My advice? Print these off and keep them close by in your own kitchen!
|TIPS FOR PERFECTLY GRILLED SHRIMP|
"Uncle Joe" posted this in the Baking Circle in response to Bryan's inquiry---Excellent advice! "When you start with raw shrimp, in or out of the shell, they are rather limp. When they form into the shape of a "C" they are done. If they contiue cooking and form an "O" they are over done. They will continue to cook a little after you take them off the grill so when they firm and start to curl it's time to yank em. You should probably try one just to make sure they are done enough for you but don't let them "O". The "C" & "O" method works for boiling, broiling, saute and grill.
"When I grill smaller shrimp I put the skewer once thru the tail and then once thru the body to keep them from spinning, already forming the "C" shape, so you have to go by firmness and color. With U-15s I would not skewer, they are big enough to use tongs and won't fall thru the grates. Depending on the temp of the fire, I would lay the shrimp on the grill one at a time and by the time you get the last ones on start turning the first ones. It propbaly won't take more than 3 or 4 minutes total. Remember, you can always put them back on but there is nothing you can do if they are overdone. Well,except maybe make some shrimp salad."
|FACTS ON HONEY AND CINNAMON|
PeggyV sent this and gave me permisison to reprint. The entire list of health conditions these miracle ingredients aid are right here! Just click here!
|STILL GET THAT ONION FLAVOR!|
Delores sent this: For those who don't care for onions in their chicken and tuna salads, add a little onion powder for the onion flavor. She also adds a little Old Bay Seasoning (like I do!) which gives a wonderful slight hint of spiciness.
|YUMMY PARMESAN CHEESE FLAVOR!|
When you have those large very hard rinds leftover from your Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, save them in a small ZipLoc bag and add one to your pasta water, a soup or a stew. You'll be amazed at the flavor!
|SAVE YOUR SHRIMP SHELLS!|
From Bryancar----"When boiling and peeling shrimp, save the shells. Put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 325F. until very dry. These dried shells (ground in a pepper mill or other grinding media) add a delicious new dimension to any sea food salad."
|BAKING PANS vs. VOLUME|
Finally! The Washington Post has given us something we can actually use!!!
|HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CAKE MIX
Before mixing the cake batter, try one of the following variations:
• Substitute coffee or your favorite carbonated beverage for the water.
• Add 1 tablespoon of grated lemon or orange peel.
• Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.
• Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of vanilla, almond, orange, lemon, coconut, peppermint or rum extract, or butter or maple flavoring.
After mixing the batter, stir in one of the following ingredients:
• 2 to 4 ounces of finely chopped semisweet or milk chocolate.
• 1 cup finely chopped nuts.
• 1 cup coarsely crushed cookies.
• 1 cup flaked coconut.
• 1/2 cup almond brickle baking chips or English toffee chips.
• 2 tablespoons poppy seeds.
In case you don't know, and were wondering----A meat thermometer will help you achieve proper doneness. Two types of thermometers are commonly used in beef cookery - the ovenproof meat thermometer and the instant-read thermometer.
* Ovenproof meat thermometer:
This is the most convenient type for cooking oven roasts. It is inserted into the roast before it is placed in the oven and remains in the roast throughout the cooking process.
* Instant-read thermometer:
This type is best for all other cuts of beef and can be used for oven roasts too. It registers the internal temperature in 10 to 15 seconds. It is not heatproof so it cannot be left in the beef during cooking. Instant-read thermometers are available in two styles: dial-type and digital.
The heat sensor in the dial-face instant-read thermometer is located about 1-1/2 inches up the stem from the tip. An indentation in the stem usually marks the spot. The heat sensor in a digital instant-read thermometer is located right at the tip.
Insert the thermometer far enough so that the heat sensor reaches the center or the thickest part of roasts or meatloaf. For steaks and ground beef patties, insert stem horizontally into center. Do not allow thermometer to touch bone, fat pockets, grill or pan.
