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Cooking Tips

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Handy cooking tips.

  1. Substitute for 1 cup of apple cider is ¾ cup of apple juice and ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce.
  2. Substitute evaporated milk for cream in coffee, 1 to 1.
  3. Keep your take-out pizza warm by keeping it in the box and putting it in the oven on the middle rack at 200° F. Paper will not burn until it reaches 411 degrees.
  4. Soak frozen turkey breast in water overnight. It will remove surface salts and impurities. The taste is noticeably better.
  5. Store herbs and spices in a dark, cool place.
  6. Crack eggs on a flat surface, not the side of a pan since tiny egg shells will be pushed into the egg.
  7. Add fresh herbs at the last minute. They lose their distinct flavor over cooking time.
  8. Remove green sprout from garlic before using. It tastes bitter.
  9. Put meat in freezer for 20 minutes before slicing.
  10. To warm pasta serving bowl, pour leftover water in it when draining pasta.
  11. For recipes that call for only a few tablespoons of oil in a pan, pour oil in a cold pan. After a minute, swirl the oil to cover the pan - it is easier when the oil is warm. When a wisp of smoke appears, the oil is hot and ready to use.
  12. Use regular wine instead of cooking wine. Cooking wine has too many additives (like salt) and may alter the taste. I generally use an inexpensive wine.
  13. Use a cheap (extra) light olive oil for sautè and pan frying. It has a higher smoke point than regular olive oil and you will never know the difference in taste over an expensive light olive oil.
  14. Let large cuts of meat sit (rest) 25 minutes before carving. The meat will keep cooking after it is brought out of the oven. Its juices will distribute themselves over this period. Tent the meat with aluminum foil (or a large bowl or leave in bag if cooking in a bag) during repose (the resting period) to retain heat. resting period) to retain heat.
  15. Let small cuts of meat (like steak or single serving of chicken) rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  16. When cooking in butter, add a little olive oil to raise the smoke (burn) point.
  17. Substitute dried herbs (1 tsp) for fresh herbs (1 tbsp).
  18. To enhance the taste of pine nuts, toast them in a skillet over med heat. Stir frequently for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  19. When I open a new can of tomato paste and use just a small amount, I open the other end of the can (the bottom), discard the bottom, pop the entire can into a plastic sandwich bag, and freeze it overnight. The next day, I remove the can from the bag and run it under hot water for a few seconds, then push the block of frozen tomato paste onto a cutting board. I cut the frozen block quickly into 1-4-inch rounds, each of which equals roughly 1 tablespoon of paste. I then put all of the rounds back into the same plastic bag and toss it into the freezer for ready-to-use portions of tomato paste.
  20. An easy and efficient way to peel ginger is to use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the knotty ginger skin. Once the ginger's peeled, use a rasp-style grater. Its fine blades pulverize the ginger, releasing all of the flavorful juices without any stringy segments.
  21. To remove the seeds from cucumbers easily without dirtying a spoon, try this tip: After halving lengthwise, simply use the tip of the swivel-style peeler to gently scrape out the seeds.
  22. If your raisins are hard, soak them in warm apple juice for 15 minutes to restore their juiciness.
  23. Store mushrooms in their original container. Rewrap with plastic wrap.
  24. If you use bottles of soft drinks, here's a way to keep it bubbly longer: After you are done dispensing the soda, put the cap back on and momentarily tilt the bottle on its side until the soda engulfs the cap. For some reason, doing this makes the soda last a lot longer. I have been doing this for a long time and it does work.

  25. I made some whole wheat pancakes and found a nice way to get them done in the middle and fluffy. Normally pancakes are cooked on a griddle. Since my kitchen is sans griddle, I used a saucepan. The first pancake came out gooey in the middle. My wife suggested covering the pan with a lid. Did that make a difference! Not only was the pancake cooked through, it came out nice and fluffy. A see-through lid is the best because you can see the bubbles forming on the pancake which means time to flip it.

  26. An easy way to make tea is to fill the coffeemaker with water, run the coffeemaker to get hot water, then steep a bag or two in the coffeepot. Makes plenty of hot tea.

    FWIW, I measured the temperature of the hot water of the coffeepot and it hovered around 160 degrees F. I believe ideal coffee is brewed at 180 to 190 degrees, according to a friend who used to design coffee percolators. I'm not sure the ideal temperature for brewing tea.

  27. I was making a marinade for chicken fajitas which calls for several items including cilantro. In the past I would mix up the ingredients and put in the spices last. This resulted in a lot of floaters. Tonight I put the spices in first then the dry stuff then mixed in the wet ingredients. Practically no floaters.
  28. When making a recipe that calls for uncooked beans the directions generally advise to remove any beans that float. After ignoring this for several years I decided to look into why should floaters be purged. Is is an old wives tale or a good idea?

    Beans are generally a sealed legume. In order for them to float they would have to be unsealed which would let air inside thus causing them to float. These holes are cause by tiny bugs chewing their way into the bean. Though I do not think this hurts anything, just the thought of it will make me think twice about leaving floating beans behind.

  29. Use a slow cooker to keep mashed potatoes warm during a party.

  30. Store tomatoes stem side down. It helps prevent evaporation and bacteria growth. If vine is still on tomato, store vine side up.

  31. To dice an onion: trim top of onion. Halve onion pole to pole. Peel back outer layer and use it to hold onto the onion while dicing or slicing.

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