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Authentic Irish Brown Bread

For home-baked bread speedier than my Speedy No-Knead Artisan Bread, I bake Irish Brown Bread. A staple bread in Ireland, Irish Brown is different from soda bread for it’s distinctive large crumb texture and wheaty flavor with a touch of molasses. There’s no rise time, and it stirs up in about 5 minutes. I learned how to bake this authentic version while visiting friends last summer at their B&B in Tullamore, Ireland, between Dublin and the Galway coast. Our Irish friend John adds crunchy sunflower, sesame, poppy and pumpkin seeds. It was the best I tasted in Ireland!

I carefully watched John make the bread and took exact measurements. Then I made adjustments to the temperature and bake time since John baked in an Aga Cooker which doesn’t have exact temperatures, only hotter and cooler oven chambers and he baked the bread in both. I came up with a compromise in my oven, but the key is to bake until well browned so the center is fully cooked.

In Ireland I noticed this bread is commonly baked in the evening for the morning breakfast, as John did, and some of the other B&B’s. On our last night, the B&B proprietor gifted me a bag of Odlums brand whole meal flour which is an extra coarse wheat flour (see photo below). It was worth lugging home! The coarser flour plus the seeds makes the distinctive brown bread texture. Odlums is available on-line or look for the coarsest brand you can find, such as King Arthur, unless you happen to have a grain mill. (Which might be on my wish list now!). I like the finer textured brown bread made with our whole wheat flour, but the difference makes for appreciation of international food experiences. I add extra seeds to compensate for less coarse flour.

Bake a loaf for the luck of the Irish this March 17 and I think you’ll make this bread often!  After the second or third day I like to serve it toasted, and its always good with butter and my Basic Citrus Marmalade.

Print This Recipe
Irish Brown Bread
Makes one 9×5 or 8×4.5-inch loaf, about 16 slices

1-1/2 cups (200g) coarse whole wheat flour (see Test Notes)
1-1/2 cups (200g) all-purpose flour
1-2 tablespoons each sunflower, sesame, and poppy seeds, or your choice
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1-1/4 cups (300g) buttermilk (use from Rita’s Best Buttermilk Pancakes!)
2 tablespoons (40g) blackstrap or dark molasses
1 tablespoon (10g) sunflower oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup natural or golden raisins, optional
1-2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds

  1. Heat oven to 400°. Coat a 9×5 or 8×4.5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Whisk together the buttermilk, molasses, oil and egg.
  4. Stir liquids into dry mixture just until batter is evenly moistened. Stir in raisins if desired. Spread evenly in pan. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Moisten fingers and flatten top, lightly pressing seeds.
  5. Bake 30-35 minutes until well browned and pick inserted in center comes out clean.

NOTE: I was not compensated to mention brands in this post.

Test Notes:
King Arthur brand is coarsest I’ve found. I also like results with 1-1/4 cups of any brand whole wheat flour plus 1/2 cup wheat bran.
For buttermilk substitution here are some options.

Posted in Breads, Rosie's Kitchen | 2 Responses

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

Yes, these are the best I’ve ever had — and the simplest. Rosie agrees! (See her variation notes below.) I developed the recipe for a client years ago and did lots of research to arrive at the ideal balance of ingredients for thick, nice-rising pancakes. Yet, it’s the crunchy cornmeal that makes these pancakes especially appealing to me. Cornmeal is one of my kitchen staples. As is buttermilk; I’m an avid user (and share a substitute option). Buttermilk is a versatile ingredient, especially for baking, as in my favorite Corn Muffins. If you’re a pancake person like me, please tell me what you think. Kudos, or not, all comments are welcome. And… scroll down to check out a few photos below the recipe.

Print This Recipe
Cornmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

Makes 8, 4” pancakes (or doubled, about 16 pancakes*)

1        cup all-purpose flour (spoon into measuring cup and level top)
2        Tbsp. medium-grind cornmeal, like Bob’s RedMill*
1        tsp. sugar (optional)
1/2     tsp. baking soda
1/4     tsp. baking powder
1/4     tsp. salt*
1        cup buttermilk* (low fat or not)
1        egg
2        Tbsp. butter, melted

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Warm up buttermilk, just a bit, in microwave oven; whisk in egg. Add to dry ingredients along with melted butter. Stir gently just until combined; batter should be lumpy. Let rest 5-10 minutes.