Test your thermometer occasionally for accuracy. Place thermometer in a cup of crushed ice and water; it should register close to 32°F. Or, hold it in a small pan of boiling water; it should register 212°F at sea level.
|WHEN'S MY STEAK DONE?: The most critical point when preparing steak is when you remove it from the heat source---it keeps on cooking internally for a few minutes. Use an instant-read thermometer to test---135º is rare; 145º is medium rare; 155º is medium (good grief, you don't really want well-done, do you? That's "shoe-leather"!)||FRESH OUT OF PASTRY BAGS? DO THIS!: Use a large sealable plastic bag (Zip-Loc) and ladle in your filling or frosting, snip a hole in one corner with a pair of scissors, and press on the bag (just aim it right!). This is great for manicotti and jumbo shells.||CLEAN YOUR MERINGUE BOWL FIRST!: A dirty mixing bowl to whip up meringue = unwhipped glop! First, put about 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt into the bowl; then use a paper towel to scour the entire inside of the bowl with the mixture. Then be sure to wipe the wires of the whisk with the same paper towel.|
|CARING FOR YOUR CAST-IRON COOKWARE|
Rusty pans? Gloppy bottoms? Brand new cast-iron pot? Fine Cooking Magazine has the answers! I follow this advice faithfully with my one big beloved cast-iron skillet---and you can't go wrong!
Brand New Pans: There is no other way except to season your new cast-iron pan according to the manufacturer's instructions. Yes it's a little trouble, maybe even a little messy; but if cared for properly, that baby will outlast you! You may want to re-season your pan in the same manner periodically.
Re-seasoning an old "bomb": Using mild dishwashing soap and warm tap water, soak the pan a few minutes; then scrub it with Scotchbrite (not steel wool which will damage the pan). Repeat this process if needed until the pan comes clean. And yes, the pan is supposed to be blackened. Allow the pan to air-dry a few minutes while you preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Place the pan in the oven for about 20 minutes to completely dry out. Allow the pan to cool. Rub it with a very thin coating of vegetable oil. Lay a paper towel inside the pan to absorb excess moisture or oil and help prevent rust. Store in a dry place, uncovered.
Care after each use: Use your pan often, which develops a deep black shiny patina, and becomes practically non-stick. After each use, wash the pan with mild dishwashing soap; dry thoroughly, and repeat the 300-degree oven process and then the thin oil coating as described above.
What to avoid: Don't cook acidic foods like tomatoes or wine in your pan; they react with the iron.
Never marinate foods in cast-iron for the same reason.
Don't leave hot foods covered in the pan; steam can diminish the seasoning on the pan's interior.
Never use abrasive detergents, metal scouring pads, or metal brushes to clean the pan; this damages the surface.
Never soak the pan for long periods of time in water or any other liquid.
Never, never, never wash the pan in the dishwasher.
|A LESSON ABOUT FLOUR:|
Have you ever wondered what's in "bleached flour"? I just learned a valuable lesson from King Arthur Flour, who produces only "unbleached flour" (and which is the only kind I will use), and here it is just for you.
Bleaches commonly used: Chlorine Gas (deadly to humans) and Benzoyl Peroxide (an ingredient normally found in acne medication). (!!!) Other more hazardous bleaches were banned in the early 1900's.
Chemical Additives commonly used: Potassium Bromate, to accelerate yeast growth and fortity gluten (these can be possible health hazards).
Nutrients commonly used: Iron, Niacin, Thiamin and Riboflavin as enrichment.
Malted Barley Flour which is commonly used to feed the yeast.
THE ONLY ADDITIVES King Arthur Flour uses in their unbleached flour are the nutrients and the malted barley flour! They do not even produce any bleached flour. PLUS, comaprisons of their flour to Pillsbury and Gold Medal have proven that their flour is far superior in quality, protein, and gluten development.
CHECK THE PACKAGE FIRST THE NEXT TIME YOU BUY FLOUR!! THEN PICK UP THE UNBLEACHED FLOUR....PREFERABLY KING ARTHUR'S!
|A LESSON ABOUT SALT:|
Table Salt--What we're raised on, like Mortons; with additives, including iodine.
Kosher Salt--Also called "coarse salt"; no additives; has a sharper taste and larger grains than table salt; preferred by many chefs. (I use this and love it.)
Pickling Salt--Very similar to kosher salt, but with some additives for a sharper brine
Rock Salt--Only for your driveways, walkways, and ice cream freezer; don't cook with it!
