Dec 102008


I would always grease and flourer my own pans the old fashion way, with some wax paper and a little bit of butter. I have officially converted now. Pam is amazing and as holiday baking is here I recommend that everyone have some PAM readily available. I had one of those moments, why did I wait so long!

Oct 092008

Have you ever wondered what the Double acting in Baking Powder meant? What is the difference between Baking Soda and Baking Powder? Or what the purpose of baking powder is and why some recipes call for it and other call for baking soda? What is the double acting?

Baking Powder and Baking Soda act as a leavening agent, similar to yeast although it is instantaneous and does not take a few hours. Baking Soda is pure sodium bicarbonate- the reaction begins instantaneously upon mixing it with ingredients (there is always an acidic ingredient when baking soda is involved) that are moist. Therefore the ingredients need to be baked immediately for the reaction to have its intended purpose. Baking soda can be substituted for baking powder but not the other way. That being said you can make baking powder with baking soda and cream of tartar. (2 parts cream of tartar with 1 part baking soda)

Baking Powder – there are two kinds, single acting and double acting Baking Powder. Most often recipes call for double acting. Single acting contains only low-temperature acid salts (the cream of tartar being a low temperature acid salt) where as the double acting has two acids one that reacts to low temperatures and one that reacts to higher temperatures to cause further rising during baking. This is why the cake rises while baking and it is important not to over fill the baking dish. I have definitely done that on numerous occasions.

Now I know it is annoying to throughout ingredients that have not all been used but check the expiration dates to make sure your baking soda or baking powder with still is not old. Here is how to test, baking soda should bubble when added to vinegar and baking powder should bubble when added to hot water.

Baking Soda outside of baking has numerous other useful uses here are just a few. Pretty handy to always have a box around

-Baking soda will also put out fires in clothing, fuel, wood, upholstery and rugs. More importantly in case of grease or electrical fire scatter the powder by the handful to safely put it out.
- Place in a cup/ bowl in refrigerator to absorb odors.
- Sprinkle soda on barbecue grills, let soak, then rinse off. Perfect since the BBQ season is coming to an end. In general baking soda is a great cleaning agent- drain cleaner, silver polish, stainless steel, soft scrub (for the bathroom), and oven cleaner to name just a few.
-Apply soda directly to insect bites, rashes and poison ivy to relieve discomfort. Make a paste with water
-Grease and Oil Stains wash with Baking soda


Aug 282008

views-of-tuscany.jpg how-the-pantry-visits-a-pig-farm.jpg
How the Pantry visits a Pig Farm… some thought ridiculous!

I just got back from vacation celebrating my mother’s
birthday. I was in Tuscany and thought I would be able to write from there. But imagine I had no internet access for 10 days. I have to say it was a little refreshing. So since Since all I did was eat be expecting some Italian entries.

I took a cooking class when I was in Italy and one clever tip I learned was how to keep my basil from turning brown after it is cut. So this is how to keep your basil looking fresh vibrant and GREEN.

- Dampen your knife with water
- Rub both side of the knife with table salt
- Wipe salt off and now your knife is ready to cut basil!

Aug 072008


I saw this recently at a restaurant, using herbs instead of flowers as a centerpiece. I really liked the idea I thought it looked really sweet in a small vase. Something to do with left over herbs from cooking.

Although, this made me also think that this could be a great hostess gift to give someone; a bouquet of fresh herbs. I know I would be excited to receive a brunch of different fresh herbs tied with a bow. And if the person is not the biggest cook what about a bouquet of Fresh mint a very useful ingredient in a lot of summer beverages.

Jun 292008

As many might know from reading my blog, I live in a little space and feel like I am constantly cleaning. As much as I love to cook when my kitchen nook is clean, I like to admire it and not cook! I recently came a across a book on cleaning tips which made me think of some of mine. Here are my top ten kitchen cleaning tips. Please tell me some of your favorite cleaning tips.

