Category Archives: Cooking Tips

Delicious eggplant- just roast it.

Eggplant roastedHow to roast Eggplant
One of the easiest ways to cook eggplant is to simply roast it in the oven.
The first step is to salt the eggplant to draw out some of the moisture.
Cut the eggplant in half and score the flesh pretty deeply with the tip of your knife in a cross-hatch pattern. Don’t cut all the way through to the skin, but make large cuts close to it.
Press on the edges of the halves to open the cuts and sprinkle salt over the surface and into the cuts.
Let the eggplant sit cut side up for about 30 minutes while the salt draws out the water. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels.
Set the eggplant on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side down.
Put the sheet in a 400 degree oven. It takes about an hour for the eggplant to fully roast. The eggplant will collapse and the flesh on the bottom will turn a dark brown color.
After roasting, let the eggplants cool for at least 20 minutes before handling.
Roasted eggplant is perfect for making Baba Ghanoush or other dips, or season it with salt, pepper and lemon juice and serve it as is for a delicious side dish.

Mushy bananas?

We all have bananas which get too mushy and nobody wants to eat them right? I know I do sometimes. Don’t throw them out, freeze them!
Freezing bananas is a simple process, and bananas can be kept frozen for several months.
Choose ripe to slightly overripe bananas. Bananas that have not fully ripened will not ripen uniformly.
Cut the banana into even chunks, say about 1 inch pieces and put them into a freezer zip-lock bag. That’s all there is to it.
When you’re ready to use it, just grab a bag and break apart the slices as best you can before tossing them into your blender or food processor to use it for a smoothie or shake or a delicious ice cream.

How to peel a Pomegranate

Pomegranate peelingEating a pomegranate can be a messy task. The juice can stain your clothes and even your countertops! The seeds of the pomegranate fruit are sweet, juicy and bursting with flavor.

It is an anti-aging fruit that can prevent hardening of the arteries. It is rich in anthocyanins making it a powerful antioxidant and packs a strong, tangy flavor, but how in the world do you open them without making a mess?

I have always stayed away from buying pomegranates because they are so hard to peel and so messy. The crimson red color is like a dye. If you get it on your clothes, it’s hard to get rid of the stain. I am sure you know what I mean.
I have found an easy way of releasing the beautiful gem-like seeds from the leathery skin and bitter pith.
First cut off the flower or pointed end of the whole pomegranate.
Then cut the fruit into quarters, cutting through the skin. Now the seeds are exposed.
Place the quarters in a large bowl of water and start to wiggle to free the seeds from the white skin. Doing this underwater allows the bits of skin to come to the top. This also prevents the juice from going everywhere. Remove the skin and pith with a strainer.
Drain the seeds and enjoy the goodness of the fruit.

Toasting seeds,spices and nuts

photo 54-Toasting seedsPhoto 55-toasting cumin seedsWhole seeds and spices (like mustard seeds, sesame seeds and cumin seeds) can be toasted by placing them in a dry skillet over medium heat and stirring continuously to stop them from burning. The seeds are done when they start to pop or become fragrant. Most seeds will take a few minutes to toast so they should not be left unattended as they will burn easily.
The best way to toast raw nuts is to place them on a rimmed baking sheet in an oven at 350 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes. Pine nuts will take about 5 minutes, almonds will take about 10 minutes and larger nuts will take up to 15 minutes. Again, do not leave them unattended as they can go from perfectly toasted to irretrievably burnt in a minute or two.
Once they are done, remove them from the heat and keep them in a heat-proof dish at room temperature

Water Sauteing

Photo 52- Mushroom dry sauteingWater or Dry Sauteing Photo 51-Water sauteing
Cooking without using any oil is a challenge only because it has become a habit. Since I started to cook without a drop of any form of oil, I started to dry sauté the onions, garlic and vegetables.
It’s good to use a non-stick pan or skillet, heat it to a medium heat, add the chopped onion or add the dry spice, say cumin seeds. Onions can be dry sautéed for 5 minutes adding enough water to prevent them from sticking to the pan and stirring them. If you are not using onion, add the cumin or mustard seeds to the heated pan. In a minute they will start to splutter. Add the vegetables and enough water to prevent any sticking to the pan.
Non-stick pans are more conducive to dry or water sautéing, but they are not required.
When any recipe calls for sautéing ingredients, use this technique.