To make pancakes, pour desired amount of batter onto a preheated, non-stick skillet or lightly greased skillet. Cook on medium heat until bottom side is brown, turn; cook until center springs back when lightly touched. 

Kitchen Notes
This recipe doubles nicely. Use 1-2/3 cup buttermilk to start; add more if batter is too thick and not pourable. 

Rosie’s Whole Wheat Banana-Walnut Pancakes:  Use 1 cup whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. Add 1 banana, sliced, and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

Buttermilk substitution: If you don’t have buttermilk, pour 1 tablespoon white vinegar or cider vinegar into a 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Fill to the 1-cup level with whole or 2% milk. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes for milk to clabber. Stir, then whisk in egg before adding to dry ingredients.

*Alber’s cornmeal is a typical supermarket brand. It’s a bit less coarse, so if you like a little crunch, replace a couple tablespoons of flour with extra cornmeal.

Use double-acting baking powder. It’s the most common, and actually may be the only baking powder available for everyday consumer use (Argo brand, Rumford etc).

Salt is iodized “table salt” in all my recipes. Table salt has more sodium than kosher salt: 590mg per 1/4 tsp vs 280mg sodium per 1/4 tsp for kosher salt.

dry ingredients are whisked together

lumpy batter is best; don’t over mix

my favorite non-stick pancake pan


Posted in Breads, Rita's Kitchen | Leave a comment

Super Simple Slider Sandwiches

It doesn’t get any easier than beef with salsa-raisin sauce for this spicy sandwich.  Let your slow cooker do the cooking, then pick up a bag of ready-cut coleslaw and soft dinner rolls or burger buns. Jump on over to the Sun-Maid nutrition blog for my recipe and you’ll be ready for Super Bowl Sunday or a simple meal any day!


Posted in Entrees, Rosie's Kitchen | Leave a comment

Speedy No-Knead Artisan Bread

January is National Baking Month, so even though I bake year-round (including microwave English Muffin Bread in summer), I thought it would be a good time to share this new (to me) speedy version of the no-knead bread I posted a few years ago. I came across Mark Bittman’s video last week showing how 1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar and hot water reduces the 12-18 hour rise to 3-4 hours. Amazing! My family and I think the results are brilliant. Stir it up after lunch and it’s ready for dinner. 

There is a slight difference in the yeastiness of the speedy version. I find the long-rise a more mellow developed flavor, but both methods are excellent. I made a whole-wheat rosemary and a walnut-raisin loaf (perfect with PB&J), and will be trying this method with all the variations I shared in this post Easiest Ever No-Knead Artisan Bread. The recipe became a viral recipe-sharing chain with my friends showing their friends, which I shared in this post. They’re still telling me how much they enjoy their home-baked bread, which is exactly what Mark Bittman intended.

If you’re one of my previous bakers, or haven’t baked a loaf yet, give this speedy version a try!  I’d love to hear how either the original or the speedy version works for you.  Note the speedy version instructions up-date below.

Print This Recipe

No-Knead Country Wheat Bread – plain, walnut or raisin  

Prep time: 5 minutes   Rise time: 18-24 hours plus 30 minutes just before baking
Bake time:  45 minutes   Makes 1 loaf
A gram weight kitchen scale measures quickly and accurately, if you have one.

420 g     3    cups White bread flour (such as King Arthur brand or bulk)
  90 g  3/4    cup Whole wheat flour
  30 g  1/4    cup Oat bran, optional
    8 g  1-1/2 tsp Table salt
   1/4     tsp Rapid rise yeast (I use a generous 1/4 tsp.)
  70 g     1     cup Chopped walnuts, optional and/or 3/4 cup raisins
  14 fl oz  1-3/4 cup Water (cold tap water for slow rise, hot water for fast rise)

For a speedy version, with 3-4 hours rise vs 12-18 hours, use hot water (115-120F) and add 1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar, per directions in video by Mark Bittman

1.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add walnuts and/or soaked grains if making multi-grain recipe. (See link for multi-grain recipe and step-by-step photos.)

