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The Splendid Table
This Week's Episode
How to free yourself from recipes and begin improvising in the kitchen
One idea: Take a recipe you're comfortable with and change the main ingredient.
What to look for in a wok if you have an electric stovetop
Look for a flat-bottom wok with a long, wooden handle. Or, you could use an independent propane gas unit as your heat source.
Some of the best brands of packaged pasta you might want to try
Lynne shares a sampling of reliable pasta brands. (Hint: If the box says to rinse the pasta, don't waste your time.)
Use cold butter to put the puff in puff pastry
Attention to temperature is paramount in making good puff pastry.
The best way to roast a chicken? Fast and hot, with a vertical roaster
"I've come to the conclusion that the best way to roast a chicken is fast and hot," Lynne says. "But an even better way is to use a vertical roaster."
What to use instead of tasteless Roma tomatoes
Roma or plum tomatoes are relatively tasteless. When tomatoes are in season, there are many other choices with far more flavor.
Skip nonstick cooking spray. It's more expensive than oil, and tastes terrible
If you want a thin film of oil on your pan, take a good-quality oil, moisten a paper towel with it and rub it on the pan.
How to get the best olive oil
How to make store-bought red onions sweeter
Soak sliced onions in ice water for 20 to 30 minutes or sprinkle them with an acid such as vinegar.
Always wash pre-washed salad mixes again, and other tips for cleaning greens
Lynne explains how to rinse fresh, unpackaged greens. If you do buy those "pre-washed" salad mixes, always wash them again.
3 ways to mince garlic (without smelling like it for days)
Three ways you can mince garlic -- and avoid a lingering garlic odor on your hands.
How to make grape juice -- or grape syrup -- at home
If you grow grapes in your garden, try making grape juice or syrup at home.
3 ideas for guava paste: Pair it with cream cheese or spicy salami
Guava paste is like fruit leather -- it's very dense and sweet.
Make hamburgers that won't fall apart on the grill (or disappoint the grandchildren)
If your hamburgers fall apart on the grill, try adding egg yolk, black beans or chickpeas; make thicker patties; and cook them over a lower fire.
What to plant in an herb garden
Start with the basics, then experiment.
How to make mascarpone cheese at home
One quart heavy cream and 1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid is all it takes to make homemade mascarpone.
How to cook wild morels
Morels are delicate, you don't want to overwhelm them with flavoring.
How to cook with farro
Farro, an ancient strain of wheat, is very much a part of country cooking in Italy.
Fennel or anise? They taste similar, but are not the same
What is the difference between the fresh anise bulb and the fresh fennel bulb?
How to freeze fresh herbs whole or as flavoring blends
Freezing fresh herbs is easy -- they turn dark green when frozen, but they'll keep their fresh flavor.
How to select a copper pot
Look for copper pans that are 3 millimeters thick that have iron handles.
How to brine a turkey
If refrigerator space is limited, try using a more concentrated, and therefore quicker, brine along with some disposable frozen ice packs.
How to salvage hard brown sugar
You can soften brown sugar that has turned to stone -- all it needs is a little moisture.
Toss any cans of food that are bulging. Those are the ones that can kill you
Supposedly most canned goods are in their prime for about 1 year.
The slower you cook chicken, the better
The average-size boneless chicken breast takes only about 6 minutes of cooking time. When it's fully cooked, it should be firm when you press it.
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