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Both experienced and novice cooks look for new methods and recipes to add to their culinary arsenal. BareFoot Foodie is delighted to present recipes and instructional cooking videos to assist you.

Fruits and Vegetables

Quick and easy corn on the cob. The simplest way to cook perfect corn on the cob is to toss an ear into the microwave for three minutes. Then, remove the husks, add some salt and butter and enjoy.

Blanching vegetables. Blanching vegetables means to boil them for five or six minutes prior to using them in a recipe. This is particularly helpful for harder vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and cauliflower that take longer to cook. Otherwise you end up with vegetables that are too crunchy.

Plump up limp vegetables. Give limp vegetables a second chance by soaking them in ice water to make them crisp after prolonged refrigeration. This is a great technique for lettuce and celery, which seem to go limp fastest. This trick also works for limp herbs.

Stir-frying vegetables. Stir-fried vegetables are a quick and easy side dish option. Or serve them over noodles or rice for a delicious meal. The secret to stir-frying is to have the pan or wok very hot and the vegetables cut into similar sized pieces so they cook evenly. Great choices are peppers, mushrooms, onions, carrots, snow peas and beans. Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes and yams. Stir-fried vegetables should be flavored near the end of the cooking time for the best results.

Stop white vegetables from yellowing. When cooking white vegetables, use a light colored pot and add a pinch of sugar to keep the white color and avoid yellowing.

Measure vegetables and fruits properly for recipes. When using a recipe that asks you to include a specified amount of a fruit or vegetable, it can be confusing sometimes to know just how much they mean. The general rule of thumb is that if the recipe states “1 cup of diced carrots” then you dice them first and then measure out 1 cup. If it calls for “1 carrot, diced” then it wants you to dice up one carrot. Most recipes are pretty forgiving though; so don’t stress too much over getting the prefect amount.

Roasting vegetables. There are lots of vegetables that can be carrots, potatoes, onions, peppers and squashes. For the best results, coat the vegetables evenly in oil and add seasonings before putting them in a non-stick roasting pan. A great way to ensure they don’t stick (and to make cleanup easy) is to line your pan with parchment paper. Ensure that the vegetables are evenly distributed and not overlapping one another.

Ripen tomatoes overnight. Putting green tomatoes in a brown paper bag with an overripe banana can quickly ripen them. By the morning your green tomatoes will be red and ready to eat!

Perfectly steam vegetables every time. Steaming is an easy way to cook vegetables and is a great way to retain their water-soluble vitamins. Almost all vegetables can be steamed except for starchy ones like potatoes. When steaming, make sure that vegetables are cut into equal-sized pieces so they cook evenly. To steam them, place them in a bamboo or metal steams, place the lid on the steamer and put it over a saucepan of boiling water. Always steam your vegetables with the highest possible heat to avoid sogginess and get them cooked faster.

Make sautéed onions even sweeter. For tastier sautéed onions, add a few drops of honey to the pan after heating the oil or butter and before adding the onions. Or if you don’t have any honey, add some sugar on top of the onions once they start to soften. This is especially tasty if you’ll be using the onions on a pizza, steak or hamburger.

Easily peel peaches and tomatoes. Whenever you have to peel peaches or tomatoes, the easiest way is to first immerse them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Then use a sharp paring knife to remove the peel.

Make delicious salads. If you’ve only ever used iceberg lettuce to make salads, now is the time to branch out and try something new. Red and green leaf lettuces make an excellent –and healthier –alternative. To make the perfect salad be sure to get yourself an inexpensive salad spinner. Nothing is more unappetizing than soggy lettuce leaves. And the extra water will dilute the flavor of your dressing.

Steam vegetables without a steamer. Don’t have a steamer? Make enough small aluminium foil balls to cover the bottom of your pan and fill with water to half the height of the foil balls. Boil the water, and once it is boiling, add whatever you are cooking. Expect it to be finished in about 10-15 minutes.

Use pureed vegetables. Pureed vegetables make an excellent thickener for sauces and stews. Consider pureeing your leftovers and freezing them in small plastic bags. Just be sure to heat thoroughly before adding to a hot sauce.

Roast red peppers. Wash and place whole red peppers on the barbecue grill. Grill them on HIGH to char the skin all around. This takes 15-20 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when their skin is black and lifting away from the flesh in places. Then cool them in a paper bag to loosen the blackened skin. Simply peel them and remove the seeds. Roasted red peppers make an excellent topping for pizzas, hamburgers and quesadillas or are delicious all on their own!