Why You Should Add Vodka To Your Pie Crust

Not just for mixed drinks, vodka is a key ingredient in pie crusts.

Why you should add vodka to your pie crust via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Whether you are baking for the holidays or celebrating Pi day, a flaky, tender crust is a key step in making a delicious pie.

Why add vodka?

  1. Adding vodka to the dough creates a moister dough which easier to work with. (Raise your hand if you’ve battled scraping off the sticky dough fingers before)
  2. The ethanol in the vodka stops the gluten in the flour from binding, making for a more tender and flaky crust.
Why you should add vodka to your pie crust via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

                                   (Image credit: Food Network)

Why it works:

According to Cook’s Illustrated, “Eighty-proof vodka is 60 percent water and 40 percent alcohol. Unlike water, alcohol does not contribute to the formation of gluten, the network of proteins that can cause a crust to turn leathery.”

By using vodka instead of water, you can add more liquid to your dough, making it easier to roll, while still limiting the gluten development that can threaten to turn your tender dough tough. As the crust bakes, most of the ethanol ends up vaporizing into the air and you’re left with a crust that’s flaky and tender with no trace of the alcohol flavor.

What’s your favorite kind of pie? Comment below!

Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Culinary Nutrition Consultant of julieharringtonrd.com
Why You Should Add Vodka To Your Pie Crust - Chef Julie Harrington, RD #pie #baking #cookingtip #piecrust #vodka

7 Things You Need to Know About Your Instant Pot + Instant Pot Recipes

On Amazon Prime Day in 2017, it was estimated that 215,000+ Amazon customers purchasing the Instant Pot on Prime Day alone. It was the hottest new kitchen appliance and it’s here to stay! I’m curious to see if it will exceed in 2018 Amazon Prime Day.

The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.

7 Things You Need to Know About Your Instant Pot + Instant Pot Recipes by Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

It’s magical! Check out these 7 tips and tricks about the Instant Pot I wish I knew before I started using mine.

1. Be sure the pressure value is turned to seal.
When you use the pressure cooking feature, be sure the pressure value is set to seal. If it is set to vent, the Instant Pot will not be able to come to pressure. It can be easy to miss if you’re cooking in a hurry. You’ll hear a whistling sound from the Instant Pot if the pressure value is not set to seal. Simply turn it, and then the unit will come to pressure.

2. Utilize the steaming rack.
Use the steaming rack what it’s intended for – steaming. It perfect steams food in a matter of minutes and makes the perfect hard-boiled eggs. Beyond just steaming, the steaming rack can be useful for reheating. Use the steamer insert and add food wrapped in foil. If you open the Instant Pot to add an ingredient, it will reheat much faster.

3. Get acquainted with saute mode.
What I love about the Instant Pot vs. a Slow Cooker is the saute function. A recipe can be made from start to finish right in the Instant Pot. I don’t know about you, but when I see a slow cooker recipe that requires other pots and pans to first to brown over stove top then to add to the slow cooker, I’m more likely to pass over that recipe.

4. Food cooks by surface area rather than volume.
Larger pieces of foods like a roast or a large potato will cook slower than foods cut into smaller pieces. The steam and pressure must reach the inside of each piece of food, so if you want to speed up your cooking time, cut food into smaller pieces.

5. No need to wait for food to thaw. Start right from frozen.
Don’t waste time waiting for items from the freezer to defrost. Add frozen veggies, fruit or other frozen ingredients directly to your Instant Pot. It may just take a few more minutes of cook time.

6. The cook time listed in your recipe is not the total amount of time it will take.
The Instant Pot needs time to heat up before it starts to cook and needs time to release the pressure afterward. Add about 10 minutes to the total cook time, mentally, every time you see a suggested number and you’ll always have a better idea of the actual cook time.

7. Easy clean-up.
Many of the Instant Pot’s parts, including the inner pot and steam rack, can be washed in the dishwasher, making for a quick clean-up. The outside of the Instant Pot can easily be wiped down with a wet towel. Keep in mind that the lid does need to be hand-washed, but hey, you can wash one part by hand, can’t you?

