Ever open up the fridge to find your lettuce or herbs looking a little ... tired? Shock them in an ice bath to perk them up.
Place lettuce or herbs in a large bowl of ice water (or if you're working with a lot of lettuce, fill your clean kitchen sink with ice water) and shake the greens around a bit to perk them up. A minute or two should do the trick. A quick toss in an ice bath will also help to clean the greens, dislodging bits of dirt.
After a quick bath, dry off the greens and they'll be ready for their close-up.
Cooking is fun — at least it should be! No matter how long you've been in the kitchen, there is always something new to learn, whether it's a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, ranging from how to hold a chef's knife for maximum control to using a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.
NORDSTROM'S CHICKEN, APPLE AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD
Total time: 1 hour, plus cooling time for the almonds | Serves 4
Note: Adapted from a recipe from Nordstrom.
SPICED CANDIED ALMONDS
1 tablespoon egg white (about 1/2 egg white)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 pound blanched almond slivers
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy, then whisk in the brown sugar until the sugar is moist. Add the almonds, tossing to evenly coat.
2. Spread the almonds into a single, evenly spaced layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast the almonds until they are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. While the almonds are toasting, in a small bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
4. When the almonds are done, immediately sprinkle over the spice mixture, using a spatula to toss the hot almonds with the spices until evenly coated. Set the almonds aside to cool completely before using. This makes a generous 2 cups spiced candied almonds, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the almonds will keep, sealed in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Generous 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
3/4 cup canola oil
In the bowl of a blender, beat together the shallots, mustard, sugar, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly blend in the oil to form a creamy vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. This makes a generous cup of vinaigrette, which will keep, covered and refrigerated, 3 to 5 days.
CHICKEN, APPLE AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD
1/3 cup Champagne vinaigrette, more to taste
8 to 10 cups (10 ounces) mixed greens
4 ounces sliced tart apple, preferably Granny Smith
1 cup spiced candied almonds, divided
6 ounces goat cheese, divided
1/4 red onion, sliced into thin half-rings
3 ounces dried apple "chips"
12 ounces cooked chicken, cut into strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine one-third cup vinaigrette and the mixed greens, apple slices, one-half of the spiced candied almonds, one-half of the goat cheese (added in small dollops), the red onion, apple chips and chicken. Gently toss together, adding additional dressing as needed and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Garnish each serving with the remaining spiced candied almonds and goat cheese, sprinkling the almonds over the salad and adding the cheese in small dollops. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 854 calories; 38 grams protein; 48 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 59 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 97 mg cholesterol; 24 grams sugar; 384 mg sodium.