Kitchen Hints

Shelf Life Of Frozen Foods

Here's how long you can expect common foods to last in the freezer. Use this guide to write the expiration date on foods before freezing them. frozen nuts in baking, bring them to room temperature first by warming in a 250 F oven for a few minutes. To safely thaw frozen food Allow frozen foods to thaw in the refrigerator rather than on a countertop. To quickly thaw frozen food If the food has not been frozen in a zipper-lock plastic bag, transfer it to one, and put the bag into a large bowl of...

Recipes see also Mise en Place Timing

The first time you follow one, you need a little more time to get to the destination. Once you are familiar with the route, it is easier to go faster. Eventually, you may not even need the map. BASICS To follow a recipe successfully Read V the recipe all the way through before starting to cook. Make sure that you have all of the necessary ingredients and equip- not to use a pan so large that it heats unevenly on your burner. And if the amount of food will crowd the...

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts have to be one of the most hated of all vegetables, but it's not the little cabbage's fault. We just take too long to cook them. The solution Quick-cooking avoids the release of unpleasant sulfur compounds and preserves the vegetable's delicate, nutty flavor. ASICS To choose Pick the sprouts up and hold them in your hand. You want the ones that are heavy for their size. If you are lucky enough to find Brussels sprouts still on the stalk, buy the smallest stalk it will have the...

Peas Shelling

Also known as English peas or garden peas, these are the familiar green peas found in countless dishes. They must be shucked from their tough pods before they are eaten. If you've never tried freshly shucked green peas, you're In for a revelation. To choose Pea season runs from early spring to the first weeks of summer. You'll find the best peas inside bright green, moist-looking, medium-size pods. The peas inside the biggest pods are likely to be too starchy, while the peas inside very tiny...

Squash Winter see also

The varieties of winter squash are countless. Some of the more popular types include pumpkin, acorn, butternut, and Hubbard. These thick-skinned vegetables have large seeds and a dense, sweet flesh that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. BASICS To choose Look for firm winter squash that feels heavy for its size. Avoid squash with soft, spongy spots. To store Keep winter squash in a cool, dry place with plenty of ventilation. Use within 3 weeks of purchase. Once winter squash is cut,...

Microwave Cooking

Microwave ovens emit short, high-frequency electromagnetic waves to make food vibrate at a spectacularly rapid rate, causing the food to heat up quickly. For accurate timing, it's essential to know the wattage and size of your oven, as timing varies according to these details. If you are unsure of how long to heat a food, lean toward caution. You can always continue to heat the food if it is not quite done. BASICS To cook successfully in a microwave oven Follow recipe directions exactly. The...

Turkey Burgers

The appeal of turkey burgers is that they are healthful. The drawback is that they are not beefy in flavor or texture. Mushrooms and soy sauce help deepen the savory flavor of these turkey burgers, bringing the taste closer to a real burger. The egg white also helps bind the supple turkey meat into hearty patties. 5 ounces white mushrooms 1 tablespoon butter 1 pound ground turkey 1 egg white 1. In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until coarsely ground. 2. Melt the butter in a large skillet...

Bread Machines

These computerized bread makers combine the functions of a mixer, a dough kneader, a proofing box, and a miniature oven. Some models even bake cakes and cook jams. asics To choose Decide whether you want a basic or multifunctional model. If you're still learning how to program your VCR, you may want to skip the models that require a lot of programming and opt for a basic model instead. Just make sure that your machine has a dough or manual cycle that al lows you to remove dough after it rises,...

Cracking An Egg With One Hand

A sharp edge is not the best place to crack an egg a flat surface does a better job. Cracked on a flat surface, the egg's shell is less likely to shatter, which helps avoid getting bits of shell in your egg. To make things go faster, here's how to crack an egg with one hand. O Grasp the egg in the upper part of your palm, between your thumb and first 3 fingers, leaving a space between your middle finger and ring finger. Give the exposed area of the egg a short, sharp crack on a flat surface...

Steak Doneness The Touch Test

Nature's best tool is only an arm's length away It's your hand. While temperatures are crucial for warding off foodborne illness, the texture of beef is key for great taste. And the best way to test the texture of meat is by touching it. If it feels very tender, it's rare if it resists your finger slightly, it's medium-rare firm meat is well-done. To get a better feel for tender, resists slightly, and firm, try the dry run illustrated beiow. If the touch test isn't your style, go ahead and cut...

