My favorite way to cook vegetables is also the most underrated

Whole Food Cooking is a column by our Resident Vegetarian-at-Large, Amy Chaplin. Each month, Amy will show us a different way to love fruits and vegetables just a little bit more.

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I am a big fan of food prepared simply — and a bowl of steamed vegetables is my ideal simple meal. It requires minimal prep and can come together quickly at any time of year using the vegetables you have on hand. No need to heat the oven, peel onions or carrots or anything else, or wait for a pot of water to boil. You don’t even need to be good with a knife. And, the best part is that steamed veggies serve as a canvas that you can dress up in limitless ways depending on your mood.

Steaming is the most frequently used method of cooking in my kitchen and for three seasons of

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Cook up Some Fun: 2015 Bandon Cranberry Festival Food Fair | Lifestyles

BANDON — A crown awaits the cook with the cranberry touch. Culinary queens and kings need only whip up their best cranberry concoction to enter the Queen of the Kitchen contest in Bandon’s annual Cranberry Festival. The 2015 Cranberry Festival Food Fair is set for Sept. 11 and 12, in Bandon.

Contestants compete for the crown in three categories, Queen of the Kitchen, best overall; Jr. Queen of the Kitchen, youth age 10 and younger, aided by an adult; Aspiring Chef, age 11 to 18 years. Find contest rules and entry forms online at bandon.com/cranberry-festival.

The food fair and cooking contest are almost as old as the Cranberry Festival. The competition was added the second year of the festival, in 1948. The winner is crowned at the Coronation Ceremony and greets the festival throng in the Saturday parade.

The blind judging system has delivered a few surprises over the

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7 things you should cook in an air fryer and 7 things you shouldn’t

air fryer
Air fryers can help you prepare crispy food in a jiffy. Shutterstock
  • Though certain foods become crispy and juicy in an air fryer, others can get messy or dry.

  • The experts recommended using an air fryer when preparing frozen food, making cookies, and cooking bacon.

  • You’ll want to avoid putting overseasoned food items, wet batters, and cheese in your air fryer since they can create a mess.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Air fryers can be convenient and versatile when it comes to preparing many dishes, but not all food should be tossed into this appliance.

Here are the best and worst foods to cook in an air fryer, according to chefs and other culinary experts:

Frozen food can become nice and crispy in an air fryer.

chicken nuggets
Frozen nuggets can get crunchy and golden in an air fryer. Shutterstock

The air fryer is a great appliance to use

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How to cook lentils and choose the right variety for your recipe

Other cultures seem to have a better grip on how wonderful lentils are, especially in India, where dal (the term can refer to the lentils themselves or the dish made with them) is a staple. “The French also do pretty nice things with lentils,” Dragonwagon says. Lentils do in fact have a lot going for them, including being packed with protein, cheap and nonperishable. They’re also incredibly versatile.

“They’re sort of like Cinderella when she has the cinders all over,” Dragonwagon says. “We get to be the fairy godmothers to give her the pumpkin carriage and the pretty dress.”

So how do you best bring the magic to these little powerhouses? Read on.

The basics. In “On Food and Cooking,” Harold McGee says that lentils are probably the oldest cultivated legume. He also explains another fun bit of trivia: The Latin word for lentil is “lens,” which, yes, is what

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