KITCHEN TIPS FOR HANDLING INGREDIENTS
TIP FOR CLEANING & USING CELERY
I love celery, but hate cleaning it, removing the strings, etc. Whether you love celery hearts or the entire celery bunch, soak it a few minutes, swish it through water to wash it quickly, shake it well, dry with a small towel, and chop across the whole thing, slicing from the top. You can cut the yellowed tips, if necessary. Don’t bother taking off the string. They are minor and serve as fiber. I cut as much as I want, and store the rest of the heart for next time. As I get closer to the bottom, I sometimes discard the wide whiter part. It’s tougher, anyway. Fast, easy celery!
TIP FOR KEEPING PARSLEY FRESH
When I buy a bunch of Italian or curly parsley, I first wash it thoroughly, then cut off the tips, replace the binding with a rubber band, and stand the bouquet in water in a cup in the refrigerator. I cut off what I want as needed. Every other day or so, I replace the water with fresh, and my parsley stays spritely till I eat it up! Just cut off what you need and lput your little bouquet back in the fridge!
TIP FOR KEEPING GREENS FRESH FOR TWO WEEKS
Water on the greens will make them rot, so I don’t wash them until I’m ready to use them. If you do, you must dry them well. Now, here’s the clever part. Use a white towel, spread your green leaves along the towel and roll it up. You can even put two kinds of greens in a towel. Rolling keeps the individual leaves or bunches (like spinach) from touching, and keeps them dry. Place the towel in an extra large plastic storage bag (2 gal. size) or even larger. I don’t seal the bag—just fold the bag over. You write on the outside of the bag what is in it because the little white towels all look alike! I can find any ingredient I want. The towel absorbs the moisture, but the plastic keeps the green from wilting. As you use the green, watch the moisture on the towel. When it begins to feel a little damp, throw the towel in the wash, pick out any sad looking leaves, and wrap the greens in a fresh towel.
NOTE: For cleaned greens, you can also use a plastic container. Put a small towel or paper towel on the bottom and a towel on top. You will be surprised at how quickly the TOP towel becomes damp. Wipe the top lid dry, change the towel on top, and your lettuce will stay fresh a long time.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
You need a really fine blender for smoothies and other recipes. One of my favorite tools for creating salads is a German made slicer, (Borner), with a razor sharp blade and three inserts which can perform varied jobs: very fine slaw, julienne strips, fine slices. I find it excels at making slaw. I use it for that almost exclusively. Since I love a bit of cabbage in most of my salads, I use it often.