2.  Stir in water with a wooden spoon. (For speedy rise, use hot 115-120F water plus 1/4 tsp. red wine vinegar). Switch to a plastic scraper if you have one, and continue mixing and turning just until dough is evenly moistened and pulls away from sides of the bowl. It’s not necessary to stir vigorously, just enough so the flour is mixed in.

3.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap (a plastic shower cap works great!) and let stand 30 minutes. Turn dough with the scraper or spoon, giving it about 4 folds. (If you skip this step it won’t harm the bread.)

4.  Cover bowl with plastic and let stand at room temperature 18-24 hours (3-4 hours for speedy version). The dough will rise and be very bubbly.

5.  Gently stir dough down with scraper or spatula and fold over in 90 degree turns several times. Dust top of dough lightly with flour. Cover the bowl and let rest 15 minutes.

6. Dust a towel with oats, cornmeal, wheat bran or a little flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the towel and shape roughly into a ball. Wrap in the towel and leave at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. OR – leave bread in bowl, sprinkle top with oats, cornmeal, bran or flour, then scrape around edge of bowl to slightly deflate dough. Let stand covered while oven heats, then turn directly into hot pan. 

7.   While dough is resting, place ungreased pan with lid if it has one, in the oven. Turn oven on and preheat to 500°F. NOTE: The pan must be a glazed ceramic that can withstand 500°F or an iron skillet. Allow at least 30 minutes for pan and oven to super-heat. It is necessary to preheat the pan so the bread will instantly create steam when it goes in, and the bread won’t stick to the pan.

8.  Unwrap dough, shake excess grain off the towel. Place the dough in the towel within reach of the oven. Open oven and pull rack forward. Lift lid (if using) and quickly slide dough into pan. Cover with lid or loosely cover container with foil. (This step can also be done by removing pan from the oven.)

9.  Reduce oven to 450°F. Cover pan with lid or foil. Bake covered 25 minutes. Dough will rise and start to brown.

10. Remove lid or foil and continue to bake until very dark brown, another 20-25 minutes.  Immediately remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.


The website PotsandPans sells ceramic loaf pans like the one I used for the walnut-raisin loaf.

I’ve tested cider vinegar in place of red wine and it seems to work similarly. I have a question in to Mark Bittman about why red wine, but he’s traveling in India till end of February and I’ve not had a reply.  I haven’t found food chemist to answer the question yet 🙂


Recipe adaption and photo by Rosemary Mark

Posted in Breads, Rosie's Kitchen | Leave a comment

Nutty Snacks for the Holidays

Rosemary Roasted Cashews Christmas tray

Nuts–walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds–make yummie holiday treats. This is Rosie’s dee-liciously easy Rosemary Roasted Cashews. She ‘borrowed’ the recipe from our friend Mary Margaret a while back, and it’s now her go-to recipe for quick gifts and snacks.  Update: One of my readers Tina Mark shared that she had made this recipe at Thanksgiving. Since this wasn’t posted yet, I inquired of her recipe source. We found the recipe by Ina Garten on a post by Leite’s Culinaria (I’ve since adjusted the seasoning amounts). So it’s a much-loved, popular recipe.

Another of our favs is Rita’s crunchy Sweet Salty Bitter Glazed Nuts. Then there’s Spiced Nuts (recipe below) that’s part of Rosie’s Peaches & Cheese Salad. Each recipe uses a slightly different method to prepare the nuts. All three are easy — the way we like it at Get Cooking Simply!  And we can all use simple and easy during the holidays.

Print This Recipe

Rosemary Roasted Cashews

Heat oven to 350°F.
Spread 1 pound raw whole cashews (about 3-3/4 cups) on a baking sheet. (Rosie lines the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy transfer of the hot nuts off the pan). Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning several times until golden brown.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, microwave 1 tablespoon salted butter until melted. Stir in:

   1 generous tablespoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary
   1 tablespoon (packed) dark or light brown sugar
   1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (increase if you like more heat)

The herb mixture will look a little dry; that’s ok. Add hot cashews to the bowl as soon as they are toasted. Stir and stir until cashews are cool and coated with herb mixture. The trick is to stir while the nuts are still hot so the rosemary sticks to them.  Let cool completely in bowl.

