Dear Reena: Do you have a recipe for making vinegar with herbs?
Dear Debra: In a re-sealable glass container combine: 1 large bunch of clean herbs such as basil or tarragon with three cups white wine vinegar. Store in a cool, dry place. It can be used for up to one year. This is great for vinaigrettes.
Additionally, purÃ©e some herbs such as parsley, chives and oregano with a small amount of water in a blender, and then freeze in ice cube trays. They can later be stored in plastic bags for flavouring soups and sauces.
Herb butter can be made with the addition of about four tablespoons of chopped, dried herb leaves and a dash of lemon juice to one quarter pound of butter softened at room temperature. The butter should then be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container.
Dear Reena: Can you tell me what to use to get dishwasher spots off good stainless steel cutlery? I have tried white vinegar but it doesn't last very long. Is there a commercial product that I can get?
Dear Mavis: Get a baking pan and loosely lay crumpled aluminum foil onto the bottom. Into the pan drop 1/4 cup Arm and Hammer So Clean washing soda and enough hot water to cover the bottom of the pan. Put your stainless steel into the mixture for about five minutes. If anything is going to get rid of those spots, this is it.
Before company arrives, take time to soak cutlery in white vinegar for a few minutes and then polish each piece with a soft cloth. This is customary practice in many high-end restaurants.
Dear Reena: I've just moved into a new home with bamboo floors. I'm told not to use water. Any suggestions for safely cleaning the floors would be appreciated.
Dear Heidi: Bamboo is becoming all the rage. Installing bamboo flooring is healthier for anyone with asthma, allergies or other respiratory ailments.
It is important to note that bamboo floors scratch easily when they are initially installed; the good news is that they will dry out and toughen up over time.
Treat your gorgeous bamboo flooring much like you would hardwood (although bamboo is not a wood but a grass). With the seasonal changes in Canada, our humidity levels can affect bamboo flooring.
When humidity is higher, the floor will expand; when humidity is lower, the floor will contract. It is important to maintain a humidity level of at least 45 per cent throughout the year, with the help of a dehumidifier/humidifier.
Bamboo is sensitive to moisture, so you want to limit the use of water to clean the floor. Like wood, bamboo can be purchased unfinished or with a urethane or acrylic finish.
To care for a bamboo floor, use a dry, untreated dust mop or microfibre flat mop daily. Or vacuum the floor with a brush head attachment. Spot clean bamboo floors with a moist towel, a microfibre cloth or microfibre flat mop. Do not use any wood polish, wax or solvent cleaners or finishes on the floor, as they can damage or dull the surface. Do not wet-strip the floor.
To restore the floor, use a screen disk or drum sander, or call in a professional. As well there are bamboo cleaners on the market or use a solution of 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water - but remember not to over wet. Enjoy.
Dear Reena: I have volunteered to bring a green veggie salad to an upcoming potluck. Any advice on how to keep it cold until it is time to eat?
Dear Tracey: Build your salad and store it in the fridge. When the time comes for you to head to the potluck, sprinkle frozen peas into the bowl. Toss and seal with a lid. The little peas act as minuscule ice packs and chill the entire salad.
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