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COOKING FACTOIDS, HINTS & HOW-TO’S

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Cooking can be an extremely daunting and a sometimes difficult process.

OR 

You can take great pleasure in making quality foods for yourself and your family. “Scratch” cooking allows YOU to control the things you put in your bodies from GMO’s to preservatives and hormones. The degree of scratch you attempt depends upon the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into your cooking. Slow Cookers and Pressure Cookers make scratch, healthy cooking a possibility for even the busiest among us.

 

JUMP To TOP                           YEAST FACTOIDS:

IS MY OLD YEAST STILL "GOOD":

1) Check the expiration date on the package of yeast to ensure that it has not expired - even if it has, it costs nothing but a little time here to check & see if it is still viable.

2) Pour 1/2 cup of warm water into a small bowl or cup. The water should be between 110 and 115 degrees.

3) Dissolve 1 teaspoon granulated sugar into the warm water.

4) Add 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast and stir until thoroughly dissolved.

5) Allow it to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

6) Check to see if the yeast mixture is foamy and bubbly. If so, the yeast is indeed active and can still be safely used. If not, throw it away and buy new yeast.

JUMP To TOP                           DOUGH PROOFING FACTOIDS:

An easy method to "proof" (Raise Dough in a warm place) is to make use of your oven. Remove all but 2 of the baking racks. Place them in the 2 lowest positions. Bring 3 Cups of plain tap water to a rolling boil. Place a metal baking pan on the lowest rack and pour in the boiling water. Close the oven door for 10 minutes. QUICKLY open the oven door and place the Bread Dough in the mixing bowl on the upper rack. Leave to rest until the Dough has risen the called-for amount. If you are quick enough, you can a second time, open the door, remove the bowl, close the door, punch down the risen dough,  open the door put the dough back in, close the door and allow the Dough to rise a second time.

JUMP To TOP                           BREAD MAKING TIPS:

1) Use the highest quality All Purpose Flour you can find.

2) Make sure the Eggs are at room temperature before you start the recipe.

3) The Butter should be soft, but not oily.

4) The Dough may look disturbingly soft, but do not be tempted to add more Flour to it. Towards the first 15 minute round of mixing, it will come together and form a smooth, albeit wet, Dough.

5) Do not skimp on the mixing time. Mix for a full 15 minutes.

6) Add no more than a couple of Tablespoons of Butter at a time.

7) If you’re not going to use the Dough right away, you can freeze it after the second rise. Just deflate it, wrap it well in a piece of plastic wrap, put it in a zip lock bag, and freeze up to one month. The frozen Dough can be thawed in the refrigerator overnight and used directly out of the fridge.

JUMP To TOP                           MAKING CRUSTY BREADS:

Is crusty bread your idea of heaven?

If so – the devil IS indeed in the details!

Soft dinner rolls aren’t meant to be crusty; so, don’t force a recipe beyond it's comfort zone, because therein lies one of life’s MAJOR disappointments.

You, the home baker with average (or even startup) skills can make FANTASTIC crusty bread simply by following five simple tips.

1) USE SIMPLE INGREDIENTS:

Crusty breads are usually the simplest ones: flour, water, yeast, and salt, with no eggs, butter, sour cream, sugar, mashed potatoes, or anything else that might turn them into softies. Sure, you might see a crusty bread recipe calling for a teaspoon of sugar, or a tablespoon of dried milk powder; these small amounts of softening agents may keep the loaf’s interior tender, but won’t affect the crispness of the crust unless you go BIG.

2) A BIG SURFACE AREA:

A big, fat, round or oval loaf – a boule – doesn’t have as much opportunity to shine in the crisp crust department as does a thin baguette, or individual rolls. While you can certainly make a big loaf with crisp crust (you’ll see a couple of examples below), the ratio of crunchy to tender will be much smaller So if you’re a real fan of crust (as opposed to soft interior), opt for smaller, skinnier, or flatter loaves or rolls.

3) STEAMED CRUST:

While you most likely don’t have access to a French steam injection oven, you can try to replicate steam’s role in creating that crisp crust by making your own homemade steamy oven. Some bakers like to place a sturdy pan (cast iron preferred) on the bottom shelf of the oven as it preheats, then pour 1/2 cup or so hot water into the hot pan as they’re loading the loaves. The result? Billows of steam trapped in the oven. A second, easier way to re-create steam’s work is to simply spray or brush risen loaves with warm water before placing them into the hot oven. A third way: the French cloche, a stoneware pan with lid that traps moisture from the baking bread, converting it to steam within its little bell-like cave.

And how, exactly, does steam create a crisp crust? Simply put, it has to do with the starch in flour. As bread bakes, its outer layer (crust) eventually reaches 180°F. At that point, the starches on the surface burst, become gel-like, and then harden in the oven’s heat to a crackly consistency. Steam hitting the bread’s surface facilitates this process.

4) HOT BOTTOM:

Many bakers find they can create a decent crisp top crust, but struggle to make their bread’s bottom crusty, as well. The best way to brown and crisp your bread’s bottom crust – as well as enhance its rise – is to bake it on a preheated pizza stone or baking steel. The stone or steel, super-hot from preheating along with your oven’s preheat, delivers a jolt of that heat to the loaf, causing it to rise quickly. At the same time, the bread’s bottom, without the shield of a metal pan – which takes awhile to absorb and then transmit heat – bakes super-quickly, becoming brown and crisp.

5) OVEN COOLING:

This may sound like an oxymoron – cool your bread in the oven? – but it works. Once the bread is baked, turn off the oven. Transfer the bread from pan (or stone) to a middle oven rack. Crack the oven door open a couple of inches (a folded potholder works well here), and let it cool right in the cooling oven. How does this help keep bread crusty? As bread cools, any leftover moisture in its interior migrates to the surface. If that moisture reaches the surface and hits cool air – e.g., typical room temperature – it condenses on the loaf’s surface, making it soggy. If it hits warm air (your still-warm oven), it evaporates – leaving the crust crisp.

JUMP To TOP                           FRENCH CHEF DUTIES:

Depending upon the size of a restaurant, one or more of these chefs are hard at work creating the best foods and dishes they possibly can for their clientele..

1) CHEF OWNER: Business Management & responsible for running the establishment as a whole. Often works on menu engineering.

2) EXECUTIVE CHEF: Kitchen manager who oversees the daily operations, kitchen costs, food preparation, and menu planning. Often creates most of the new recipes and dishes for the menu.

3) SOUS CHEF: Pronounced: "soo" - Team Manager who does anything that the Executive Chef is either too lazy or indifferent to do. Oversees the details of each dish and oversee the food lines. They are the second in command and will run the kitchen in the executive chef’s absence. They will usually train newly hired chefs and cooks.