Spiced Candied Nuts
A dip in hot water before coating the nuts allows the sugar to melt and evenly caramelize when the nuts are roasted.

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt or 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups combinations of pecan and walnut halves
3/4 cup pistachios, optional (or additional 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts)

Heat oven to 350°F. Mix sugar, salt, allspice and cayenne in a small bowl. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; add nuts. Let stand 30 seconds; drain in a colander. Return nuts to saucepan. Stir sugar mixture into hot, wet nuts. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Spread nuts evenly onto pan. Bake at 350°F about 15 minutes until toasted and glazed, stirring every 5-6 minutes. Cool completely and store in airtight container.

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks, Rita & Rosie's Kitchens | Leave a comment

Cranberry Sauce Upside-Down Cake

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

What do you do with leftover cranberry sauce after the turkey is gone? Cranberry sauce keeps for months, probably longer, but why not use it for a holiday-ish cake topping. I was chatting with blogger Amy Sherman who mentioned baking a cranberry upside-down cake for Thanksgiving. She’d baked such a cake a couple years earlier, but couldn’t remember the recipe. Until her mother searched the internet and found the recipe on Martha Stewart’s site, WITH Amy’s comment.  So it goes for recipe developers, we forget what we’ve done once we move on to the next recipe!

I liked the idea of cranberry cake so I started with Martha’s recipe, added almond meal, orange zest and almond extract to the cake, and replaced fresh cranberries with a ginger-orange-cranberry sauce. I didn’t have leftover sauce after Thanksgiving, but had plenty of cranberries in the freezer for a fresh batch of sauce. It’s so easy, I don’t understand buying canned. Just simmer fresh or frozen cranberries with water and sugar (as the package directs). I usually use less sugar so it’s a tad tart-sweet. Use your favorite cranberry sauce, other than jellied which I don’t think would be right for this cake. I’m pretty sure you’ll never have leftover cranberry sauce for long after you try this cake. You’ll be looking for more sauce to bake another cake!

Cranberry Sauce Upside-Down Cake




Author Rosie

Yield on 9-inch cake 8 servings


1/2 cup butter, softened (divided use)

1 cup cranberry sauce (divided use) – see sauce note*

2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger, optional

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1-1/2 teaspoons orange zest

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (lightly packed) almond meal (or 3 tablespoons flour may be substituted)

1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk


PREHEAT oven to 350F.

Generously spread 2 tablespoons butter on the bottom of a 9-inch metal or glass baking dish.  It will be a thick layer and it does not need to be super even — don’t skimp, the cranberry needs the butter for the upside-down topping. If using ginger, stir it into sauce. Spread 3/4 cup sauce over the butter to about 1/2-inch from the edge of the pan.

BEAT remaining 6 tablespoons butter and sugar with an electric mixture until fluffy. Beat in egg, orange zest and almond extract.

WHISK together flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt.

ADD flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk, beating after each addition and scraping sides of bowl. Beat  on medium speed 30 seconds until smooth.

SPREAD batter over cranberry sauce. Bake 25-30 minutes until cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched.

IMMEDIATELY INVERT cake onto a plate. Let stand 2 minutes then remove pan.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup sauce for a fresh, lush look. Serve slightly warm or cool completely. Cake keeps at room temperature, covered, for  3-4 days .


Ginger-Orange Cranberry Sauce Combine 12 ounces (1 bag) fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered stirring occasionally until about half the berries burst, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Sauce will thicken.

Posted in Desserts | 4 Responses

Corn Muffin ‘Turkeys’

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Making these little birds can keep kids or guests busy until the big bird is sliced!  All you need is corn muffins and dried fruit.

Thank you for being a reader of Get Cooking Simply.  Rita and I wish you a wonderful thankful day!

 Print This Recipe 

Corn Muffin ‘Turkeys’

Makes 6-8 muffins

Muffins (or prepare a favorite recipe)

  •  1          package (8.5 ounces) cornbread mix
  • 1/4        cup raisins

Decorating supplies

  • Fresh or dried apple slices, dried apricots, prunes, raisins
  • Peanut butter for attaching fruit
  • Toothpicks, optional

Prepare cornbread batter as package directs.
Stir 1/4 cup raisins into batter. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake muffins according to package directions. Cool.
* Or add raisins to your favorite cornbread recipe.

