They're inexpensive, they last for decades, and they're incredibly versatile: indeed, a cast iron pan is one of the best investments you can make in your kitchen. Learning how to properly use and care for cast iron cookware will make you appreciate it even more, and will help you keep it in the best condition so that you might even be able to pass it along to future generations of cooks. Check out Cast Iron Cooking Tips to ensure that you're using and maintaining your cast iron properly.
One of my favorite meals meals that my mom made when I was a kid was flank steak, topped with a heap of green olives, and broiled. The brininess of the olives was so perfect against the rich taste of the steak, especially when the whole thing was drizzled in steak sauce. I decided to try recreating this recipe with my new favorite cut of beef, Tri-Tip, so named because it's the tip of the sirloin, and the steak is shaped like a triangle. Tri-tip steaks are nicely marbled and very flavorful, and they're less expensive than some of the other cuts, so they're a great option, whether you use my recipe for Tri-Tip Steak with Green Olives in a cast iron pan that starts on the stove and ends in the oven, or whether you throw them on the grill.
Making rice in a rice cooker is about as easy as can be - just add the rice, the water and press start! And the ease of using a rice cooker means that you can create a wide variety of delicious side dishes, simply by adding different ingredients. Take a look at 7 Ways to Dress Up Rice Cooker Rice and let your rice cooker do the work. With these tricks, you'll never be lacking for side-dish inspiration again.
I try to adhere to the Meatless Monday movement, preparing a vegetarian dinner once a week. It's actually fun to come up with a dinner that will be appealing and that will have enough protein to keep my family satisfied and satiated. The recipe I developed for Cheesy Polenta with White Beans and Kale fits the bill perfectly. It's got protein in the form of cheese, beans and meatless crumbles, and the polenta is creamy and satisfying against the chewy-crisp sauteed kale. Best of all, it's a dinner that comes together in around half an hour. Try it tonight!
Mother's Day is not far away... it's time to start celebrating the mother(s) in your life! If they're into food and cooking, here are some ways to treat them right:
- Gift her a gift for her kitchen.
- Serve her breakfast in bed. How about Crescent Cheese Danish or Stuffed French Toast?
- Order her some fancy petit fours.
- Make her a delicious foodie gift, like Smoked Sea Salt or Blueberry Lemon Jam.
- Clean her kitchen from top to bottom (be sure to read up on how to clean cookware so you don't damage her favorite pots and pans).
Wedding season is quickly approaching... I am attending my first one of the year next weekend. I'm always in a bind as to what to buy - I like to choose something from the registry, but also want to make my gift a little more personal by giving the bride and groom something that I, personally, think they'd find valuable. Inevitably it ends up being a book. If I know they have a love for a certain type of cooking, I'll opt for a book that goes along with their passion, but gifting them with a basic, all-purpose cookbook is never a wrong move. This list of the Best Cookbooks for Wedding Gifts offers a variety of general, basic resources that any couple will turn to again and again, and will truly become an important resource in their kitchen.
What's your favorite basic cookbook to give as a gift?
Measuring cups are a staple, and chances are you have had the same hastily chosen set since you first set up your kitchen. With all the new designs on the market, it might behoove you to invest in a new set. Check out the feature on shopping for measuring cups to learn all about what features and designs to look for, and to take a look at some of the latest versions on the market.
Image courtesy PriceGrabber.
Earth Day is next week, which is always a good time to take stock of your cooking habits, and the products in your kitchen, to see how you can make your kitchen a little more sustainble: using less energy and fewer resources, cut down on waste, and use safer, less environmentally damaging products. I thought it would be a good time to look at 7 Ways to Green Your Kitchen - ways that you can lessen your environmental footprint every day, just by using your cooking equipment a little differently.
How do you try to be greener while cooking?