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tip of the day

Microwave Tips

Tip of the Day-

To make bread crumbs, cut 6 slices of bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Microwave in a 3 quart casserole dish for 6 – 7 minutes, or until dry, stirring after 3 minutes. Crush in blender.

Does your recipe call for softened butter or cream cheese and you don’t have time to wait?

Butter- microwave for 1 minute on 20% power

Cream cheese- 2 – 21/2 minutes on 30% power

A Smart Cookie

Tips for turning a ball of dough into fun cookie shapes.

Chill cookie dough to make it easier to roll, cut and transfer to baking sheets.

Roll with care. Gently flatten the cookie dough in a disk with your palms.

Dip cookie cutters in flour and use a thin-floured spatula to transfer cutouts to a cookie sheet.

Pop cookie sheet in the fridge for a few minutes so cutouts won’t lose their shape during baking

Clarified Butter

Slowly melt unsalted butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Do not stir butter and don’t let the butter boil. You want the milk solids to separate from the butter. You are looking for the butter to separate into 3 layers. On top- foamy milk, clarified butter in the middle and milk solids on the bottom. Next you want to skim the foamy milk off of the top. Ladle the clarified butter but do not touch the milk solids at the bottom. Can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Tip for the Day – Scallops

In the past, I have had a difficult time searing scallops. The problem was there was so much moisture that came from the scallops. I could not get them to turn that beautiful golden color. The problem was that I have been purchasing wet scallops. When you purchase scallops ask your seafood man if he has dry scallops. There is a difference between “dry” and ” wet” scallops. If they are wet they have been treated with Phosphates, which is a preservative. This makes the scallop weigh more. So you are paying extra for water. Go figure! When you try to sear them a lot of excess liquid is released and you do not get that caramelization. I have been able to find dry scallops at a local seafood market and Publix. Whole foods carry them as well. If you cannot find dry scallops, make sure you rinse scallops and pat them dry with a paper-towel before cooking. This will help some but it still is not as good as the dry scallops. Wet scallops are ok (if you cannot find dry scallops) to use in gumbos, stews, soups and chowders. If you are searing scallops, dry scallops are the only way to go.

Tip of the Day

Before you juice a lemon, put in the microwave for 15 seconds. You will be greatly surprised at how much more juice you will get.

Tip of the Day – purchasing a baking sheet

Picking a Baking Sheet
Baking pros advise buying heavy, durable rimmed aluminum baking sheets.  These are also known as half sheet pans. Try to find heavy-duty, restaurant quality aluminum pans.  Cheap baking sheets start to warp at 300 degrees.  

Pointers on Buying Vegetables

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Asparagus Stalks should be tender and firm, tips should be close and compact. Choose the stalks with very little white, they are more tender. Use the asparagus soon – it toughens rapidly.

Cabbage and lettuce – Choose heads that are heavy for size. Avoid cabbage with worm holes, or lettuce with discoloration or soft rot.

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