Friday, March 4, 2011

Parsley- The Herben Dictionary

A Wicked How-To for Parsley

If the idea of using fresh herbs blows your mind, don't worry you're not alone.  Whether it be Italian flat-leaf or curly parsley, this herb has many hidden talents!

Coloring Dishes

To Use:
Wash gently in a bowl of cold water to keep from destroying the leafs. Repeat.  Depending on the recipe you may use the leaves, just the stems or both.  If the recipe does not specify use your judgement for texture.  The stems tend to be a little more crisp but the leaves will color lighter colored dishes.

Italian Flat-Leaf vs. Curly
Italian flat-leaf tends to be less bitter and more fragrant than curly parsley.  Regardless of the type, be sure to buy parsley that is dark green, unwilted and looks crisp.  Italian flat-leaf works better for hot dishes than curly because it is more flavorful.  It should be added near the end of the cooking process to maintain its flavor.

Unless dried, be sure to keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.  Keep the parsley moist, especially if it appears it is beginning to wilt.  To do so, sprinkle with water and store.  Italian flat-leaf can be left out on the counter to dry in individual layers and later stored in an air tight container out of direct light.  Curly parsley is better saved by freezing.  Once it is frozen use while still frozen to maintain crispness.

Dried vs. Fresh:
Dried parsley quickly loses color and flavor so it is best to buy it in small amounts and only when needed.  It is important to check the color to make sure it is dark green and without yellow stalks mixed in.  Because it shelf life is limited dried you might as well just buy fresh to make sure you are getting a quality product.  However, if you insist on using dried the conversion is 1 tsp = 1Tbs.

Herben Facts:
Parsley is rich in anti-oxidants, folic acid, Vitamin A & C. Long story short, it helps fight cancer, repeated ear infections, colds, heart disease, Urinary Tract Infections, digestive disorders, bronchitis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
A third type of parsley and less commonly used, turnip-rooted, is harvested for its roots.
The Ancient Greeks considered Parsley to be sacred and would use it to decorate tombs and praise victors.  Who needs a gold medal when there's all this parsley available?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Red Lobster's Cheddar Biscuits

The best part of Red Lobster is always the biscuits.  Who knew they'd be so easy to make!

The Good: This recipe is so simple!
The Bad: This version turned out just a little dry but it may be because we used Skim milk instead of whole.
The Ugly: People will get upset if you eat the last one before them!

Suggestions before starting:
Do not forget to set out milk before starting recipe.  Typically I would suggest setting out the butter as well but this recipe calls for cold butter.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Salted Peanut Chews-Family Favorite

Chewy, crunchy, sweet and Ooooo so tasty!

The Good: This recipe is great for carry-ins, parties or whatever occasion!  Also, I am not a fan of salty foods and I love this dessert.  It does not taste salty at all.
The Bad: The original recipe calls for yellow cake mix plus but it no longer exists... I've found the newer version (super, I believe) is harder to get to set right.
The Ugly: Since bringing this dish into work I have had coworkers threatening to do terrible things to me if I do not give them the recipe.

Suggestions before starting:
It is important to make sure the butter is completely softened before mixing.  Otherwise it is increasingly difficult to mix the cake batter.
Although the recipe says the base will be crumbly, it needs to be moist enough to hold the base ingredients together.  Egg size can be an issue for this step.  If you use too small of an egg it will just fall apart.  It is almost better to have too much egg than not enough.  One extra-large egg would be best for the recipe but using two small and gradually mixing it in will do just as well.
If you are someone who like to jump ahead on a recipe, DON'T! Timing is everything for this recipe, follow the order the recipe gives you and the timeline it gives you.
Easy cutting tip: Use a knife to run around the inside edge of the pan. Then take a large cutting board and sit it on top of 13 x 9 pan and flip until it breaks free from dish.  If you have a second cutting board you can flip it again and cut the bars while they are free from the pan.