Now that you are ready to use your Instant Pot, start with one of these recipes created by Registered Dietitians.

Instant Pot Italian White Bean Soup: Instant Pot Tips and Tricks via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Soup:

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup by Sinful Nutrition
Minestrone Soup by Your Choice Nutrition
Instant Pot Chicken Soup by The Wandering RD
Instant Pot Vegetable Barely Soup by Sharon Palmer, Plant-Powered Dietitian
Instant Pot Italian White Bean Soup by Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Vegetarian Chili Mac: Instant Pot Tips and Tricks via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Chili:

Easy Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili Mac by Kara Lydon, The Foodie Dietitian

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken: Instant Pot Tips and Tricks via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Chicken:

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken by Chef Julie Harrington, RD
Instant Pot Creamy Dill Chicken and Rice by Smart Nutrition
Instant Pot Chicken Coconut Curry by Bite of Health Nutrition
Thai Peanut Chicken by Smart Nutrition
Chicken Jambalaya by Live Best
Instant Pot Chicken Teriyaki by Chelsea’s Choices
Instant Pot Chicken in Salsa Verde by Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef: Instant Pot Tips and Tricks via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Beef:

Easy Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef by Lively Table
Moroccan Beef and Lentils by Smart Nutrition
Lasagna by Your Choice Nutrition
Instant Pot French Dip Sandwich by Street Smart Nutrition
Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage by Nourish Nutrition Co.
Instant Pot Beef Greek “Gyros” by The Wandering RD
Instant Pot Ribs by Lara Clevenger
Kale Lentil and Beef Stew by Beautiful Eats & Things

Lentils Stroganoff: Instant Pot Tips and Tricks via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Vegetarian:

Instant Pot Lentil Stroganoff by Nourish Nutrition Co.
Vegan Thai Yellow Curry Chickpeas and Potatoes by Smart Nutrition
Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Garlic by Betsy’s Kitchen
Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas and Greens by Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian

Spring Vegetable Instant Pot Brown Rice Risotto: Instant Pot Tips and Tricks via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Sides:

Spring Vegetable Instant Pot Brown Rice Risotto by Lively Table
Instant Pot Greek Lemon Potatoes by Smart Nutrition
Instant Pot Wheat Berries by Chef Julie Harrington, RD
Instant Pot Garlic Creamy Broccoli Mash by The Keto Queens
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes by Nourish Nutrition Co.
Instant Pot Artichokes with White Wine, Capers, and Burrata by Lively Table
Instant Pot Artichokes with Lemon Chive Butter by Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot: Instant Pot Tips and Tricks via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD

Other:

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs by Chef Julie Harrington, RD
Peach Jam in the Instant Pot by Marisa Moore Nutrition
Instant Pot Poached Pears by Chef Julie Harrington, RD
Instant Pot Raisin Bread by Kara Lydon, The Foodie Dietitian

Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Where food and love meet in the kitchen @ChefJulie_RD

Disclosure: Some products listed in this post, may be affiliate links — which means if you purchase or sign up from that link, Julie Harrington Consulting LLC may receive a small commission.

 

7 Things You Need to Know About Your Instant Pot + Instant Pot Recipes via Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #InstantPot #CookingTips

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder – What’s the Difference?

Let’s get nerdy! I love sharing new recipes with you, but I want to start diving more into the food science of food too. When a recipe calls for baking soda or baking powder, what is their purpose? What’s the difference between the two?
Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder - What's the difference via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #cooking #cookingtips #foodscience #science #baking
Let’s answer the first question: Is there a difference between baking soda and baking powder? YES!
My friend, who is an 8th-grade science teacher, says “Obviously, there is a difference. When you add baking soda to vinegar, it makes cool science volcanos and the other doesn’t.”
Welp, that’s all you need to know. Blog post over. Just kidding, there is so much more to learn! Baking soda and baking powder do have a lot in common, as they are both chemical leaveners, meaning they generate gas during the making and baking of a batter.
Some recipes may call for one or the other, or both, but just make sure you don’t confuse the two because they do have distinct differences.
Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder - What's the difference via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #cooking #cookingtips #foodscience #science #baking