4) PARTIE CHEF: Pronounced “par-tee-yay” - Station Manager. There can more than one in a kitchen and are in charge of specific stations in the kitchen. They are usually specialist on a certain portion of the menu and will ensure that high-quality food leaves their station.

5) PATIESSIER CHEF: Pronounced: "pa-tis-see-yay". Prepares pastries, breads, and desserts. Likely in charge of the whole dessert menu.

6) SAUCIER CHEF: Pronounced: "sah-see-yay". This person is the master of ANYTHING either containing or consisting of a sauce and therefore the go-to expert in the usage of thickening agents. They may also prepare soups and stews.

7) POISSONIER CHEF: Pronounced: "pwa-son-knee-yay". Prepares and cooks seafood’s. Also is responsible for acquiring the seafood used in an establishment from a local market or non-local vendors.

8) ENTREMETIER CHEF: Pronounced: "on-trey-met-yay". Prepares and cooks vegetables and starches. May also be responsible for some soups and egg dishes.

9) ROTIESSEUR CHEF: Pronounced: "ro-tess-see-you’re". Prepares and cooks meats by roasting, braising, broiling, or other methods. May also be in charge of obtaining the meat from local and specialized suppliers and retailers.

10) GARDE MANGER: Pronounced "gard man-jay". Responsible for all cold food preparation, including cold cuts, hors d’oeuvres and cold sauces such as Vinagrettes and Dressings. May also be responsible for setting up buffet lines and adding centerpieces for an upscale presentation that may include carved and molded ice or fruits.

11) FRITURIER CHEF: Pronounced "fri-tur-yay". Prepares and cooks foods that need to be fried. Mostly needed in fast food establishments.

12) GRILLARDIN CHEF: Pronounced "grill-are-dan". Prepares and cooks meats and vegetables that need to be grilled.

13) BOUCHER CHEF: Pronounced "boo-shay". Cuts and prepares meats for other station chefs to cook.

14) PERSONAL CHEF: Pronounced "go-fur". That would be you and me.

 

JUMP To TOP                           38 TREASURED SECRET CHEF HACKS:

JUMP To TOP                           1) THE #1 CHEF TIP TAUGHT ON DAY ONE IN CULINARY SCHOOL

Before even beginning the first step in preparing and cooking a recipe, gather up ALL of the ingredients and tools (“Mies en place”) so you can quickly find them. This speeds the cooking process greatly and is a BUNCH safer on your necessary body parts.

JUMP To TOP                           2) OVERWEIGHT CHEFS

Chefs tend towards being overweight because they prepare literally hundreds of meals during every shift. Home Cooks, since they prepare only one meal, not so much. The main reason for the problem is because a GREAT Cook TASTES, TASTES, TASTES as they prepare the food. Tasting AS you cook rather than just at the end, allows you to repair and adjust flavors as you go. Food should taste good to you all the way through the preparation process – If it doesn’t - FIX IT NOW! The #1 “fix” for a dull and lifeless tasting dish is VINEGAR. A small splash of Vinegar stirred in sometime BEFORE there is ½ hour of cooking time remaining has rescued many a failure. Vinegar helps flavors to “marry”.

JUMP To TOP                           3) PERFECT BASTED EGGS

Basted (Sunny Side Up) eggs have a wonderful texture and mouth feel. Crack a couple of eggs in a cold non-stick frying pan, add in a tablespoon of water for each egg. Place the covered pan over medium heat. The yolks will remain smooth and runny with firm whites.

JUMP To TOP                           4) REHEATING LEFTOVER PIZZA & OTHER PASTRIES

Microwave soggy crusts and dried out corners not your cup of tea? Place a small glass of tap hot water in the microwave along with the Pizza. The moisture keeps the pastry from over drying and retains the original crunchy crust. Your hot Pizza will be just like it was from the Pizza Shop.

JUMP To TOP                           5) NO MORE ONION TEARS

Cutting an onion, releases sulfenic acid and other enzymes into the air when the dried skin is broken. These react with the water in your eyes, forming an entirely different acid which causes those tears to flow. The simple fix is to simply place a burning candle next to the cutting board. OR – Simply wear a pair of goggles.

JUMP To TOP                           6) THINLY SLICING RIPE TOMATOES

A red, juicy, ripe tomato is difficult to slice evenly. Using a bread knife to do the slicing will give you any thickness you need perfect circles of tomato without crushing and spilling that tasty juice all over the place.

JUMP To TOP                           7) THAWING FROZEN FOODS QUICKLY

You forgot and don’t have 5 hours to thaw out some frozen chicken?  Simply place the frozen food in a heavy cast iron frying pan. The cold from the food will quickly dissipate into the metal in the pan.

JUMP To TOP                           8) KEEPING SUSHI FRESH OVERNIGHT

Place your leftover Sushi in a tightly wrapped piece of plastic wrap. Seal the package in a Zip Lock bag, place the package flat on a plate and place a slice of fresh Bread on top. Refrigerate until tomorrow.

JUMP To TOP                           9) PERFECT HARD BOILED EGGS

If you are planning to make deviled eggs, lay the eggs on their sides in the egg carton for twelve or more hours in the refrigerator, then, store at room temperature for 2+ hours before boiling - This will help the yolks to center evenly in the whites. NEVER, EVER, NEVER boil more than 6 eggs at a time.

1) Place the 6 eggs in a large saucepan.

2) Cover them with 2” of tap water.

3) Remove the eggs and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda - NO SALT

4) Cover and bring the water to a HARD ROLLING BOIL.

5) Remove the pan from the heat.

6) Gently add in the eggs with a spoon.

7) Cover and let the eggs set undisturbed for EXACTLY 12 minutes - TIME IT!

8) Remove the lid and pour off all but 1/4” of the hot water.

9) Pick up each egg with a folded paper towel and crack it in ONE place.

10) Recover the pan and shake the eggs until they have cracked all over.

11) Shock the egg peels by running under cold water until COLD.

12) Let the eggs set for 15 minutes in the cold water.

13) Peel IMMEDIATELY!

Peeled eggs refrigerate nicely until needed (up to 5 days) if you wrap them in damp paper towels and seal them in a zip lock bag.

JUMP To TOP                           10) HARD TO PEEL EGGS

Don’t like plucking bits of sticky shell with whites stuck to them off of a hard boiled egg? Take a spoon and crack the top of the egg. Remove the shell pieces and carefully slide a wet spoon inside and rotate it around the egg. The egg should pop right out. FRESH eggs do NOT peel well, they need to be at least a week old. Mixing 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda into the boiling egg water also helps loosen the shell membrane.

JUMP To TOP                           11) SPICY PEPPER OILS BURNING SKIN

Cutting spicy hot fresh peppers can cause a burning sensation on your hands. Wearing latex gloves is one answer. OR. Rub a teaspoon of olive oil on your hands before beginning. It creates a thin barrier that the pepper oils can’t penetrate.

