Aug 3, 2009

Multi-use Microwave

by Ellen Wilson

Use your microwave for more than TV dinners.

We all know that the microwave is great for reheating leftovers or making popcorn for a late night snack, but there are multiple ways your microwave can be used to decrease meal prep time. Just remember to always use microwaveable dishes. No metal or aluminum foil should ever be put in the microwave.

(All of the following suggestions are just general times. Your microwave will cook differently so you will need to do some trial and error to determine exact times. A good general rule is to check for doneness every 30 seconds to a minute, depending on the overall cook time.)
  • Use the microwave for any vegetable you would steam on the stove. Put the vegetable in a bowl with a bit of water (generally a few tablespoons). Cover and cook.

    • Fresh Vegetables:
      • Broccoli: 3-4 minutes on high
      • Asparagus: 2 minutes on high
      • Potatoes or beets: 4 minutes on high (be sure to prick several times with a fork)
      • Spinach: 1-2 on high
      • Cauliflower: 5 minutes on high

    • Frozen Vegetables: Follow directions on packaging.

  • Cooking squash is also much faster in the microwave.

    • Acorn squash: Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Place cut-side down in a baking dish with a little water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave ten minutes. You can then turn the two sides back over, fill the middle with brown sugar and butter, cook for another 2 minutes and enjoy the delicious fall taste.

    • Spaghetti squash: Pierce with a knife in 5 places. Microwave on a paper towel for ten to twelve minutes. Be sure to rotate squash during this time. The squash will be done when the skin gives slightly when pressed. Cut squash in half lengthwise, discard seeds, and eat with Parmesan, olive oil, pepper, or spaghetti sauce.

  • For a quick breakfast, microwave some eggs in a bowl. Although not quite as good on the stove, it's fast and healthy. Add eggs, salt and pepper in a microwaveable bowl and cook for 30 second bursts and stir in between. Or if you don't stir, you get a great solid egg for breakfast sandwiches.

  • Decrystallize honey by nuking on medium power for 30 seconds to a minute.

  • To get more juice from lemons and limes, you can microwave for 20 seconds before squeezing.

  • Toasting nuts in the microwave can cut down loads of baking time. Spread nuts out on a plate in a single layer and heat on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute. They will continue to toast for about a minute after removal so don't bit into them too quickly.
  • Use the microwave to disinfect sponges.  Make sure they are damp because they are a fire hazard if dry.

  • The microwave can also disinfect plastic cutting boards. Cut a lemon in half; rub the board with the lemon and then heat for 1 minute.

Aug 1, 2009

Vented Pourer

By Ellen Wilson

Vented Pourer

If you're tired of screwing and unscrewing tops for your oil, salad dressing, vinegar, or even your dish soap, this Kitchen Gadget is an inexpensive solution. Made to fit most bottle spouts, you can attach a vented pourer to any liquid you use frequently.  Using a pourer can help reduce drips and spills.  Our favorite way to use it is on our olive oil bottle so we can control the stream of oil into the frying pan.  Or get creative; Fill an old-style glass soda bottle with dish soap, attach a pourer, and you have a stylish dispenser that won't leave soap-gunk all over the spout.
You can purchase pourers at any kitchen retail store.

The Skyroom Buffet

  Where: The Skyroom

What: The Skyroom Buffet

Price: $11.99

Entree and sides, sauces, soups, fresh rolls and butter, carved meat, full salad bar, prepared salads, fresh seasonal fruit, variety of desserts, soft drink

If you're looking for the most food for your money, The Skyroom is your dream come true. With all the food you can handle at your fingertips, this buffet will more than satisfy. The Skyroom is home to the freshest food around and the variety is unmatchable. The buffet menu changes daily so make sure to check the website for the most recent menu. Located on the sixth floor of the Wilkinson Center, the window-lined dining room provides the best view on campus. Come enjoy BYU's most gourmet meal in the elegant Skyroom Restaurant.


Cleaning Cookware

By Ellen Wilson

As the dishes pile up in the sink, it's tempting to just throw the entire mess into the dishwasher for a quick, easy clean-up. However, to maintain your cookware, hand washing is the best option. The harsh dishwasher detergents and hot heat can dull and damage the finish of your pans. Here are some hints on how to keep your pots and pans in good condition.
  • Nonstick pans should be washed with a soft sponge. If you have any troubles with burnt-on food, put the cooled pan into the freezer for about a half an hour and the food will be easy to remove afterwards.
  • For cast iron cooking pans, do not use soap. Wash with hot water and if there is food stuck in the pan, use coarse salt and vegetable oil to scrub with. After the food is removed, rinse with hot water.
  • For copper, or copper-bottomed pans, clean with soap and water. To remove tarnish, use a copper-polishing solution or, for a home remedy, rub the exterior of the pan with two lemon halves that have been dipped in salt. The acids will help to remove the tarnish.
  • To clean baked-on food off a glass pan or oven rack, use dishwashing soap, and a ball of aluminum foil in place of a steel-wool soap pad. The aluminum works just as well as the steel-wool pad and recycles your used pieces of aluminum.

Cinnamon Apple Mousse

Cinnamon Apple Mousse
8 Servings

1 ounce sugar
2 cups cream
4 ounces apple juice
2 ounces egg whites
3 ounces sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
2 ounces gelatin

Whip together the cream, cinnamon, and 1 ounce sugar and set aside. Prepare meringue by whipping together the egg whites and sugar. Melt the gelatin in the apple juice. Fold the whipped cream and meringue together, and then incorporate the apple gelatin.
Use your preferred individual molds. Coat with non-stick spray and dust with powdered sugar. Add mousse to molds and allow to setup overnight or 24 hours ahead. Unmold and serve with preferred sauce.

Summer Corn Chowder

Summer Corn Chowder
4 Servings

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 strip of bacon, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
2 cups of fresh corn removed from the cob
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 medium Russet potato, peeled and diced
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh minced basil
1/2 tablespoon fresh minced chives

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add diced bacon and fry until bacon is browned, about 6 minutes. Add onions, carrots and celery, and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add flour and cook for 5 minutes while stirring.

Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer with diced potato and fresh corn; allow to simmer until the vegetables and potatoes are tender.  Add cream and fresh basil and chives, and turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.