Reens Cooking see also

Hearty, leafy greens, such as chard and beet tops, make savory additions to soups and stews and delicious side dishes on their own. To choose Look for cooking greens during the cool months of fall, winter, and early spring. They don't tolerate heat well and can become bitter in the summer months. Choose fresh bunches of greens that are vibrant and brightly colored. To store Cover fresh greens with a perforated plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Clean just before using. To wash Cut and...

To rescue pizza with a burning crust

Wrap foil around the crust, or cover it with a good sprinkling of grated cheese to protect and camouflage. If the bottom of the crust is burning, place the pizza 011 a higher rack in the oven. If just one side of the pizza is burning, rotate it Your oven might be heating unevenly. If the outer Sausage and Mushroom Pizza Slit the casing of 1 or 2 Italian sausages (4 to 5 ounces each) and crumble meat into a skillet over medium heat. Saut until no longer pink. Drain off fat and wipe out the...

Marshmallows

Whether they're floating in a cup of hot chocolate or roasting over an open fire, the soothing taste of marshmallows is something you never outgrow. To keep marshmallows from drying out Freeze them in a zipper-lock plastic bag. Frozen marshmallows are also easier to cut than those at room temperature. Place them in a tightly sealed plastic bag with a couple of slices of white bread and let stand for a few days. heauhy To buy vegetarian marshmallows Marshmallows are made with gelatin, an animal...

Seasoned Poaching Broths

Use these poaching liquids to flavor beef, pork, chicken, and fish. After poaching, the liquid can be strained, frozen, and reused. Or you can reduce the liquid to make a sauce or use it as a stock. Each recipe makes about 8 cups poaching liquid. Wine Broth In a large saucepan or skillet, simmer 6 cups water, 3 cups white wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 each chopped onions, carrots, and celery ribs for 20 minutes. Strain and use to poach fish or shellfish. Orange Spice Broth In a large saucepan...

Vt pounds sweet potatoes peeled and sliced V thick

In large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven, heat V2 teaspoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add two-thirds of the apple chunks and cook, stirring, until golden and just beginning to soften. 6 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and set aside. 2. Heat V2 teaspoon of the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the pork in a single layer and sprinkle with 3A teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper. Cook, stirring, until browned. 6 minutes. Add the remaining V teaspoon oil and the onion, bell pepper, and...

Stuffed Flank Steak Spirals

Flank steak is among the leanest cuts of beef. Here, it's tenderized with a balsamic marinade, then stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, com, scallions, and pine nuts. * cup dry-packed sun-dried tomato halves (about 16 halves) 1 flank steak (about 1 pounds), trimmed 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 large garlic clove, crushed V teaspoon ground black pepper cup frozen corn 1. Place the tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand at least 20 minutes, or until softened. 2....

Cocoa Powder see also

Like chocolate, cocoa powder is made from cacao beans that have been processed into a paste known as chocolate liquor. Using a hydraulic press, producers remove between 50 and 75 percent of the cocoa butter from the chocolate liquor and then pulverize the remaining solids to make cocoa. There are two basic styles nonalkalized (natural) cocoa and alkalized (Dutch-process) cocoa. Both are unsweetened, but natural cocoa has the natural acidity intact. Dutch-process cocoa has an alkali added during...

The Beauty Of Bar Cookies

The bother with cookies isn't in the mixing, or in the measuring or the elaborate techniques. It's in the batches. Bar cookies end batches. And they use the same dough. Here are 4 recipes ready in less than 30 minutes. Fire-Tongue Ginger Biscuits Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, mix 1 stick cup) softened unsalted butter, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, teaspoon ground allspice, teaspoon each ground black pepper and ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, cup dark brown sugar,...

Time To halve cranberries quickly and easily

Y Some recipes call for halved cranberries to keep them from bursting during cooking. Line them up in the gutter of a cutting board. Slice the whole row in half with a long knife. CHUNKY FRESH CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH PINEAPPLE Rinse and drain 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries. Turn into a stainless steel saucepan and add Va cup sugar and 1 can (8 ounces) shredded pineapple in juice. Grate zest from 1 large orange and set aside. Squeeze orange juice into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to...

Guidelines For Adjusting Recipes

Recipes are typically designed as precise formulas. Yet sometimes, you may want to double or triple the recipe to increase its yield or halve it to decrease the yield. The Ground Rules Follow these basic guidelines when altering any recipe. When increasing the recipe, try to multiply by an even number. When decreasing the recipe, try to divide by an even number. Increase or decrease measurements proportionally. The one exception salt and other seasonings, which you should hold back on...