JUMP To TOP                           12) CUTTING UNIFORM BELL PEPPER MATCHSTICKS

Bell peppers never seem to cut evenly. Simply cut off and discard both ends. Make a straight cut down and open up the pepper. Remove the seeds and veins. Spread the pepper out on the cutting board and cut perfectly even matchsticks from the rectangle.

JUMP To TOP                           13) THE SPOON AS A TOOL

Tablespoons are handy devils. If you're not peeling an egg, how about a kiwi fruit or an avocado? Cut off both ends of a kiwi fruit, insert the spoon between the peel and flesh, rotate the spoon to cleanly remove the skin. Slice the avocado in half end to end following the nut as you slice. Holding both halves, twist and separate the halves. Hold the half containing the nut in the palm of your hand, CAREFULLY strike the nut with a sharp knife. Rotate the knife and the nut should pop right out. Insert the spoon between the stiff skin and the soft flesh and rotate so the flesh releases completely. Use a spoon to quickly remove the seeds from cucumbers, melons and squash.

JUMP To TOP                           14) SOFTENING FROZEN BUTTER QUICKLY

Fill a glass jar with very hot water and let it set for 5 minutes. Pour off the water and place the jar upside down over the top of the butter stick. Wait 10 minutes and the butter should be nice and soft.

JUMP To TOP                           15) PANCAKE BATTER DISPENSER

Save a couple of those large ketchup bottles with the squirt hole in the top. Simply pour in your mixed Pancake batter and squirt out perfect sized pancakes on your griddle every time.

JUMP To TOP                           16) SPEEDILY REMOVING STRAWBERRY STEMS

Using a thick walled plastic straw, press it upwards through the pointed end of a strawberry until it pushes off the stem.

JUMP To TOP                           17) EZ EVENLY SLICED RIPE STRAWBERRIES

Got a wire egg slicer? Lay a de-stemmed and washed single ripe (RED all the way through, NOT one that is white on the inside) Strawberry in the egg slicer pocket, Slice the strawberry, repeat as needed for quick evenly sliced strawberries.

JUMP To TOP                           18) EXCESS OIL & FAT REMOVAL

Got a dish with excess oil or Fat floating on top? Wrap several ice cubes in three layers of paper towels. Float the towel in the center of the dish, the fat and oil will migrate towards the towel, be soaked up and solidify quickly because of the cold.

JUMP To TOP                           19) EZ STEAKHOUSE POTATO WEDGES

Use a round metal apple corer / slicer to create even potato wedges for frying or baking. Discard the round center

JUMP To TOP                           20) SMALL FRUIT HALVING

Need loads of cherry tomatoes, grapes, etc. sliced in half? Save a couple of cottage cheese tub lids. Place the cherry tomatoes on their sides inside of one of the lids. Place the other lid on top and press down firmly with one hand. Slice across carefully for perfectly halved tiny fruits & vegetables.

JUMP To TOP                           21) GET ALL OF THE FRESH JUICE

Place a lemon, Llme, Orange, etc. in the freezer for 10 minutes. Place the lemon in the microwave and cook on high for 20 seconds. Slice in half across the equator and squeeze hard – ALL of the juice will come rushing out.

JUMP To TOP                           22) SAVING THOSE EXPENSIVE FRESH HERBS

Fresh sprigs of rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, etc. ARE EXPENSIVE. Fresh herbs tend to rot quickly, even if they're refrigerated. Place snipped herb sprigs in cottage cheese tubs, fill with water and freeze for use at a later date. Smaller portions and leaves can be chopped and frozen in ice cube trays.

JUMP To TOP                           23) RENEWING UGLY WOODEN SPOONS

Boil your ugly, discolored wooden utensils submerged in water for 10 minutes. Take them outdoors and dry them in the hot sun – They’ll look as good as new.

JUMP To TOP                           24) RENEWING WOODEN HANDLED KNIVES

Mistake #1 Washing sharp knives in a dishwasher - BAD, BAD, BAD! Fill a quart glass Jar ½ full with Canola oil. Place the cutlery handles in and let them set for 24 hours. Remove, wash in hot soapy water, dry and VOILÀ - GOOD AS NEW!

JUMP To TOP                           25) FINELY CRUMBLED HAMBURGER BROWNING

You enjoy the finely crumbled texture of the “hamburger” in a Taco Bell taco? Here's how: Browning hamburger for any dish requiring it to be finely crumbled (sloppy joes, chili, tacos, etc.) is to bring 3/4 cup of water per pound of raw hamburger meat to a boil in a large saucepan. add in the hamburger in small chunks, cover and boil until done (you may need to mash it up a little to break it apart). Siphon off & discard all remaining liquid and fat, then proceed as if you had simply browned the meat without the water.

JUMP To TOP                           26) BACON WRAPPING SECRETS

When grilling or broiling Bacon wrapped ANYTHING, especially those tender seafoods (scallops, shrimp, etc.) bacon causes an inherent problem where as the bacon fat rendering out of the raw Bacon causes flare-ups that at best blackens the meat or seafood. Also, bacon takes much longer to cook than the seafood resulting in a bacon flavored, rubber-like end product. There Is indeed a solution......

1) Use the thinnest sliced bacon you can find.

2) Bring the bacon package to room temperature.

3) Place 4 layers of paper towels on a large heat-proof ceramic plate.

4) Lay 6 bacon strips (not touching) side-by-side on top of the towels.

5) Place 4 more layers of paper towels on top of the bacon.

6) Lay 6 more bacon strips (not touching) side-by-side on top of the towels.

7) Top the final layer of bacon with 2 layers of paper towels.

8) Press a second ceramic plate on top to keep the bacon from curling up.

9) Microwave on high (1200 Watts) for 6 minutes & check for MOSTLY cooked.

10) Separate the rendered bacon strips from the paper towels and set them aside to cool.

11) Repeat the process until all of the bacon needed for your dish is rendered.

12) Wrap the bacon while it's still slightly warm and still pliable. (10 second re-heat?).

JUMP To TOP                           27) MAKING YOUR OWN STOCKS

Stock is NOT stock. ALWAYS use the very best stocks you can find (Which usually means homemade). If you don’t have the time, TASTE, TASTE, TASTE your store-bought. If it doesn’t taste good cold, it certainly won’t taste good in your dish. Freezing bones, vegetable scraps, etc. as they appear in your day-to-day kitchen will give you the ingredients for a stock when you need it.

