Neat trick to stay level When opening a new container of baking powder, cut down the middle of the seal, beneath the lid, and remove only half. The remainder can be used to level off your measuring spoon. Always purchase baking powder and baking soda in the smallest containers available so you're more likely to finish them before they lose potency. — Amanda Barnier
Same saver: Grate on demand Did you know that fresh ginger freezes well? You don't even have to peel it. Freeze the whole root in an airtight container and grate it while still frozen, as needed. — Jennifer Bartoli
Peach perfect The type of peach you use makes all the difference when it comes to pitting. Clingstone peaches are just as they sound—clingy—so save them for eating out of hand. Easier-to-pit freestone peaches are much better for preserving, baking and cooking because the stone pops out easily. Both are equally delicious, though. — Annabelle Waugh
Our best cooking tips for making dough and so much more!
When prepping grains (think quinoa, bulgur or rice), enhance their flavour with tea rather than the usual broth or water. Cook with your favourite brew: I prefer a full-bodied tea, such as smoky lapsang souchong, fragrant Earl Grey or aromatic chai, but you can also choose a milder green tea or herbal blend. Before adding the liquid to grains, steep black teas for three to five minutes, green for two to three minutes, and herbal for five to seven minutes—tisanes don't become bitter, so they can take a longer brewing time.
Here's a foolproof way to remove a lingering garlic scent from your hands: Rub your fingers against a stainless-steel object, like your kitchen sink or a spoon, then rinse under cool water. Garlic is packed with sulphur molecules (that's what gives it a lovely taste and a not-so-lovely smell), which scientists say can form a chemical bond with stainless steel.
Out of vanilla? Head to your liquor cabinet—Kahlúa makes the perfect replacement.
Save your parmesan rinds! Store them in the freezer (they'll keep for months), then drop them into simmering soups or sauces for an amazing flavour boost.
The next time you're making dough, instead of using a pastry blender or the two-knife method to cut in cold butter, try grating it over the flour mixture, then tossing to coat. The butter will be more evenly distributed in the flour mixture, resulting in a light, flaky crust.
Tools of the trade
Three must-have items for a well-stocked kitchen.
1. Y-peeler: The wide grip makes peeling easy, plus the blade creates perfect Parmesan shavings and vegetable ribbons.
2. Large canning jar: This kitchen MacGyver doubles as a cocktail shaker and storage for dry goods. It's also a great place to keep fresh herbs—stand your mint or basil leaves in about two inches of water and change the water daily.
3. Kitchen scissors: This gadget is a huge time-saver when it comes to chopping herbs, segmenting a whole chicken or trimming veggies.
Canadian Living editor-in-chief Jes Watson shares how the food always comes first when her family reunites.
Our crew is like most Canadian families. We're tight-knit, but sprinkled across a wide expanse of geography, scattered through cities, towns, provinces and a few distant countries. We're lucky to live in the time we do, when communication has never been easier, and we stay in touch with regular phone or FaceTime calls, emails and social media. But there's nothing quite like when we're all in the same room together, 30 or so familiar faces, the same features (in our case, twinkling eyes and proud sets of buckteeth) echoing through the generations.
Despite the distance between us and the time we've spent apart, when we do meet up, it's like nothing has changed. Conversations seem to pick up where they left off, as if the months or years separating visits were nothing more than a short pause. Seeing my relatives again feels as comfortable as slipping into a favourite pair of well-worn jeans, or picking up a beloved book I've read a hundred times. No matter where we are, or who is hosting, it's like coming home.
The Watsons try to make get-togethers an annual occurrence, with a generous relation offering to host at a different location each year. Because we're polite folk who don't want to descend like a herd of hungry elephants on a poor aunt, uncle or cousin, the agreed-upon tradition is to make the feast potluck. We're each assigned a course to bring (appetizers, main or dessert), and we spend hours doting on hot stoves and ovens, prepping veggies and icing cakes. When we arrive, each of us ports our wares in casserole dishes and Tupperware from the car to doorstep like precious cargo.
