Dry chops, burned garlic, brown veggies … just some of the mishaps you don’t want to face in the holiday kitchen! Here, 10 of the most common cooking and entertaining questions I get, and a few solutions for common woes.

dinnerbysusan

One of the best aspects of my job is hanging out with people. Invariably, folks congregate in the kitchen when I’m working. And invariably, they start asking questions. Here, the 10 most frequently asked, and the answers I’ve learned the hard way. (Plus, a fantastic lasagna recipe you can make from all those bits and pieces lying around your fridge …)

1. “How do you keep your broccoli (or snap peas or asparagus) from turning brown?”

Ice water. As soon as you’ve blanched anything — green, yellow or orange — plunge it in a bowl of ice water. The brilliant color will set and remain through any additional cooking you do. (Hard lesson: I didn’t ice down the petite peas I used in what was an otherwise show-stopping paella salad. Halfway through dinner, they became little gray lumps amid bright red peppers, green olives and saffron-tinted rice. We tossed hundreds…

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