JUMP To TOP                           28) BAKERS #1 BASIC SECRET

While recipe measurement variances are a tool many of us make use of, the art of baking is indeed a SCIENCE. The ingredient measurements MUST BE PRECISE in order to achieve the correct chemical reactions. Professional Bakers use weights rather than volumes in achieving total perfection. Below are a few basic volume-to-weight conversions:

 All-purpose or bread flour: 1 cup = 125 grams

 Cake flour: 1 cup = 140 grams

 Self-rising flour: 1 cup = 125 grams

 Whole wheat flour: 1 cup = 120 grams

 Baking powder: 1 teaspoon = 4 grams

 Baking soda: 1 teaspoon = 6 grams

 Butter: 1/2 cup (1 stick) = 113 grams

 Granulated sugar: 1 cup = 200 grams

 Packed brown sugar: 1 cup = 220 grams

 Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon = 3 grams

 Confectioners‘ sugar: 1 cup = 113 grams

 Cocoa powder: 1 cup = 85 grams

JUMP To TOP                           29) SALT IS NOT JUST SALTY

Salt is a “seasoning” waiting until the end to salt your dishes is a mistake many inexperienced cooks make. Salting EARLY ON seasons your dish. Always sprinkle salt on meats and vegetables BEFORE beginning cooking. Adjusting the “saltiness” of a dish just before serving.

JUMP To TOP                           30) DRIED SPICE “RULES”

Dried spices are a staple in EVERY kitchen. Unfortunately they tend to lose flavor over time. You can revive a bit of that lost flavor by microwaving them in a thin layer for about 30 seconds before using. ALWAYS sprinkle your dried spices on foods as you are cooking them, WELL BEFORE deglazing with liquids.

JUMP To TOP                           31) FRESH SPICE “RULES”

Fresh spices are the highlight of your cooking. Overcooking fresh spices can destroy their flavor. You ALWAYS add delicate fresh spices to a dish very near to the end of cooking. Hearty herbs like rosemary and thyme can be sprinkled on early in the cooking process while the more delicate herbs like green onions, chives, oregano, parsley and cilantro should be added only near the end or even as a fresh garnish just before serving.

JUMP To TOP                           32) BROWNING MEATS & VEGETABLES

When you cook meat and vegetables in a hot pan, little BROWN, NOT BLACK bits stick to the skillet bottom. These bits are called “fond in classical French cooking because they’re the foundation of a great pan sauce or gravy. Deglazing your pan with wine, broth, juice, brandy or plain water as an easy, economical way to infuse those incredible flavors into your finished dish.

JUMP To TOP                           33) BOILING OFF ALCOHOLS DURING COOKING

This is a popular wives tale. While some alcohol does indeed boil off during cooking (leaving behind it’s wonderful flavors), it does so VERY SLOWLY. Cooking at a temperature exceeding 173 degrees for 30 minutes after adding anything containing alcohol will get rid of only about half of that alcohol. It can take up to 3 hours of cooking to dissipate ALL of the alcohol. HOWEVER. . . . Lighting an alcohol heavy dish on fire (PLEASE - NOT NEAR ANY OPEN FLAME SOURCE) will burn off the alcohol QUICKLY. If the dish doesn’t catch fire easily, there is likely not enough alcohol present to make much of a difference.

JUMP To TOP                           34) GLOSSY SAUCES & GRAVIES

There is nothing more beautiful or tasty than a dish topped with a shiny sauce or gravy. To make ANY sauce glossy, gently swirl in a pat of ICE COLD butter (salted or unsalted) seconds before serving (1 pat per gravy boat) – DO NOT STIR IT IN.

JUMP To TOP                           35) EZ QUICK GRILL GRATE CLEANER

Wire brush the grates on your grill to get rid of dirt & chunks. Cut an onion in half and rub it thoroughly on the hot grates. Lastly, take a folded paper towel dipped in cooking oil and rub it into the hot grates (It may catch fire, so BE CAREFUL). Eventually, over time, you will have non-stick grates.

JUMP To TOP                           36) MEAT GRILLING

Place your Meat directly on the HOT grill grates. LEAVE IT ALONE. Eventually, the Meat will self-release. NEVER, EVER forcibly tear the Meat off of the Grates – Wait, Wait, Wait for it to release. #1: You didn’t leave all of that great flavor stuck on the grate.

#2: Clean-Up just became a BUNCH easier.

JUMP To TOP                           37) FOR THE LADIES ONLY

Tired of your expensive perfume fading within minutes? LIGHTLY touch your fingertip on top of the Vaseline in the jar. Rub it into your skin where you will spray your perfume. VOILÀ – It lasts for HOURS! This has an advantage that your perfume will smell like it does in the bottle, unchanged from the acids and oils contained in your skin.

JUMP To TOP                           38) A POOR MANS TOOTH WHITENER

Rub the white part of a banana peel against your teeth (front & back) for several seconds, Use a toothbrush to spread the Banana residue all over your teeth. Press the peel against the front of your teeth for 10 minutes. Repeat weekly.

JUMP To TOP                          

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JUMP TO INFORMATION PARAGRAPHS

== Yeast Factoids == Dough Proofing Factoids == Bread Making Tips == == Making Crusty Breads == 14 French Chefs & Their Assigned Duties == == 38 Treasured Secret Chef Hacks: - #1) The #1 Chef Tip Taught On Day ONE In Culinary School - #2) Overweight Chef’s - - #3) Perfect Basted Eggs - #4) Reheating Leftover Pizza & Pastries - - #5) No More Onion Tears - #6) Thinly Slicing Ripe Tomatoes - - #7) Thawing Frozen Foods Quickly - #8) Keeping Sushi Fresh Overnight - - #9) Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs - #10) Hard To Peel Eggs - - #11) Spicy Peppers Burn Skin - #12) Cutting Bell Pepper Matchsticks - - #13) The Spoon As A Tool - #14) Softening Frozen Butter Quickly - - #15) Pancake Batter Dispenser - #16) Speedily Removing Strawberry Stems - - #17) EZ Evenly Sliced Ripe Strawberries - #18) Excess Oil & Fat Removal - - #19) EZ Steakhouse Potato Wedges - #20) Small Fruit Halving - - #21) Get ALL Of The Fresh Juice - #22) Saving Those Expensive Fresh Herbs - - #23) Renewing Ugly Wooden Spoons - #24) Renewing Wooden Handled Knives - - #25) Finely Crumbled Hamburger Browning - #26) Bacon Wrapping Secrets - - #27) Making Your Own Stocks - #28) Bakers #! Basic Secret - - #29) Salt Is NOT Just Salty - #30) Dried Spice “Rules” - - #31) Fresh Spice “Rules” - #32) Browning Meats & Vegetables - - #33) Boiling Off Alcohols During Cooking - #34) Glossy Sauces & Gravies - - #35) EZ Quick Grill Grate Cleaner - #36) Meat Grilling - - #37) For The Ladies ONLY - #38) A Poor Mans Tooth Whitener ==

