Cover image for Simple secrets to better everyday cooking
Simple secrets to better everyday cooking
Thomas, Kristi M.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Des Moines, Iowa : Better Homes and Gardens Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
240 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
At head of title: Better homes and gardens.
Subject Term:
Added Corporate Author:
Added Uniform Title:
Better homes and gardens.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX714 .S5785 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
TX714 .S5785 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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For the first time ever, the experts from the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen divulge their secrets for making everyday meals special. In this book test kitchen professionals share hundreds of simple and practical techniques, tips, and tricks -- all presented alongside terrific recipes that help you turn your new-found knowledge into delectable dishes; More than 150 stylish, yet achievable recipes; Helpful cooking tips with every recipe techniques, timesaving strategies, and more; Identification photos that make key ingredients easy to recognise; At-a-glance preparation and cooking times; How-to photos show useful techniques; Fascinating food facts and definitions; Nutritional information with every recipe; 140 recipes for all types of dishes including poultry, meats, seafood, salad, pasta and more.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Better Homes and Gardens Simple Secrets to Better Everyday Cooking serves a banquet of suggestions to beginners and veteran cooks alike. Each section indexes a generous helping of simple secrets (boxed tips) for such challenges as thickening soups, roasting garlic and making great risotto. This book features such recipes as Wild Mushroom Toss, Wasabi-glazed Whitefish, Tequila New York Strip and Irish Coffee Meringues. Photo charts highlight many varieties of foods, such as lettuce and mushrooms. A section on equipment, menus and a glossary enhances this reference. ( Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The latest cookbook/reference from Better Homes & Gardens includes 150 recipes and close to 200 boxes and sidebars providing all sorts of useful information. The recipes are easy and diverse, from Middle Eastern Fresh Fava Bean Salad to Thai Rice Noodles to Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Mediterranean Relish. The "tips," many of which include mini-recipes as well, cover a wide range of topics, from roasting garlic to using a mandoline to frenching a rack of lamb. And dozens of color photographs illustrate recipes, techniques, and ingredients: those dubbed "Identifying Foods" ("Mushrooms Beyond the Basics," "Know Your Chiles," etc.) are particularly useful. For most collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One USING FENNEL With its wispy fronds and bulbous base, fennel looks like a feather-topped, potbellied cousin to celery, but its flavor is deliciously different. The white bulb and bright green fronds have a gentle, slightly sweet anise flavor (the stalks aren't usually eaten).     A great way to incorporate fennel into cooking is to use the bulbs as you would celery: chopped or sliced for soups, stir-fries, vegetable medleys, and salads (see recipe, right). Or, substitute wedges of it for another vegetable in pot roast.     Don't throw away all of the fronds. A sprig makes a nice garnish, and a few snipped leaves add flavor to just about any dish. fennel & orange salad prep: 15 minutes makes: 4 servings 2 medium fennel bulbs 2 medium blood oranges 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chervil or 1/2 teaspoon dried chervil, crushed Bibb Lettuce Leaves 1 green onion, sliced 1 Cut off and discard upper stalks of fennel bulbs, reserving some of the feathery leaves. Cut off a thin slice from base of fennel bulbs. Remove and discard any wilted outer layers. Wash fennel and cut each bulb into 1/4-inch slices, discarding core. Set aside. 2 Working over a bowl, section oranges, catching juice in bowl (see tip, page 24). For dressing, in the same bowl, whisk together orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, and chervil. 3 Line 4 salad plates with lettuce leaves. Arrange the fennel slices and orange sections on lettuce; sprinkle with green onion. Drizzle dressing over salads. If desired, garnish salads with reserved fennel leaves. Nutrition Facts per serving: 159 cal., 14 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 31 mg sodium, 10 g carbo., 15 g fiber, 1 g pro. Daily Values: 1% vit. A, 41% vit. C, 3% calcium, 2% iron. TOASTING SEEDS To bring an irresistible smokiness to their already nutty aroma, toast the cumin seeds before adding them to Singapore Beef Slaw (see recipe, left).     To toast, place the seeds in a small skillet over low heat. Don't add any oil to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Or, spread the seeds in a shallow baking pan and toast, stirring occasionally, in a 350° oven about 10 minutes or until brown and aromatic.     Other spice seeds such as sesame and fennel seeds--as well as flaked coconut and many nuts--often benefit from a little toasting, too. As a general rule, to toast these ingredients, spread them in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350° oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, watching carefully and stirring once or twice so they don't burn. singapore beef slaw prep: 15 minutes broil: 13 minutes marinate: 6 hours makes: 4 servings 12 ounces boneless beef sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick 1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro 3 tablespoons salad oil 2 tablespoons cider vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional) 1 clove garlic, minced 4 cups shredded cabbage 1 cup thin, bite-size jicama strips 1 medium red sweet pepper, cut into thin, bite-size strips 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted (see tip, right) Coarsely shredded carrot (optional) Lime wedges (optional) Fresh cilantro leaves (optional) 1 Place meat on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 3 inches from heat for 13 to 17 minutes or to desired doneness, turning once. When meat is cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size strips. 