I’m not alone. Patricia Schroeder emailed last week to tell me about “the nightmare of cleaning a black stove top.” I couldn’t help but chuckle: There was someone else who was driven crazy by a streaky kitchen surface.
“We recently remodeled our kitchen and made the same mistake (as me) of purchasing a black and stainless stove,” she wrote. “... My daughter cleans houses for a living and gave me this tip. Spray the whole black cooktop with Windex and let it set a few minutes. Then, wipe clean with a micro-fiber cloth. Turn the cloth often (whenever you see it start to streak). The Windex has a good degreaser in it. I was totally amazed at the outcome — perfectly streak-free clean.”
Another reader said he used a liquid stainless-steel cleaner to clean his sink, which I also have tried. But, I recall that the smallish bottle cost me about $5, so I’m sticking with the much cheaper baking soda and water tip I wrote about last week.
Jill from O’Fallon emailed and asked for advice on warmer-weather crockpot recipes, specifically for a side dish and a dessert. I came up with Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Potatoes and Slow-Cooked Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce. Both are easy to put together.
About the sauce: If you’ve even spent time standing at the stove cooking down rhubarb in a pan, you know it takes a while. The idea of using a slow cooker is a winner with me. Plus, you can let it cool and use it over pound cake, ice cream, pancakes or waffles, and — don’t judge me — cottage cheese.
Contact me at email@example.com, 618-239-2664 and follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.
Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Potatoes
2 pounds small red potatoes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Cut potatoes in half or wedges and toss into slow cooker.
Sprinkle in oregano, dill and basil. Add in 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic and 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
Drizzle olive oil. Toss in butter and mix all well.
Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Add in parsley. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Top with grated Parmesan and basil. Serve.
Slow-Cooked Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
6 cups chopped rhubarb (1/2-inch pieces)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
1/2 cup white grape juice
2 cups halved unsweetened strawberries
Place rhubarb in a 3-quart slow cooker. Combine sugar, orange peel and ginger; sprinkle over rhubarb. Add cinnamon stick and grape juice. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until rhubarb is tender.
Stir in strawberries; cook 1 hour longer. Discard cinnamon stick. Serve with cake or ice cream.
Per each 1/2 cup of sauce: 115 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 29 grams carbohydrates, 0 sugars, 0 fiber, 1 gram protein. Diabetic exchanges: 2 fruit.
Yield: 10 servings.