Just the Tips

Welcome to Just The Tips: Kitchen/cooking tips or whatever that I find along the way.  Feel free to ask questions:  snackobacko1@gmail.com.

1.  Buttermilk.  I’ve been asked about this a couple times.  Most (or all the I have encountered in the store) say “light” on the carton.  Don’t worry, this is not like buying low-fat cheese.  That is how they sell it.  You aren’t  losing calories- in exchange for gross low-fat taste. Another buttermilk trick.  If you don’t have any, and don’t want to buy a whole carton just to use a little bit.  You can make your own sour milk.  Put 1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar into 1 cup milk (use 2% or whole), stir, and let sit for 5 minutes.

2.  Lining a pan w. aluminum foil.  The trick to this is flip the pan upside down. Fold down around the sides.  Flip back over, and foil will fit perfectly in.

3.  Log cookies.  This is a tip from Doris Greenspan.  When you are making slice and bake cookies, you need to form the log refrigerate for a couple hours.  If you just wrap it in cellophane, then the you are going to get one flat side where it rests in the fridge.  So what you do, is take a paper towel roll, cut it down the middle.  The ease of getting the dough in there- depends on how sticky the dough is.  If it is crumbly and dry it is much easier.  Just form dough into a log shape on a big sheet of wax paper.  Roll it around to make a smooth log.  Fit it in tube. Or if the dough is super sticky, you can just line the roll with the wax paper and spoon the dough in.  Once it is full, wrap it up w. packing tape. Then wrap the whole thing in cellophane.

4.  For a while, my cookies kept burning.  I came to the idea that maybe it was my cookie sheets, but I just couldn’t bear to buy yet another set.  Alice told me to just double them up- use two- and by golly, it worked.  So buy heavy cookie sheets.

5.  I have been asked to explain the difference between Bake and Broil.  Bake- is the one you normally do- you set the temperature- and it makes the air in the oven hot to cook your food.  Broil- some people can adjust the temperature, I just have a broil setting- which I believe is around 500 degrees.  I never used to know that little drawer at the bottom of my stove was a broiler- so I would store pans in their.  Bad idea, the high heat warps them.  Anyway, the broiler is very hot and cooks via direct heat. You can use to cook meat really fast, but I mostly use it for last minute browning.  Like, say you wanted crisp your creme brulee and didn’t have a blow torch.  Make sense?  I also use it on my mac & cheese to get the crumbs crispy and browned.  Or if you want a fast charring or fast melting. As a note, you have to make sure your pan/dish is broiler safe– and pyrex is not. And whenever you put something in there, watch it closely, because the browning happens super fast- i’m talking like a minute.

6. When working with others in the kitchen, i’ve been known to yell “I said mince not chop!”  As those I yell at claim to not know the difference, here it is.  I mean, I feel like you all know what chopping is- that’s what you normally do.  Mincing, is just to chop it as teeny tiny as you can.  Think of garlic through a press- as close as you can get to that size is mincing.  And just to know, julienne is to cut it in long thin matchstick-size pieces.  And apparently, dice is just smaller than a chop– but not nearly as tiny as mince.

7. Say you are making salmon teriyaki and you burn the shit out of your pan- and you are wondering how you are going to clean it.  When you take the salmon out, turn off the heat, add some wine to deglaze the pan.  You can turn the heat back up- and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Very helpful- and faster than soaking your pans for hours.  If your pan is already super dirty it has been sitting in your sink… you can pour out the water and pour on some baking soda or tide powdered detergent- and let that sit for a while- or overnight.

8.  Defrosting meat.  I have general thing against freezing.  And rarely do I ever freeze meat.  Even more rare, is defrosting the meat in my freezer.  But, one day back in October, I spent $20 on 4 duck breasts- cooked two- and froze the other.  Today, I defrosted- my new favorite method.  Don’t even touch that microwave.  Put meat in plastic waterproof bag- like a ziplock.  Put into a bowl.  Run tap with cold water over it.  Can run continuously- or if u don’t want to waste a shit ton of water-  fill bowl and make sure meat is submerged- can use another bowl or something to weigh it down.  Takes about half hour per pound to defrost. Change water every half hour.

9. Measurements for quick reference:
3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon; 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup; 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces; 2 cups = 1 pint; 4 cups = 1 quart; 4 quarts = 1 U.S. gallon; 16 ounces = 1 pound

10. Soaking beans.  The most efficient way to do this is to put dried beans in pot with cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and cover.  Let soak for one or two hours.  Remember that beans roughly triple- so 1 cup dried beans will yield 3 cups soaked beans.  After the beans have soaked, you can cook them by baking or boiling.  To boil, put beans in fresh water, bring to a boil, and simmer until tender.  Cooking time varies by the kind of bean- so look it up.  They generally take between 45 to and 90 mins.


3 Responses to “Just the Tips”

  1. Jess P. January 4, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    The foil tip is great! Who knew???


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