Lynne's Mailbox

With the heirloom trend, a lot of new (at least to us) pears are showing up in markets, but what you will always find is the standard quartet.
If your olive oil freezes, it's still OK to use.
When selecting wine glasses, you want clear, colorless, undecorated glass.
To dress up store-bought cookie dough, there are two approaches: before baking and after baking.
A sauté pan has straight sides while a skillet or fry pan has sloping sides.
The secret to crisp roasted potatoes? Giving them ample space and using good olive oil.
You don't want to do a lot to sage flowers because they are fragile in aroma and taste.
Lynne explains the differences between iodized table salt, kosher salt and sea salt.
A lot of the very inexpensive gadgets that slice, dice and chop tend to not do a very good job or they fall apart just when you come to love them. It's kind of like having a boyfriend who lets you down.
One idea: Take a recipe you're comfortable with and change the main ingredient.
Look for a flat-bottom wok with a long, wooden handle. Or, you could use an independent propane gas unit as your heat source.
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.
Soak sliced onions in ice water for 20 to 30 minutes or sprinkle them with an acid such as vinegar.
Lynne explains how to rinse fresh, unpackaged greens. If you do buy those "pre-washed" salad mixes, always wash them again.
Lynne shares a sampling of reliable pasta brands. (Hint: If the box says to rinse the pasta, don't waste your time.)
Attention to temperature is paramount in making good puff pastry.
"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."
Roma or plum tomatoes are relatively tasteless. When tomatoes are in season, there are many other choices with far more flavor.
Three ways you can mince garlic -- and avoid a lingering garlic odor on your hands.
If you grow grapes in your garden, try making grape juice or syrup at home.
Guava paste is like fruit leather -- it's very dense and sweet.
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.
Start with the basics, then experiment.
One quart heavy cream and 1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid is all it takes to make homemade mascarpone.