Four Quick Vinaigrettes

Because vinaigrette is so simple, it is important to start with good-quality ingredients such as extra-virgin olive oil and high-quality wine vinegar. For each recipe below, follow the Basic Vinaigrette recipe, altering ingredients as necessary to make the flavor variations. Each recipes makes about 3A cup. Basic Vinaigrette In a bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid. combine yh minced gariic clove or 1 small finely chopped shallot, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and Vz teaspoon each Dijon...

To make perfect slices of hardboiled eggs for garnishing a salad Use an egg slicer or a wire cheese knife

T K To save prep time When chopping veg-V etables for salad, always cut extra and store them in zipper-lock plastic bags in the refrigerator. Next time you make a salad, they'll be ready to go. Whenever you can, buy precut vegetables, such as lettuce and lettuce mixes, shredded carrots, shredded or chopped cabbage, coleslaw mix, broccoli slaw, broccoli florets, celery sticks, cauliflower florets, and sliccd mushrooms. You can also buy prewashed greens for salads, such as arugula, baby lettuces,...

To carve a whole bonein ham

With a long, flexible knife, cut a few slices from the thin side of the ham O- Turn the ham onto the cut surface so that it lies flat. Cut out a small wedge of meat at the shank Ham generally refers to the hind legs of a pig. Hams can be whole, with or without skin (rind), partially boned, or boned, rolled, and tied into a neat, round shape. Ham from the front leg (shoulder) is called picnic ham or butt. Hams are available from other cuts of pork as well, such...

Adding Flavor With Smoke

To boost flavors in grilled or smoked foods, cook with hardwood chips or dried grapevines. For the smokiest flavor, soak wood or vines in water for 30 minutes and make a foil tent over the food to hold in more smoke. If you want a subtler flavor, toss them on the fire without soaking. For meat that will grill longer than 15 minutes, start grilling the meat first, then add the chips during the last 15 minutes of grilling. For shish kebab, seafood, and other short-cooking foods, toss the chips...

Chunky Beef Sauce for Pasta

To fully develop the complex flavors of this sauce, the herbs are added at two stages during the long simmering. Browning the beef also contributes tremendous flavor. The broth reduces considerably, adding another layer of intensity. This chunky sauce is especially good with pappardelle wide noodles but is equally at home with fettuccine or wide egg noodles. 2 pounds lean beef chuck, cut into V cubes and divided IV2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided Vh teaspoons dried oregano, divided 1 can 28...

Chocolate Brandy Pudding Cake

Pudding cakes deliver sauce and cake in one easy package. In the alchemy of the oven, the cake part rises up through the sauce (or maybe the sauce sinks down through the cake). At any rate, the exchange produces a moist, brownielike cake resting on a swamp of chocolate pudding. To serve, scoop up some cake with its pudding underneath and eat it with a spoon. cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided 2 teaspoons baking powder teaspoon baking soda 1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 9* baking...

Foggy Day Split Pea Soup

The best way to make split pea soup is to simmer a meaty, smoked ham bone in advance. Simmering extracts the smoky meat juices from the bones, resulting in a robust stock. If you chill the stock and remove the fat after it solidifies, you have a practically fat-free pea soup with all the smoked flavor of the ham. This soup has chunks of potato and carrot, but you can leave them out if you prefer. 1 small, meaty, smoked ham bone or smoked ham hock (about 1 pound) 1 pound (2 4 cups) dried green...

Chicken Noodle Soup

For the best flaver, cook the noodles separated, then add to the soup. 2 quarts Basic Chicken Stock (page 471) or canned broth 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1. If using homemade stock, remove some of the breast and thigh meat after the stock simmers 1 hour. If using canned broth, poach 1 chicken breast or thigh so that you can add chicken pieces to the soup. 2. In a soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat, combine the stock or broth with the onions, carrots, and celery. Add the bay...

Maple Syrup

Sweet, rich-tasting, pure maple syrup is made from the boiled and reduced sap of the sugar maple tree, which thrives in the cold climates of the northeastern United States and Canada. Excellent over pancakes and waffles, maple syrup also makes a delicious glaze for pork, poultry, and vegetables, and can be used to flavor frostlngs, puddings, cakes, and pies. To choose Maple syrup is graded according to its color and flavor the darker the color, the stronger the flavor. The lightest syrup is...

To clean seasoned castiron cookware Remove food from the pan as soon

Corn The Cob Stand

While the pan is still hot, rinse it in hot water and, if necessary, rub a spoonful of salt into the pan to remove any cooked-on bits of food. Wash with hot water only. Avoid using soap, which will wash off the protective coating. To prevent a cast-iron pan from rusting Avoid drying with a dish towel. After washing, place the pan over low heat to evaporate the water. Before storing, rub oil into the pan with a paper towel. To prevent corrosion in cookware Corrosion...

