Archive for May, 2009

Salsa and Red Bean Dip — Sometimes simpler is better

Serves 6 to 8
Adapted from Woman’s Day magazine

We had some friends over the other night and I wanted to make something new. A dip maybe?
My wife had found this recipe in Woman’s Day magazine and I decided to give it a try.
It is just store bought salsa and red beans (or black or white) mixed in a blender. What could be more simple?
The results: a delicious dip that is ready in a minute or two. Give this a try. You will not be disappointed.

Recipe follows.

Continue reading ‘Salsa and Red Bean Dip — Sometimes simpler is better’

How to cut up a bunch of strawberries the easy way

This sounds easy, and it is. And, in the past I’ve cut up pounds and pounds of strawberries. I’ve sliced them, diced them, and chopped them. And usually they leave red berry stains on my cutting board, on my counter and on my hands.
Well, no more.
Here is an easy way to cut up strawberries that is also fast:

  1. Using a paring knife, cut the stem and core out. The core is sightly bitter and it’s a good idea to get rid of it. You don’t have to go very deep, about 1/4” to 3/8” should do it.
  2. Place the cored strawberry on the cutting board sitting on its fat end.
  3. Do all the strawberries this way (see photo above)
  4. Next, take each strawberry and cut twice vertically from the top end to the bottom cutting the berry into quarters (see photo above).
  5. Grab the whole strawberry near the base and throw it into a bowl.

Once you get the hang of this technique, it goes really fast.
Because of the way they are cut, the berries stick together and you do not have to handle the cut edges of the berries so everything stays cleaner. Especially your hands.
Now, go cut up some strawberries and make some great strawberry short cake!

Kitchen Safety and the Sliced Finger

This past Sunday, I was helping make dinner. I decided to make the Japanese cucumber salad with sugar and rice wine vinegar (recipe here). Rather than get the food processor out, I  got our plastic chef’s mandolin, pealed the cucumbers and started slicing away.
As luck (or unlucky) would have it, my hand slipped off the cucumber and I cut an 1/8th-inch slice off the end of my middle finger. Worst accident I have ever had cooking.
So, what happened?
First, I did not use the guard.
Lesson learned: always use the guard.
Second, I tried to cut the long cucumber without cutting it down to size first.
Lesson learned: cut vegetables down to manageable size before slicing on the mandolin.
I know this sounds like common sense, and it is. It’s just when you do not use a piece of equipment often, remember to review the safety procedures and think about what you are doing before you start.
Oh yea, watch out for the edge of the blade on the food processor. It is really sharp, too.
So, think before you start and work  safely in the kitchen.

Tasty Japanese Cucumber Salad


Adapted from an old Internet recipe
Serves 4

I am always up for something new. And when that “something new” turns out to be simple to prepare and tasty it’s a win/win.
So it is with Japanese cucumber salad or Sunomono. It is the simplest of dishes yet is crisp and refreshing. It can accompany just about any meal.
There is not much more left to say, except be careful cutting up the cucumbers. See what happened to me here.

Recipe follows
Continue reading ‘Tasty Japanese Cucumber Salad’