As we prepared our recipe for Chicken Pot Pies this week, we decided to address one of the often-overlooked elements of this delicious mid-winter dish– the crust. Knowing how to make a decent pie crust should be as essential as knowing how to tie your shoes. Some things you’ll notice in the following variations– it’s…

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What is a Mortar and Pestle and how is it used? This handy kitchen utensil is the predecessor of the food processor.  It’s a must have for Italian and Mediterranean influenced food.  Place garlic, herbs, pepper flakes in the bowl—the mortar—and mash and mash and mash these ingredients together with the Pestle. Purest insist that…

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I cringe and clinch my teeth when I go home and see my dad grill a sausage.  He takes it from fresh meat in the refrigerator to a hot grill and cooks it all the way through.  The final product – usually a dry sausage. There are generally two types of sausages – fresh and…

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So, you want to make a batch of pickles?  How much do you need to buy?  Where do you start?  For your first attempt at pickles here is about what you will need: 1 peck of pickling cucumbers 12 quart jars with lids 12 heads of dill 1-2 heads of garlic (optional) 6 cups white…

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I hate to throw anything away.  Over the summer, my crock pot is on nearly every day, turning split tomatoes into pasta sauce, tomato paste, or simmering sauces.  I pickled anything I could, some with better results than others (pickled snow peas showed up in my Bloody Mary cocktails last week-yum).  Here are some things to use up rather…

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I had several people tell me they have a lot of beans and aren’t sure what to do with them.  Whenever you are in doubt as to what to do with something, my fall back is always pickling.  I love pickled vegetables as a snack, and adding interesting pickled vegetables to a relish tray takes it to…

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When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water.  Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted you can’t taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge.  The…

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Your refrigerator sucks the moisture out of these vegetables.  There is not enough humidity.   In the grocery store and distribution warehouses, these items are often packed with shaved ice or continually misted with cold water. Try this technique to best preserve lettuces, spinach, and all leafy greens. 1) Wash greens in COLD (even ice cold) water.   I add…

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Your ham (if you ordered one) is already cooked.  It has been fully smoked over hickory wood chips, so all you need to do is reheat your ham to an internal temperature of 150 to 160 degrees. Depending on what cut you have, carving it will be slightly different.  The shank portion is the one that is pointed at one end.  This…

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Brining is a method of soaking meat in a salt-based solution to tenderize the meat, infuse flavors, and help the meat retain moisture while cooking. The additional moisture in the meat also reduces the cooking time since water transfers energy faster than air. There are no standard “best” brines. It is all a matter of…

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