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Easy cooking tips/tricks

Easy cooking tips/tricks
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  • Easy cooking tips/tricks

    Post #1 - February 10th, 2012, 3:09 pm
    Post #1 - February 10th, 2012, 3:09 pm Post #1 - February 10th, 2012, 3:09 pm
    What little things do you do that go a long way?

    -Add a dollop of sour cream to any baking mix and it'll be twice as good as OEM
    -Sprinkle a little sugar on bacon before cooking to add a lot of flavor
    -Putting a little lemon juice in chicken soup makes it much better
    -Put a lid on a pot to help it boil faster
    -Microwave lemons or limes for a few seconds before juicing
    Fettuccine alfredo is mac and cheese for adults.
  • Post #2 - February 10th, 2012, 3:34 pm
    Post #2 - February 10th, 2012, 3:34 pm Post #2 - February 10th, 2012, 3:34 pm
    -Adding chicken feet to chicken stock
    -Preparing tamarind juice and freezing it in ice trays to add to sweet and sour sauces for some variation
    -Also not cooking related but cleaning related, microwaving some vinegar or lemon juice for a few minutes before cleaning the microwave
  • Post #3 - February 10th, 2012, 4:13 pm
    Post #3 - February 10th, 2012, 4:13 pm Post #3 - February 10th, 2012, 4:13 pm
    theskinnyduck wrote:-Preparing tamarind juice and freezing it in ice trays to add to sweet and sour sauces for some variation


    i do this with pesto. anytime i have way too much basil on hand, i make pesto, freeze it in ice cube trays and then store in a ziploc bag.
  • Post #4 - February 11th, 2012, 4:57 pm
    Post #4 - February 11th, 2012, 4:57 pm Post #4 - February 11th, 2012, 4:57 pm
    - Make extra rice and freeze the extra in 2 cup portions. Works for all kinds of rice and is great for making fast meals.
    - When you don' t need the whole container of tomato paste, pu T size "plops" on waxed paper, freeze, then put in a baggie. Use when needed. Tomato sauce, chipotles in sauce and other items also freeze well in smaller portion sizes.
    -Buy large quantity of peeled garlic at Costco, chop in food processor, then freeze in extra small ice cube trays.
    -Do above with fresh basil and other herbs from garden and have much better taste then dry all winter.
    -Make extra of just about any basic - chicken stock, pasta sauce, gravy, etc. and freeze in meal size container. When frozen, pop out of container (usually set it in cold water for a couple minutes will loosen it), then wrap in plastic/foil. Takes up much less space and you don't need hundreds of plastic containers.
    -Keep an old margarine tub or similar container for fats and liquids that should not go down the drain. When you add the liquid/fat to it, freeze it. Leave container in freezer and add to it over time. When full, then toss into garbage on garbage day. You can even keep the container if you don't want to toss the plastic.
    -Keep frozen orange juice and apple juice concentrate on hand for making marinades, sauces, etc. It helpful when you don't have fresh on hand.
  • Post #5 - February 13th, 2012, 10:58 am
    Post #5 - February 13th, 2012, 10:58 am Post #5 - February 13th, 2012, 10:58 am
    - Get a couple simple squeeze bottles and load up with your cooking olive oil/other oils/vinegars/etc..
    Image
  • Post #6 - February 13th, 2012, 5:29 pm
    Post #6 - February 13th, 2012, 5:29 pm Post #6 - February 13th, 2012, 5:29 pm
    ViewsAskew wrote:-Keep an old margarine tub or similar container for fats and liquids that should not go down the drain. When you add the liquid/fat to it, freeze it. Leave container in freezer and add to it over time. When full, then toss into garbage on garbage day. You can even keep the container if you don't want to toss the plastic.

    No, no. Strain fats such as bacon fat, chicken fat or beef fat into glass jars in the fridge. Use for cooking with, or just stir a spoonful into potatoes, vegetables, etc.

    Whenever using lemons or limes or oranges, cut or grate off the zest. Dry or freeze to use in cooking, or add to tea.
  • Post #7 - February 13th, 2012, 5:35 pm
    Post #7 - February 13th, 2012, 5:35 pm Post #7 - February 13th, 2012, 5:35 pm
    LAZ wrote:Whenever using lemons or limes or oranges, cut or grate off the zest. Dry or freeze to use in cooking, or add to tea.


