Archive for November, 2010

Last-minute Thanksgiving survival guide

Here it is upon us once again and all too soon: Thanksgiving.

You know what that means? Well of course it signals several helpings of turkey and a tryptophan-induced coma in front of the television soon after.  It also means that those other holidays — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and  Chrismukkah — are just a blink away.

As things in the kitchen move into high gear, it’s good to slow down and remember to enjoy the process. If you can think of what you are doing as an expression of love instead of a load of work, it will make the day that much more enjoyable.

It’s also a good time to remind about basic kitchen safety of the fowl variety. Undercooked turkey, as we all know, does not make for good eats or safe eats. Here are some tips and facts to remember if you are cooking the bird yourself in the oven:

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French toast is frugal and fabulous

Waste not, want not.

Those words ring truer than ever in today’s uncertain economic times, and in another place as well: the kitchen.

Experts such as Timothy Jones, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona, Tuscon, says the average American family throws away $1,200 in food each year, which translates to about 500 pounds of food annually. That’s a shame on many levels, and you probably don’t need a Ph.D.  to point out that it’s costly on many levels, too.

Luckily, certain recipes can equal salvation for foodstuffs otherwise destined for a squanderous demise. Take bread, for instance. This pantry staple, especially the fresh-baked, preservative-free variety, can go south faster than the stock market in fall of 2008.

I used to find myself tossing the stuff all too often once it started to get dry and hard. Then I started purposely re-purposing it, giving those stale slices new life in French toast.

Bread that has lost its moisture is actually the perfect vehicle for French toast, because you want a certain amount of stiffness for it to stay together after it’s been dipped in an egg mixture and thrown in a frying pan or on a griddle.

Once plated, those luscious slabs of bread won’t be dry any longer. They will get plenty moist from the batter, not to mention the butter and syrup that are subsequently slathered on top. If you’ve never made French toast, here’s your chance. If you’re an old hand at it, try this version with a citrus twist. It’s so good — not to mention cheap and easy — you might find yourself buying an extra loaf of bread just to leave it out. Here’s how to make it happen.

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