Monday, October 24, 2011

A Holiday Cooking Menu That Works for Every Dietary Need

A glance at the calendar will show you that the holiday season is fast approaching. Before you know it, you’ll be counting your blessings over a generous serving of turkey and gravy, and soon after that, you’ll be making eggnog toasts and fa-la-la-ing to your heart’s content. However, if you’re slated to host one of those holiday meals, the task in front of you might fill you with more dread than holiday cheer. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. For those of us who don’t answer to the name “Martha Stewart,” figuring out who is coming to the table, what to serve, and how to prepare it can be a daunting task indeed—especially if any of your guests have special dietary needs, such as a gluten allergy.

Not to worry—For Dummies has teamed up with several authors who know their way around the kitchen to make your upcoming chef responsibilities a lot easier.

With Cooking Basics For Dummies®, 4th Edition (Wiley, January 2011, ISBN: 978-0-470-91388-8, $21.99), Gluten-Free Baking For Dummies® (Wiley, December 2011, ISBN: 978-1-118-07773-3, $19.99), Wine For Dummies®, 4th Edition (Wiley, October 2006, ISBN: 978-0-470-04579-4, $21.99), and Whiskey and Spirits For Dummies® (Wiley, November 2007, ISBN: 978-0-470-11769-9, $19.99), you can prepare a mouth-watering spread (and provide the libations to go with it!) no matter what the preferences and dietary needs of your guests might be.

Whether you’re a cooking novice or simply want to up the culinary ante this year, pick up a copy of one of these titles today. They’ll help you safely navigate everything from appetizers to after-dinner drinks.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find this holiday season on the For Dummies menu:

Cooking Basics For Dummies, 4th Edition can take your cooking from dull to delicious. Written by restaurant and dining feature writer Bryan Miller, food and beverage consultant Marie Rama, and coauthor of The Mediterranean Diet Eve Adamson, this easy-to-understand guide covers cooking from all angles. You’ll learn:

* How to read a recipe
* What staples you should keep in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer
* Tips for saving time in the kitchen (Note to Editor: See attached tipsheet.)
* The basics of grilling, slow cooking, pressure cooking, roasting, and sautéing
* Considerations for vegetarians and others with special diets, and flavorful dishes to serve them

Gluten-Free Baking For Dummies will show you how to prepare wheat-free treats. Authors Jean McFadden Layton and Linda Larsen have pooled their expertise to help you re-create beloved tastes without using wheat flour. The book provides:

* New baking ideas and substitutes for common glutenous ingredients
* Easy recipes and methods for baking more than 150 gluten-free cakes, cookies, and breads
* Tips and advice for shopping and stocking your kitchen

Wine For Dummies, 4th Edition will prompt you to raise your glass throughout the holiday season. With over half a century of professional wine experience between them, husband and wife team Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan have written a full-bodied, yet light…rich, yet crisp…robust, yet refreshing guide to wine. You’ll learn:

* How to sniff and taste wine
* How to store and pour wine, and how to pair it with food
* Red and white wine styles, as well as details about wines from around the world

And that’s not all. If you need a guide on the go, download the Selecting a Wine For Dummies app on your iPhone or iPod touch! You’ll have information ranging from articles on popular wine topics to pronunciation guides at your fingertips. The Food and Wine pairing tool is especially useful to have on hand at the grocery store so that you can choose the perfect complement to your meal. And once you have sampled several vintages, you can even use the app to create a personalized wine list by snapping a photo of the label and entering notes about why you enjoyed it.

Whiskey and Spirits For Dummies is your complete guide to this family of noble beverages. Written by Perry Luntz, who has been the publisher and editor of Beverage Alcohol Market Report for twenty years, this book will top off your knowledge of distilled spirits in time for your holiday guests. It fills you in on how to:

* Shop for the best spirits
* Select the right mixers
* Use spirits in cooking
* Make ten classic cocktails
* Present spirits to guests

The bottom line is, with these For Dummies volumes in your library, you’ll be able to prepare for the holidays with excitement rather than anxiety. And who knows? With the help of For Dummies, you might even make a name for yourself among your friends and family as a host or hostess extraordinaire!

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Quick Cooking: Ten Tips to Help You Save Time in the Kitchen
From Cooking Basics For Dummies®, 4th Edition
(Wiley, January 2011, ISBN: 978-0-470-91388-8, $21.99)

When you’re hosting a holiday gathering, you’ve got a lot to do in order to get that meal on the table—and you probably feel somewhat rushed. However, a few seconds saved here and there can add up to a lot more quality time with family and friends. These handy tips and hints will allow you to cook more efficiently without sacrificing deliciousness!

• Have all ingredients prepared, measured, and set out within reach before you start cooking.
• Precook pieces of chicken or meat in your microwave before finishing them on the grill.
• If you’re using the oven, turn it on at least 15 minutes before you’re ready to roast or bake your dish. Don’t waste time waiting for the oven to heat after you’ve prepared the recipe.
• Buy vegetables that are already washed and cut, if doing so will get you to eat more vegetables or cook more often. Prepared ingredients such as bagged salad mix, stir-fry vegetables already cut to size, and boneless cuts of meat cost a bit more, but saving some time may be worth it.
• Remove steaks and other meats from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking so that they warm to room temperature. They’ll cook faster and more evenly.
• Line the broiler pan with aluminum foil to ease cleanup when broiling hamburgers, fish, steaks, and chops.
• Don’t bother chopping onions, garlic, fresh herbs, and the like for a salad dressing. Instead, use a food processor or blender to save chopping time, add your liquids, and then blend for a quick dressing.
• Place a garlic clove on a cutting board and whack it with the flat side of a heavy knife or a cleaver to make removing the skin easier. The skin should split right off.
• Roll a lemon or orange under the palm of your hand on the countertop to make extracting the juice easier.
• Clean up as you go. You’ll be glad you did when the meal is over!

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