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  1. i was shocked by the recipe in "What Should I Stop Buying and Make Instead?" for homemade ketchup. i doubt anyone who had any experience cooking would make the recipe as listed. i am unsure of the posting rules, so i will just describe the recipe. to make one cup of ketchup, you put 3 small tomatoes, water, a heap of sugar, some vinegar and spices and 1T of cornstarch in a blender, and puree. no cooking mentioned. first, i cant think of any recipe with uncooked cornstarch in it, aside from the 3% in confectioners sugar that is an anti-caking agent. raw cornstarch doesnt thicken, and it doesnt taste good. second, there was so little tomato, [raw? cooked? peeled? canned? no info] i doubt it would seem like ketchup at all, just sweet and sour sauce, probably with a settled sludge of uncooked settled out cornstarch paste at the bottom. i was even more shocked that the author has credentials as a food writer. anyone try this recipe? would anyone be willing to try it? i googled and couldnt find any reference to it aside from the food section recipe itself. and i disagree with her basic premise that the best food to make homemade is condiments. i think commercial ketchup and mayonnaise are among the better prepared products, and absolutely have a far longer shelf life than homemade. you can get actual heinz ketchup made of real sugar not HFCS if you buy the organic one. and hellmanns is phasing in cage-free eggs. i would recommend making homemade dry spice mixtures: garam masala, roasting and grinding coriander seed yourself, or pure chile powders mixed without stale garlic powder or gritty silicon dioxide. and the spice mixes really do have an excellent shelf life, at least as good as store bought.
  2. use up the peanut butter clinging to the blender or processor to make some satay or cold sesame noodle sauce. that should get use of virtually all of it. depending on your estimating skills, you might need to add back more peanut butter to get the proportions right. now you have a sauce to keep in the fridge for a quick meal. i prefer tahini, which also separates, but i am always using the processor anyway to make tarator sauce or baba ganoush.
  3. i usually use a melitta cone with unbleached filter. the coffee i prefer is only sold pre-ground with a somewhat coarse grind, good for my french press, but if i put the coffee into the melitta filter, the water would just run right through. so i put the coffee into a cup and pour the heated water over it, set a timer for 2 min and pour that mixture into the paper lined cone. it really strains the coffee, so it actually works much like the french press, but without the coffee oils you get using the french press. the french press makes better coffee, but is a hassle to take apart for cleaning. cleaning the extra cup in the dishwasher is far less work.
  4. i've never had a potato explode, but i do pierce them with a fork. i suspect the people who never had one explode even though they skip the piercing are doing something else to damage the skin, such as scrubbing them extra hard. popcorn pops because the kernel's hull is so tough that steam builds inside up until it suddenly bursts. damaged popcornkernels and regular dried corn cant hold in the steam well enough for that effect. a bit off topic, but chestnuts can create even more destructive shrapnel. i have had a chestnut explode, despite being slit. i was frying them on my porch, and its shell embedded into the drywall ceiling above. if you dont cut chestnuts at all, the results can be even more dramatic. one author said when he cooked chestnuts for the first time, he put the un-slit chestnuts to roast in his fireplace and then went off to another room. soon he heard noise like that of machine gun fire, and ran in to see exploded chestnut fragments all over the room.
  5. when my husband's dr prescribed crestor for a low hdl/ldl ratio, we read up on it and decided to try the 8 week cholesterol curenew 8 week cholesterol cure instead. the oat bran, phytosterols and slow-release niacin program worked SO well, his dr assumed he was taking the crestor and had a very good response to it!
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