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  • Vanilla Variety

    Filed in Pantry

    Vanilla beans come from special orchid plants. There are three types of vanilla orchids, each producing beans and vanilla extract with unique flavor characteristics. The three kinds of vanilla are Madagascar “Bourbon” vanilla (sweet and mellow), Mexican vanilla (a bit … Continue reading

  • Dessert in a Jiff

    Filed in Sweet Somethings

    When you need a quick dessert and don’t have time to make anything, buy good quality biscotti at the grocery store and pair it with some complimentary-flavored ice cream. While it’s hard to beat homemade, store bought biscotti can be … Continue reading

  • Strawberries and Chocolate

    Filed in Sweet Somethings

    For quick chocolate-covered strawberries, use top quality chocolate chips (milk, chocolate or white) from the baking aisle. Melt the chips in the microwave or double boiler, taking care to use half power in the microwave and stirring frequently so the … Continue reading

  • Cookie Dough Doings

    Filed in Sweet Somethings

    If you like homemade cookies but don’t always have the time to make the dough and bake them… make a batch or two of your favorite cookie doughs when you have the time. Use a small ice cream style scoop … Continue reading

  • Suddenly, Sauce

    Filed in Sweet Somethings

    If you need a vanilla sauce (crème anglaise) but don’t have time to make it… buy a good quality vanilla bean ice cream and melt it to a sauce-like consistency. If desired, flavor it with brandy or a liqueur like … Continue reading

  • Frozen Fruit to the Rescue

    Filed in Sweet Somethings

    For a quick dessert solution, make a fruit crisp with frozen berries or frozen chopped fruit. Mix the berries and/or fruit together with a little sugar and put them in a greased baking dish. Mix together a crisp topping (usually … Continue reading

  • Cold Butter, Flaky Crusts

    Filed in Sweet Somethings

    Always use cold butter (or shortening) when making pie or tart crusts, and leave the butter in pea-sized pieces when you incorporate it into the flour. These little “butter balls” will melt when baked and create a tender, flaky crust.

  • Butter Bullion

    Filed in Sweet Somethings

    Save the expensive imported and “European-style” butters for very special occasions, particularly when you will be eating the butter fresh, not in a baked ingredient – for example, spread on a fresh crusty baguette or used for dipping lobster. For … Continue reading

  • Blind Baking

    Filed in Sweet Somethings

    Some pie and tart crusts are first baked “blind”, meaning they’re baked partially or completely without the filling (like crusts for chocolate cream pie or lemon meringue pie). When a crust is blind baked, it needs to be filled with … Continue reading

  • Keeping Cool

    Filed in Sport Days

    For long outings in the sun, fill a freezer-safe bottle half way with water and freeze overnight. Before leaving the next day, top up the bottle with fresh water. The frozen water at the bottom will keep the water chilled … Continue reading

  • Rib Roast and No Last Minute Mess

    Filed in Main Attraction

    Keep at bay the last minute dinner service crush, and mess, by making your bone-in rib roast earlier in the day. This method gets the messiest part of the process out of the way, and leaves simple slicing and serving … Continue reading

  • Taming the Juice

    Filed in On The Side

    Before you carve meat or poultry, put paper towels or (older) dish towels under the cutting board, allowing the towels to extend several inches beyond the edges of the board. The towels will absorb the juice that runs off the … Continue reading

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