if cookies are tossed in the jar, with no afterthough! Careful steps will help you preserve those cookies for two to three days, […]

Caca! Me no likey! :(

Ah, the rants of children and adults alike when certain dishes are placed in front of them at restaurants, homes, or the houses of guests. But, I propose to you that you, in fact, do not care for this particular preparation of the dish, not the dish as a whole. Growing up, I detested salad! […]


Fresh versus dried spices

So many herbs – so little thyme. When recipes call for fresh herbs and spices, if you can afford them, use them, by all means! If your budget is a little tighter and you need to stick with dried herbs, take a few tips to heart to help step-up your dishes.   Use high quality […]

A chip off the ol’ block

Mmmm! Chocolate chips! Most people love them – but, only the good ones. In fact, ironically, most people I meet say, “I only like chocolate chip cookies with a few chocolate chips” or “I only like Milk Chocolate chips!” This puzzled me a long time – until I figured out the source! Bad ingredients produce […]

Mixed doubles?

If you’ve been meaning to supplement your kitchen with a full-size mixer (to supplement your KA Hand-Mixer) look no more! Really, this a bargain! The full-size KA 5-Quart Mixer is on sale for the Holidays for only $199. But, with the December deal, enter the code HOHOSAVE in the check-out, which will bring the price […]

Press on!

When it comes to mincing garlic, many feel rather discouraged. It’s difficult to have those little suckers stay still while you chop them up. Then there’s the odor that never seems to leave your hands! Ugh! Might I introduce the ultimate in kitchen tools? The Zyliss Garlic Press. I really don’t think I could live […]

When all else fails…

read the directions! Usually when people begin a sentence with, “I tried this new recipe – it was terrible!” The next few sentences invariably include, “I was out of ‘xxx’ ingredient, so I threw in ‘xxx’. I also hate ‘xxx’ so I left them out. Plus, I didn’t have the pan they called for, so […]

Measure up!

More baking basics! When you are using a baking book, they will always introduce the book with a chapter of their basics. Be sure to read this chapter carefully abide by their rules. In some books, measuring flours require the dip and sweep method; others use the spoon and level method. If you use interchange […]

A Gluten for Punishment

Most quick breads and cookie recipes will specify to not overstir the dough; ever wondered why? It’s actually a very simple explanation: flour + liquid = glue. So, when you over-beat your mix, you’re creating a glue (developing too much gluten), which causes your baked goods to be too tough! So, go gentle on the […]

If you can’t take the heat –

don’t get out of the kitchen! Just learn the rules. One of the “cooking common sense” failures that new chefs fail to abide by is having the pan hot enough. A pan should be set on the burner for at least five minutes before you add you food to it. The important part of cooking […]

Don’t stick a fork in it!

Into meat, that is. A common mistake, actually, is that people use forks to turn their meats, which is one of the worst things you can do. When you pierce the meat, you lose all the succulent juices, which is where all the yummy flavor is. Which, basically reverses your time brining (you are brining, […]