To decorate:
Make two slits in the muffin, one slightly larger for the feathers.  For tail feathers, cut strips of apricots and prunes. Pinch ends together. Insert into the larger slit and arrange fan-like, using toothpicks if needed for support. Use a dab of peanut butter to stick a raisin to a fresh or dried apple. Don’t forget to add a thin slice of apricot to the neck for the ‘wattler’!




Posted in Breads | 1 Response

Tomato-Peach-Mint Bruschetta

The devastating fires just 75 miles from here make thinking about recipes seem so insignificant. Yet we still fuel body and soul as we continue on.

End-of-summer golden tomatoes and peaches make this classic tomato-topped toast called Bruschetta. (Pronounced “broos KET tah”). I like mint instead of basil in this twist on the traditional tomato and garlic bruschetta. I skip the garlic although a garlic clove could be rubbed on the toast with a drizzle of olive oil.  And if you prefer to use basil, it’s the same family as mint and perfectly interchangeable in this recipe.

Olive oil adds the finishing caress to marry tomatoes and peaches with salty feta and fragrant mint.  If you’ve not combined tomatoes with peaches, try it, they’re botanical siblings anyway and the balance of acid and sugars work beautifully together.

I’m still getting red and yellow heirloom tomatoes in my weekly organic box from Riverdog Farm, and am the lucky recipient of my neighbor’s late-summer crop. If you can still get peaches in your area I hope they’re sweet like mine from the Central Valley. Or remember to try this recipe next season. Once you taste you won’t forget the flavors, I’m sure!

When I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) I learned about Lindsay Olive Oil, a buttery California olive oil from the folks we know of as a ripe olive company. They call it Buttery Extra Virgin, and it really is buttery. Drizzled on toast with a little salt instead of butter, it’s my new toast topper, and sometimes with orange marmalade too!

**I received conference discount from IFBC  in exchange for a blog post of my choice.


Tomato-Peach-Mint Bruschetta

Prepare Bruschetta in proportions to taste; serve immediately.

  1. Dice tomatoes and peaches.
  2. Place in a bowl with finely chopped fresh mint or basil.
  3. Stir in crumbled feta cheese.
  4. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Season lightly with coarse salt if desired.
  6. Spoon over toasted baguette or crusty bread.


Posted in Appetizers & Snacks, Rosie's Kitchen, Salads and Dressings | 4 Responses

Banana Avocado Muffins

Sub avocado for most of the oil for a boost of ‘good fat’ and fiber.

Why add mashed avocado to muffins? Because avocados are full of polyunsaturated fat (‘good fat’), are a good source of fiber (about 9 grams per avocado), are high in minerals and phytonutrients like Vitamin E, C, folate, magnesium, AND can replace other fat in baking as in this Avocado Banana Muffin. 

This was the first time I used avocado to reduce oil or butter in baking, though I like raisins and dates to reduce fat and sugar in Low-Fat Raisin Cookies, Cocoa-Coconut Cake, and Date-Apple Muffins. So I was intrigued with this muffin recipe from Avocados from Chile.

What did I think of the muffins and could I taste avocado? Avocados are so mild and buttery there was no discernible flavor over the banana and cinnamon. I’d make them again. But next time reduce the flour 1/4 cup, or use a little more avocado — yes really. They weren’t quite moist enough for me, though I confess it’s maybe because I used part whole wheat flour. (I tend to modify recipes!). Let me know what you think when you try it!

I learned a lot about Avocados from Chile* at the International Food Bloggers conference** in Sacramento last week. Aside from other ‘awesome avocado’ recipes on their website (like Avocado Chocolate Mousse, Avocado Green Goddess Dressing, and others), here’s some tips on ripening Haas avocados which is the darker thicker-skinned avocado we get in the U.S. from Chile, Mexico and California:

  • Bright green, firm to the touch ripen in 5-7 days at room temperature
  • Dark green and beginning to soften ripen in 2-5 days at room temperature
  • Ripe avocados from Chile will be very dark green, almost black. The stem end should give just slightly when it’s ready to eat
  • Speed up the ripening by putting in a closed paper bag with apples or kiwi – more the better
  • Refrigerate ripe avocados and eat within 2 days

*Avocado facts:

– Just under 100 Million pounds/year shipped from Chile to the U.S. fall through winter
– 300 Million pounds/year shipped from California throughout the U.S. from spring through fall
– 50 Million pounds/week shipped from Mexico to the U.S.

