Savvy Slow Cooking Class

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Savvy Slow Cooking with Dina Bair on WGN Midday News!

The quickest cooking class I’ve ever taught was this past Friday on WGN Midday News.  In less than 5 minutes I demonstrated two of my favorite slow cooker recipes.  That’s funny, isn’t it?  A quick class of slow cooker recipes?  Anyway, if you want to watch Friday’s segment, here’s the link.  And here are the links to my featured recipes: White Chicken Chili and Jalapeño and Portobello Braised Beef.

The real purpose of the WGN segment was to promote my upcoming Savvy Slow Cooking classes.  The first one scheduled on Thursday, February 4th is sold out but a second one has been added on Friday, February 5th at Marcel’s in Glen Ellyn.  In this class scheduled from 9:30-11am, I will demo three different recipes:  Maple Brown Sugar Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples, Fiesta Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Asian Moo Shu Pork.

Slow cooking answers the 5pm question, ‘What’s for Dinner?’.  My own slow cooker stays on my counter most of the winter and I use it weekly to make flavorful and healthy family meals.  With these upcoming classes, I hope to encourage you to dust off your own slow cooker so that you will have an answer to the ‘Whats for Dinner’ question at your house!

Will you join me for a morning in the kitchen tasting, learning, and sharing?  I hope so!  To register and for more information, click here!

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Fresh Herbs Create Fresh Flavors

Herbilicious!

Whether in your garden or from a farmer’s market or grocer, fresh herbs can create fresh flavors in your kitchen.  Fresh herbs can be added as a finish to green salads, sautéed vegetables, bruschetta, pizzas, dips, salsas and dressings…. the possibilities are endless.  And if you are substituting fresh herbs for dried in a recipe, use a 3:1 ratio.

Here are some tips to help with the use and storage of fresh herbs:

  1. Pick herbs frequently if home grown. Snip chives often for a sturdy plant with frequent new leaves. Parsley and cilantro, whose new growth comes from the middle, should be picked working from the outside, in. Basil should be picked from top. Scissors are best to trim herbs.
  2. Wash herbs gently. Fill a salad spinner with cold water and swirl the herbs gently loosen any dirt. Drain the water and spin the herbs dry.
  3. Store Sturdy Herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, chives) by arranging them in a single layer on a slightly damp paper towel.  Loosely roll up the paper towel and transfer to a plastic zipper lock bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator, 2-3 weeks.
  4. Store Tender Herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, tarragon) by snipping off the bases of the stems. Transfer them to a large jar with an inch of water in the bottom. Seal the jar by covering it with a plastic bag sealed with a rubber band. Store in the refrigerator 2-3 weeks.
  5. Store Basil by snipping off the bases of water at the bottom. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Avoid direct sunlight.

And here is a yummy triple herb pesto that can be used with pasta, as a sandwich spread, or in my Portobello Pesto Egg Bake and Pesto Tortellini Salad. It’s HERBILICIOUS!  Enjoy!!

Basil-Mint-Parsley Pesto (makes 1 cup)

1-1/2 cup basil

½ cup mint

¼ cup parsley

½ cup hazelnuts or pine nuts, toasted

4 cloves garlic

½ cup parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

1/4 cup EVOO

In a food processor, blend garlic and nuts.  Add basil, mint, parsley and cheese.  Occasionally scrape down sides to blend evenly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Slowly drizzle the olive oil to blend.  Adjust oil amount, as needed, for proper consistency.