Sea Salt--Tops for taste; obtained from the ocean; has trace minerals; fine or coarse grains. Preferred by many chefs over kosher salt. "Hain" brand is fine grain, best for general cooking and bread; "LaBaleine" brand is coarser with softer taste; "Maldon" brand is more expensive and great for seasoning at the table; "Fleur De Sal" brand is top-of-the-line, is hand-harvested and very expensive.
|PERK UP SAUTÉED ONIONS: Add a pinch of salt first when sautéeing onions or shallots; it releases their juices and prevents burning.||CRISP UP YOUR FISH: Start cooking fish skin side down, pressing with a spatula. It will stick at first, but when it releases flip it over and it will be great!||FIRM IT UP! Before dredging food in flour, let it firm up in the refrigerator about 15 minutes. It handles easier and coats more evenly.|
|YUMMIER MARINADES: Use a little sugar in meat marinades, and balance it with something acidic (wine, lemon juice). This carmelizes easier and you get a yummy crust.||NO YUCKY SCALLOPS: If scallops are sitting in a milky-looking pool of liquid, they're old or maybe treated with chemicals---don't buy! Fresh scallops should be dry, a little sticky, and have a fresh briny smell.||BETTER SLICED STEAK: Always slice steak against the grain; i.e., skirt steak's grain can curve, so turn the meat as you slice.|
|NO MORE FLAT TACO SHELLS: Squoosh up pieces of aluminum foil loosely to place between the sides of corn taco shells (like Old El Paso) before heating in the oven. It keeps them from flattening out and forcing you to eat Nachos instead of Tacos!||EASY SQUEEZIN': Easily seed ripe fresh tomatoes by cutting in half crosswise, then hold each half over the sink or bowl and squeeze---seeds and juice should squeeze right out! Any remaining seeds can be prodded out with a paring knife, or your fingers if you like to get messy. This won't work too well on winter-time hot-house 'maters :(...||BETTER-TASTING ANCHOVIES: Rinse canned anchovy fillets briefly under cold running water, then dry with a paper towel. This eases the pungent flavor. On TV chef, Mario Batale, even soaks his a few minutes in milk! It really helps!|
|S&P AS YOU GO: Always season your cooking with a little salt and pepper step-by-step when the recipe calls for it, to layer flavors and bring out all the good taste. This is especially important when sauté'eing or preparing soups and stews.||SPIKE YOUR BERRIES!: When preparing fresh berries or fruit, splash a little fruit-flavored or berry-flavored brandy over them.....yummmmmmm!||EGGSHELLS BEGONE!: If you get a little shell in the bowl when breaking eggs, just use a larger piece (like a half) of the shell to scoop it out. I saw this on Too Hot Tamales, had to try it---and it works!! It's sure better than using your fingers (which don't work)! :)|
|CANOLA-FRYIN': When you're frying with canola oil, add a little light olive oil to it; it's very heart-healthy, cuts down on calories, and tastes much better than "no-fat". Be careful though, olive oil burns easily! (From my pal, Led Zepp)||EMERGENCY MARINATING:What? It's bedtime, you need to marinate meat for 24 hours, and it's not completely thawed???? Go ahead---put the meat or chicken and marinade together, cover it and put it in the fridge. It will thaw out and absorb the marinade as well anyway. I tried it and it works just fine!||SAVE THE PIE: If you're baking a pie in one of those flimsy aluminum foil pans, before filling the pie shell, place it inside another large pie plate or onto a shallow baking pan. Then fill it, and bake the pie in the pan. This will keep the pie pan from folding up and spilling everything out.|
|THICKER AND RICHER STEWS: Before serving, add instant potato flakes 1/4 cup at a time until gravy is just right||PERK UP WILTED PARSLEY: Rinse in very hot tap water, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight.||NO-CRACK CHEESECAKE: To help prevent your cheesecake from cracking, place a shallow pan of water in the oven during baking to provide moisture.|
|NO-STICK PASTA: Leftover pasta won't stick together if you rinse it with cold water before storing in a covered container in the refrigerator.||"ZIP UP" YOUR POT ROAST: Add about a tablespoon of prepared horseradish to your pot roast during cooking for extra added flavor and zip.||SNAPPY DIP DISH: Use large red, yellow, black, or green bell peppers to hold dips to save on washing that extra little dish.|
|FIRMER FISH FILLETS: Marinate fish fillets in lemon and a little salt before broiling, grilling, or baking, for firmer flesh, easier handling, and a fresh taste.||SMASH YOUR GARLIC: Forget spending $$ on garlic presses. Lay peeled cloves on a cutting board, place the flat side of a wide knife on top of the cloves, and bang down on the knife with your fist. Then rock the knife over the smashed cloves to chop or finely mince them.||SWEETER SWEET CORN: Add sugar instead of salt to water when cooking sweet ears of corn. Corn will be more tender, since salt toughens it.|
|JUICIER FRUIT: To get more juice from your lemons, limes and oranges, roll them firmly between your hand and the counter until they are soft to the touch when you gently squeeze them.||LO-FAT GROUND BEEF RULES: NEVER brown ground beef in any oil; and ALWAYS drain off excess fat and liquids after browning.||USE UP PICKLE JUICE: Use left-over sweet pickle juice to make Pickled Beets and Onions, adding more white vinegar if needed. (from my Mother-inlaw).|
|START SWEET: When planning and preparing a meal, always start with the dessert first when you can. Who wants that cream pie to smell and taste like pizza?||A PINCH OF SALT: Always add a teeny pinch of salt (or salt substitute, if necessary) to the dessert---the contrast emphasizes the sweetness||THE K.I.S.S. METHOD: Don't combine too many ingredients in one dish---the flavors won't work well together. And don't use ingredients that are too strange!|
1-Soften cream cheese THOROUGHLY.
