Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Helpful Hints

With the Holidays upon us I thought it would be good to have some helpful hints for your cooking and baking.  I find that sometimes it is the little things that make the most difference when trying to get everything done. 

* I love to use lemons and limes in my cooking and lemon bars are one of our favorite treats.  I always feel like I am not getting all the juice from the fruit. I was thrilled to find this video from Gourmet!  ....and it works really well.


* Spraying your counter with non-stick spray instead of sprinkling with flour when working with most yeast doughs prevents the dough from sticking to the counter and not picking up any more flour. The more flour the dough picks up the denser it will be. The key to light and fluffy breads is using as little flour as possible allowing the dough to expand and stay soft.

* When making cuts on the top of your loaf use a very sharp knife and lightly spray the blade help prevent it from dragging across the loaf.

* To clean cast iron cookwear do not use detergents it will absorb the detergent and effect the taste of food cooked in it. Scrubb them with salt and a clean paper towel.

* If you are making gravy and accidentally burn it, just pour it into a clean pan and continue cooking it. Add sugar a little at a time, tasting as you go to avoid over-sugaring it. The sugar will cancel out the burned taste.

* If you aren’t sure how fresh your eggs are, place them in about four inches of water. Eggs that stay on the bottom are fresh. If only one end tips up, the egg is less fresh and should be used soon. If it floats, it’s past the fresh stage.

* Before making popcorn on the stove or in an air popper, soak the kernels in water for 10 minutes. Drain the water, then pop as normal. The additional moisture helps the popcorn pop up quicker and fluffier with fewer unpopped kernels.

* Before you chop chili peppers, rub a little vegetable oil into your hands and your skin won’t absorb the spicy chili oil.

* For cleaning smelly hands after chopping onions or garlic, just rub them on a stainless steel spoon. The steel is supposed absorbs the odor.

* If you are making gravy and accidentally burn it, just pour it into a clean pan and continue cooking it. Add sugar a little at a time, tasting as you go to avoid over-sugaring it. The sugar will cancel out the burned taste.

* Cook bacon on a meat rack in a roasting pan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees to allow greases and oils to drip below. The oil will drip to the bottom it provides for perfect bacon and crispness every time. Bonus - no splattering of bacon grease all over your stove top!

* Spray measuring spoons or cups with non-stick vegetable spray before measuring sticky ingredients like honey, molasses and peanut butter so they’ll slide right off.

* Here are some tips from Gourmet on making cupcakes, (YUM! cupcakes!):


and last but not least......

* Common Ingredient Substitutions

Allspice (1 teaspoon) - 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Baking powder (1 teaspoon) - 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup buttermilk (decrease liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup)

Bread crumbs (1 cup) - 1 cup cracker crumbs OR 1 cup matzo meal OR 1 cup ground oats

Broth: beef or chicken (1 cup) - 1 bouillon cube plus 1 cup boiling water OR 1 tablespoon soy sauce plus enough water to make 1 cup OR 1 cup vegetable broth

Brown sugar (1 cup, packed) - 1 cup white sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses and decrease the liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup OR 1 cup white sugar OR 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Buttermilk (1 cup) - 1 cup yogurt OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup

Corn syrup (1 cup) - 1 1/4 cup white sugar plus 1/3 cup water OR 1 cup honey OR 1 cup light treacle syrup

Half & half (1 cup) - 7/8 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon butter

Heavy Cream (1 cup) - 1 cup evaporated milk OR 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup butter

Cream of tartar (1 teaspoon) - 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Crème fraiche (1 cup) - Combine 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt. Let stand for 6 hours at room temperature

Egg - (1 whole)- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed soaked in 3 tablespoons water

Evaporated milk (1 cup) - 1 cup light cream

Bread Flour (1 cup) - 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon wheat gluten.

Cake Flour (1 cup) - 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons

Self Rising Flour (1 cup) - 7/8 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Honey (1 cup) - 1 1/4 cup white sugar plus 1/3 cup water OR 1 cup corn syrup OR 1 cup light treacle syrup

Mayonnaise (1 cup) - 1 cup sour cream OR 1 cup plain yogurt

Sour cream (1 cup) - 1 cup plain yogurt OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough cream to make 1 cup OR 3/4 cup buttermilk mixed with 1/3 cup butter

Sweetened condensed milk (1 14-ounce can) - 3/4 cup white sugar mixed with 1/2 cup water and 1 1/8 cups dry powdered milk: Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 20 minutes

No comments:

Post a Comment