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Chef's Harvest Kitchen Tips

Mini pumpkins make delightful candleholders especially during the autumn months. Simply cut out enough pumpkin at the stem end to hold a candle or taper. Group several of these together with different candles to make an attractive display.

Instant-read thermometers take the guesswork out of cooking. They are available in supermarkets, specialty housewares, and discount stores. Prices range from $8.00 to $15.00.

Salmonella! Be sure to scrub cutting boards, knives, and counter tops thoroughly with soapy water after cutting up poultry. If available, add a little chlorine bleach to the water.

Sharp knives are essential kitchen tools. You can have them professionally sharpened for $1.00-$1.50 per knife. Kitchen shears or scissors are also practical.

Garlic! An essential kitchen ingredient! Fresh garlic is available in the produce section of supermarkets. The "head" or bulb has many sections called "cloves". Each clove is encased in a tissue-like membrane. Purchase heads that are plump with dry skins. Store in a cool, dark place. You can buy garlic containers that store garlic for up to 8 weeks. Individual cloves will keep from 3 to 10 days.

Whole heads can be roasted. Cloves can be crushed, chopped, sliced, or pressed in a garlic press. You will pay more for the convenience, but chopped and crushed garlic are available in jars in the produce section. In addition, in the spice section, there are dried garlic flakes, garlic salt, garlic powder, and even garlic juice.

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