    How do you freeze the lemon zest, just stick it in the freezer????
  • Post #8 - February 13th, 2012, 6:02 pm
    Post #8 - February 13th, 2012, 6:02 pm Post #8 - February 13th, 2012, 6:02 pm
    I mince the zest and put it in a small freezer container, and spoon it out as needed.

    To dry it, I just spread strips out on a paper plate till they're leathery, and then pack into a jar.

    The main difference between the two is that you can use the frozen zest straight from the freezer, but for some uses the dried needs to be reconstituted.
  • Post #9 - February 13th, 2012, 8:54 pm
    Post #9 - February 13th, 2012, 8:54 pm Post #9 - February 13th, 2012, 8:54 pm
    - when cutting any veggie (onion, celery, parsley,carrots, etc) I take the "garbage" bits and put them into a bag in my freezer. Same with any leftover bones. When bag is full, use it for stock.

    - Freeze stock in cubes and use when cooking. Easy peasy.

    - When I make a ham, I'll cut the leftovers into tiny pieces and freeze them in a ziplock bag or tupperware and then add some to veggies when cooking. Adds lots of flavor!
    Models Eat too!!!
    www.bellaventresca.com
  • Post #10 - February 14th, 2012, 7:48 am
    Post #10 - February 14th, 2012, 7:48 am Post #10 - February 14th, 2012, 7:48 am
    LAZ wrote:
    ViewsAskew wrote:-Keep an old margarine tub or similar container for fats and liquids that should not go down the drain. When you add the liquid/fat to it, freeze it. Leave container in freezer and add to it over time. When full, then toss into garbage on garbage day. You can even keep the container if you don't want to toss the plastic.

    No, no. Strain fats such as bacon fat, chicken fat or beef fat into glass jars in the fridge. Use for cooking with, or just stir a spoonful into potatoes, vegetables, etc.

    I assumed ViewsAskew was talking about the fats that are ready for disposal - I wouldn't keep those. :)
  • Post #11 - February 22nd, 2012, 3:06 pm
    Post #11 - February 22nd, 2012, 3:06 pm Post #11 - February 22nd, 2012, 3:06 pm
    LAZ wrote:
    ViewsAskew wrote:-Keep an old margarine tub or similar container for fats and liquids that should not go down the drain. When you add the liquid/fat to it, freeze it. Leave container in freezer and add to it over time. When full, then toss into garbage on garbage day. You can even keep the container if you don't want to toss the plastic.

    No, no. Strain fats such as bacon fat, chicken fat or beef fat into glass jars in the fridge. Use for cooking with, or just stir a spoonful into potatoes, vegetables, etc.

    Whenever using lemons or limes or oranges, cut or grate off the zest. Dry or freeze to use in cooking, or add to tea.


    Some I save, some I toss. But, tossing happens and they shouldn't go down the drain! Such as when you're making a gravy from the juices in the pot roast and you want some fat mixed in with the cooking stock, not a cup! I also don't want to save the fats from things that are adulterated with other flavors and ingredients or that could make them spoil.
  • Post #12 - February 22nd, 2012, 6:23 pm
    Post #12 - February 22nd, 2012, 6:23 pm Post #12 - February 22nd, 2012, 6:23 pm
    1 - Freeze overripe bananas which can be used in smoothies or other deserts. Make sure to take the bananas out of the peel and put them in zip lock bags

    2 - Instead of water add chicken broth to rice or quinoa when cooking. It will make it taste much better.
  • Post #13 - February 22nd, 2012, 7:19 pm
    Post #13 - February 22nd, 2012, 7:19 pm Post #13 - February 22nd, 2012, 7:19 pm
    When using tomato paste from a can, put the leftovers in heaping teaspoonfuls on parchment paper, freeze them, throw them in a freezer bag, and then use them to add flavor as needed to braised meat, soup stock, various sauces, etc.
  • Post #14 - February 25th, 2012, 10:49 am
    Post #14 - February 25th, 2012, 10:49 am Post #14 - February 25th, 2012, 10:49 am
    When measuring honey for a recipe, lightly spray the measuring spoon or cup with a very short burst of Pam. Then measure the honey. The honey will slide off the spoon or cup easily and completely. (Thank you, Martha Stewart! :-))

    Before sprinkling paprika, make sure the canister is tightly closed and shake it really well. Then sprinkle. The paprika will come out evenly and easily.