Baking Soda:

Baking soda contains a single ingredient, sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with something acidic (think buttermilk, yogurt, citrus juice, vinegar, etc.), it produces carbon dioxide. This creates little bubbles that helps give rise to baked goods.
I know you might be thinking, I’ll just add more to get a better rise in my baked goods. Think again. Be careful not to add too much! When sodium bicarbonate is heated it produces sodium carbonate, which produced a metallic taste. No one wants a metallic tasting muffin. That metallic taste can be neutralized by the acid that is used in the recipe, while still giving our baked goods a pretty good rise.

Did you know?

You can also use baking soda to create homemade cleaners to freshen and clean up tough stains in your home. Learn ways you can use baking soda for cleaning purposes.
Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder - What's the difference via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #cooking #cookingtips #foodscience #science #baking

Baking Powder:

Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and dry acid (plus, sometimes cornstarch). Yup, baking soda is one of the main ingredients in your baking powder. The acid that is typically used is cream of tartar. Cornstarch is often added in to keep the ingredients separate and dry.
The balance of acid (cream of tartar) and base (baking soda) is already balanced for you, so there will be no metallic aftertaste even if you go a little heavy handed with baking powder.
Baking powder only needs a liquid or moisture for a reaction to occur (no acid necessary). With baking powder, the chemical reaction that helps the product rise happens when the product is slowly heated. Baking powder allows for more flexibility because you can let the batter or dough sit for a little while before baking and still get the rise you’re after.
You might see some baking powders at the grocery store that say “double acting”. This means that a small amount of carbon dioxide is released and that some leavening occurs (bubbles) when the baking powder gets wet from wet ingredients, but the rest of the leavening occurs when the baked good is heated.

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder - What's the difference via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #cooking #cookingtips #foodscience #science #baking

The bottom line:

To help you easily remember the difference between baking soda and baking powder, remember: Baking soda needs an acid.  Baking powder has an acid.

Baking soda = single ingredient.

Baking powder = poof in the oven.

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6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment

As a dietitian and a chef, there are certain kitchen tools and gadgets that I can’t live without. I realized when teaching my cooking classes that there are certain essential tools to keep in the kitchen to create a healthier kitchen environment.
6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness
By having these tools in your kitchen, you are setting yourself for success and creating a healthier kitchen environment. Utilize these tools to create healthier recipes and help meal prep for a healthy week of delicious food!
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(Every day) knives:

Two essential knives to have readily available in your kitchen is a chef’s knife, also known as a utility knife and also a paring knife.
A chef’s knife (sometimes called a cook’s knife) is the most important knife to have in your kitchen. It has a wide blade between six and ten inches long and is used primarily for chopping, though it can be used for anything you want to do. The blade of a classic, French-style chef’s knife curves upward toward the tip. A Japanese-style Santoku knife can be used in place of a French-style chef’s knife; it’s usually shorter and has a “sheep’s foot” tip, meaning the top of the tip curves downward. European manufacturers of Santoku knives add a Granton or kullenschiff edge, a row of hollow-ground pockets that prevent food from sticking to the knife’s surface.
A paring knife looks like a miniature chef’s knife, with a blade ranging from two to four inches long. It’s good for delicate tasks where a larger blade would get in the way. Paring knives are ideal for peeling onions, coring tomatoes or trimming vegetables.
Tip: Dishwasher detergent is very abrasive, and along with the banging around that happens during a wash cycle, will take the sharp edge right off your knife. Always wash knives by hand in the sink with dish soap and water.

Knife sharpener:

FACT! I dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife.
Make it a habit to sharpen knives each week. A small handheld sharpener does the trick, but electric sharpeners are great too. I like to use the mini handheld knife sharpener at home that has a coarse and fine blade sharpener.

