By Cheryle Finley
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Anyone remember aluminum foil being called tin foil? Tin foil was the predecessor to aluminum foil, and it really lived up to its name because it gave food a slight tin taste. So, aluminum was a welcomed change.
For many years, the word “tin” was used to describe aluminum -- perhaps out of habit or maybe because aluminum was a longer, more difficult word to pronounce. Aluminum foil first became available in stores around 1910, so when my grandmother called it tin foil in the ’50s and ’60s, she was obviously remembering those earlier years.
Reader’s Digest has creative uses for aluminum foil besides covering oven-bound food and lining baking dishes. Got a pan that doesn’t have a lid? Cover it with foil for a good, tight seal. Foil is also great for wrapping cheese to avoid mold, and for sharpening scissors by making seven or eight cuts through folded foil.
How about making oven cleanup easier? Don’t line the bottom of your oven with foil, but instead place it on the rack under your casserole to catch those nasty spills. Line a bowl with foil, fill it with hot water and a little laundry detergent to make jewelry cleaner. Throw a small wad of foil in your dryer to eliminate static electricity, or use foil to shine your car and bicycle chrome.
Now, how about some creative kitchen uses for paper towels? Running a wet paper towel across an ear of corn will remove the silk. Close the wheel of your can opener on the edge of a paper towel and “open” the towel to clean the opener. Place a paper towel in a loaf of bread before freezing so the towel will absorb the moisture when the bread thaws. Lining your refrigerator produce bins with paper towels also absorbs moisture.
When I saw the headline, “8 foods to not cook naked”, I didn’t think too much about it. I figured it was addressing food that should always have seasoning or a special something added when cooked. No, it meant foods you should always cook while clothed. The story lists the obvious answers of bacon and deep-fried turkey, and also includes potato latkes, wasabi, jalapenos, meat, tomato sauce and caramel. Seriously? I guess that means it’s OK to shed your clothes and make a pot of vegetable soup or a skillet of fried potatoes and onions. I just think it’s funny that the story’s author makes a point of telling you that exposing your skin to frying bacon is hazardous.
Anyone who has read this column more than a couple of times knows I’m a fan of local singer Duke Mason. Now I have to call him singer-actor. I really should get his autograph. His movie, “Last Ounce of Courage,” is playing at the Joplin Northstar 14 theater. I was crying five minutes into the start of the movie, but Duke and his gang offered some comic relief, while Duke’s wife, Stephanie, even made a couple of appearances on the screen. It’s a great PG movie with a great message.
Today’s recipes are from the Reynolds “Cooking with Foil Cookbook.” You can make the cauliflower not-so-fiery by omitting the red pepper flakes. For that matter, you can omit the hot pepper sauce, too. Not turning on the grill anymore this year? Stick the packet in the oven.
The salmon recipe calls for using non-stick foil. That’s probably a good idea. The rice sounds good by itself and could be made that way, but cooking it with the salmon gives it a little flavor boost. For the mousse dessert, use a trifle bowl if you have one, because this is a pretty make-ahead dessert. To make the chocolate shavings, use a vegetable peeler. The book suggests using a vegetable peeler to shave a chocolate candy bar and to place a sheet of wax paper over the cookie crumbs when forming the crust to protect your hands.
What’s the difference between jelly, preserve, spread and jam, which is called for in this recipe? Jelly is made from the strained juice of crushed fruit. Jam is made with the crushed fruit. Preserves contain whole fruit, and spreads have whole and/or pureed fruit.
Cauliflower with fiery cheese packet
4 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 (8-ounce) jar pasteurized cheese sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat grill to medium-high. Center cauliflower on 18-by-24-inch sheet of heavy duty foil. Combine remaining ingredients and spoon over cauliflower. Bring up sides of foil and double fold top and ends to seal, making one large foil packet. Leave room for heat circulation inside. Grill 8 to 10 minutes on covered grill.
Spicy salmon with pepper jack rice packets
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups instant rice, uncooked
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies, drained
4 salmon steaks or fillets (4 to 6 ounces each)
1/2 fresh lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Combine cheese, sour cream and water. Stir in instant rice and green chilies. Arrange one-fourth of rice mixture on 12-by-18-inch sheet of foil. Place salmon fillet over rice mound and press slightly to level rice. Squeeze lime over salmon. Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle over salmon. Bring up foil sides and double fold top and ends to seal packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Repeat to make 4 packets. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes on cookie sheet. Makes 4 servings.
Chocolate raspberry mousse
10 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (3.9-ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup milk
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
3/4 cup raspberry or strawberry jam
Fresh raspberries or strawberries (optional)
Combine chocolate cookie crumbs and butter in a 1 1/2-quart serving dish. Press into the bottom of the dish to form a crust; set aside. Whisk pudding mix and milk together in a large bowl. Stir in 1/3 of the whipped topping. Spoon mixture evenly over crust. Stir jam until smooth in a medium bowl; stir in remaining whipped topping. Spread evenly over pudding layer. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings before serving and garnish with berries if desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.