Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Some Basic Cooking Tips

If you wondered how those 'church ladies' make everything they bring to a potluck or picnic come out perfectly, here are a few tips I've gathered over the years.

Certain Mediterranean recipes use leaves such as grape or mint as a 'wrap' for other ingredients. Since these are very delicate, use thin potato slices to keep them from touching the bottom of the pan. The potato does not affect the flavor and can counteract any 'over-salting'. This applies to soups as well.

In addition to making cleanup easier, lining your baking pan with foil helps meats like chicken and bacon cook faster and more evenly.

Dip your knife in water before slicing a cheesecake or meringue pie to keep it from sticking. You can also lightly grease both sides of it with butter.

Similar to above, rinsing a chilled-dessert mold and leaving it wet before pouring the mixture in will help it come out more easily.

If you're concerned about eggs or whatever else sticking to your skillet, run water on it while it is still hot from the stove. The hot water and bubbles are very helpful in getting things off 'the first time.' 

To make peeling hard-boiled eggs easier,  crack the shell and soak in cold water right after it's finished boiling. 

When cooking in milk (soups, meal helpers etc), leave the pot or pan uncovered. Otherwise, it will boil over and make a mess that is pretty difficult to clean up.

To remove coffee or tea stains from a china pot or cup, rub it with baking powder. For a glass coffee pot, swirling some coarse salt in a little bit of water can help 'grate' the stains off.

On a related note, putting white vinegar in the rinse aid container and baking soda in one of the detergent pans will remove these stains when use with your normal dish washing detergent. Since not all detergents are made equal, make sure the label says it's okay! 

When making cake or cookie icing, adding a meringue to standard 'buttercream' frosting will give it a much lighter texture.


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