Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cooking Tips | Kitchen Hints | Tips For a Lifetime

Kitchen hints and tips for the novice to expert cook 

Discover hundreds of cooking tips to make life easier in the kitchen!

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.

To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.

Keep boiled eggs in cold water for 5 minutes, this will make removal of the shell easier!

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

No more tears while cutting onions.. keep the onions in a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge. Take out just before cutting!

For fresh flavor in orange juice add the juice of one lemon.

Add a pinch of sugar while cooking spinach and green leafy vegetables, it will retain its green colour!

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.

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

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

To slice meat into thin strips, as for Chinese dishes - partially freeze and it will slice easily.

Rub a little oil on the rim of the container, the milk won't overspill while boiling!

Before beating eggs, rinse the container with water. The mixture will not stick to the sides of the vessel.

Chefs pound meat not to tenderize the meat, but to help even the meat so it cooks evenly.

If you need only 1/2 an onion, save the root half. It will last longer.

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

Always fry onions in a little oil and then grind. Raw onion paste will turn bitter immediately!

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.

Never use metallic bowls to marinate meat - the acids (vinegar or lemon) can react with the metal bowls

To remove excess salt in the dish you are preparing, add a few pieces of raw potato!

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

Placing Potatoes in salt water for 15 minutes before baking make them bake quickly.

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.

When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

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

Never store an apple near a banana unless you want to ripen the banana in a short period of time!

Reduce the burning sensation after cutting green chillies by keeping the fingers in a bowl of cold milk added with some sugar!

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.

Whenever possible, warm your dinner plates slightly in the oven  before serving so the meal stays a little bit hotter.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

For the perfect boiled egg, cover eggs with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a full boil. Remove the pan from the heat and cover. Let the eggs sit for 8-9 minutes. Drain the water and place the eggs in ice water to cool to stop the cooking process.

When braising meat, cook it at a low temperature for a long time to keep the meat tender and have it retain all the juices.

When cooking any kind of strawberry dessert, add a splash of aged Balsamic vinegar to the recipe to enhance the flavor of the strawberries.

Tenderize pot roast or stewing meat by using two cups of hot tea as a cooking liquid.

When making roux for a recipe, make extra and keep in the refrigerator for future use.

To remove egg shells from a batter, use the remaining shell to attract the piece.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup sour cream, you may substitute 1 cup cottage cheese blended until smooth with 1 tablespoon  lemon juice and 1/3 cup buttermilk.

When using fresh herbs such as dill, chives, parsley, etc., hold them together in small bunches and snip with kitchen scissors. It is a lot faster this way, and you'll find the herbs will be light and fluffy, not bruised and wet as they often get when chopped.

When going on a picnic, keep sandwiches from becoming soggy  by packing lettuce and condiments in separate containers.  Add them to sandwiches just before serving.

Maple-flavored syrup, commonly found on the shelves in the store and in restaurants, is actually corn syrup flavored  with a bit of pure maple syrup to keep the cost down.

Store your potatoes in a cool dark spot away from your onions.

You can correct greasy gravy by adding a little baking soda to it.

Keep popcorn fresh and encourage more kernels to pop by storing in  the freezer.

Lemons stored in a sealed jar of water will produce twice the juice.

Use paper bags rather than plastic to store lettuce and celery in the crisper. They will stay fresh longer.

Bread will stay fresh longer if a celery rib is stored with it in the  package.

Save butter wrappers in the freezer to use for greasing pans when baking.

To keep salt from clogging in the shaker, add 1/2 teaspoon of uncooked rice.

If guests are coming and you're behind making dinner, throw some onions on to saute and your kitchen will smell wonderful and homey.

Egg whites should always be at room temperature before whipping. Be certain there is no yolk in the whites and that the bowl and beaters are perfectly clean. Cream, on the other hand, should be  well-chilled. For the largest volume, chill the bowl and beaters  before whipping.

When using spaghetti, keep in mind that 8 ounces of uncooked pasta makes 4 cups cooked.

When using all-purpose flour, keep in mind that one pound flour is the equivalent to 4 cups.

When using dried beans and peas, keep in mind that 1 cup dry beans or peas makes 2 1/2 cups cooked.

When using rice, keep in mind that 1 cup of uncooked long-grain white rice makes 3 cups cooked.

When using granulated sugar, keep in mind that one pound sugar is the equivalent to 2 cups.

Pancakes are lighter and fluffier when you substitute club soda for milk in the batter.

Before opening a package of bacon, roll it. This helps separate the slices for easy removal of individual slices.

Drain deep fried foods on brown paper grocery bags as opposed to paper towels to retain crispness.

To make lighter and fluffier mashed potatoes, add a pinch or two of baking powder to the potatoes before whipping.

Check cookies at minimum baking time.

Let cookies cool completely before storing. Store different types  of cookies in separate containers so they'll keep their original flavor and texture.

Marinate red meats in wine to tenderize.

Marinate chicken in buttermilk to tenderize.

Use margarine instead of butter to panfry or saute. Butter burns quickly.

Instead of adding raw garlic to sauces, saute the garlic first for a milder flavor.

Thaw frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator and not on the kitchen counter where bacteria can grow.

Add a small amount of lemon juice to the artichoke cooking water to retain the color of the artichoke.

A low-calorie solution for high-fat frying of corn tortillas is  to place them in the oven, directly on the rack. Bake at 350 F, to desired crispness. The tortillas will automatically fold over  into taco shell form with just a little postioning help.

A simple way to sharpen kitchen shears: cut a piece of steel wool.

1 comment:

  1. keep the avocado pits in the guacamole to extend the shelf life in the fridge