To use ground ginger Avoid using

Ground ginger to replace fresh ginger. It's time made from the same rhizome as fresh ginger, but it has a very different flavor. Ground ginger works best in gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and other baked goods, as well as in curries with other Indian spices. To use candied ginger Crystallized, or candied, ginger is usually made from slices of fresh ginger that have been softened in a sugar syrup and coated with crystallized sugar. Store it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Chop or snip with...

Glazed Salmon with Warm Lentil Apple and Pecan Salad

Salmon is loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Here's a delicious way to eat well and stay healthy. 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 4 salmon fillets 1 thick , about 1 pounds 1 can 14 ounces vegetable or chicken broth 1 cup 7 ounces green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed 2 carrots, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced considered the best for its rich, soft flesh, which can be pink or red. Coho or silver salmon, a more firm-textured...

Sweet Potatoes

A member of the morning glory family, sweet potatoes are a root vegetable native to the tropics. Although they share a name, sweet potatoes are not related to white baking potatoes. basics To choose The two most common va- rieties are white sweet potatoes and dark sweet potatoes, often mislabeled as yams. White sweet potatoes are much like regular baking potatoes. They have a thin skin and pale yellow flesh, which becomes dry, crumbly, and not at all sweet after cooking. The more popular dark...

Savory Souffles

To make any of the souffl s below, prepare the All-Purpose Sauce, choose a flavor variation. then bake. To make a souffl ahead, prepare the sauce, add the flavoring, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Then follow the To Bake directions just before putting the souffl in the oven. Serve immediately. Each recipe makes 4 servings. Ail-Purpose Sauce for a Souffl Saut small chopped onion in 3 tablespoons oil or butter until tender. 4 minutes. Stir in Vi cup flour and cook 1 minute. Add 11 lt cups...

Scallions see also Onions

This darling of the onion family goes by other names, such as green onions and spring onions. But true scallions have straight sides at the white base, whereas spring onions or green onions are actually immature onions that will eventually develop a rounded white bulb at the base. To choose Look for scallions with straight sides at the base. These have a milder flavor than immature (spring) onions. The bases should be firm and white, and the tops should be crisp and bright green. To store Keep...

Three Marinades For Salmon

Use any of these marinades to flavor 1 pounds salmon steaks or fillets. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then remove the fish from the marinade. Either bake at 425 F for 10 to 15 minutes or grill over a medium-hot fire for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Salmon steaks are done when they are just barely opaque fillets are done when opaque. Herb-Mustard Marinade Mix together 2 minced garlic cloves, Vi cup each chopped fresh dill and olive oil, 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons white...

Shrimp and Pasta Shell Salad

The saltiness of brine-cured olives is tempered by the sweetness of roasted red bell peppers in this summery salad. Half of the shrimp are ground, adding considerable flavor and texture. This tastes best after chilling an hour or two. 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined cup chopped pitted black olives, such as kalamata, divided V2 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper or jarred pimientos Va teaspoon ground black pepper 1. Place the shrimp in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover with 2...

Puff Pastry

A wonderfully rich and flaky pastry, puff pastry is made by enclosing butter inside a sheet of pastry. Once the pastry is wrapped around the butter, the dough is rolled and folded several times to make many thin layers of butter and pastry. When it is baked, the pastry rises and separates into layers as the steam released from the butter lifts up the thin sheets of dough. Puff pastry makes incredibly luscious sweet and savory baked goods, including tart shells and napoleons. Yeast is sometimes...

To prevent custard fillings from spilling

Put the unfilled pie shell on a rack in the oven, then pour in the filling. To prevent an air pocket in a 2-crust fruit pie Cook the filling (fruit and other ingredients) in a saucepan until the fruit is softened. Drain, if necessary, and pat the cooked filling down in the bottom of the pie shell before covering with the top crust. Bake as usual. To prevent a fruit-pie filling from spilling over Place a large piece or two of uncooked ziti or penne in the pie's center. The bubbling juices will...

To prevent pearl onions from falling apart while cooking Cut an X into the root end with the tip of a paring knife

To remove onion odors from a cutting board Scrub it with a paste of baking soda and water. To remove odors on hands Rub your fingertips on the bowl of a stainless steel spoon under warm, running water. This trick also works with garlic, leeks, and other onionlike vegetables in the allium family. Any stainless steel utensil will do the job. To disguise cooking odors from onions In a saucepan, combine 6 cups water, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 teaspoon ground cloves. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes....

