March 14, 2007

Kitchen Tips You Can Use

How To Store Chocolate
Chocolate should be stored in a cool, dry place at a temperature of about 60F. If the chocolate becomes too warm, the cocoa butter rises to the surface and forms a dusty gray film known as "bloom." This "bloom" is not harmful and, once the chocolate is melted, it returns to its natural rich brown color. If you do store chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer, take in out and let it stand until it returns to room temperature before you use it in a recipe. Chocolate is very sensitive to sudden changes of temperature.

Melting Chocolate
Chocolate scorches easily, so always melt it over hot - not boiling - water. It is best to use a double boiler, but you can improvise by using a bowl in a small saucepan over very gentle heat. The water must be kept below simmering to prevent steam from curling up and hitting the chocolate. If steam gets into the melted chocolate it will immediately thicken the mixture to a stiff mass. If this does happen, however, you can rescue the chocolate by softening it again.

To do this, add 1-2 tb of vegetable shortening (never use butter as it contains moisture which will cause the chocolate stiffen even more!) to the chocolate and stir vigorously. You can also melt chocolate directly over very low heat in a heavy gauge saucepan, but you must watch the mixture carefully.

Cake, Quick Decorating Idea
For a fast topping, place a paper doily on top of the cake. Sift confectioners' sugar over it. Lift the doily off gently.

Cake, Removing From Pan
Cake will be less like to stick to the pan if you put it on a wet towel to cool as soon as you take it from the oven.

Cake, Stuck to the Pan
If the cake sticks to the pan and threatens to split, hold the pan over a low flame for about 5 to 8 seconds and the cake will come out nice and firm.

Celery, Quick Crisping
To make celery more crisp, put it in a bowl of water and add ice. Leave it in the refrigerator a few hours.

Cookies, Dough Too Soft
When cookie dough is soft and difficult to handle, place it between pieces of wax paper that have been floured. Roll to desired thickness, remove the top paper, and cut cookies.

Cookies, Special Touch
For an extra touch, roll chilled dough in colored or cinnamon sugar, ground nuts or flaked coconut before slicing and baking.

Cookies, Perfectly Round
Put dough for refrigerator into empty frozen juice cans, then chill. When you are ready to bake, cut the bottom off the can and use it as a pusher to move the dough out as you slice the cookies. This makes perfect round slices every time.

Cookies, Spreading Too Much
Cookies will spread if your dough is too pliable by allowing butter to get too soft. If your cookies are spreading too much, try refrigerating the dough for a couple of hours before baking.

Crispy Fried Potatoes
Sprinkle a little flour on potatoes before frying them and they will be extra crispy and crunchy.

Fudge Hint
Fudge won't "sugar" if you add a dash of Cream of Tartar to it.

Hardened Brown Sugar
A slice of soft bread placed in the package of hardened brown sugar will soften it again in a couple of hours.

How To Carmelize Onions
Combine a blend of about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter per 4 cups of thinly sliced onion. Brown the onions slowly and steadily in the melted oil/butter over medium heat for about a half hour. Toward the end, add a generous pinch of salt. They should be a reddish brown color.

Lettuce - Keeping It Fresh
Store lettuce in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator. If the bag becomes damp, simply dry it out or replace it. Lettuce will keep much longer!

Measuring Shortening
When measuring shortening, first line the measuring cup with plastic wrap. Spoon shortening into the cup, pack it tightly to the rim and pull out by tugging on the plastic wrap. The cup stays clean and the shortening can be used immediately or refrigerated.

Miracle Whip - What you can do with it
Condition your hair. Apply one-half cup Miracle Whip to dry hair once a week as a conditioner. Leave on for thirty minutes, then rinse a few times before shampooing thoroughly.
Remove a ring stuck on a finger. Smear on some Miracle Whip and slide the ring off.
Give yourself a facial and tighten pores. Miracle Whip helps moisten dry skin when applied as a face mask. Wait twenty minutes, then wash it off with warm water followed by cold water.
Remove white rings and spots from wood furniture. Wipe on Miracle Whip, let stand for an hour, wipe off, and polish the furniture.
Remove tar. Spread a teaspoon of Miracle Whip on tar, rub, and wipe off.
Soothe sunburn and windburn pain.
Use Miracle Whip as a skin cream.
Remove dead skin. Rub a dab of Miracle Whip into your skin and let it for dry a few minutes. While the skin is moist massage with your fingertips. Dead skin will rub off your feet, knees, elbows, or face.
Remove chewing gum from hair. Rub a dollop of Miracle Whip into the chewing gum.

No kitchen twine?
Use unwaxed, unflavored dental floss.

If you've over-sweetened a dish, add salt. A teaspoon of cider vinegar will take care of too-sweet main dishes or vegetables.

Overripe Tomatoes
Place overripe tomatoes in cold water and add some salt. Overnight they will become firm and fresh.

Add cut raw potatoes to soups or vegetables and then discard once they have cooked and absorbed the salt. A teaspoon each of cider vinegar and sugar added to salty soup or vegetables will also remedy the salty situation.

No comments: