Archive for the 'Cooking Tips' Category

Recipe: Batter staying on veggies –

|June 11, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Here is a copy of a PM I received – and instead of answering in another PM – I decied to post i here for all to see –

"Mama –

Can you please tell me how to keep the batter on my veggies when I fry them? It always seems to fall off!"

A common problem!

First, make sure your veggies are dry – meaning – wipe any excess water from washing/rinsing or any moisture that may be on them.

Second, make sure your batter is thick enough – thin batters do not stick. Make sure that after dipping your veggies in batter you allow the excess to drip off.

If you want to help a batter to stick you can toss your veggies in a bit of flour or rice flour (lightly) to help the batter stick.

Some have found that placing veggies on a tray and placing in the freezer to freeze before frying helps. By allowing them to "sit" for a while will help breadings and batters to stick on many foods – veggies, fruits, meats, fish, etc. 15 – 30 minutes should do it.

Some batter recipes will stick better than others. For instance – you can make a batter that will stick by using chick pea flour and water. The chick pea flour will absorb the water to the point that you will have to add more!

Always make sure what you are coating is dry, if dipping in flour first, be sure to shake off excess.

If using a deep fryer basket – place the pieces in individually so that they do not clump together – that will help. Even if using a pan or pot ont he stove top – place pieces in individually.

Some feel that tempura batters work much better.

Here are two if you would like to try them – both are good for veggies, fish, meats, etc.

Tempura Batter
3/8 cup Flour
1/8 cup Cornstarch
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Baking Soda
1 Egg White
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Water
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Paprika

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well blended. Dip fish fillets in flour and coat each side, then dip in fish in batter and fry in oil until golden brown. Place fried fish on paper towels to drain off excess oil. Serve hot.

Tempura Batter
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Water
1 Egg

Mix cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda in bowl. Stir in water and egg and mix until smooth. Dip fish pieces, shrimp, or even raw vegetables in batter and deep fry until crispy brown. When dipping shrimp, hold by tail and dip only the body. This makes for good presentation leaving the shrimp's red tail exposed.

Another thing that I do – if "holding" breaded or battered cooked foods in an oven at 200* F. to keep warm while finishing the rest of the cooking – I make sure that I place these foods on racks set on a baking tray. This way the coating does not stick to the baking pan and stays on the food!

I hope this helps!

Recipe: Now we’re talkin’………………

|June 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I want to thank those that have e-mailed me with questions –

don't be afraid to ask a question; there is no such thing as a stupid question –

Q: "how can I stop chocolate chips, raisins, etc. from ending up in the bottom of my cakes when I bake them?"

A: Certain ingredients, such as chocolate chips, dried fruits, and even nuts will "sink" to the bottom of your batter. If you were to coat these ingredients with a bit of flour, tossing well, (please remember to leave excess flour behind – you don't need to add it!) before stirring into your batter you will have better results. The flour will absorb some of the surface oils/water that these ingredients emit during the baking process and will help to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

Q: "I tried to melt chocolate in the microwave and it was lumpy – what did I do wrong?"

A: First of all – you all know that I do not believe in microwaves. I don't trust them for anything at all and I have no desire to use one in my kitchen. Next, I am a chocolate melter from way back – always in a double boiler. Which of course I don't even own one. I use a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stale chocolate will seize right up and has to be tossed. But for a small amount of chocolate with a bit of lumps, you can add a spoon of vegetable shortening or a tad of oil and that should do it for you – unless your chocolate is old. Then there isn't much you can do except buy fresh chocolate.

Q: "berries are so good fresh, but it's always too hot to bake in the summer months – how can I have fresh berries for baking during the off-season?"

A. Why not use frozen berries to bake? As long as they are whole berries that are not in syrup there is no problem. You do not need to thaw; but you may have to add an additional minute or two to your baking – depending on what it is you are making.

Q: "you have posted on your blog how to tell if your baking soda and baking powder are fresh – but what about yeast?"

A: Sometimes you cannot trust the dates on the packages of anything. And like I have said before – I don't care what the expiration date or use-by date is – once it is opened it is not going to last that long – regardless of what it is! I like to use bulk yeast in a bag. And it needs to be tested to make sure it is still active. The best way to do this is to test it by placing the yeast in the water as called for in the recipe, add no more than 1/8 teaspoon of sugar (the sugar is food for the yeast) and it should begin to bubble within 5 to 10 minutes. No bubbles – no good – don't use it.

Q: "what is the easiest way to prevent a cheesecake from cracking?"

A: I don't believe in wrapping the bottom of the springform pan with foil and placing in another pan of water to bake. Most cheesecakes have a topping and the cracks do not even show or matter. If you want to prevent cracks – place a small pan of water next to you cheesecake in the oven; less mess; no danger when removing from the oven.

I hope this helps – and don't be afraid to ask if you want to know something!

Recipe: Cooking Tips and Cooking Timetables

|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Cook Times


Test for doneness after minimum time given here. Cubed and sliced
vegetables will cook faster than whole. Parboiled (blanched) vegetables,
which will complete their cooking in sauce or butter, should be slightly
undercooked. All are best when they are still slightly crunchy.

Boiling and Steaming

Boil vegetables in lightly salted water to cover. Steam vegetables
in steaming rack or basket over 1-inch lightly salted boiling water.
All boiling (B) and steaming (S) times are in minutes. If there is
no time listed for a given method, then it is not recommended.

