Cooking Tips – Here are some amazingly useful and alternative cooking tips to make cooking fun, easier and safer for you in the kitchen.
1. Never sear meat in a non-stick pan: It won’t brown nicely – you may end up with splotchy, gray meat.
2. Never heat non-stick pans past the manufacturer’s instructions (or past medium heat, if you no longer have the instructions).
3. When cooking crock pot meat, sear first. Use meat with the highest fat marbling to prevent grayness.
4. Make your own incredible butter. Whip 35% cream until it is firm. Squeeze out the whey. Add orange zest & a splash of juice.
5. Keep cheesecloth in your kitchen. It’s handy for straining liquid from yogurt, tofu and straining the whey from home-made butter!
6. Rub your steak or roast with fresh cut garlic before cooking. Stick slivers of fresh garlic deep into your meat for incredible flavor.
7. Be prepared! Always keep your pan lid handy for dowsing fat fires – they do happen! (Put the lid onto pot to smother flames.)
8. Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen – and learn what to do for different types of fires.
9. Use vegetable oil instead of butter in cakes containing dense, starchy fruits and veggies like carrots, apples, and banana.
10. Next time you make a gingerbread cake, try replacing your liquid (but not fat) with ginger beer!
11. Do as much of the prep as you can the night before for stress-free cooking. (What do you set out in advance?)
12. To add oil to a dish already cooking, add it to the edge of the pan. That way, it will be heated when it reaches your food.
13. Make sure fruits and veggies are stored in a refrigerator no warmer than 40 F.
14. Wash your fruit and veggies before peeling – not after. (Too much risk of contaminating the knife, if you wash after.)
15. Soak veggies like broccoli and cauliflower in cold water for at least three minutes to make sure contaminants are released.
16. Add a splash of milk to salted water when cooking to keep cauliflower white. Rinse momentarily in cold water before serving.
17. Dry your potatoes before mashing by returning them to the pan after draining. Cover. Let them sit on the turned-off burner for 5 min.
18. When storing fresh herbs, stand the stems in a glass of water in your refrigerator. They shouldn’t go limp and will stay fresh.
19. For a quick and easy meal, cover uncooked ribs in a roast pan with BBQ sauce and 1 liter Coke. Cover and simmer at 325F for 2 hours.
20. Save leftover sauce in ice cube trays. When frozen, add to a bag of the same type of sauce cubes. Reheat and use for quick dishes.
21. Crack the egg into the bowl. Use clean plastic water or pop bottle. Place bottle mouth against egg yolk – and squeeze to separate from white.
22. Never over mix muffins and quick bread. Fold dough with a large spoon until flour is barely mixed and the dough is lumpy.
23. Sprinkle your cutting board with salt before chopping fresh herbs. It will keep them on the cutting board.
24. Store sharp knives in a knife block – or stick wine corks on their tips before placing in drawers.
25. If you need to finely chop bacon, put it in the freezer for 20 min. This will make it easy to chop up without being stringy.
26. To test if your oil is hot enough for frying, use a thermometer or stick the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. (Bubbles=ready!)
27. Always let meat “rest” for at least 10 minutes when you take it out of the crock pot, pan or oven. It will cut much more easily.
28. Get to know parchment paper. Great for lining baking pans or preventing pastry from sticking to your roller.
29. When rising dough containing yeast, cover loosely with plastic wrap instead of the traditional tea towel.
30. Run out of baking powder? Combine 3/4 of a teaspoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
31. Never slice cake more than 15 minutes before serving. It will not taste fresh and may dry out.
32. Never open the oven door while cooking soufflé. And when you take your soufflé out of the oven, never bang the oven door.
33. For perfect Baked Alaska, make sure your cake is not warm and your ice-cream is the hard-brick type – not the creamy type.
34. Learn “base” recipes and then experiment by adding different seasonings or ingredients – basic sauces, muffins, cakes, and bread.
35. Don’t just bring your butter to room temperature when preparing to bake: Do it to the eggs you’re planning to use as well.
36. Cool your cakes on a wire rack, upside down. (Place rack on the cake; then flip over, holding both sides of pan and rack firmly.)
37. Make ordinary cake, cookies or pancakes special by using heart-shaped Valentine’s Day pans.
38. Make Valentine’s Day trifle in a heart-shaped bowl (large or individual-sized) for extra visual impact.
39. When camping, fully prepare soups, stews and other one-dish items ahead of time. Just reheat while you’re in the woods.
40. Camp foods that dirty very few dishes: Hot dogs and smokies cooked on a stick, baked potatoes cooked on coals, meats cooked in a roasting cage and s’mores.
41. An s’mores is a traditional nighttime campfire treat popular in the United States, consisting of a fire-roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker. National S’mores Day is celebrated annually on August 10.
42. There is no right or wrong cheese for a pizza. Go with what you like and what you have on hand.
❀ of interest…