Posts for cooking

Grooming My Future Competitive Eaters

breakfast, Dinner, eggs, kitchen gadgets, Product Reviews - Jennifer - January 2, 2011

Living in the midwest, we don’t cook outside anywhere near as often in the winter, and I really miss the taste of grilled food, as well as the expanded menu offerings that come from outdoor cooking.  So when I stumbled across the Nathan’s Reversible Stovetop Grill & Griddle while Christmas shopping, I just couldn’t pass it up.  And yes, that’s Nathan’s as in Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters, sponsors of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island that my family can’t miss watching in horrified admiration every summer! 

We took our new Nathan’s Grill/Griddle on a test run today for lunch.  On the menu:  Nathan’s hot dogs (natch) and Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage.  The Grill/Griddle fits over both front and back burners of our gas stove (the only cooking surface not compatible is glass) and distributes the heat evenly.  Although the hot dogs cooked pretty quickly, the sausages took more than twice as long as they typically would on the outdoor grill.  But I liked how the grease was channeled away from the meat, and 40 minutes later, we thoroughly enjoyed our summer-style lunch in the middle of winter.  Afterwards, clean-up was a breeze on the non-stick surface.

On the flip side of the grill is the griddle, which holds further appeal for us.  Making breakfast for a family of six is no small endeavor, and the expanded surface of the griddle will make for much faster pancake production.  The box even depicts pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes all cooking simultaneously on the griddle surface, but that’s a challenge for another day.  So far, Nathan’s Famous Reversible Stovetop Grill & Griddle gets a thumbs up from my family, although I hope it will be quite a while before any of them can down 50 hotdogs in a ten-minute sitting!

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Kobo eReader Solves Kitchen Storage Woes!

Desserts, Dinner, Recipes, Tips & Tricks - Jennifer - December 26, 2010

When we first moved into our little 1920s Craftsman bungalow, I thought the teeny-tiny kitchen was quaint and cozy. I soon discovered that it was also short on storage, shorter on counter space, and generally a nightmare in which to work. My supremely talented husband has tried hard to eke out some extra storage in that space, even creating a cabinet in the soffet above the pantry so that I would have somewhere to stash my cookbooks. The problem? I had to stand on a chair and still reach over my head to get at them, so I wasn’t using them at all anymore. Then we added some shelves to the end of a lower cabinet, and I was able to move a few of my most-used books there, where they would be more accessible.

We’ve been in our home more than five years now, and my dreams of blowing out the back of the house to create a dream kitchen and master suite have been stored practically away in the “20-years-from-now” file. But when I recently started working for shesconnected on a Kobo project, my foray into ereading unexpectedly led me to a workable solution for one of my kitchen storage issues.  There are over 500 cookbooks available to download onto my Kobo eReader, where I can read them, store them, access and search them, anytime I want!  Some of them are even free, and none of them will take up any additional space in my kitchen, thank goodness.

Now, for the fun part:  shopping!  I have some good, comprehensive cookbooks that handle the basics, so I thought I’d look for something a little more fun, maybe even quirky.  And I found all that and more when I purchased  The Cooking Club Cookbook: Six Friends Show You How to Bake, Broil and Bond.  Having lived most of my life in the suburbs, I never imagined how metropolitan living can make it so impractical for many city dwellers to cook (efficiency kitchens, hauling groceries up flights of stairs, inconveniently located produce, etc.).  The authors of The CCC are six city-living friends who decided to make cooking fun by getting together for once per month theme dinners.  The book’s sections are broken down by theme, some ethnic (Spanish, Mediterranean, Asian), some fun (Comfort, Spa, Sexy), some practical (Grill, Quick, Brunch).  Each part features an explanation of how the Cooking Club arrived at their choices for the evening, and includes all the recipes that comprised the theme, appetizers, main course, sides and dessert.

One of my favorites, and the one I’m certain to most often revisit since my kids will love it, is the comfort food chapter, “Stealing Home.”  On the menu:  Mini-Me Mac and Cheese; OoohBaby, It’s Chili Outside; Batter-Fried Chicken Bites; Beaten-to-Within-an-Inch-of-It’s-Life Sweet Potatoes; Penny’s Broccoli Casserole; and Cinnamon Raisin Bread Puddin’.  Curiosity piqued?  The Cooking Club Cookbook is available in paperback by fine booksellers, and as an ebook from and

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Cooking quote I love

Tips & Tricks - Kayla - August 13, 2009

” We are not building a rocket ship here people. Just cooking plain & simple”

-Emeril Legasi

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