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Microplane:

A microplane is also known as a zester. Adding a finely grated citrus zest is a great way to elevate flavor in any dish.  I also use my microplane for grating ginger, turmeric, garlic, dark chocolate, and hard cheeses.
Recipes to try using your microplane:
Crepes with a Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Filling
Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Meat thermometer:

My personal pick for a meat thermometer is always an instant-read digital thermometer. An instant-read digital thermometer is the most accurate. Despite the name, the display usually takes anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds to give an accurate temperature reading, but it’s still quicker than analog. This is a basic all-purpose thermometer. You can use it for meat, baked goods, anything that requires an internal temperature reading. (If you use it for meat, just make sure to sanitize the thermometer to avoid cross-contamination.) Using a meat thermometer can help avoid overcooking, keeping recipes juicy and flavorful.

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Salad spinner:

My salad spinner is used every time I meal prep. If your greens are cleaned, dry, and ready to use, you will be more likely to use them throughout the week. Salad spinners are versatile and can be used more than just for leafy greens. Use to wash and dry herbs, strain canned beans, rinse berries and hearty vegetables like broccoli.
Try a recipe that utilizes a salad spinner:
Squash and Wheat Berry Salad

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Glass containers with lids:

Make sure to have a variety of sizes (8 oz., 16 oz., and 32 oz.). These are essential for leftovers as well as storing pre-prepped foods. Glass containers are preferred to plastic – they are easier to clean, do not absorb food odors, and can be used to reheat leftovers.
Also, utilize mason jars. They are useful for overnight oats or making your own vinaigrette.

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Why You Should Be Massaging Kale

Turn the kitchen lights down, light some scented candles, and get your kale ready for a relaxing massage. I know it sounds silly to massage kale, but trust me you’ll never NOT massage your kale again after reading this post.
Why You Should Be Massaging Kale via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #rdchat #kale #howto #cookingtips #salad
Have you ever prepared or order a kale salad and chew on the same bite which seems to last a lifetime? Kale is very fibrous and can leave you chewing until your jaw starts to numb. This happens when the kale hasn’t been treated properly. This treatment comes in the form of a massage. While it might seem a bit odd to massage your food, you’d be amazed at what a quick five-minute rubdown can do to transform this green from being bitter and tough to turning silky and sweet.

Kale is a strong, sturdy, and bitter green that can withstand growing in the cold winters. Kale was once only used as a garnish but then labeled as a “superfood” in recent years. It was used as a garnish because of its structure. The bright green leaves would withstand long hours on the buffet table, while still looking fresh and providing that pop of color. Why? Because of its tough cellulose structure.

Massaging kale is easy to do. Remove any thick fibrous ribs of the kale leaves. Take bunches of kale leaves in both hands and rub them together. Work your fingers on each leave. You’ll start to notice a visible change right away. The leaves will darken and yield, softer, shinier, and tender sweet pieces of kale.
Why You Should Be Massaging Kale via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #rdchat #kale #howto #cookingtips #salad

Nutrition to know:

Kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, and carotenoids (lutein and beta-carotene), with more than 45 flavonoids, particularly kaempferol, and other phytonutrients like quercetin, which helps combat inflammation. Kale has twice the vitamin K as other cruciferous vegetables.
Did you know? Kale has more vitamin C than an orange! One cup of chopped kale has 134 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, while a medium orange has 113 percent. Kale is also packed with vitamin A! A one-cup serving of kale contains over 200% of our vitamin A recommendation in the form of beta carotene.

Meal prep tip:

Since kale has such a sturdy structure, wash, trim, and massage kale for the week. Fresh kale can stay fresh for about 1 week in the refrigerator.
Ever notice the yellow/orange color on the edges as kale ages? It’s not necessarily going bad, but chlorophyll green color is breaking down and shows the rich vitamin A & C color along the edges.

Kale recipes to try:

Kale Salad with Sweet Shallot Vinaigrette via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #salad #dressing #homemade #shallot #vinaigrette #saladKale Salad with a Sweet Shallot Vinaigrette

Balsamic Kale and Vegetable Saute via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_KitchenBalsamic Kale and Vegetable Saute

Butternut Squash & Kale Pita Pizza via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_KitchenButternut Squash and Kale Pita Pizza

Guide to Herb & Spice Food Pairings

I’m sure you have a pantry full of herbs and spices. Not sure what to do with them? No problem! Use this handy guide to know what foods your herbs and spices pair best with.
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Before we start talking about what to pair your herbs and spices with, let’s make sure you are storing them properly first.