Jerusalem Artichoke

These tasty tubers have crisp, sweet flesh with a flavor similar to globe artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes are not from the Middle East, nor are they botanical relatives of artichokes. They are the root of a perennial sunflower, which is why they are also called sunchokes. IASICS To choose Though available year-round, Jerusalem artichokes are at their best in fall and winter. Look for ones that are firm and smooth without too many hard-to-clean knobs protruding from them. Avoid any that are...

Broadly defined as the hind leg of a pig hams are cured smoked or sometimes both to preserve the meat and add flavor to

ASICS To choose The National Pork Pro-ducers Council grades hams according to the ratio of water to protein. The more protein, the better the ham. If you find a ham simply labeled ham, it has at least 20 percent protein. Ham with natural juices must have at least 18 percent protein, and those labeled water added have 17 percent or less. Stick with bone-in hams for the best flavor and texture. Partially boned hams are easier to carve than bone-in hams, but they have a funny, football-like...

To make out of the roasting pan

Some cooks find it awkward to make gravy the traditional way in a roasting pan with a wide surface area. Alternatively Start the gravy while the roast is cooking. In a heavy saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1 tablespoon flour and stir over medium heat until the flour starts to brown, 5 minutes. Add 2 cups broth chicken or beef, depending on desired flavor , and simmer 10 minutes. Season with V teaspoon salt and teaspoon ground black pepper. When the roast is done, remove it from the...

Fruit Dried

With their dense texture and concentrated flavor, dried fruits have an altogether different character from their fresh counterparts. Enjoy them as a snack, or add them to baked goods and fruit compotes. MSCS To choose Look for plump fruits with a bright, even color. Read labels and avoid any that contain unnecessary additives. To store Transfer to a rightly covered container and refrigerate or store in a dark, dry place. To eliminate sugar crystals on the surface Dip the fruit in boiling water...

To cook poached eggs in advance

Once the eggs have finished cooking, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water, and refrigerate until ready to use. To reheat poached eggs, transfer them to a strainer and lower them into a pot of simmering water for about 45 seconds. FUVN To flavor poached eggs Use milk, broth, tomato juice, or wine instead of BASIC FRJTTATA Heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil over medium heat in a 10 nonstick skillet with a metal or heatproof handle. Add 2 to 3...

To rescue an egg that cracks while being hard or softcooked Add a tablespoon of salt or a teaspoon of vinegar to the

Water to help the white coagulate and stop seeping. Do this only if the egg is seriously cracked. A litde seepage won't hurt anyone. To prevent a green layer from forming on hard-cooked egg yolks This happens when eggs are overcooked, causing the iron in the yolk to react with the sulfur in the white. The best remedy Time the cooking carefully. Also, cool the eggs in ice water after cooking. To rescue hard-cooked eggs that come out undercooked Place the chopped yolks and whites in a bowl, cover...

To rescue cooked eggplant that has a bitter taste Mask with a vinaigrette

BABA GHANOUSH Roast or char 2 medium eggplants. Cool and scoop flesh from skin. Discard skin. Toast Vi cup pine nuts or walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing, until lighdy browned. MS1CS In a food processor, combine eggplant, nuts, V2 cup tahini sesame paste , lA cup lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon salt, and lA teaspoon ground black pepper. Process to a coarse puree, adding lA cup olive oil as it blends. Serve with pita triangles, bread, crackers, or vegetables....

Fuvor To use cobs in vegetable broth Add hps

Y stripped corn cobs to vegetable broth. The bits of corn pulp still clinging to the cobs will add wonderful sweetness to cooking liquids. To flavor frozen corn Brown it in a little bit of butter, olive oil, or bacon fat to allow the the flavor to blossom. CORN CHOWDER In a large saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add 4 chopped shallots and cook 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups frozen corn, Va cup chopped Canadian bacon, 1 chopped garlic clove, Va teaspoon crushed dried thyme, Vi teaspoon salt, and...

Breading Gratin

Used as a crisp topping for casseroles or as a thickener to add body to sauces, bread crumbs are an economical way to use yesterday's bread. Use dried bread crumbs as a coating for fried fish or as a crust for vegetable gratins. Fresh bread crumbs are perfect for lighter crusts such as the classic coating for a roasted rack of lamb. It's a good idea to keep store-bought bread crumbs on hand, but it's simple to make your own. To make dried bread crumbs Use completely dry or stale bread, tear it...

Secrets shortcuts and solutions

Andrew Schloss, Jan Newberry, Maryellen Drisco 11, and Paul E . Picc u i to O 2001 by Rodale Inc. Illustrations by Judy Ncwhousc All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any other information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher. Printed in the United States of America on acid-free recycled paper Cover and Interior...