2-Mix on low speed just until smooth.
3-Place a cup of water in the oven with the cheesecake.
4-Cool slowly, away from drafts, covered with a paper towel.
5-Store cheesecake in the refrigerator
6-Add fruit toppings just before serving.
|BAD LEMON JUICE: Bottled lemon juice (RealLemon, etc.) loses its freshness and becomes unpleasantly sharp and acrid 2-3 days after opening. If a recipe says "fresh", use fresh! You don't need your guests puckering and making faces over your lemon pie!||TOMATO STORAGE: Never store tomatoes in the fridge or even on a sunny windowsill! That concentrates the sugars, dries the juices, and spoils the taste. Put fresh tomatoes (especially those pinky hot-house types) into a paper bag with an apple...ripe in 1 day!|
|MELLOW GARLIC: Is the taste of fresh garlic too strong for you? Boil the peeled cloves in a little water for a few minutes and then use it in your recipes. They can also be simmered over very low heat in extra virgin olive oil; then you also have a flavored oil to use. Just DON'T STORE IT THAT WAY----it breeds bacteria, and will make you quite ill!||SEED FRESH TOMATOES: To remove seeds from fresh tomatoes, cut in half crosswise, hold each half upside down over the sink, and squeeze gently----there they go!||TO SALT OR NOT TO SALT: Pasta Water----salt before or after boiling? Either way works for taste, but 'tis said that unsalted water boils faster. The most important thing is to make sure your pasta water is salted properly!|
|BREAD-MAKING TIPS: If you're gonna do it, do it right!
1 - Keep one wooden board for kneading bread only.
2 - Keep one non-stick shallow baking pan for baking bread only.
3 - Make sure the date on your yeast packet is current.
4 - Even using a mixer with dough hook, still knead 3-4 minutes.
5 - Use only a large ceramic bowl for rising.
|CHILE-SINGED FINGERS?: Cool that fire off by dipping them in a little milk or buttermilk.||NUKE YER FROZEN TATERS: No waiting for frozen hash browns to thaw if you put them in a lightly greased glass pieplate and microwave on High about 4 minutes or until thawed as much as you need.|
|CAST-IRON CARE:Remove any labels, then hand wash with a mild detergent and thoroughly dry. Coat the inside surface with shortening or vegetable oil, including the sides. Place the greased pan upside down on the top rack of a 300 degree oven for 1 hour (put a baking sheet or piece of foil on the bottom rack to catch any drippings). Let the skillet cool slowly in the oven. Store uncovered in a dry place.||SAVING HERB(S): Make sure the herbs are completely dry, and store in a sealed plastic bag. This will keep in the refrigerator's vegetable crisper for about a week. To store large bunches of herbs, stand them up in a glass filled with water. Loosely cover the top of the bunch with a plastic bag, using a rubberband to secure it. Be sure to change the water every other day. (From Food TV Network)||KEEP YER BEANS TENDER: Don't add salt, vinegar, lemon or tomatoes when cooking dried beans until they reach the tenderness the recipe requires. Adding these ingredients will cause the beans to harden and take longer to tenderize.|
|GOOD WAY TO CLEAN CHICKEN PIECES: Put chicken pieces into a large bowl; add about 2 cups white vinegar and toss to coat well. Let stand about 5 minutes; then drain thoroughly. No need to rinse.||..|
SHABOOM'S "HEALTH DEPARTMENT"