Thanks to Spice Islands' Flavor Explorer Gaby Dalkin of "What's Gaby Cooking,'' we have a nice helping of stopgaps coming up.
Then, speaking of handy tricks, also courtesy of Spice Islands, we have some quick fix-ups for dinner rolls.
5 ingredients to make instead of buy
•Apple sauce: To make homemade apple sauce, begin by peeling and slicing your apples. Flavor them as desired with cinnamon, then place the apple slices in a crockpot. Pour enough water on top to cover the apples, and add about a tablespoon of lemon juice. Cook on low heat for about five to six hours.
•Whipped cream: Instead of buying premade whipped cream, create your own and enhance the flavor with spices and extracts. To make homemade whipped cream, whip heavy cream and granulated or powdered sugar with your mixer until stiff peaks form. Then dress it up with allspice or cinnamon. Use vanilla extract for a sweet flavor, or use bourbon vanilla beans for a richer taste.
•Peanut butter: Why buy peanut butter when you can process the peanuts in your cupboard? Pour fresh peanuts into your food processor, and grind them on high power until the mixture turns creamy. The peanuts will form a thick ball before turning into peanut butter.
•Powdered sugar: If you're out of powdered sugar, grind granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until it turns to powder. This is a 1-to-1 ratio, so measure 1 cup of granulated sugar for each cup of powdered sugar that you need to create.
•Chocolate syrup: Homemade chocolate syrup takes only a few minutes to make and tastes so rich, you'll never go back to store-bought syrup. In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1 cup water. After the cocoa has dissolved, add 2 cups of sugar. Boil the mix for a few minutes, then add in a dash of salt and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Voila!
Creative toppings for dinner rolls
Quickly flavor dinner rolls and bread by brushing them with a seasoning mixture. Combine melted butter with a combination of your favorite spices -- like garlic, oregano and parsley -- and brush it on top before and after baking.
Garlic rolls simply sound more impressive than plain old rolls. As you're preparing homemade bread or rolls, simply add garlic (or any favorite spices) to your standard go-to recipe for a new twist.
Create flavored butter to serve at dinner. Soften 1 cube of butter and stir in 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of your favorite spices. Italian seasoning and garlic work well for creating compound butters.
The Forum is always happy to receive your contributions and requests, so don't hesitate to send them along to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Please remember that all letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Forum will appear in Monday's Good Life section.
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