Sunday, September 6, 2009

Miscellaneous tips

  • Purchase the heaviest set of cookware you can afford. If you go for nonstick, be aware that you will need to replace it as soon as it gets scratched or scorched, since the coating will then start to flake off and get into your food.
  • If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a no-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
  • When browning ground meat, brown several pounds and drain. Divide into single servings and freeze. Unthaw in microwave for a quicker lunch or dinner. Also, when cooking chicken breasts, do several at a time and use them in sandwiches and salads through the week.
  • When making roux for a recipe, make extra and keep in the refrigerator for future use.
  • Cheese won't harden if you butter the exposed edges before storing.
  • An unusual way to clean your grater after grating cheese: Use a raw potato after the cheese. The potato clears the gummy cheese out of the holes.
  • Always use pure maple syrup. Its worth the extra price for its nutrition. If your kids use a lot of it, thin it yourself with sugar syrup.
  • Whenever possible, warm your dinner plates slightly in the oven. It’ll keep your dinner warm longer.
  • Marinate red meats in wine to tenderize. Marinate chicken in buttermilk to tenderize.
  • While cooking smelly foods, soak a cloth towel in vinegar and let it dry in the cooking area. It will absorb the smell of cooking and keep the room fresh.
  • To keep salt from clogging in the shaker, add 1/2 teaspoon of uncooked rice. A dried bay leaf added to the flour container will keep the flour free from moisture and deter pests.
  • Love hand-mixed meatloaf but hate getting gunk under your nails? Use latex or plastic gloves. Or put your mitts into plastic bags first.
  • To clean and freshen wooden chopping blocks, counter or rolling pins, sprinkle table salt on these surfaces when they are wet and scrub. Let dry, then brush off the salt.
  • Bread crusts are ideal for cleaning the meat grinder; then add to the meat dish for flavor. Clean coffee or spice grinders with bread, too.
  • To keep a recipe book or card clean while you're cooking, place it under an upside-down glass pie plate. The curved bottom also magnifies the print.
  • Leftover beef stew can be blended to a puree and used as a base for hearty soups.
  • A corner cut from an envelope and pierced at the point makes a good funnel for filling salt and pepper shakers.

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