Metro-East Living

A surprising household cleaner may help a streaky stovetop

Your stovetop will stay clean when you make Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Potatoes.
Your stovetop will stay clean when you make Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Potatoes.

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.

Recipe requests

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, 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.

Taste of Home Quick Cooking March/April 1999