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The Kitchen

The warmest spot in any home is the kitchen. It is where the family gathers for nourishment. It is where the cook prepares the food, groceries are unloaded, a kettle simmers on the stove, the youngster begs for cookies, dirty dishes are brought, the teenage son empties the refrigerator, the toddler bangs pots and pans and entwines around the legs of the mother, the father whips up a late night snack, and the family dog waits, ever hopeful, for a dropped crumb.
For those who would like to keep the kitchen the hub of the home, I invite you to share the tried and true recipes of the past, the exciting new ones that keep our enthusiasms high and little hints that would make our jobs easier.
Everyone, please contribute to this project. Any little recipe or tip will do. You're needed to make it better. Use this convenient form or email me.
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Tip of the Day
Bake meatballs instead of frying them. 350°, 35-45 minutes.
To eliminate turning fish sticks while baking, place them on a piece of crinkled aluminum foil so they brown on both sides without turning.
When you accidentally oversalt a gravy or sauce, you can add a couple teaspoons of sugar to counteract the saltiness.
Always add fruit pieces to the dry ingredients first so they are coated with flour. This prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the dough.
Heat frozen french fries according to the label directions. Sprinkle with curry or chili powder and serve with a cheese or sour cream dip.
A warm lemon will give more juice than a cold one.
When alternating flour and milk in a cake recipe, always make your last addition flour. It will be a smoother batter.
For sweetened condensed milk, mix 2 c. instant powdered milk granules, 1 cup granulated sugar, then add 1/2 cup hot (not boiling) water. Stir until thoroughly mixed and sugar dissolves. This makes the equivalent of a can of sweetened condensed milk.
For fluffier, great-tasting rice, add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the boiling water. Your rice will be easier to spoon and less sticky.
1 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1/2 teaspoon of soda are equivalent to 1 teaspoon baking powder.
Before party guests arrive, scoop ice cream into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners and refreeze. You won't have to fuss later when serving cake.
Helen Enders 1-14-99
To keep wax paper from sliding around on your counter or table, dampen the back side & it stays put!
BJ Enders 1-13-99
To aid you in rolling out cookie dough to an even height, place two dowel rods on either side of the dough, just at the edge of the rolling pin. Roll back and forth on the dowel rods. You can have a set of 1/8inch, 1/4inch, 3/8 and 1/2 inch dowel rods for versatility.
Carolyn Balkum 1-6-99
INTERESTING "BOUNCE" USES: (Lots of uses for the sheet used in drying laundry):
1. It takes the odor out of books and photo abums that don't get opened too often.
2. Repel mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.
3. Eliminate static electricity from your television screen. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.
4. Dissolve soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a used sheet of Bounce.
5. Freshen the air in your home. Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang one in the closet.
6. Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.
7. Prevent musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.
8. Freshen the air in your car. Place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.
9. Clean baked-on food from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in the pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The antistatic agents apparently weaken the bond between the food and the pan while the fabric softening agents soften the baked-on food.
10. Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.
11. Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.
12. Eliminate static electricity from venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.
13. Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sandpapering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.
14. Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.
15.Deodorize shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight so they'll smell better in the morning.

submitted by Lori Balkum

Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips!
Use a meat baster to "squeeze" your pancake batter onto the hot griddle--perfect shaped pancakes every time!
Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispie treats in the pan. The marshmallow won't stick to your fingers.
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting it in the refrigerator.It will keep for weeks.
Substitute half applesauce for the vegetable oil in your baking recipes. You'll greatly reduce the fat content. (Example: 1/2 cup vegetable oil 3 1/4 cup applesauce + 1/4 cup oil).
Brush beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful, glossy finish.
Don't throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

submitted by Becky Enders

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AU JUS--Natural juice. Used, for example, to refer to meat served in its own juice.
BLANCH--To remove the outer covering of fruits, vegetables or nuts by letting them stand in boiling water until the skin or shell comes off easily.
BROCHETTE--Small spit or skewer used for broiling meat cubes.
CARAMELIZE--To melt sugar slowly over very low heat until it becomes liquid, golden-brown, and has a caramel flavor.
DEVILED--A highly seasoned mixture that is usually finely chopped.
DOLLOP--A scoop or spoonful of semiliquid food used to garnish another food. A dollop of whipped cream or sour cream or mayonnaise can top a dessert or fruit salad..
DOUBLE-ACTING BAKING POWDER--A leavening compound which releases part of the carbon dioxide at room temperature and the remainder during baking.
DREDGE--To coat or dust food with a dry ingredient. Dredging adds flavor, facilitates browning and improves the appearance of cooked food.
FLAKE--To break or pull apart a food, such as fish, in which there are natural divisions. Food may be flaked by following these divisions, pulling at them gently with one or two forks or with the fingers.
FLAMBE--To add brandy or cognac to a food, and then ignite. The alcohol burns off, giving the food a distinctive flavor.
MARINATE--To soak food, meat or vegetables, in acid such as lemon juice or in wine or in an oil-acid mixture like French dressing. The marinade acts as a tenderizer and/or increases the flavor.
PURÉE--To press soft fruits or vegetables through a sieve or food mill or to blend in an electric blender until pulpy.
TORTONI--A frozen dessert consisting of whipped cream or ice cream with ingredients such as chopped almonds, cherries, macaroons or liquers. Individual servings are known as biscuit tortoni.

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Memories of a Swedish Kitchen --
The earliest memory I have of my mother is in the kitchen with me hugging her around her knees. As a child it seemed to me she was always there. A Swedish immigrant, her kitchen was filled with the wonderful aromas of food from her homeland - delicious Swedish coffeecake and rolls scented with cardamom and sprinkled with sugar, and Swedish limpa, a coarse rye bread baked in a circle and cut in pie-shaped wedges, which was my father's favorite.
The aroma of bread fresh from the oven greeted my father each evening after his hard day of work as a carpenter. Daddy's face would light up as he came up the basement stairs. He'd head straight for the kitchen, give Mother a kiss and hug, and praise her for her baking. My brother and I would then run into the kitchen to be included in Daddy's big hug. He'd sweep us up in his arms and rub our cheeks with his beard. In the kitchen with my parents there was a warm, safe feeling that made me feel somehow that everything was all right, and perhaps that is why, to this day, the kitchen is where I feel most secure.
Nowadays, my happiest moments are spent concocting dishes to feed my family and friends. Even though I love to travel, when I've been gone awhile, I'm eager to invite people over and get back in the kitchen and cook. My freezer must be full and my pantry overflowing - a carryover from the Depression that is essential to my sense of well-being. I take joy in serving unexpected guests at a moment's notice.
During the Depression, when we barely had enough to eat ourselves, I remember Mother serving sandwiches to a homeless man on our back stairs. She taught me that no matter how little we had, we could still share - and I have never forgotten that lesson. There is an old Swedish saying. "Five people were invited, ten showed up. Put more water in the soup and everybody enjoy!"
By Norma Brandel Gibbs from Chicken Soup for the Soul Cookbook Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Diana von Welanetz Wentworth. To enjoy Chicken Soup for the Soul: please register here Chicken Soup for the Soul-Home Delivery




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