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Cooking and drinking tips for the holiday

Holiday Reminders for Cooking and Drinking


  1. Find your meat probe for roasting. If your oven has a feature allowing you to roast by temperature rather than time, you should use it. It is much more accurate. If you don't use this feature often, chances are that the temperature probe is hidden away with your instruction manual so you'll need to conduct a search ahead of time.
  2. Use the right pan for convection. The convection feature is wonderful for roasting and baking, but it's important to remember that the oven air needs to circulate around the food. If you have a roast or a bird sitting on the bottom of a roasting pan with high sides, you need to make sure that a roasting rack or trivet gets the meat above the pan sides so that convection air will encircle the food.
  3. Don't forget your low simmer burner. This time of year there are lots of sauces and soups that need to sit on the stove for a long time at a very low settings. If you're having trouble getting a low enough flame on your gas burner try checking to see if you have another burner on your range with a lower simmer setting. Most ranges and cooktops today will have at least one burner capable of maintaining a very low flame, whereas the power burner probably won't be able to turn down low enough for your sauce.
  4. Double check your recipe ingredients. Nothing worse than thinking you had the all spice or the basil or the you-name-it in the cupboard only to be unable to find it. While your at it, be aware that if these spices have been in the pantry for a couple of years, they've likely lost their potency. Might be a good time for a fresh supply.


1. Store your wine at the right temperature. Most experts recommend a temperature of 52-59 degrees.

2. Drink your wine at the right temperature. The right drinking temperature for wine is not the same as the right storage temperature for wine. Too many folks seem to want to drink red wine at room temperature and white wine at a refrigerated under 40 degree temperature. In general, you should drink hearty red wines in the 60-63 degree range, while most whites will taste best just above 50 degrees. Only sparkling wines taste good at a 40 degree temperature.

3. Decant your wine if necessary. Much has been written about decanting wine and there is great disagreement among wine experts. Most experts do agree that older red wines can benefit from decanting to separate the wine from the sediment. Others go further and say that decanting wine exposes it to oxygen and lets it release flavor that would not otherwise be present. Some even like to decant white wines.

One final tip on eating and drinking.


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December 24, 2012
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