Tips 1-10 for “Tastes of Summer”
- 1. When grilling an assortment of summer vegetables, try to cut them as uniformly thick as possible. This ensures they cook evenly and makes for a better presentation when serving.
- 2. Another tip when grilling fresh vegetables is to cut them so that the maximum amount of surface area is exposed. The more surface area exposed to the grill grates, the better the taste will be.
- 3. Want a perfect rim on your margarita glasses? Try this: Instead of dipping your dampened glasses straight down into a plate of coarse salt, sugar, or other mixture, moisten only the outside of the glass. Then, roll the dampened outer edge of each glass at a 45-degree angle around the plate. This will create a nice looking rim, but will keep the salt or sugar from getting into the drink and affecting its taste.
- 4. Next time you make peach or other fruit cobbler, break out of the “plain-old-vanilla-ice-cream” routine. Instead try pairing your creation with ice cream flavored with the same ingredients as the recipe itself. For my warm peach cobbler recipe, try cinnamon or peach ice cream. ‘Salted Caramel with Pecan’ is another great choice because it brings out the tiny hint of saltiness found in the recipe.
- 5. Did you know that not all sweet potatoes are orange? It’s true. Some varieties have a light yellow or almost white color instead. Although they look more like typical white potatoes than their orange-fleshed siblings, they don’t taste anything like a traditional baking potato. However, they aren’t identical to their orange counterparts, either. They are a little less sweet and a bit starchier than “normal” sweet potatoes.
- 6. Mini sweet peppers are great for snacking on right out of the bag, but they are even better when stuffed with your favorite blend of cheeses, fresh thyme and bacon. Pop under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned and voila! You have a perfect warm and delicious appetizer in less than 15 minutes.
- 7. It’s easy to take basic lemonade to a whole new level with some quick and easy tweaks. Instead of making a basic simple syrup of 1 part water to 1 part white sugar, try adding some chopped lemongrass and fresh, peeled gingerroot into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly before straining to remove solids. Use the cooled infused syrup to sweeten lemonade to taste.
- 8. Many popular culinary herbs are available in citrus varieties and can be used to add an extra dimension to your recipes. Lemon balm, basil, thyme, mint, and lemongrass are popular and readily available examples. Choosing citrus varieties of herbs will allow you to add another subtle layer of flavor to your dishes.
- 9. Speaking of lemongrass, it is very easy to grow from seed and can act as a pretty ornamental in your garden, as well. Because it is from the tropics, it won’t survive cold winters in northern areas. However, it can reach 3-5 feet in height in a single growing season, so be sure to give it ample room to grow.
- 10. Lemongrass is a popular ingredient in many Thai recipes. Different parts of the plant have different uses: The base of each stem has a strong lemony flavor ideal for infusing simple syrups or cooking oils, while the more tender leaves are great for making tea or soups.
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