Kitchen Safety Tips Everyone Should Review

I’m currently kicking up the surf in Mexico with my family and -count them- fifteen of my in-laws! As my kitchen is temporarily closed, I thought I’d share excerpts from this archival post. It’s an important one and well worthy of a review.

I believe that safety awareness is a very important first step for the home cook, rather like reading a manual before you operate a new appliance. Safety in the kitchen was a topic that was discussed on my very first day of culinary school, although at first I didn’t understand why.

[Read more…]

Weekend Links

We’ve made it to Mexico and are enjoying the brown sugar sands, warm weather and a change of pace. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Simplifying the No-Knead Bread

This is a guest post from Sofya of The Girls’ Guide to Guns and Butter. Welcome, Sofya!

Growing up in Baku, the capital of then-Soviet Azerbaijan, I was spoiled by an easy access to some irresistibly delicious fresh bread – always made the day you bought it, often still quite hot. From factory-made French loaves to traditional naans that emerged from the tandoor ovens of street-corner operations, these bore no resemblance to the days-old, preservatives-laden packages I was faced with in my Wisconsin town of 4000.

It didn’t take long to realize that to enjoy the quality and the freshness I was used to, I would have to bake bread myself. Since great bread was widely produced and very affordable back home, it was uncommon for a city dweller like myself to know how to bake their own, so I had to learn from scratch.

Over the years, I have experimented with many different recipes – from wild sourdough to various yeasted varieties, but it wasn’t until I came across no-knead that I was finally able to reliably churn out great bread with regularity and ease. [Read more…]

U-Pick for a Fruitful Summer (Recipe: Blackberry Vanilla Clafouti)

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Luscious, sun-warmed berries might be the greatest food around. Every spring and summer my family heads out to a nearby farm to pick as many berries as possible. For only 30 minutes of work we end up with enough berries to make jam, pie, muffins, cake, turnovers, and more. And don’t forget all the berries just for snacking – it’s hard to resist filling your belly as you grab the fruit off the bush.

U-pick farms are a great economical option for fruit-loving families. Because you’re doing all the work and no packaging or transportation is required, farmers can charge less for their produce than in stores or even at the farmers’ market.

[Read more…]

Q&A: How Does Your Garden Grow? (plus my green thumb update)

The next few days are going to be busy ones here at Simple Bites, as our family is getting ready to go on vacation. I’m feeling like June has crept up on me and now there are a ‘zillion’ (as my 5-y-o would quip) items on my to-do list. I have to admit, however: the thought that I’ll be on a distant beach with my kids by the end of the week is tremendous inspiration to have a productive couple of days.

Last year’s vacation was a family reunion, hosted by Danny and I, and while it was enormous fun, it wasn’t exactly relaxing! We are so looking forward to a real ‘getaway’ and this one is bound to be memorable – we are flying south with six of Danny’s brothers, their wives/girlfriends and children, and of course, the grandparents. Nineteen people. Yeah, we like all kinds of crazy.

Although I’ll be in Mexico, things aren’t going to slow down around here. I’ve got a few guest posters lined up that you are going to love, so stay tuned!

Today I thought we’d do something a little different and just chat about one of my favorite topics – gardening. And by gardening, I really mean the vegetable patch, herb pots and greenhouse. I’m not much of a landscaper and don’t have a knack for artistic flower beds; my passion really is the pea patch or anywhere food is produced.

[Read more…]