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Tips from the chef

As she teaches cooking classes, Laura Stec offers a cornucopia of lively tips and quips. Here's a sampling:

"The fresher the food, the more alive it is."

Buy from the bin to avoid unnecessary packaging.

"Grains sleeping in a bulk bin need to be woken up" before they're cooked. (Stec said this after rinsing grains and giving them a shake.)

"Vegetables stay happy when you keep the cutting board clean," so keep a bowl next to the board for scraps, which you can compost.

"Keep water as far away from vegetables as possible." Vegetables are best when cooked with high, dry heat.

Let meat sit a while before you slice it, so the juices don't run out.

Switch to kosher salt (for better flavor).

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