Archive for the 'Cooking Tips' Category

Recipe: A variety of cooking tips – in no particular order –

|February 21, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen
* To slice meat into thin strips, as for Chinese dishes –
partially freeze and it will slice easily.

* A roast with the bone in will cook faster than a boneless roast –
the bone carries the heat to the inside of the roast quicker.

* For a juicer hamburger add cold water to the beef before grilling
(1/2 cup to 1 pound of meat).

* To keep cauliflower white while cooking –
add a little milk to the water.

* Let raw potatoes stand in cold water for at least half an hour
before frying to improve the crispness of french-fried potatoes.

* Buy mushrooms before they "open." When stems and caps are attached
snugly, mushrooms are truly fresh.

* Lettuce keeps better if you store in refrigerator without washing
first so that the leaves are dry. Wash the day you are going to use.

* Do not use metal bowls when mixing salads.
Use wooden, glass or china.

* A Perfect Pastry Crust? In your favorite recipe, substitute a
4:1 ratio of lard:butter.

* To make your own corn meal mix: combine 1 cup corn meal, 1 cup
all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 teaspoons baking
powder. You can store it in a tightly covered container for
up to 6 months.

* It's important to let a roast — beef, pork, lamb or poultry —
sit a little while before carving. That allows the juices to
retreat back into the meat. If you carve a roast too soon,
much of its goodness will spill out onto the carving board.

* Microwave a lemon for 15 seconds and double the juice you get
before squeezing.

* Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds and the skins slip
right off.

* When slicing a hard boiled egg, try wetting the knife just before
cutting. If that doesn't do the trick, try applying a bit of
cooking spray to the edge.

* Rescue stale or soggy chips and crackers: Preheat the oven to
300F. Spread the chips or crackers in a single layer on a
baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool,
then seal in a plastic bag or container.

* The best way to store fresh celery is to wrap it in aluminum
foil and put it in the refrigerator–it will keep for weeks.

* Store freshly cut basil on your kitchen counter in a glass
with the water level covering only the stems. Change the
water occasionally. It will keep for weeks this way,
even develop roots! Basil hates to be cold, so NEVER put
it in the refrigerator. Also, regular cutting encourages
new growth and healthier plants.

* A dampened paper towel or terry cloth brushed downward on a cob of
corn will remove every strand of corn silk.

* Fresh eggs' shells are rough and chalky; old eggs are smooth and
shiny.

* No "curly" bacon for breakfast when you dip it into cold water
before frying.

* When working with dough, don't flour your hands; coat them with
olive oil to prevent sticking.

* Use a gentle touch when shaping ground beef patties. Overhandling
will result in a firm, compact texture after cooking. Don't press
or flatten with spatula during cooking.

* Never heat pesto sauce – the basil will turn black and taste bitter.

* Butter pie pastry scraps: sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and
bake like cookies.

* A jar lid or a couple of marbles in the bottom half of a double-boiler
will rattle when the water gets low and warn you to add more before
the pan scorches or burns.

* When mincing garlic, sprinkle on a little salt so the pieces won't
stick to your knife or cutting board.

* If your cake recipe calls for nuts, heat them first in the oven,
then dust with flour before adding to the batter to keep them from
settling to the bottom of the pan.

* Noodles, spaghetti and other starches won't boil over if you rub
the inside of the pot with vegetable oil.

* Brown gravy in a hurry with a bit of instant coffee straight from
the jar… no bitter taste, either.

* To hasten the cooking of foods in a double boiler, add salt to the
water in the outer boiler.

* Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to
prevent ice cream drips.

* To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the
potatoes.

* Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your
forehead. The throbbing will go away.

* Don't throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for
future use in casseroles and sauces.

* If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing
gloves. They give a on-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

* Add a little lemon and lime to tuna to add zest and flavor to tuna
sandwiches. Use cucumbers soaked in vinegar and pepper in sandwich
instead of tomatoes. Use mustard instead of mayo to cut the fat
and add a tang.

* Instead of the water your recipe calls for, try juices, bouillon,
or water you've cooked vegetables in. Instead of milk, try
buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. It can add a whole new flavor
and improve nutrition.

* Steak Sauce With A Kick: Deglaze your frying pan (after searing your
New York steaks) with brandy. Add two tablespoons of butter, a little
white wine and a splash of Grand Marnier. Serve over steaks –
you'll never use steak sauce again.

* When browning ground meat, brown several pounds and drain. Divide
evenly in freezer containers and freeze. Unthaw in microwave for
quick fixing next time.

* Ground spices really should be replaced every 6 months or so!
Unless you know you will use them up fairly quickly, buy a bottle
in partnership with a friend and split the contents.
You'll each benefit from fresh spices.

* Sunlight doesn't ripen tomatoes, warmth does. Store tomatoes with stems
pointed down and they will stay fresher, longer.

* Place green fruits in a perforated plastic bag. The holes will allow
air to circulate while retaining the ethylene gas that fruits
produce during ripening.

* Marshmallows won't dry out when frozen.

* Poke a hole in the middle of the hamburger patties while shaping them.
The burgers will cook faster and the holes will disappear when done.

* For fluffier, whiter rice, add one teaspoon of lemon juice per quart of
water. To add extra flavor and nutrition to rice, cook it in liquid
reserved from cooking vegetables.

* Cheese won't harden if you butter the exposed edges before storing.

* Sausage patties rolled in flour before frying won't crack open
during cooking.

* Two drops of yellow food coloring added to boiling noodles will
make them look homemade.

* When separating eggs, break them into a funnel. The whites will
go through leaving the yolk intact in the funnel.

* Fresh fish freeze well in a milk carton filled with water.

* Make your own celery flakes. Just cut and wash the leaves from the
celery stalks; place them in the oven on low heat or in the hot sun
until thoroughly dry. Crumble and store in an air-tight container.

* When picking a melon, smell it for freshness and ripeness.
Check to see that the fruit is heavy in weight and that the
spot on the end where it has been plucked from the vine is soft.

* When tossing a salad with a basic vinaigrette, always make the
vinaigrette at least 1/2 hour ahead of time and let the mixture
sit to allow the flavors to marry. Pour the vinaigrette down
the side of the bowl, not directly on the greens, for a more
evenly dressed salad.


* When preparing lunches for your children (or anyone), try "drinkable" ice packs: Fill a 12-ounce plastic bottle about halfway with drinking water and freeze it
overnight, tilting the bottle so the water will freeze at an angle (if you freeze it straight up, the expanded water will make the bottle bulge). Next morning pack the lunch, add more drinking water to the bottle, and stick it in the lunch box to keep the food cool and be melted enough to drink by lunchtime.

* Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before using
them so they won't burn during cooking.

* If you prefer metal skewers, which have a long life, use
square or twisted types, which will hold the food better
than round ones.

* To keep food from slipping off during cooking and turning,
use two parallel skewers rather than a single skewer.

* If you're using a wooden skewer, as you thread the food
move the pieces close together, with no space showing.
If the skewer is metal, you can leave small spaces between
the pieces.

* When using foods with different cooking times (such as shrimp
and beef), don't combine them on the same skewer. Instead,
make skewers of just shrimp or just beef, start cooking the
beef first, and then combine them on a serving platter