Vegetable B S
ARTICHOKE 20-30 25-35
spears 10-12 12-15
pieces 5-10 10-15
(add tips
for last 5 min)
green 8-15 10-15
lima (fresh) 20-25
BEETS 25-45
BROCCOLI 5-10 12-15
shredded 2-4 4-8
wedges 10-12 10-15
(simmer – DON'T BOIL)
sliced 15 18
whole 20-30 25-30
florets 9-12 12-15
whole 20-30 25-35
CORN-on-the-COB 3-5
EGGPLANT cubed 5-8
LEEKS (if large
halve lengthwise) 5-10 10-15
OKRA 5-10
or halved) 25-30
PEAS – green 4-10
quartered 20-30
sliced 15
SNOW PEAS 2-3 3-5
(steam without
basket or rack
in water
remaining on
washed leaves)
summer 8-15
winter 10-20 10-20
(simmer –
peeled 15
unpeeled 25
sliced 10-15 12-18
whole 20-30 25-35

Meat should be only slightly chilled before roasting. Since everyone
has a different definition of "rare" and "well done", test for
doneness possible and note satisfactory times. Let meat sit for 15
to 20 minutes after removing from oven to allow juices to settle
and meat to firm up. Internal temperature will rise by 10 F during
this time, so meat can be roasted to temperature lower than given.

Meat Oven Temp Meat Thermometer Approx Time
(F) Reading (in Per Pound (Min)
thickest part,
not touching

standing rib 325 F 140 F (rare) 18-20
160 F (medium) 22-25
170 F (well done) 27-30

Rolled Rib, 325 F 140 F (rare) 32-35
eye round, 160 F (medium) 35-38
chick, rump 170 F (well done) 40-45
Boned rolled 325 145 F (rare) 30-35
leg, shoulder 170 F (medium) 40-45
180 F (well done) 45-50
Crown Roast 425 F 140 F to 145 F (med) 10-12
for first 170 F (well) 20-25
15 min, then 325 F
Leg with bone 325 F 145 F (rare) 30-35
170 F (medium) 40
180 F (well done) 45-50

boned rolled 325 F 175 F 40-45
rump, shoulder
Rump with bone, 325 F 175 F 30-35
PORK (Fresh)
Boned rolled 325 F 175 F 40-45
Crown roast 325 F 170 F 35-40
Loin (centre) 325 F 175 F 35-40
PORK (Smoked)
HAM (uncooked)
Whole 325 F 160 F 18-20
Half 325 F 160 F 22-25
HAM (fully cooked)
Whole 325 F 130 F 10-15
Half 325 F 130 F 18-24
Picnic Shoulder 325 F 170 F 30-35


Meat broils best when it goes into the broiler at room temperature.

Meat Thickness (In) Approx Total Cooking Time
Rare Medium Well Done
Delmonico, Rib 1-1/2 10-15 15-20 20-25
2 15-20 20-25 25-30
Hamburger 1 6-10 15 20
Porterhouse 1 6-8 10-12 15-18
T-Bone 1 10-12 15-18 20-25
Sirloin 2 12-15 18-20 25-30
Tenderloin, 4-8 oz 8-10 15 15-20
Filet Mignon
Lamb or Beef 1" cubes 6-8 8-10 12-15
LAMB CHOPS 1 6-8 12 15
1-1/2 9-12 15 16-18
2 13-15 16-18 20-22
VEAL CHOPS 1/2 15-16
1 18-20
PORK CHOPS 1/2 15-20
1 20-25
halved or
quartered) 20-25


Poultry should be only slightly chilled before roasting. All should
be cooked to a thermometer reading of 180 F – 185 F. Chicken and
Duck can be seared for 15 minutes at 425 F, and total roasting time
reduced 5 to 10 minutes. Check for doneness by lifting the end of
the leg bone; drumstick should move easily in its socket. Poultry
is done when juices flow clear yellow, not pink; check by pricking
inner surface of drumstick near joint with fork. Let poultry rest
10 to 12 minutes before serving, except for turkey, which should
rest 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Fowl Weight Oven Temp Approx Cooking Time (Hr)
(Lb) (F) Stuffed Unstuffed
CAPON 5-8 325 F 2 to 2-1/2 1-3/4 to 2-1/4
1-1/2 to 2 350 F 1 to 1-1/4 3/4 to 1
2-1/2 to 3 350 F 1-1/4 to 1-1/4 1-3/4
3 to 4 350 F 1-1/2 to 2 1-1/2
CORNISH HEN 1 350 F 1-1/4 1
DUCK 4-5 350 F 2 to 2-1/4 1-1/2 to 1-3/4
TURKEY 6-8 325 F 2-1/4 to 2-3/4 2 to 2-1/4
8-12 325 F 2-3/4 to 3-1/2 2-1/4 to 3
12-16 325 F 3-1/2 to 5 3 to 4
16-20 325 F 5 to 6 4 to 5
20-24 325 F 6 to 8 5 to 6


Macaroni – uncooked 1 cup – cooked 2 cups

Noodles – uncooked 3 cups – cooked 4-1/2 cups

Quick oats – uncooked 1 cup – cooked 1 3/4 cups

Rice, long grain – uncooked 1 cup – cooked 3 cups

Pre-cooked rice – uncooked 1 cup, cooked 2 cups

Spaghetti – uncooked 7 ounce, cooked 4 cups