JUMP TO INFORMATION PARAGRAPHS

== Yeast Factoids == Dough Proofing Factoids = == Bread Making Tips == Making Crusty Breads == == 14 French Chefs & Their Assigned Duties == == 38 Treasured Secret Chef Hacks: - #1) The #1 Chef Tip Taught On Day ONE In Culinary School - - #2) Overweight Chef’s - #3) Perfect Basted Eggs - - #4) Reheating Leftover Pizza & Pastries - - #5) No More Onion Tears - #6) Thinly Slicing Ripe Tomatoes - - #7) Thawing Frozen Foods Quickly - - #8) Keeping Sushi Fresh Overnight - #9) Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs -  #10) Hard To Peel Eggs - #11) Spicy Peppers Burn Skin - - #12) Cutting Bell Pepper Matchsticks - - #13) The Spoon As A Tool - #14) Softening Frozen Butter Quickly - - #15) Pancake Batter Dispenser - - #16) Speedily Removing Strawberry Stems - - #17) EZ Evenly Sliced Ripe Strawberries - - #18) Excess Oil & Fat Removal - - #19) EZ Steakhouse Potato Wedges - #20) Small Fruit Halving - - #21) Get ALL Of The Fresh Juice - - #22) Saving Those Expensive Fresh Herbs - - #23) Renewing Ugly Wooden Spoons - - #24) Renewing Wooden Handled Knives - - #25) Finely Crumbled Hamburger Browning - - #26) Bacon Wrapping Secrets - - #27) Making Your Own Stocks - #28) Bakers #! Basic Secret - - #29) Salt Is NOT Just Salty - #30) Dried Spice “Rules” - - #31) Fresh Spice “Rules” - #32) Browning Meats & Vegetables - - #33) Boiling Off Alcohols During Cooking - - #34) Glossy Sauces & Gravies - - #35) EZ Quick Grill Grate Cleaner - #36) Meat Grilling - - #37) For The Ladies ONLY - #38) A Poor Mans Tooth Whitener ==
COOKING FACTOIDS, HINTS & HOW-TO’S
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Cooking can be an extremely daunting and a sometimes difficult process.

OR 

You can take great pleasure in making quality foods for yourself and your family. “Scratch” cooking allows YOU to control the things you put in your bodies from GMO’s to preservatives and hormones. The degree of scratch you attempt depends upon the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into your cooking. Slow Cookers and Pressure Cookers make scratch, healthy cooking a possibility for even the busiest among us.

JUMP To TOP                           YEAST FACTOIDS:

IS MY OLD YEAST STILL "GOOD":

1) Check the expiration date on the package of yeast to ensure that it has not expired - even if it has, it costs nothing but a little time here to check & see if it is still viable.

2) Pour 1/2 cup of warm water into a small bowl or cup. The water should be between 110 and 115 degrees.

3) Dissolve 1 teaspoon granulated sugar into the warm water.

4) Add 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast and stir until thoroughly dissolved.

5) Allow it to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

6) Check to see if the yeast mixture is foamy and bubbly. If so, the yeast is indeed active and can still be safely used. If not, throw it away and buy new yeast.

JUMP To TOP                           DOUGH PROOFING FACTOIDS:

An easy method to "proof" (Raise Dough in a warm place) is to make use of your oven. Remove all but 2 of the baking racks. Place them in the 2 lowest positions. Bring 3 Cups of plain tap water to a rolling boil. Place a metal baking pan on the lowest rack and pour in the boiling water. Close the oven door for 10 minutes. QUICKLY open the oven door and place the Bread Dough in the mixing bowl on the upper rack. Leave to rest until the Dough has risen the called-for amount. If you are quick enough, you can a second time, open the door, remove the bowl, close the door, punch down the risen dough,  open the door put the dough back in, close the door and allow the Dough to rise a second time.

JUMP To TOP                           BREAD MAKING TIPS:

1) Use the highest quality All Purpose Flour you can find.

2) Make sure the Eggs are at room temperature before you start the recipe.

3) The Butter should be soft, but not oily.

4) The Dough may look disturbingly soft, but do not be tempted to add more Flour to it. Towards the first 15 minute round of mixing, it will come together and form a smooth, albeit wet, Dough.

5) Do not skimp on the mixing time. Mix for a full 15 minutes.

6) Add no more than a couple of Tablespoons of Butter at a time.

7) If you’re not going to use the Dough right away, you can freeze it after the second rise. Just deflate it, wrap it well in a piece of plastic wrap, put it in a zip lock bag, and freeze up to one month. The frozen Dough can be thawed in the refrigerator overnight and used directly out of the fridge.

JUMP To TOP                           MAKING CRUSTY BREADS:

Is crusty bread your idea of heaven?

If so – the devil IS indeed in the details!

Soft dinner rolls aren’t meant to be crusty; so, don’t force a recipe beyond it's comfort zone, because therein lies one of life’s MAJOR disappointments.

You, the home baker with average (or even startup) skills can make FANTASTIC crusty bread simply by following five simple tips.

1) USE SIMPLE INGREDIENTS:

Crusty breads are usually the simplest ones: flour, water, yeast, and salt, with no eggs, butter, sour cream, sugar, mashed potatoes, or anything else that might turn them into softies. Sure, you might see a crusty bread recipe calling for a teaspoon of sugar, or a tablespoon of dried milk powder; these small amounts of softening agents may keep the loaf’s interior tender, but won’t affect the crispness of the crust unless you go BIG.

2) A BIG SURFACE AREA:

A big, fat, round or oval loaf – a boule – doesn’t have as much opportunity to shine in the crisp crust department as does a thin baguette, or individual rolls. While you can certainly make a big loaf with crisp crust (you’ll see a couple of examples below), the ratio of crunchy to tender will be much smaller So if you’re a real fan of crust (as opposed to soft interior), opt for smaller, skinnier, or flatter loaves or rolls.

3) STEAMED CRUST:

While you most likely don’t have access to a French steam injection oven, you can try to replicate steam’s role in creating that crisp crust by making your own homemade steamy oven. Some bakers like to place a sturdy pan (cast iron preferred) on the bottom shelf of the oven as it preheats, then pour 1/2 cup or so hot water into the hot pan as they’re loading the loaves. The result? Billows of steam trapped in the oven. A second, easier way to re-create steam’s work is to simply spray or brush risen loaves with warm water before placing them into the hot oven. A third way: the French cloche, a stoneware pan with lid that traps moisture from the baking bread, converting it to steam within its little bell-like cave.

And how, exactly, does steam create a crisp crust? Simply put, it has to do with the starch in flour. As bread bakes, its outer layer (crust) eventually reaches 180°F. At that point, the starches on the surface burst, become gel-like, and then harden in the oven’s heat to a crackly consistency. Steam hitting the bread’s surface facilitates this process.

