One of my favorite topics to share with my readers is tips that save money when preparing or cooking food. I read several food magazines each month, so I’m always on the lookout for helpful tips.
Today’s column includes many money-saving tips and salad dressing recipes to accent the salad greens you’re preparing.
Cheese rinds — Save your Parmesan rinds. The Parmesan rind adds savory depth to soups, tomato sauces and do, as my second mom, an Italian, Mrs. Pesevento, use the rinds later to compliment tomato sauce, soups or stew.
Cured meat scraps — Instead of tossing out scraps of cured meat, like dry sausage and proscuitto, place leftovers in a zipper-lock freezer bag. Then store them in the freezer. When making tomato sauce, or stews, add small amounts of the meat that fit your serving to the simmering pot for extra flavor.
Stale bread — Bread that is 2 to 3 days old is ideal for making bread crumbs. Pulse leftover slices in a food processor until crumbs are formed. Then either use them right away or freeze them in zipper-lock freezer bags. Stale bread can also be a great thickener for soups. Toss in pieces of stale bread at the end of the cooking cycle of a soup. The stale bread will absorb the extra water. You can puree in a blender some of the solids and some of the liquid of the soup and you will have a creamy soup without the cream.
Cilantro stems — While some herbs stems like parsley can taste bitter, cilantro is different. Sure, the leaves are tasty, but the great flavor is found in the stems. Sweet, fresh, and potent, but never bitter, the flavor intensifies as you travel down the stem.
For flavorful salad dressings try the following:
Classic vinaigrette — Whisk 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil.
Shallot-white wine — Make classic vinaigrette, replacing the red wine vinegar with wine vinegar. Add 1 minced shallot.
Roasted garlic — Slice the top off of 1 head of garlic and drizzle it with olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast at 400 degrees until tender, 35-45 minutes. Cool, then squeeze out the garlic cloves. Make classic vinaigrette in a blender adding the roasted garlic and 3 teaspoons of grated parmesan.
Bistro bacon — Make classic vinaigrette, above. Add 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese, 3 slices crumbled cooked bacon and 2 teaspoons chopped chives.
Mediterranean — Make classic vinaigrette. Mash in 1/2 cup crumbled feta. Then, whisk in 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, and 1 diced plum tomato.
Dijon — Whisk 3 teaspoons each Dijon mustard and champagne vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon salt, and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in 1.2 cup olive oil.
Spicy honey mustard — Whisk 2 tablespoons each honey and Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons lime juice, and 1/2 tablespoon lime zest and salt. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup each olive oil and Canola oil. then add 2 tablespoons chopped thyme and 1/2 minced jalapeno (optional).
I have many personal and sport friends that read my column. I’ve also had many readers who have responded to my column. You can touch bases with me through the Mountain Democrat. Thanks for keeping in touch all these years.