    The same "shake well before using" applies to any powdered spice, to cocoa, powdered milk, etc. Even powdered coffee "creamers" can benefit from a strong shaking up before spooning or pouring.
  • Post #15 - February 25th, 2012, 1:04 pm
    Post #15 - February 25th, 2012, 1:04 pm Post #15 - February 25th, 2012, 1:04 pm
    I recently learned that if you steam eggs the shells come right off almost in a whole piece. I bought a dozen eggs at the supermarket,went straight home,followed the instructions at the link below and it was unbelievable how easy they were to peel.

    Forget Hard Boiling Eggs – Steamed Eggs are Easy to Peel
  • Post #16 - October 20th, 2015, 9:07 am
    Post #16 - October 20th, 2015, 9:07 am Post #16 - October 20th, 2015, 9:07 am
    Hi,

    Another use for canning rings: I wanted to make an egg sandwich for a muffin. I sprayed the interior of a small canning ring, then put it in a hot frying pan. I then cracked an egg into it.

    The first time, the pan was not quite hot enough and some of the white drifted out. The second time, the egg pretty much stayed within the wall of the ring.

    I toasted the muffin on the bagel setting. The interior was crunchy and the top was warm.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #17 - October 22nd, 2015, 11:20 am
    Post #17 - October 22nd, 2015, 11:20 am Post #17 - October 22nd, 2015, 11:20 am
    I hard-boil eggs in my electric kettle... pop them in with water to cover by an inch or two, and turn it on. Once it boils, leave them in there for about ten minutes. (I'll check out the steaming article, though!)

    Measuring honey/syrup... if there's oil in the recipe, I just measure that first and then let the residual oil help the honey slide out.

    I use ziploc bags to freeze my stock in quarts.

    Saute dry rice in some of that chicken fat you saved, then use it in your rice cooker with chicken stock for "chickeny" rice.
    “Assuredly it is a great accomplishment to be a novelist, but it is no mediocre glory to be a cook.” -- Alexandre Dumas

    "I give you Chicago. It is no London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from tail to snout." -- H.L. Mencken
  • Post #18 - October 22nd, 2015, 6:44 pm
    Post #18 - October 22nd, 2015, 6:44 pm Post #18 - October 22nd, 2015, 6:44 pm
    The very best way to clean a crusty and seemingly uncleanable Le Creuset grill pan (or any other heavy enameled cast iron grill pan, I reckon) is to pop it in the oven when you run the self-cleaning cycle. The results border on the miraculous.
  • Post #19 - October 23rd, 2015, 12:18 pm
    Post #19 - October 23rd, 2015, 12:18 pm Post #19 - October 23rd, 2015, 12:18 pm
    A splash of rice vinegar or other neutral acid at the end of a long braise really wakes up all the other flavors. If your stew or chili tastes a bit bland, add vinegar before adding salt and spices and see if that helps.

    An easy cheat for thickening gravies and sauces is unflavored instant mashed potatoes. It stirs smoothly into the liquid without forming lumps, and it's handy when I don't want to deal with a roux.

    The basket steamer is the best tool for reheating smoked meats like ribs and brisket.

    When preparing chicken drumsticks, slice the leg down to the bone a couple inches above the ankle, and then pull off the ankle joint/skin using a kitchen towel for grip. This removes the toughest tendons in the leg which tend to get rubbery when cooked, and it also causes the meat to shrink upwards when cooking, which yields a nice looking "frenched" drumstick. It also gives you a clean bare bone to grab and eat.
  • Post #20 - November 3rd, 2015, 7:57 am
    Post #20 - November 3rd, 2015, 7:57 am Post #20 - November 3rd, 2015, 7:57 am
    Artie wrote:I recently learned that if you steam eggs the shells come right off almost in a whole piece. I bought a dozen eggs at the supermarket,went straight home,followed the instructions at the link below and it was unbelievable how easy they were to peel.

