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Choose a Good Peppermill

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Pepper_Mills_cA lot of recipes call for "salt and pepper, to taste" suggest using freshly ground pepper. Why? Because once the peppercorns are ground they start to loose flavor and after about 3 months there will be a noticeable difference. So if you don't have a pepper mill at home, you may want to think about getting one. It's amazing how a simple ingredient like freshly ground pepper can dramatically change the flavor of a dish.

How to Cook Delicious Mashed Potatoes

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Mashed-Potatoes_cThe road to light and fluffy mashed potatoes is paved with stiff, lumpy, and pasty failures. Luckily, attention to a few details will ensure delicious results. While it is possible to use any potato, the russet produces the fluffiest mash.

Tips to Bake a Flat Cake

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flatcake_cEver have trouble getting that cake to look picture perfect? If you're going to be decorating a cake, it's usually important to obtain as flat a surface as possible. If you simply fill your pans with batter and pop them into the oven, you're cake will come out with a domed top, but with a little help, you can bake a cake that's flatter than Kansas. Here are some cake basics, from how to bake flat-topped cakes and the neatest way to fill a pastry bag to the quickest, easiest way to frost a cake.

Control Your Eating: Serving Sizes

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FoodPyramidPortion sizes have been growing over the past 30 years - and as a result, so have Americans. In some cases, the portion of a particular food served in restaurants as a meal can surpass the amount you need in a day! For instance, a movie theatre popcorn equals 8 grain servings; a Porterhouse steak is 5 meat servings. The Food Pyramid helps Americans to eat a variety of foods so that we can get all the vitamins and nutrients we need.

What to Know about Canning and Processing at Home

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canning_c"Food safety begins in the fields," said Michele Schermann, a research fellow in agriculture safety and health research with the University of Minnesota Extension Service. She spoke at a recent workshop for home gardeners, especially those thinking of selling their harvest or making products from their vegetables to sell at farmers markets.

Saute Pan: Choosing and Using

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pan_cA high quality sauté pan is imperative for successful sautéing. Heavy gauge stainless steel with aluminum sandwiched in-between is the way to go. Such a pan will distribute heat evenly without burning your food and be highly responsive to sudden temperature adjustments. Heavy metal plating will also ensure the base of the pan stays flat and does not warp with use. An uneven bottom will produce unevenly cooked food and "hot spots" where food can scorch.

Tips to Make Great Sushi

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sushi_cSushi restaurants use both fresh and frozen fish. With today's freezing technology, fish can be frozen quickly to retain freshness, flavor and color. As long as it is not kept frozen a long time and goes to the market quickly the fish will have a good fresh flavor. However, I recommend you stay away from packaged frozen fish, unless it is sold specifically as sushi grade.

Make Boxed Lunches Interesting and Nutritious for Children

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bag-lunch_cA parent who packs lunches for just one kid every day from kindergarten through seventh grade packs more than 1,500 meals. That could mean 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and 1,500 bags of chips. Or, it could mean 1,500 chances for your child to get the nutrients he or she needs and develop tastes for a variety of healthy foods at the same time.

Three Easy Steps to Roasting Beef

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beefA beautiful beef roast makes an impressive and delicious centerpiece for any special occasion. Best of all, this show-stopping main course is surprisingly easy to make and serve. Rib roast, often referred to as "prime rib" or "standing rib roast," is the grand champion of beef roasts, combining rich flavor, juicy tenderness and spectacular appearance.

How to Prepare Beef Pot Roast (+ video)

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beefpotroast_cThere's nothing like a delicious, hearty beef pot roast to evoke the comforts of home. The keys to successful braising - also known as pot roasting - are low heat and a tightly covered pan to achieve unbelievable tenderness. And be sure to include the browning step as it packs a bonus layer of flavor.

Choosing a Cutting Board: Wooden or Plastic

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cutting-board_cWhich is a better, safer material for cutting boards, wood or plastic. There are valid arguments on both sides, so I will present all the arguments I can find. It is my own feeling that, depending on the job, either material is a good choice. But as they say, "forewarned is forearmed," so look at the arguments and decide for yourself which type of board you're more comfortable using.

Cooking Korean Sushi

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sushi_cWhen a young friend offered to show me how to make Korean Vegetable Sushi, I was delighted at the prospect of something different to serve vegetarian friends.But in addition to cucumber and carrot, there's egg, crab meat (or more likely, imitation crab meat), and a type of sausage not readily found outside specialty stores.

How to Make a Nice Hunting Camp Dish

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hunting-camp_cHundreds of recipes plus modern packaging place tasty, nutritious meals within easy reach of camp chefs. With minimum effort and a little planning, anyone can turn out fine meals quickly and easily. And he won't have to stoop to cold spam, sardines, Vienna sausages or left over mystery stew.

Make Hamburgers at Home (+ video)

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hamburger_c2With the beginning of summer, outdoor grilling is a great way to have a meal in your backyard. It gets you out of the kitchen and sometimes, means someone else is grilling. Kristine Synder of Maui has entered cooking contests for many years and won the 2008 Sutter Home Winery "Build a Better Burger" grand prize with the recipe below.

Easy Made Peaches and Cream Dessert

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peach-and-cream_cSummertime gatherings often require bringing along a dessert to share. Mary Cook of Louisville, Ohio, can recommend a recipe that goes together without much fuss. It's her Peaches and Cream Dessert, made with vanilla pudding and canned peaches.

Make Diet-friendly Cool Desserts for Hot Summer Days

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desserts_cHot days call for cool desserts. But they don't need to be heavy and calorie-packed to satisfy. We offer you some recipes of diet-friendly cool desserts and a piece of good advice on how to prepare light desserts: Waffle Sandwiches with Fruit and Ice Cream, Ice Cream-Fruit Tarts, Ice Cream-Fruit Milkshakes, Peach and Ginger Ice Cream, Watermelon Granita.

How to Make a Delicious Dessert for Two

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dessert_cA favorite souffle originally intended for eight or 10 looks a lot less compelling the third or fourth night it's served. And the same simple method you use to downscale entree recipes might be a chemistry experiment waiting to fail in a dessert, where the measurements are extra-precise. The best bet is to plan for two from the start.

Make an Original Coffee Cake

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coffeecake_cRemember those mornings when your mom had the mom next door over for coffee, cake and gossip? When life moved at a more leisurely pace and having a piece of cake didn't mean you had to spend hours atoning in the gym? The original coffee cake was an admittedly delicious combination of tender, buttery cake, tart bursts of whole cranberries and crunchy cinnamon streusel. But you can use some other recipes, thanks to which your waistline won't pay the price for all that enjoyment.

Roasting Meat: Tips, Technique, Equipment

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Roast-Chicken_cOf all cooking techniques, roasting has to be one of the easiest because you do almost none of the work. Sautéing something means you have to stand there flipping and stirring. With boiling, you have to keep an eye on the pot. Even grilling requires ongoing attention. But roasting? You season a chicken or large cut of meat, put it on a rack over a pan, slide it into a hot oven, and leave it alone. And one more thing: Roasting brings out flavors and turns a humble cut of meat into something spectacular.

Baking Bread at Home

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bread_cSeveral of the local bakeries are featuring a variety of delicious 'flavored' breads that are packed with everything from cheese to jalapenos to pepperoni and a variety of other spices and accents, in a quest to add a little diversity to the daily monotony of white or wheat bread, as well as help add numbers to the bottom line.Using a little ingenuity, you can create your own 'flavored' bread simply and quickly.

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