4) HOT BOTTOM:

Many bakers find they can create a decent crisp top crust, but struggle to make their bread’s bottom crusty, as well. The best way to brown and crisp your bread’s bottom crust – as well as enhance its rise – is to bake it on a preheated pizza stone or baking steel. The stone or steel, super-hot from preheating along with your oven’s preheat, delivers a jolt of that heat to the loaf, causing it to rise quickly. At the same time, the bread’s bottom, without the shield of a metal pan – which takes awhile to absorb and then transmit heat – bakes super-quickly, becoming brown and crisp.

5) OVEN COOLING:

This may sound like an oxymoron – cool your bread in the oven? – but it works. Once the bread is baked, turn off the oven. Transfer the bread from pan (or stone) to a middle oven rack. Crack the oven door open a couple of inches (a folded potholder works well here), and let it cool right in the cooling oven. How does this help keep bread crusty? As bread cools, any leftover moisture in its interior migrates to the surface. If that moisture reaches the surface and hits cool air – e.g., typical room temperature – it condenses on the loaf’s surface, making it soggy. If it hits warm air (your still-warm oven), it evaporates – leaving the crust crisp.

JUMP To TOP                           FRENCH CHEF DUTIES:

Depending upon the size of a restaurant, one or more of these chefs are hard at work creating the best foods and dishes they possibly can for their clientele..

1) CHEF OWNER: Business Management & responsible for running the establishment as a whole. Often works on menu engineering.

2) EXECUTIVE CHEF: Kitchen manager who oversees the daily operations, kitchen costs, food preparation, and menu planning. Often creates most of the new recipes and dishes for the menu.

3) SOUS CHEF: Pronounced: "soo" - Team Manager who does anything that the Executive Chef is either too lazy or indifferent to do. Oversees the details of each dish and oversee the food lines. They are the second in command and will run the kitchen in the executive chef’s absence. They will usually train newly hired chefs and cooks.

4) PARTIE CHEF: Pronounced “par-tee-yay” - Station Manager. There can more than one in a kitchen and are in charge of specific stations in the kitchen. They are usually specialist on a certain portion of the menu and will ensure that high-quality food leaves their station.

5) PATIESSIER CHEF: Pronounced: "pa-tis-see-yay". Prepares pastries, breads, and desserts. Likely in charge of the whole dessert menu.

6) SAUCIER CHEF: Pronounced: "sah-see-yay". This person is the master of ANYTHING either containing or consisting of a sauce and therefore the go-to expert in the usage of thickening agents. They may also prepare soups and stews.

7) POISSONIER CHEF: Pronounced: "pwa-son-knee-yay". Prepares and cooks seafood’s. Also is responsible for acquiring the seafood used in an establishment from a local market or non-local vendors.

8) ENTREMETIER CHEF: Pronounced: "on-trey-met-yay". Prepares and cooks vegetables and starches. May also be responsible for some soups and egg dishes.

9) ROTIESSEUR CHEF: Pronounced: "ro-tess-see-you’re". Prepares and cooks meats by roasting, braising, broiling, or other methods. May also be in charge of obtaining the meat from local and specialized suppliers and retailers.

10) GARDE MANGER: Pronounced "gard man-jay". Responsible for all cold food preparation, including cold cuts, hors d’oeuvres and cold sauces such as Vinagrettes and Dressings. May also be responsible for setting up buffet lines and adding centerpieces for an upscale presentation that may include carved and molded ice or fruits.

11) FRITURIER CHEF: Pronounced "fri-tur-yay". Prepares and cooks foods that need to be fried. Mostly needed in fast food establishments.

12) GRILLARDIN CHEF: Pronounced "grill-are-dan". Prepares and cooks meats and vegetables that need to be grilled.

13) BOUCHER CHEF: Pronounced "boo-shay". Cuts and prepares meats for other station chefs to cook.

14) PERSONAL CHEF: Pronounced "go-fur". That would be you and me.

 

JUMP To TOP    38 TREASURED SECRET CHEF HACKS:

 

JUMP To TOP               1) THE #1 CHEF TIP TAUGHT ON DAY 1 IN SCHOOL

Before even beginning the first step in preparing and cooking a recipe, gather up ALL of the ingredients and tools (“Mies en place”) so you can quickly find them. This speeds the cooking process greatly and is a BUNCH safer on your necessary body parts.

JUMP To TOP               2) OVERWEIGHT CHEFS

Chefs tend towards being overweight because they prepare literally hundreds of meals during every shift. Home Cooks, since they prepare only one meal, not so much. The main reason for the problem is because a GREAT Cook TASTES, TASTES, TASTES as they prepare the food. Tasting AS you cook rather than just at the end, allows you to repair and adjust flavors as you go. food should taste good to you all the way through the preparation process – If it doesn’t - FIX IT NOW! The #1 “fix” for a dull and lifeless tasting dish is VINEGAR. A small splash of vinegar stirred in sometime BEFORE there is ½ hour of cooking time remaining has rescued many a failure. Vinegar helps flavors to “marry”.

JUMP To TOP               3) PERFECT BASTED EGGS

Basted (Sunny Side Up) eggs have a wonderful texture and mouth feel. Crack a couple of eggs in a cold non-stick frying pan, add in a tablespoon of water for each egg. Place the covered pan over medium heat. The yolks will remain smooth and runny with firm whites.

JUMP To TOP               4) REHEATING LEFTOVER PIZZA & OTHER PASTRIES

Microwave soggy crusts and dried out corners not your cup of tea? Place a small glass of tap hot water in the microwave along with the Pizza. The moisture keeps the pastry from over drying and retains the original crunchy crust. Your hot Pizza will be just like it was from the Pizza Shop.

JUMP To TOP               5) NO MORE ONION TEARS

Cutting an onion, releases sulfenic acid and other enzymes into the air when the dried skin is broken. These react with the water in your eyes, forming an entirely different acid which causes those tears to flow. The simple fix is to simply place a burning candle next to the cutting board. OR – Simply wear a pair of goggles.

JUMP To TOP               6) THINLY SLICING RIPE TOMATOES

A red, juicy, ripe tomato is difficult to slice evenly. Using a bread knife to do the slicing will give you any thickness you need perfect circles of Tomato without crushing and spilling that tasty juice all over the place.

JUMP To TOP               7) THAWING FROZEN FOODS QUICKLY

You forgot and don’t have 5 hours to thaw out some frozen chicken?  Simply place the frozen food in a heavy cast iron frying pan. The cold from the food will quickly dissipate into the metal in the pan.

