BASIC TIPS

1. Read a recipe at least twice before making it.

2. Check the accuracy of your oven with an oven thermometer.  Knowing if your oven is too hot or too cool allows you to adjust the cooking time accordingly.  I recommend the Taylor Oven Thermometer.

3. Kosher salt is a coarse salt without any preservatives that tastes less salty than the regular (table) variety.  I use it in cooking, but not baking.

4. Today most nuts are sold shelled.  I prefer to buy them in a health-food or specialty store, as they seem fresher.  All nuts freeze very well, and I think they keep better whole.  Bring to room temperature before using.  If you need chopped or ground nuts, process only the amount you need.  For fine-grinding small amounts, I recommend using a Mouli grater.  Otherwise a food processor is fine.

5. To defrost, I prefer to put the frozen food item in the refrigerator the night before.

6. Leftover dried fruits keep well refrigerated or frozen. 

7. Toss salad with your hands to ensure that leaves are evenly coated with the dressing.

8. Instead of greasing baking pans, line them with parchment paper.