Herb and Spice Storage Tips:

  • Keep spices and herbs away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. Even a commonly used herb like dried bay leaves should be kept away from the stove.
  • Don’t sprinkle spices and herbs directly from the bottle over a steaming pot. Steam can sneak into the spice bottle and sap your spices’ power. If you’re wondering why ground spices like allspice get hard and caked in the bottle, steam may be the culprit.
  • They don’t spoil, but spices and herbs do lose their strength. Old and weak seasonings will not deliver the taste that they should.
  • Make sure your measuring spoon is completely dry when you dip it into the bottle. The moisture can quickly ruin the flavor of an aromatic spice like cinnamon.
  • An inexpensive coffee grinder can also be deployed to grind whole seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Fresh-ground spices are especially flavorful.

If the recipe calls for fresh herbs, but you only have dried on hand, don’t worry. Just remember the ratio, 1 to 3. Because dried herbs have a more intense concentrated flavor, dried herbs can be substituted for fresh herbs at a ratio of 1 to 3.
Use the food pairings guide below to help utilize the herbs and spices in your kitchen pantry. Pin to save for a reference!
Herb & Spice Food Pairings via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #spices #herbs #cooking #seasonings #hearthealth #wellness #phytochemicals #lowsodium
Let’s get cooking!
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HOW TO: Seed a Pomegranate

Learn the simple culinary technique of (easily) being able to seed a whole pomegranate to add powerful antioxidants to your recipes + save you money at the grocery store.
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Raise your hand if you’ve ever been intimidated of purchasing a pomegranate at the grocery store because you had no clue how to cut it. Now, grocery stores are making it very easy for you and pre-packaging pomegranate seeds, but are definitely much more expensive than buying a whole pomegranate.

Did you know each pomegranate contains hundreds of seeds? The pre-packaged versions, you are only getting maybe a quarter of the seeds of what a whole pomegranate holds. Don’t fear that whole pomegranate staring at you in the produce department. The skin of the pomegranate is thick and inedible, but there are hundreds of edible seeds called arils within. Gain confidence in the kitchen and follow my simple video below to easily seed a pomegranate.
Pomegranate season typically runs from October through February. When selecting pomegranates, look for a ripe, deep-colored fruit with a red to reddish-brown outer rind that is heavy for its size.

How to seed a pomegranate:

There are a few ways to seed a pomegranate. I’ve tried them all! This technique I find the easiest and the least messiest. Those bright and colorful seeds can easily stain your clothes and cutting board. Follow my simple video the next time you go seed a pomegranate.

When you remove the seeds underwater, the seeds sink to the bottom and the pith floats to the top. Simply skim the any pieces of the pith and drain your pomegranate seeds.

Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Pomegranates contain three types of antioxidant polyphenols, including tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, in significant amounts. Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species. Pomegranates are a good source of fiber and contain vitamins A, C, and E, iron.

Warm Kale Salad with Delicata Squash and Pomegranate via RDelicious Kitchen via RDelicious Kitchen @rd_kitchen #kale #delicatasquash #squash #fall #pomegratate #warm #salad #thanksgiving

(Warm Kale Salad with Delicata Squash and Pomegranate Seeds)

How to use pomegranate seeds

Once you’ve seeded your pomegranate, snack on them as is or add them to a recipe. I like to sprinkle them over oatmeal or yogurt, top my waffles with them, add them to a salad, or even dessert. Be creative!
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How to Make a Vinaigrette

Dress up any salad with this delicious sweet shallot vinaigrette.
Kale Salad with Sweet Shallot Vinaigrette via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #salad #dressing #homemade #shallot #vinaigrette #salad
I don’t think people realize how EASY it is to make a homemade dressing. The most basic vinaigrette recipe is one part acid mixed with three to four parts base (oil). Then just add seasonings you enjoy. Simply pour ingredients into a mason jar and shake away. Your dressing is made! How easy was that? Plus, making it in a mason jar is ready to store any leftovers.

