To make perfect hard-boiled eggs, place 9 eggs in a large saucepan and cover with about an inch of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then turn down to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. When the eggs are cooked, immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. (For a better shape, pierce the larger end of the egg with a thumbtack before boiling.)
To shave Parmesan, you need a solid piece of cheese and an ordinary swivel potato peeler. Scrape the peeler against the cheese as if you were peeling potatoes. You will obtain Parmesan shavings, a fun alternative to grated cheese.
If you're nervous about the possibility of harmful chemicals migrating from plastic TV-dinner trays into food as it microwaves, pop the solidly frozen food onto a microwave-safe dinner plate, cover with a large, domed heatproof glass lid, and microwave according to package directions.
By adding the salt and pepper to a salad before the oil and vinegar, you ensure a better seasoning. When you add the oil and vinegar, mix the salad well, with your hands rather than tools; you'll be surprised at how much better you can mix it. Regulate the oil and vinegar to your own taste.
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