How to prepare kale

I first heard about them at the Green City Market in Chicago. I was recipe shopping among the all of the farmers there, writing a story for the Chicago Tribune about the then new “celebrity” of the food world: the farmers themselves. Today that’s not a new thought, but back then, some 7 years ago,…

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How to make lavender sugar

  There’s something so regal, so stand-up-tall about flower sugars, lavender in particular. Purple is of course the most royal of all royal colors. With the new heir to the throne about to come on the scene, I thought of that baby more than once with all of the lavender around here. It’s not just…

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How to Make Whipped Cream

Fresh, homemade whipped cream is one of the best little tricks you can keep up your sleeve. Homemade whipped cream is so luscious, and strikes the perfect balance of being both rich and light at once. And it’s made of one thing: heavy cream. The “non-dairy whipped topping” of yesteryear is best left there. You…

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Ice Cream, Gelato, Sorbet: What’s the difference?

This week, at the official start of summer, a primer on the world of ice cream: Ice Cream is made of heavy cream (of course), milk, sugar and flavorings. Ice cream varies in percentage of butterfat, with premium being the highest in fat (11-15%). Commercial ice creams are whipped and contain a lot of air,…

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How to identify, clean, and store fresh grape leaves

Grape leaves on the vine

[…watch my video on how to roll grapeleaves HERE!…] One of the first, and favorite, things I ever wrote about food was a poem about picking grape leaves. There is, it seems, poetry to be found in the memory of being a child following the ladies out to the edge of a parking lot somewhere…

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How to clean morel mushrooms

A morel may love and need rainwater, and lots of it, to sprout up from the ground, but the love ends there. The issue with morels and most every mushroom is that they are like a sponge. That’s a quality when it comes to imparting flavor, like garlic, in a mushroom.  When it comes to…

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My Mom’s Best Pie Crust

My Mom’s no-butter pie crust is heavenly…ultra flakey with a hint of salt. And the kicker: no butter! Perfectly vegan. Use the 10-inch double crust recipe for single-crust pies (more dough to work with for crimping the edges; tuck the extra under the perimeter). Everyone who knows my mother knows that the hallmark of her character…

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Technique: How to form dough balls

When pulling beautiful pieces of risen dough to form smaller balls, there is a technique involved to remove the folds that naturally occur in the dough from being pulled and shaped. Those folds don’t bake properly and have to be worked out of the dough. This is especially so with heavier doughs like the one…

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Technique: An easy way to sort lentils

Yes, we are talking about lentils. Chocolate will be on the docket again soon enough… It may seem like a step you can skip, sorting through the lentils before cooking them. But once you discover that not all that is lentil is in the bag of lentils, the sorting step will never be skipped again.…

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