Print This Recipe

Avocado Banana Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

1 medium-large very ripe avocado (just over 1/2 cup mashed)
3 very ripe bananas (about 1 cup mashed)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour or substitute 1 cup whole wheat for 1-1/4 cups of the all-purpose flour 
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces or halves

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Halve, pit and scoop out the flesh of the avocado. If there’s more than a gently rounded half cup, reserve the remainder for another use, or eat immediately.

Whisk together the avocado, banana, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Pour the avocado mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in walnuts or reserve and sprinkle on top of batter.

Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with paper muffin cups.  Divide the batter equally between the cups. Sprinkle the nuts over the batter (if not stirred in), and gently press down so they stick to the batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Photo by Rosie; Recipe adapted from Avocados from Chile

**I received conference discount from IFBC  in exchange for a blog post of my choice.

The batter isn’t green, but little flecks of avocado may show. That’s fine!

Posted in Breads, Rosie's Kitchen | Tagged | 6 Responses

My Practical Kitchen

You know how annoying it can be when you’re in the middle of cooking, reach for a whisk, and it gets tangled up with other utensils. Well, I have some tips to share from my ‘practical kitchen’ that might help you untangle and simplify your kitchen.

Having worked in the test kitchens at Del Monte headquarters in San Francisco for more than ten years, I learned some useful ways to organize and store foods, utensils, pots and pans et al. Adding to my college food lab training, I’ve applied those learnings to make my own kitchen practical and efficient.

So here are some of my favorites (13 in all), along with quick snapshots. If you have your own favorite kitchen tips, please share! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

#1  Always store dried herbs and spices below the counter top where it’s cooler than an upper kitchen cupboard. Mine are placed sort-of alphabetically in a drawer. Frequently used ones are on top usually.

#2  Springy tongs take up a lot of room in drawers. Place them in empty rolls from bathroom tissues. (Sorry, I find counter-top utensil containers irritating.)

#3  Containers that store multiple ingredients (baking items in this case) make storage easier. Just grab the container rather than sifting through ten different items in the cupboard. Likewise, drawer dividers and/or utensil trays for drawers are a must-have in any kitchen to keep measuring spoons in one place, whisks side-by-side etc.

#4  These days it seems that grains, cocoa powder etc come in bags. For me, they are not convenient for storage. So if you still have original containers, reuse them.

#5  Honey getting low? Store it upside down in a ramekin for an easy squeeze.

#6  I still use original containers for some ingredients; they are more user-friendly compared to newer ones. Just transfer those seeds or spices from the new to the old.

#7  Toaster ovens seem to have a short-ish life span. Keep the pan that came with the oven you’re replacing. I’ve collected 3-4 which makes toasting nuts very efficient.

#8  I always toast more coconut (and other ingredients) than I need for a specific recipe, and store it in a below-the-counter cupboard or in the fridge. Yes, I’ve already used that coconut!

#9  Whether they’ll be re-used or recycled, stuff lightweight plastic produce bags in a sturdy plastic-wrap roll. Tidy storage!

#10  Notice how brown sugar gets hard even when wrapped tightly in its box? I have a jar that fits an entire box of brown sugar. Stays nice and spoon-able for a long time.

#11  Ever taste a tad of garlic or onion in that quick bread or cake? Keep separate wooden spoons just for baking sweets.

#12  Cotton bags are terrific to dry freshly-rinsed herbs or small salad greens. Whether you buy the bags at a cookware store or use an old cotton pillow case, they take up a lot less room than salad spinners and are much easier to clean.

#13 (a bakers dozen :o)  I freeze many ingredients ahead of time. So when figuring out what to have for dinner I don’t have to handle that chicken again or peel and chop ginger for stir-fry or…  See my previous post In Your Freezer and Ready to Go

Posted in Rita's Kitchen | 16 Responses