It's no accident that even before the hugs and the small talk, the dish each person provided is the primary topic of conversation; the first question out of everyone's mouths is "What did you bring?" And because we've been having our reunions for as long as I can remember some of the recipes that appear are like family members in and of themselves. My cousin Dawn makes the cheesiest, ooey-gooiest lasagna that I can't ever resist having seconds of, and when I see it there on the dining table, I feel waves of nostalgia and familiarity (not to mention hunger). Some recipes are re-created in honour of relatives who have passed away or can't be there: My late Aunt Barb's trifle is a bittersweet, but mostly sweet, way of remembering her. Of course, we welcome new recipes, too, much like new babies; my 10-year-old niece wowed us last year when she made a batch of perfectly chewy yet crispy cookies from scratch.
Maybe it's not that the recipes are like relatives in their own right, but that the food we bring is an extension of who we are. Our secret recipes and special ingredients, year after year, become entwined with our personalities. They're a way for each of us to show our love for our family, and for them, in return, to show their love for us. When I look forward to our next reunions, I always vividly imagine the food that's going to be there, and each of the people I adore who'll bring them.
Want to plan your own big family reunion? Visit caltelli150.ca for your chance to win 1 of 3 Catelli Family Reunion Experience Grand Prizes valued at approximately $10,000 each.Contest runs from February 28 to April 4 and is open to Canadian residents only.
Celebrities love a unique baby name. There's
North, Bear and Apple, to name just a few of the odd baby monikers. With each new baby announcement, I wonder why celebrities chose that name. Earlier this month I met
Canadian singer-songwriter Lights, who gave birth to a
baby girl in February. Her little one is named Rocket Wild Bokan! So of course I had to ask her how she
came up with the name. And I have to admit it's a pretty cute reason. "It’s kind of a funny story," Lights says. "I was doing a show in Vancouver at the end of last year. It was a really nice show, it was the night I told my band I was pregnant. There was 7,000 people that turned up. It was really special. There was a huge rocket behind the crowd and I was remarking at how cool that moment was. And then I realized it was a Ferris wheel, not a rocket. So I felt really embarrassed. And it kind of became the joke of the night. And my sister said 'Rocket’s a cool name.' And I was like yes it is!" And that's how baby Rocket was born! Pretty darn cute, eh? Lights says she is loving motherhood. Not to be cheesy, but she lit up when she talked about her little girl. "It’s really rewarding and really levels me when things get stressful," she says. Currently, Lights is on tour with her new album
Little Machines and Rocket is right there with her. She said Rocket hasn't inspired any new songs. But she was in her mom's belly while she recorded
Little Machines. "I wrote all the songs for the record before she was born," Lights says "So right now she’s inspiring all kinds of other things." We can't wait to see what Rocket inspires Lights to do next.
Photography by Aimee Nishitoba
I had the pleasure of celebrating National
Iced Tea day at
David's Tea on Tuesday night. I enjoyed tea cocktails and doughnuts while chatting with Kim Wiseman, head of store operations at David's Tea. As a lover of
loose leaf tea, I had to ask her about the art of steeping the perfect cup of tea. Kim immediately pulled me over to the shelves to show me the secret to making a delicious cup of tea: a good steeper. Which makes sense, you can't steep a good cup of tea without the right tools. Here are the steepers Kim recommends. Kim swears by the
David's Tea mug, pictured above, which comes with an infuser. The great thing about this mug is the lid doubles as a coaster, so you can put your infuser on it. This is perfect for re-steeping your tea. And yes, there is nothing wrong with reusing your loose leaf to make another cup of tea! The second way to steep your tea is with a
tea filter. If you're new to loose leaf, this is a great option because it's just like a bag of tea. I personally love using the tea filters at work. I fill up all the bags with tea and then bring them to work. It's less bulky then bringing the whole infuser and you don't have to worry about cleaning the infuser after.
The final steeper Kim recommends is the
teapot steeper, perfect for making tea for a big group of people. I think this teapot is magic because you let the tea steep and then you sit the steeper on your mug and it magically pours out! This steeper is also great for
making iced tea, you just pour your tea over some ice. The
perfect summer drink!
Which tea steeping method do you use?Photos courtesy of David's Tea