Fun tips to boost your culinary know-how

Published on Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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Fun tips to boost your culinary know-how
Family Features

What can a camel teach you about grilled cheese? Camels like the Sahara desert because it is dry. Grilled cheese sandwiches also like a hot and dry environment — the pan. Put the butter or oil on the outside of the bread, not in the pan.

Become a food adventurer

The best cooks, hosts and shoppers have a well-rounded approach to the culinary world, including a wealth of helpful tips at their foodie fingertips. To show others how to best navigate their kitchens and grocery stores to create the most delicious and freshest dishes, food adventurer Marcy Smothers wrote her unique, fun-filled book SNACKS: Adventures in Food, Aisle by Aisle. While taking the reader on a journey through each grocery store aisle, culinary insights are served in fun, small bites. 

Here are a few of Smothers' quirky, fun facts you can use in your own food adventures:

  • Is your spinach a sunbather? Do you always grab the bag in the back to get the freshest one? That's okay for salad greens, but not spinach. USDA research has shown that spinach packed in clear plastic containers and continuously exposed to supermarket lights maintains photosynthesis. The best bet for nutrition is the bag basking in the front.
  • Why should you listen to your knives? Not sure if it's time to sharpen your knife? Listen to it. Carefully ping the blade. If you hear a high-pitched tone, the blade is still sharp. If you hear a dull tone, it's time to sharpen the knife.
  • Should you blow dry your chicken? The secret to a crispy chicken skin is starting with dry skin. The skin of a chicken is 50 percent water. Use a blow dryer on the no-heat setting to draw out the moisture then roast in the oven.

The book also includes original recipes, such as this one for Soupwiches, which combines the creaminess of tomato soup and grilled cheese in the same easy-to-enjoy sandwich. For more information, visit www.snacksthebook.com.


Servings: 4 as main course or 12 as an hors d'oeuvre

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup Campbell's Tomato Soup, condensed (right from the can)
1 tablespoon onion or shallot, minced
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
8 slices bread (English muffin bread, if available)
Olive oil

Mix the butter, soup, onion and cheese. Spread equal amounts of tomato soup-cheese butter on four slices of bread. Top with the other bread slices. Press on the Soupwiches to seal. Using a pastry brush, lightly paint the outside of the Soupwiches on both sides with olive oil. Alternately, you can use soft or melted butter.

Heat heavy or nonstick skillet on medium-high. When it is hot, add Soupwich. Squish and flip a few times until browned on both sides. (You can cook two at a time if your pan is big enough and you can manage twice the squishing and flipping.)

Cool the Soupwiches for a few minutes. Slice in half, plate them and serve.

If you are serving the Soupwiches as an hors d'oeuvre, remove the crusts and cut into fours on the diagonal.

Still want soup? Go ahead and make the rest of it. Be sure to fill the can 3/4 full with water, not all the way to the top.

Source: SNACKS: Adventures in Food, Aisle by Aisle


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