Taste of the churches
BOARDMAN -- The Mahoning Valley Association of Churches will sponsor its fourth annual "Taste of the Churches" benefit auction May 18 at St. Charles Church. Hors d'oeuvres will be served at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 and the auction at 7:30. Tickets are $15 each and may be obtained by calling (330) 744-8946.
Sharon Tyler Herbst has revised and updated her kitchen reference guide, "The New Food Lover's Companion" (Barron's, $14.95), considered by many to be the food bible. This small paperback with nearly 800 pages is chock-full of some 6,000 definitions and pronunciations of food, drink and culinary terms. In this latest edition, Herbst includes 2,000 additional entries. Herbst also expanded the appendix to include a pasta glossary.
Wondering what wine is right for a vinaigrette? Here is a simple rule of thumb: Use the same wine (red or white) that you will be serving with dinner. When you take a half bottle of wine and reduce it to one-third of a cup, you are intensifying the flavor of the wine. So don't use a mediocre wine -- one that you wouldn't drink yourself or serve to guests. If you do, then once you've reduced it you will have concentrated mediocrity!
Quick soaking legumes
If you have forgotten to soak dried beans over night before cooking, use the quick soak method. Put the beans in a pot and cover with water, boil them for 5 minutes, and then put the pot of beans aside for 1 hour. Drain, add fresh water, and then cook the beans.
Hold the knife properly
Many folks clench a knife in their fist like a hammer, wrapping their thumb around the handle. Holding the handle with the thumb and forefinger in a relaxed V, similar to a tennis grip, gives better control and is more comfortable. Some cooks like to grip the base of the blade between their thumb and forefinger for extra dexterity.