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Getting Creative: Three Flavor Sensations

Turn everyday meals into restaurant-quality sensations with these three simple twists on onions, garlic and peppers. Once you master these simple ingredients, you�ll find you can use them in all sorts of culinary creations, from sauces to relishes to vinaigrettes. Give these three flavor sensations a try. You�ll be amazed at how often you turn to them!

AK Home Cooking SolutionsCaramelizing Onions

Why: Caramelizing onions turns this eye-stinging cooking staple into a sweet, buttery, almost nutty flavored condiment. The rich, deep brown onions are great on pizza, grilled meats, or stirred into sauces and dips, they�re an astounding addition to blue cheese dip!

How: Heat a large saut� pan over medium-low. Add a few tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil and then plenty of sliced onions; they�ll shrink down a lot so start with at least 4 cups. Lightly salt the onions (to draw out moisture) and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. As the onions cook, they release natural sugars and will begin to turn a deep golden color. Low heat is key to this process, it may take up to 30 minutes but it�s well worth the time. Refrigerate the onions for up to one week or freeze for up to one month.

Roasting Garlic

Why: If you like garlic, you�ll love it roasted. Even if you don�t, you might be surprised to find that you have a taste for it when it�s roasted. Roasting mellows the bite of fresh garlic, creating a rich, almost sweet condiment that can be added to almost anything. Try it in mashed potatoes, mayonnaise, sauces, salad dressings, butters, on pizzas, or simply spread onto grilled bread.

How: Take whole heads of fresh garlic and cut off the tops just to expose the cloves. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into the cut part of the garlic head, then wrap in aluminum foil. Roast in a preheated 350� F. oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the cloves are soft when pierced with a knife. Unwrap the garlic and allow it to cool enough to handle, then remove the cloves from their papery shell by squeezing the whole head so the cloves slide out of the cut opening in the top. Refrigerate garlic for up to one week or freeze for up to one month.

Roasting Peppers

Why: Roasting peppers not only separates the tough skin from the flesh but it brings out the pepper�s flavor by concentrating its natural sugars. There are endless possibilities for roasted peppers. Use them to top pizzas and salads, or add them to Mediterranean-style sauces and relishes.

How: Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast in an oven preheated to 400� F. for 30 minutes, turning a couple of times during roasting. When the peppers are soft, remove them from the oven, place in a plastic bag, and let stand for at least 10 minutes. They will steam in the bag, and it will help loosen the skin further. Simply peel off the skin with your fingers, but don�t be tempted to rinse the peppers as you peel; doing that will just wash off the flavorful oils. Refrigerate roasted peppers for up to one week or freeze for up to one month.

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