2 For marinade, in a non-metal bowl combine cilantro, oil, vinegar, sugar, crushed red pepper (if desired), and garlic. Add steak strips; stir to moisten. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours. 3 To serve, in a large salad bowl combine undrained meat strips, cabbage, jicama, and sweet pepper; toss lightly to coat. Sprinkle toasted cumin seeds over salad. If desired, garnish with shredded carrot and serve with lime wedges and cilantro leaves. Nutrition Facts per serving: 292 cal., 18 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 57 mg chol., 59 mg sodium, 12 D carbo., 2 g fiber, 21 g pro. Daily Values: 22% vit. A, 143% vit. C, 4% calcium, 21% iron. CHOOSING EDIBLE FLOWERS Edible flowers add unexpected color and flavor to salads and other foods. Here are a few favorites to choose from: Pansies are slightly spicy. Calendulas are bland, but with their yellow and gold colors, they make a pretty garnish. Nasturtiums are peppery. Chive blossoms have an oniony flavor. Squash blossoms taste a little like the squash they come from. Roses offer a slight sweetness. Violas or violets bring a sweet--but sometimes tangy or spicy--flavor. Geranium flavors vary, so taste before using. Borage has a cucumber-like flavor. Note: Use only flowers that have been grown without pesticides or other chemicals. mesclun salad with walnut vinaigrette start to finish: 20 minutes makes: 4 servings 3 tablespoons walnut oil 3 tablespoons orange juice 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard 1 tablespoon honey butter 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 6 cups mesclun 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced 1 ounce Parmesan cheese shavings Edible flowers (such as zucchini, chive, or calendula blossoms) 1 For vinaigrette, in a screw-top jar combine walnut oil, orange juice, and mustard. Cover and shake well. 2 In a small skillet melt honey butter; add walnuts. Cook and stir over medium heat about 3 minutes or until nuts are golden brown. 3 Place mesclun in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss lightly to coat. Divide mesclun among 4 salad plates. Top each serving with apple slices. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and Parmesan cheese. Garnish each serving with edible flowers. Nutrition Facts per serving: 252 cal., 20 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 9 mg chol., 134 mg sodium, 15 g carbo., 3 g fiber, 6 g pro. Daily Values: 5% vit. A, 20% vit. C, 7% calcium, 5% iron. Mesclun For cooks looking to bring spicy, herblike flavors and more varied textures to their salads, mesclun is a delicious option. Mesclun includes a variety of young, tiny salad greens, such as arugula, radicchio, oak leaf lettuce, chervil, chickweed, dandelion, and other greens with a variety of contrasting bitter, mild, and peppery flavors. While mesclun once was found only in specialty markets of cosmopolitan areas, the mix is now widely available at larger supermarkets across the country. If you're lucky, during your region's growing season, local farmers might bring their own organically grown mixes to your community's farmers' market. Try it for a picked-that-day freshness only locally grown produce has. TRIMMING FRESH PINEAPPLE--EASILY Cutting up a pineapple isn't tricky--but it can be prickly. To make cutting easier, use a large, sharp knife to slice off the bottom stem end and the green top.     Stand the pineapple on one cut end and slice off the skin in wide strips, from top to bottom.     To remove the eyes--those rough brown dots that spiral up the pineapple--cut diagonally around the fruit, following the pattern of the eyes and making narrow wedge-shaped grooves into the pineapple as you cut away the eyes (see photo, above). When trimming, cut away as little of the fruit as possible.     Slice the fruit away from the core and discard the core. romaine & fruit with balsamic vinaigrette start to finish: 20 minutes makes: 4 servings 1 small pineapple 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar 4 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper 1/3 cup salad oil 6 cups torn romaine 2 medium peaches or nectarines, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced 1/2 cup quartered strawberries 1 Peel and core pineapple (see tip, left). Cut pineapple into bite-size chunks. Set pineapple aside. 2 For vinaigrette, in a blender container or food processor bowl combine powdered sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, and red pepper. Cover and blend or process until combined. With blender or processor running, slowly add oil in a thin, steady stream through hole or opening in top, blending or processing until mixture is thickened. 3 In a large salad bowl combine pineapple chunks, romaine, peach or nectarine slices, and strawberries. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad mixture; toss lightly to coat. Nutrition Facts per serving: 289 cal., 19 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 154 mg sodium, 31 g carbo., 4 g fiber, 2 g pro. Daily Values: 25% vit. A, 86% vit. C, 4% calcium, 8% iron. White balsamic vinegar When you want balsamic vinegar's flavor but not its color, use white balsamic vinegar. Technically this vinegar is not classified by the Italians as a true balsamic vinegar (only the dark balsamic vinegar gets the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena label). However, white balsamic vinegar offers much of the same concentrated sweet-tart flavor so loved in the traditional variety. Excerpted from Better Homes and Gardens Simple Secrets To Better Everyday Cooking by Kristi Fuller, Chuck Smothermon. Copyright (c) 2000 by Meredith Corporation. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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