JUMP To TOP               8) KEEPING SUSHI FRESH OVERNIGHT

Place your leftover Sushi in a tightly wrapped piece of plastic wrap. Seal the package in a Zip Lock bag, place the package flat on a plate and place a slice of fresh bread on top. Refrigerate until tomorrow.

JUMP To TOP               9) PERFECT HARD BOILED EGGS

If you are planning to make deviled eggs, lay the eggs on their sides in the egg carton for twelve or more hours in the refrigerator, then, store at room temperature for 2+ hours before boiling - This will help the yolks to center evenly in the whites. NEVER, EVER, NEVER boil more than 6 eggs at a time.

1) Place the 6 eggs in a large saucepan.

2) Cover them with 2” of tap water.

3) Remove the eggs and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda - NO SALT

4) Cover and bring the water to a HARD ROLLING BOIL.

5) Remove the pan from the heat.

6) Gently add in the eggs with a spoon.

7) Cover and let the eggs set undisturbed for EXACTLY 12 minutes - TIME IT!

8) Remove the lid and pour off all but 1/4” of the hot water.

9) Pick up each egg with a folded paper towel and crack it in ONE place.

10) Recover the pan and shake the eggs until they have cracked all over.

11) Shock the egg peels by running under cold water until COLD.

12) Let the eggs set for 15 minutes in the cold water.

13) Peel IMMEDIATELY!

Peeled eggs refrigerate nicely until needed (up to 5 days) if you wrap them in damp paper towels and seal them in a zip lock bag.

JUMP To TOP               10) HARD TO PEEL EGGS

Don’t like plucking bits of sticky shell with whites stuck to them off of a hard boiled egg? Take a spoon and crack the top of the egg. Remove the shell pieces and carefully slide a wet spoon inside and rotate it around the egg. The egg should pop right out. FRESH eggs do NOT peel well, they need to be at least a week old. Mixing 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda into the boiling egg water also helps loosen the shell membrane.

JUMP To TOP               11) SPICY PEPPER OILS BURNING SKIN

Cutting spicy hot fresh peppers can cause a burning sensation on your hands. Wearing latex gloves is one answer. OR. Rub a teaspoon of olive oil on your hands before beginning. It creates a thin barrier that the pepper oils can’t penetrate.

JUMP To TOP               12) CUTTING UNIFORM BELL PEPPER MATCHSTICKS

Bell peppers never seem to cut evenly. Simply cut off and discard both ends. Make a straight cut down and open up the pepper. Remove the seeds and veins. Spread the pepper out on the cutting board and cut perfectly even matchsticks from the rectangle.

JUMP To TOP               13) THE SPOON AS A TOOL

Tablespoons are handy devils. If you're not peeling an egg, how about a kiwi fruit or an avocado? Cut off both ends of a kiwi fruit, insert the spoon between the peel and flesh, rotate the spoon to cleanly remove the skin. Slice the avocado in half end to end following the nut as you slice. Holding both halves, twist and separate the halves. Hold the half containing the nut in the palm of your hand, CAREFULLY strike the nut with a sharp knife. Rotate the knife and the nut should pop right out. Insert the spoon between the stiff skin and the soft flesh and rotate so the flesh releases completely. Use a spoon to quickly remove the seeds from cucumbers, melons and squash.

JUMP To TOP               14) SOFTENING FROZEN BUTTER QUICKLY

Fill a glass jar with very hot water and let it set for 5 minutes. Pour off the water and place the jar upside down over the top of the butter stick. Wait 10 minutes and the butter should be nice and soft.

JUMP To TOP               15) PANCAKE BATTER DISPENSER

Save a couple of those large ketchup bottles with the squirt hole in the top. Simply pour in your mixed pancake batter and squirt out perfect sized pancakes on your griddle every time.

JUMP To TOP               16) SPEEDILY REMOVING STRAWBERRY STEMS

Using a thick walled plastic straw, press it upwards through the pointed end of a strawberry until it pushes off the stem.

JUMP To TOP               17) EZ EVENLY SLICED RIPE STRAWBERRIES

Got a wire egg slicer? Lay a de-stemmed and washed single ripe (RED all the way through, NOT one that is white on the inside) strawberry in the egg slicer pocket, slice the strawberry, repeat as needed for quick evenly sliced strawberries.

JUMP To TOP               18) EXCESS OIL & FAT REMOVAL

Got a dish with excess oil or fat floating on top? Wrap several ice cubes in three layers of paper towels. Float the towel in the center of the dish, the fat and oil will migrate towards the towel, be soaked up and solidify quickly because of the cold.

JUMP To TOP               19) EZ STEAKHOUSE POTATO WEDGES

Use a round steel apple corer / slicer to create even potato wedges for frying or baking. Discard the Round center.

JUMP To TOP               20) SMALL FRUIT HALVING

Need loads of cherry tomatoes, grapes, etc. sliced in half? Save a couple of cottage cheese tub lids. Place the cherry tomatoes on their sides inside of one of the lids. Place the other lid on top and press down firmly with one hand. Slice across carefully for perfectly halved tiny fruits & vegetables.

JUMP To TOP               21) GET ALL OF THE FRESH JUICE

Place a lemon, lime, orange, etc. in the freezer for 10 minutes. Place the lemon in the microwave and cook on high for 20 seconds. Slice in half across the equator and squeeze hard – ALL of the juice will come rushing out.

JUMP To TOP               22) SAVING THOSE EXPENSIVE FRESH HERBS

Fresh sprigs of rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, etc. ARE EXPENSIVE. Fresh herbs tend to rot quickly, even if they're refrigerated. Place snipped herb sprigs in cottage cheese tubs, fill with water and freeze for use at a later date. Smaller portions and leaves can be chopped and frozen in ice cube trays.

JUMP To TOP               23) RENEWING UGLY WOODEN SPOONS

Boil your ugly, discolored wooden utensils submerged in water for 10 minutes. Take them outdoors and dry them in the hot sun – They’ll look as good as new.

JUMP To TOP               24) RENEWING WOODEN HANDLED KNIVES

Mistake #1 Washing sharp knives in a dishwasher - BAD, BAD, BAD! Fill a quart glass jar ½ full with Canola oil. Place the cutlery handles in and let them set for 24 hours. Remove, wash in hot soapy water, dry and VOILÀ - GOOD AS NEW!

JUMP To TOP               25) FINELY CRUMBLED HAMBURGER BROWNING

You enjoy the finely crumbled texture of the “hamburger” in a Taco Bell taco? Here's how: Browning hamburger for any dish requiring it to be finely crumbled (sloppy joes, chili, tacos, etc.) is to bring 3/4 cup of water per pound of raw hamburger meat to a boil in a large saucepan. Add in the hamburger in small chunks, cover and boil until done (you may need to mash it up a little to break it apart). Siphon off & discard all remaining liquid and fat, then proceed as if you had simply browned the meat without the Water.

