// Helpful Hints for the Kitchen
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« on: May 21, 2010 10:27 AM »

Just in case your interested, here are helpful hints for the kitchen.

If soup or stew is too salty...
- Add cut raw potatoes and discard once they have cooked and absorbed the salt.
- Add a teaspoon each of cider vinegar and sugar. Or simply add sugar.

If food is too sweet...
- Add Salt
- If it's a main dish or vegetables, add a teaspoon of cider vinegar.

If your vegetables are wilted or blemished...
- Pick off brown edges. Sprinkle with cool water, wrap in towel and refrigerate or an hour or so.
-Perk up soggy lettuce by adding lemon juice to a bowl of cold water and soak hour in refrigerator.
-Lettuce and celery will crisp up fast if you place it in a pan of cold water and add a few raw sliced potatoes.
-Among purchase of lettuce, wash in cold water. Drain, wrap in a paper towel and store in tight plastic container and refrigerate.

Absorb the moisture from vegetables...
-Line bottom of the vegetable compartment with paper toweling . This absorbs excess moisture and keeps all vegetables and fruits fresher for a longer period of time.
-Put a few dry sponges in the vegetable compartment to absorb moisture.

Soggy mashed potatoes...
-Overcooked potatoes can become soggy when the milk is added. Sprinkle with dry powdered milk for the fluffiest mashed potatoes ever.

Chopping onions without tears...
-You'll shed less tears if you cut root ends of the onion off last.
-Peel under cold running water.

Removing the excess fat...
-If time allows, the best method is refrigeration until fat hardens on top.
-Eliminate fat from soup and stew by dropping ice cubes into the pot. As you stir, fat will cling to cubes. Discard cubes before they melt. Lettuce leaves absorb fat too. Place a few into pot and watch fat cling to them.
-When broiling meats on a rack, place a piece of bread in broiler pan to soak up dripping fat.

Preparing cut fruit ahead of time...
-Toss freshly cut fruit in lemon juice and it will not darken. The juice of half a lemon is enough for 1-2 quarts of cut fruit.
-Cover with 1 cup syrup made of equal parts of water and sugar cooked until syrupy.

Lemons and oranges...
-Submerge lemons and oranges in hot water for 15 minutes before squeezing will yield almost twice the amount of juice.
-Afer squeezing lemons and oranges for their juice, wrap and freeze the rind. When recipes call for a lemon rind, you will not have to grate fresh lemon.

Tenderizing meat...
-Boiled meat: add a tablespoon of vinegar to the cooking water.
-Tough meat or game: make a marinade of equal parts of vinegar and heated bouillon. Marinate for two hours.
-Steak: simply rub in a mixture of vinegar and oil. Allow standing for 2 hours.

Eliminating the splattering and sticking...
-When pan-frying or sautéing, always heat your pan before adding the butter or oil. Not even eggs will stick with this method.
-If muffins are sticking to the tin pan, place the hot pan on a wet towel, they will slip right out.
-Sprinkle a little salt into a frying pan to prevent spattering.
-When frying, turn a metal colander upside down over skillet. This allows steam to escape but keeps fat from spattering.

Cleaning the broiler pan or oven tray...
-Sprinkle hot broiler pan heavily with laundry detergent. Cover with a dampened paper towel and let burned food set for a while. The pan should require a little scouring.
-Immediately following a spill, sprinkle with salt. When oven is cool brush off burnt food and wipe with a damp sponge.

-Garlic cloves can be kept in the freezer. When ready to use peel, and chop before thawing.
-Garlic cloves will never dry out if you store them in a bottle of cooking oil. After garlic is used up you can use garlic-flavored oil for a salad dressing.

Cleaning glassware...
-Vinegar is a must when washing crystal. Rinse 1 part of vinegar with 3 parts warm water. Air dry.
-Never put a delicate glass in hot water bottom first; it will crack from sudden expansion. It will be safe if slipped in edgewise.
-When one glass is stuck inside another ,do not force them apart. Fill the top glass with cold water and dip lower one in hot water, they will come apart easily.
How to prepare hard-boiled eggs...
-Place eggs in a pan, cover with cold water and pour in some vinegar or salt. The vinegar will keep the eggs from oozing out if shells are cracked. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let eggs set for 15 min. Drain off the hot water. Now shake the pan back and forth, causing the eggs to crack against the side. Cool in cold water and peel.

Some more egg hints...
-A few drops of vinegar will keep poached eggs from running all over the pan.
-Eggs beat up fluffier when not too cold. They should be at room temperature for best results.
-By adding vinegar and water, you can boil cracked eggs without having the white run out of the shell.
-Beaten egg whites will be more stable if you add 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar to each cup of egg whites (7 to 8 eggs)
-Eggshells can be removed easily from hot hard eggs if they are quickly rinsed in cold water first.
-For baking use, medium or large eggs. Extra large eggs may cause a cake to fail.
-To keep egg yolks fresh for several days cover them with cold water and store in refrigerator.
-Egg whites can be kept frozen up to a 1 year. Add them to a plastic container, as you collect them for use in meringues, angel food cake. 1 cup equals 7 to 8 egg whites. You can also refreeze defrosted egg whites.
-For fluffier omelets, add a pinch of cornstarch before beating.

Fish and Shrimp...
-Thaw fish in milk. Milk draws out the frozen taste and provides fresh-caught flavor.
-Try soaking fish in vinegar and water before cooking for sweet tender taste.
-The fishy smell can be removed from your hands by washing with vinegar and water or salt and water.

Butter stretcher...
-To make 2 pounds of butter, slowly beat in 2 cups of evaporated milk to 1 pound of butter. Pour into pan and chill.

Removing unpleasant cooking odors...
-while cooking vegetables that give off unpleasant odors, simmer a small pan of vinegar on top of stove.
-Add vinegar to the cooking water
-Add a few teaspoons of sugar and cinnamon to an empty pie tin and slowly burn over the stove. Your family will think you have been baking all day.

How can you tell if rice is cooked...
-Soak a sponge and place in on the counter. Take your pot of cooking rice and place it on the sponge. If it sizzles then it is fully cooked, if it doesn't that means water is still in the pot.

Prevent boil-over...
Add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil or a lump of butter to water. Noodles or spaghetti wont boil over or stick together.
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