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Add a kick to your salads with home-made croutons – and it’s so easy. I love crunchy carbs, don’t you? The specific carb that’s on my mind right now are croutons. Okay – so not exactly health food. I think of home-made croutons as a sort of “love food” – for the love of cooking and entertaining friends. They can be used so many different ways – perfect for topping salads and crumbled over grilled asparagus just to name a few. Diving back to my restaurant days, croutons originate from France, early 19th Century, when an unknown chef had an idea to put small pieces of toasted bread crust into food. It was such a great idea that fragments of croûte (crust) found its way into all sorts of recipes, and eventually salads. Now, of course, we can buy croutons in all shapes and sizes; ready and prepared for soups,…

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Guests on the way? Forgot to chill the wine? Here’s an old restaurant trick that will get you chilled wine in 15 minutes FLAT. A restaurant – an excellent restaurant – will never have a shortage of good wine chilled to the correct temperature dictated by decades of tradition and agreement among experts. The sommelier (someone educated in all things “wine” and the person in charge of the wine ‘vault’) will know that red wine should be chilled to 55°F (12°C) and white chilled to 45°F (7°C). Unofficially, the sommelier knows a bottle must be chilled to the customer’s taste. On rare occasions, a customer may say, “I’d like this bottle chilled more.” As we say in the restaurant business, the customer is always right. But, let’s pause here. There are several calculations we keep in the back of our minds when we open a restaurant for business. One of…

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Kitchen sponges can be as dirty as your toilet! So clean or replace them regularly. I like smart people, but intelligent kids make me smile. Even when the smile is a tad uncomfortable. My friend and I were sitting in her living room chatting over coffee and cheesecake when her teenage daughter, Isabella, literally bounced into the room with good news: she got an A+ on her biology project. “What was your project about?” I asked. “Bacteria in the home,” Isabella answered. Mom didn’t look too happy. Without skipping a beat, Isabella explained how she and her lab partner set out Petri dishes all around her home and the homes of four other families (with permission, I assume). After exposing the dishes to the open air for a few hours, the young researchers sealed them and waited to see what kinds of bacteria grew. “We found 22 forms of mold…

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Sophisticated Living
in Beverly Hills