Guide to building a delicious vinaigrette:

If you want to go beyond the basics, use the guide I am sharing on Healthy Aperture’s blog.

Did you make this recipe? Tag @rdeliciouskitchen on Instagram or send me a picture, I’d love to see!
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How To: Segment Citrus Fruit

Learning the simple culinary technique of segmenting citrus, can elevate your culinary skills and your recipes. You’ll be surprised how easy it is how to segment citrus fruit.
All citrus fruit is simply delicious to eat as is, but when adding to recipes, removing the pith and membrane of the citrus also eliminates the bitterness that comes along with citrus fruits.
How To: Segment Citrus Fruit - an instructional video showing easy steps to segment citrus by RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #video #howto #citrus #orange #grapefruit #guide
The culinary technique for segmenting citrus is also known as “suprême”, which is just a fancy name for this simple technique! Segmenting citrus removes the tough and bitter components of the citrus, leaving sweeter, more tender, and attractive pieces of citrus. Add them to a recipe and the citrus color will make your dish pop with color. The delicate pieces of citrus will just melt in your mouth.

How to Segment Citrus:

  1. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice off the top and bottom of the orange, giving you a stable cutting surface making it easier to trim the rest of the peel.
  2. Trim away the skin and the pith by cutting even downward strokes, slicing the skin away from the flesh and discard. When cutting, try not taking too much of the fruit.
  3. Using a paring knife, carefully cut between the membranes to segment the orange. Cut until you reach the middle of the orange, but not cutting all the way through.
  4. Continue with the remaining citrus segments. Slide a paring knife between the membrane and segment, then pop the segment out.

Use the excess juice to for salad dressing or marinades. 
Follow the video below to perfectly segment citrus fruits. 

Want to test out your new culinary skill? Try making this Citrus Beet Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing.
Citrus Beet Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen
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6 Ways to Use Turmeric

6 ways to use turmeric via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen

A cousin of ginger, turmeric is a golden root that’s rich in curcumin, a compound known for its cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric also contains a substance known as lipopolysaccharide, which helps stimulate the body’s immune system. Its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents also help strengthen the immune system. A strong immune system lessens the chance of suffering from colds, flu, and coughs and may help prevent the development of certain diseases.

Turmeric has a gorgeous orange color and, when added to recipes, makes dishes bright and vibrant in color.  You can use alone or as part of curry powder – turmeric is typically included in this spice blend.  You can find ground turmeric in the spice section of any grocery store. If you opt for the dried version, be sure to check the label and make sure you’re getting 100% turmeric, not a blend or anything with artificial colors added.

You can also buy turmeric fresh (usually next to the ginger root) in the produce section of the grocery store. Dean’s Natural Food Market almost always has it available.  Peel fresh turmeric just like ginger root using the edge of a spoon. Then simply grate with a microplane grater or cut off whole pieces. You can wrap the unused portion tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days.

Six ways to enjoy turmeric:

  1. Blend into a smoothie
    While fresh turmeric root is especially great in juices and smoothies, a pinch of the ground spice is good too. The slightly pungent flavor is usually well masked in smoothies.
  2. Sip on tea
    Steep ginger and turmeric for a soothing warm beverage.
  3. Toss it with roasted vegetables
    Turmeric’s slightly warm and peppery flavor works especially well with cauliflower, potatoes, and root vegetables.
  4. Try it with greens
    Sprinkle turmeric into sautéed or braised greens like kale, collards, and cabbage.
  5. Use it in soups
    A bowl of soup feels even more warming when it’s tinged with golden turmeric.
  6. Enjoy as a latte
    Golden Milk Latte is a nutrition trend is buzzing on the internet. Sip on this beverage of simmered turmeric with non-dairy milk and honey to make an earthy and comforting beverage.

Adding a touch of fresh cracked pepper to your dishes that contain turmeric may increase the amount of time the powerful compound curcumin remains in your bloodstream, so feel free to add a twist from your grinder before enjoying the recipes above.