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COOK'S TIPS For Cooking, Serving & Entertaining

'Tis The Season -

Choosing the Perfect AppleNow is the time to buy apples fresh from the orchard or at the grocer. Many apples at the market have been held in temperature-
controlled rooms all year, often making them mealy and lacking a fresh crunch. Consider using apples for a holiday dessert or side dish by stuffing and baking, or using it as a natural shell to hold wild rice or whipped sweet potatoes.

Choose apples such as Rome Beauty, Cortland, Braeburn, Pippin and Winesap, which retain their shape and flavor in the oven. Core the apples and cut it in half. Bake covered for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the apples are just tender. Then, scoop out a little pulp and fill as desired.


The Character of Maple -

The Real DealAlthough they turn to colors so beautiful that they are sometimes hard to describe, changing maple leaves signal much more than warm days and cool nights. They are a reminder to purchase pure maple syrup, not just for serving at the table, but also for cooking. Many so-called maple syrups are nothing more than corn syrup that has been flavored with maple. The character of pure maple syrup cannot be beat. The lighter syrups are delicious on pancakes and for other topical uses. The dark varieties seem to be best for cooking.

Maple syrup can give any one of your holiday recipes a special touch. A nice mixture of 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup with 1 1/2 tablespoons each of apple and lemon juice with a teaspoon of Dijon-style mustard and a touch of grated ginger to taste, can transform even leftover turkey into a new dish. Or, use the mixture to marinate chicken breasts or salmon before grilling.


Pancake Perks -

PancakesMake lighter, fluffier pancakes by replacing the liquid in your favorite batter with club soda or seltzer. Don't overmix the batter- it will prevent the pancakes from rising.

No reason to put away the turkey baster after the holidays. It can used all year by filling it with pancake batter. A baster makes it easier to spread batter onto a griddle, creating more uniform cakes. Or, pour batter from a 1/4- or 1/2-cup measure to keep pancakes from spreading. As soon as the pancake bubbles, flip over and cook for half the time on the other side.


Girl Scouts Honor -

Cheesecake!There's nothing better than cookies and milk, especially Girl Scout cookies. So, when the Girl Scouts come knocking and it's time to stock up, be sure to buy several boxes of their Chocolate Mint Cookies to use in your next cheesecake recipe.

The cake pictured here is a chocolate mint cheesecake. Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust, we used crushed chocolate mint cookies. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and serve. It's well worth the cost of the cookies, Girl Scout's honor!


Butter Up
Flavored butters on your holiday table add a gourmet touch to the meal and show your attention to details. This recipe is perfect spread on a grainy bread or over sweet potatoes. Stir 1/3 cup of finely chopped pecans into 1/2 cup of softened butter. Chill until ready to serve. Using Flavored Butter

Little Cordials
When recipes only call for a teaspoon of liqueur, here's a way to save money on your cooking and baking budgets. Instead of buying large, more expensive bottles of liqueurs, pick up the petite cordial bottles at a fraction of the price. This also eliminates the problem of storing these larger bottles for the next occasion.
Pick up Petite Cordial Bottles for a Fraction of the Cost of Big Ones

Baker's Secret
Employ your wire whisk when a recipe calls for mixing dry ingredients together such as flour, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. Any type of metal whisk will sift the powdery ingredients together.
Mixing Dry Ingredients

Seasonal Server
A vegetable peeler is a great tool for scraping potatoes, carrots, and other skinned veggies. It can also double as a spoon for those narrow-necked jars of capers and olives. The peeler's trough captures tiny non-pareils and other condiments.
The Power of the Veggie Peeler



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