Monthly Archives: September 2012

Less Mess, Less Stress

“There’s a lot of cleaning to do,” my husband remarked, not admitting that there was any hidden implication to his words. At the time, he was surveying the disastrous condition of our kitchen, after bidding goodbye to the couple who’d been our dinner guests that night.

At first, I was defensive. But soon I realized (with a blush of embarrassment at the impression I must have made) that the room was in a shambles, because I hadn’t taken the time to clean as I went along. It would have been so easy to quickly rinse the pots, begin loading the dishwasher, or even just stack dishes in the sink. But I’d been frantically focusing on serving the meal.

I’d forgotten that it only takes a few moments to clean up between the courses. And the effort pays off beyond the obvious, leaving you and your guests feeling more relaxed.

Egg Separating-Breaking News!

If you always cringe when a recipe calls for separating eggs, then you’ll want to try a new technique that has gone viral on YouTube videos recently.

I’ve included a link to one version for your convenience. But in case you can’t view the video, here are the basic instructions: Carefully crack an egg into a bowl or saucer without breaking the yolk. Take an empty water bottle, squeeze some of the air out of it, and gently place the opening right onto the egg yolk. Release the sides of the bottle, suctioning the yolk inside. To deposit the yolk into another container, simply squeeze the bottle.

Once I got a feel for this technique (it took three attempts), I liked it. It’s fast, fun, and less messy than other methods I’ve tried. Still, I can’t say that I’m a convert; the next time that I need to separate an egg, I fear that I will have lost the knack. However, I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think.

How To Separate Egg White from Yolk Using a Bottle

10 Tips for Affordable Entertaining

When a friend recently lamented the fact that she spends a fortune for food when she’s entertaining, I could completely identify. Overspending is a failing typical of hysterical hostesses, who are hell bent on impressing their guests whatever the cost. And the problem is likely to worsen as meat and produce prices continue to soar. So how can you pamper your friends without putting yourself in the poor house? Try some of these inflation-busting shopping strategies, which focus on flexibility and forethought:

1.See What’s in Store-Leave room in the meal plan for minor changes (like the vegetable choice), based on what you find at the supermarket.

2.Bring a Backup Plan-Have a less costly alternative in mind should sticker shock set in at the meat counter-lovely lamb shanks instead of outrageous osso buco.

3.Omit the Meat-Serve one of the elegant vegetarian entrees that the food magazines are featuring these days. Everyone’s so health-conscious now that even your carnivorous friends won’t object.

4.Do Stew-Stewed and braised dishes, which call for less costly cuts of meat, are definitely in fashion now and most of them are one-pot, make-ahead meals.

5.Go Global-Learn some Asian, Indian or Hispanic dishes. They’re extremely trendy and extremely inexpensive.

6.Stock Up-If you have space, save money by buying in bulk and on sale. You’ll save gas money on shopping trips, too.

7.Shop Seasonally-Buying produce in season is a no-brainer, since it tastes better and costs less.

8.Play Around-Some of the most inexpensive meals are the most fun. Instead of uninspired steak, surprise your guests with a casual, comforting dish like spaghetti and meatballs (as Ina Garten once did when the boss came to dinner).

9.Make Breakfast-Even if you include a cocktail, it’s cheaper than dinner-and usually a lot more fun.

10.Plan a Potluck-You’ll save time and money and still give your friends a great time.