    Forget Hard Boiling Eggs – Steamed Eggs are Easy to Peel



    Last night I tried steaming my eggs using my wok. When I bought the wok 20 years ago, I purchased a wooden "plate" that was meant to sit inside the wok and allow one to steam things. I used that to rest my eggs on (7); added a couple cups of water to the wok, covered it with a lid, and let it steam for about 20 minutes. Partway through, I added a couple more cups of water. I cooled the eggs off by running them under cold water and then peeled them. Each one was perfect. I was so pleased with the results. Granted, it takes a bit longer than the traditional boiling method, but if you've got the time, it's well worth it. Thanks Artie for sharing this.
  • Post #21 - November 3rd, 2015, 10:24 pm
    Post #21 - November 3rd, 2015, 10:24 pm Post #21 - November 3rd, 2015, 10:24 pm
    Pressure cooking them, especially with a countertop PC, is even easier.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #22 - July 4th, 2019, 11:21 am
    Post #22 - July 4th, 2019, 11:21 am Post #22 - July 4th, 2019, 11:21 am
    Hi,

    I had a recipe calling for two cups whipping cream, though I only had 75% of what was required.

    After a quick internet to check to see if my idea would fly: I added sour cream for the balance.

    Works very well! It was stated it may make a whipped cream frosting more stable. Since I was making a Jell-O cake, I will have to wait another day to find out.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #23 - June 20th, 2022, 7:46 am
    Post #23 - June 20th, 2022, 7:46 am Post #23 - June 20th, 2022, 7:46 am
    Why we love our thermopens from Thermoworks:

    I am far more familiar with what the internal temperature can be for a number of cooked or baked items. It has also improved my baking with baked goods doneness temperatures.

    I now have a better understanding why baked goods have a dry feel. If you hit 212, then the water in the baked goods expells. It makes sense, though I had never really put this together.

    If I am uncertain of a target temperature, I do a general search and quite often end up on the Thermoworks page.

    Regards,
    CAthy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #24 - June 20th, 2022, 8:37 am
    Post #24 - June 20th, 2022, 8:37 am Post #24 - June 20th, 2022, 8:37 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Why we love our thermopens from Thermoworks:


    The question I get asked most often, aside from how did you get so handsome, is how long will "this" take?

    My response is Always, cook to temp not time.

    Thermapen, ThermoPop or one of the Pocket Digitals, all by ThermoWorks, is the answer.

    https://www.thermoworks.com/
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #25 - June 20th, 2022, 11:15 am
    Post #25 - June 20th, 2022, 11:15 am Post #25 - June 20th, 2022, 11:15 am
    G Wiv wrote:The question I get asked most often, aside from how did you get so handsome, is how long will "this" take?

    Someone showed several cakes that sunk in the middle. Obviously undercooked*, so I linked to her the page with these target temperatures.

    *Could also be of oven temperature, too, or other issues.

    I agree with G Wiv ... an earth shaking moment!

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #26 - June 23rd, 2022, 4:26 pm
    Post #26 - June 23rd, 2022, 4:26 pm Post #26 - June 23rd, 2022, 4:26 pm
    I bake bread almost every week. While I have a general time frame that I adhere to, I am cooking to an internal temp of 205-207. I learned that from Kenji and it made my bread significantly better.
  • Post #27 - June 23rd, 2022, 6:20 pm
    Post #27 - June 23rd, 2022, 6:20 pm Post #27 - June 23rd, 2022, 6:20 pm
    Thanks for that tip, Lou. A brother of mine bakes bread regularly, never buys it anymore, and has been coaching me in getting comfortable doing it. The internal temperature to shoot for is good to know.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #28 - June 23rd, 2022, 7:54 pm
    Post #28 - June 23rd, 2022, 7:54 pm Post #28 - June 23rd, 2022, 7:54 pm
    lougord99 wrote:I bake bread almost every week. While I have a general time frame that I adhere to, I am cooking to an internal temp of 205-207. I learned that from Kenji and it made my bread significantly better.


    This is so good to know. I had no idea there was an ideal temp for cooking bread.

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