JUMP To TOP               26) BACON WRAPPING SECRETS

When grilling or broiling bacon wrapped ANYTHING, especially those tender seafoods (scallops, shrimp, etc.) The bacon causes an inherent problem where as the bacon fat rendering out of the raw bacon causes flare-ups that at best blackens the meat or seafood, also, bacon takes much longer to cook than the seafood resulting in a bacon flavored, rubber-like end product. There Is indeed a solution......

1) Use the thinnest sliced bacon you can find.

2) Bring the bacon package to room temperature.

3) Place 4 layers of paper towels on a large heat-proof ceramic plate.

4) Lay 6 bacon strips (not touching) side-by-side on top of the towels.

5) Place 4 more layers of paper towels on top of the bacon.

6) Lay 6 more bacon strips (not touching) side-by-side on top of the towels.

7) Top the final layer of bacon with 2 layers of paper towels.

8) Press a second ceramic plate on top to keep the bacon from curling up.

9) Microwave on high (1200 watts) for 6 minutes & check for MOSTLY cooked.

10) Separate the rendered bacon strips from the paper towels and set them aside to cool.

11) Repeat the process until all of the bacon needed for your dish is rendered.

12) Wrap the bacon while it's still slightly warm and still pliable. (10 second re- heat?).

 

JUMP To TOP               27) MAKING YOUR OWN STOCKS

Stock is NOT stock. ALWAYS use the very best stocks you can find (Which usually means homemade). If you don’t have the time, TASTE, TASTE, TASTE your store- bought. If it doesn’t taste good cold, it certainly won’t taste good in your dish. Freezing bones, vegetable scraps, etc. as they appear in your day-to-day kitchen will give you the ingredients for a stock when you need it.

JUMP To TOP               28) BAKERS #1 BASIC SECRET

While recipe measurement variances are a tool many of us make use of, the art of baking is indeed a SCIENCE. The ingredient measurements MUST BE PRECISE in order to achieve the correct chemical reactions. Professional Bakers use weights rather than volumes in achieving total perfection. Below are a few basic volume-to- weight conversions:

 All-purpose or bread flour: 1 cup = 125 grams

 Cake flour: 1 cup = 140 grams

 Self-rising flour: 1 cup = 125 grams

 Whole wheat flour: 1 cup = 120 grams

 Baking powder: 1 teaspoon = 4 grams

 Baking soda: 1 teaspoon = 6 grams

 Butter: 1/2 cup (1 stick) = 113 grams

 Granulated sugar: 1 cup = 200 grams

 Packed brown sugar: 1 cup = 220 grams

 Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon = 3 grams

 Confectioners‘ sugar: 1 cup = 113 grams

 Cocoa powder: 1 cup = 85 grams

 

JUMP To TOP               29) SALT IS NOT JUST SALTY

Salt is a “seasoning” waiting until the end to salt your dishes is a mistake many inexperienced cooks make. Salting EARLY ON seasons your dish. Always sprinkle salt on meats and vegetables BEFORE beginning cooking. Adjusting the “saltiness” of a dish just before serving.

JUMP To TOP               30) DRIED SPICE “RULES”

Dried spices are a staple in EVERY kitchen. Unfortunately they tend to lose flavor over time. You can revive a bit of that lost flavor by microwaving them in a thin layer for about 30 seconds before using. ALWAYS sprinkle your dried spices on foods as you are cooking them, WELL BEFORE deglazing with liquids.

JUMP To TOP               31) FRESH SPICE “RULES”

Fresh spices are the highlight of your cooking. Overcooking fresh spices can destroy their flavor. You ALWAYS add delicate fresh spices to a dish very near to the end of cooking. Hearty herbs like rosemary and thyme can be sprinkled on early in the cooking process while the more delicate herbs like green onions, chives, oregano, parsley and cilantro should be added only near the end or even as a fresh garnish just before serving.

JUMP To TOP               32) BROWNING MEATS & VEGETABLES

When you cook meat and vegetables in a hot pan, little BROWN, NOT BLACK bits stick to the skillet bottom. These bits are called “fond in classical French cooking because they’re the foundation of a great pan sauce or gravy. Deglazing your pan with wine, broth, juice, brandy or plain water is an easy, economical way to infuse those incredible flavors into your finished dish.

JUMP To TOP               33) BOILING OFF ALCOHOLS DURING COOKING

This is a popular wives tale. While some alcohol does indeed boil off during cooking (leaving behind it’s wonderful flavors), it does so VERY SLOWLY. Cooking at a temperature exceeding 173 degrees for 30 minutes after adding anything containing alcohol will get rid of only about half of that alcohol. It can take up to 3 hours of cooking to dissipate ALL of the alcohol. HOWEVER. . . . Lighting an alcohol heavy dish on fire (PLEASE - NOT NEAR ANY OPEN FLAME SOURCE) will burn off the alcohol QUICKLY. If the dish doesn’t catch fire easily, there is likely not enough alcohol present to make much of a difference.

JUMP To TOP               34) GLOSSY SAUCES & GRAVIES

There is nothing more beautiful or tasty than a dish topped with a shiny sauce or gravy. To make ANY sauce glossy, gently swirl in a pat of ICE COLD butter (salted or unsalted) seconds before serving (1 pat per gravy boat) – DO NOT STIR IT IN.

JUMP To TOP               35) EZ QUICK GRILL GRATE CLEANER

Wire brush the grates on your grill to get rid of dirt & chunks. Cut an onion in half and rub it thoroughly on the hot grates. Lastly, take a folded paper towel dipped in cooking oil and rub it into the hot grates (It may catch fire, so BE CAREFUL). Eventually, over time,  you will have non-stick grates.

JUMP To TOP               36) MEAT GRILLING

Place your meat directly on the HOT grill grates. LEAVE IT ALONE. Eventually, the meat will self-release. NEVER, EVER forcibly tear the meat off of the grates – Wait, Wait, Wait for it to release.

#1: You didn’t leave all of that great flavor stuck on the grill grate.

#2: Clean-Up just became a BUNCH easier.

JUMP To TOP               37) FOR THE LADIES ONLY

Tired of your expensive perfume fading within minutes? LIGHTLY touch your fingertip on top of the Vaseline in the jar. Rub it into your skin where you will spray your perfume. VOILÀ – It lasts for HOURS!! This has an advantage that your perfume will smell like it does in the bottle, unchanged from the acids and oils contained in your skin.

JUMP To TOP               38) A POOR MANS TOOTH WHITENER

Rub the white part of a banana peel against your teeth (front & back) for several seconds, Use a toothbrush to spread the Banana residue all over your teeth. Press the peel against the front of your teeth for 10 minutes. Repeat weekly.

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