1) When a counter is covered with flour or dough cover with a cloth that has be soaked in boiling water. Do not wipe down until the cloth has cooled. The sticky dough will easily wipe away.
2) Cleaning a surface with a spray let stand for a moment or two to activate and then wipe clean.
3) Dirty sponges soak them in salt water or throw them in the dishwasher (that is something I dream about having one day.)
4) Stove- Vinegar and baking soda
5) Need to get a tough crevasse use an old toothbrush (that has been thoroughly washed) or a q-tip
6) Cleaning a blender- Blend hot water and soap them pour our and rinse
7) Grease- get rid as much as you can and then rub down with lemon.
8) Recently, I broke my sister’s glass pitcher I had borrowed. Thought I would return super duper clean- instead had to go to the store and get her a new one. I used boiling water to clean the hand blown glass. The pitcher broke into a thousand little pieces. Boiling water is not always the solution.
9) Floors- dampen the ends of your broom and dustpan to keep the dust from rolling back to the floor. Removing rubber sole marks just use an eraser and water can be harsh on hardwood floors so wash them infrequently as possible.
10) Do not ever mix ammonia and bleach together!

 Posted by at 9:26 pm
Jun 082008


Sometimes I am nervous and when I am making something new and I don’t feel that confident in how it will turn out. I will over compensate and make something else in addition. So when I was making my Chilled Cucumber Soup I also served a choice of Gazpacho something that I make all the time. With a heat wave going on right now in the NYC area it is the perfect thing to eat. I usually use thyme in my gazpacho but did not have any when I was making it so instead I used rosemary. With my left over rosemary I used them as skewers and put two to three shrimp on every skewer and marinated them. Perfectly simple and could easily be done with chicken. Something different for the grill this season.

 Posted by at 5:15 pm
Feb 282008

I often asked how long does this last? I was reading the magazine Fine Cooking this month and they had this great chart that I thought I would share with guidelines for safe storage times from the USDA.

Refrigerated, Frozen
Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal
3-5 Days,4-6 Months
Chicken & Turkey
2 Days, 6 Months
Ground Meat
1 to 2 Days, 3 to 4 Months
Sausage Raw
1 to 2 Days, 1 to 2 Months
Ham, Whole fully cooked
1 Week, 1 to 2 Months
1 Week, 2 Months
1 to 2 Days, 3 Months
Sliced Deli Meat
3 to 5 Days, 1 to 2 Months
Soups and Stews
3 to 4 Days, 2 to 3 Months
Broth and Stock
1 to 2 Days, 2 to 3 Months

 Posted by at 7:55 pm
Feb 282008

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I can say and do stupid things. This past weekend I definitely had one of those moments. I had been cooking and my floors had gotten pretty dirty. My Mom always told me that if you want to get your floors really clean you have get on your hands and knees to do it. She also swears by the cleaning product, Ammonia. Well I thought I was going to be very clever and add Clorox (so my floors would be really white too!) to my Ammonia concoction with boiling water.
I did not realize this actually creates a toxic mess. Upon telling people what I had done it definitely made me feel like a giant idiot. I guess, I was one of the few people who did not get this memo, that mixing the two is not a wise thing to do. If there is anyone else out there like me, note to self not a good idea mixing Ammonia and Clorox with boiling water. Oh, yes I did not mention I had a runny nose, irritated eyes, sneezing, headache, and cough for the next 36 hours. F.Y.I. I called Poison control and they were very nice and helpful.

 Posted by at 7:32 pm
Feb 102008


For the past couple of months I have been hard at work on producing my first product from the pantry. “Why, Honey…” Handmade, Crunchy, Honeycomb Candy was officially born this past Friday. It is available online.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped me get to this point. The past couple of months, have definitely been filled a lot of “learning experiences.”

 Posted by at 9:04 pm
Dec 192007

This is a little out of the normal entry but has to do with the home. Last Friday evening I came home from work to find my apartment had been completely ransacked. Definitely, an unsettling feeling to know a perfect stranger had broken into my apartment and torn through all of my personal items.

I try to always be positive and view the glass as half full versus half empty. It was horrible but could have been worse…but for years I thought about getting rental insurance – thought it would be expensive and take a long time to get. I was wrong it is quite the opposite. About 2 months ago I finally did it, very simple, not expensive and definitely gives you a peace of mind. When I was at the police station I told a friend “well, at least I have rental insurance” who responded with –“You do, I don’t anyone who actually signs up for that.”

Subsequently, I have talked to many people saying they have been meaning to sign up for it or others that do have it and again the peace of mind it gives. The coverage spans items outside the home too when traveling. Here are a few places to go if you don’t have rental insurance– it is quick, easy and totally worth it.


All State



State Farm

 Posted by at 8:24 am