Miscellaneous Cooking Tips

Contributed By: Delma

Need Foamed Milk for Coffee?

Don't have an expensive cappuccino machine? No problem. To foam milk for specialty drinks, fill a glass measuring cup halfway with skim milk. Heat the milk in the microwave until it starts to bubble, then use an immersible hand blender or large whisk to foam it. If using a whisk, rapidly rub your hands back and forth with your fingertips forward until foam reaches the top of the cup.

Buttermilk Substitute

If a recipe calls for buttermilk and you don't have any, mix 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then use!

Heavy Cream Substitute

Out of heavy cream? Light cream can be whipped by adding egg whites.

Storing Eggs

For safe storage, place eggs on a shelf of the refrigerator (not on the door). Each time the door is opened or closed, the temperature changes, which can shorten the shelf life of foods. A carton of fresh eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 weeks, according to the American Egg Board.

Remove broken egg yolk

To remove a broken yolk from an egg white, wet a cloth and dip it into the egg. The yolk will cling to the cloth.

Storing Cheese

Wrap cheese in aluminum foil and store it in the vegetable bin (under vegetables, where the temperature is ideal). The foil is moisture proof, but allows cheese to breathe.

Frosty Mugs

Enjoy beer or root beer? Keep a couple beer mugs in the freezer. For a quick turnaround, swirl ice cubes in a glass or run it under cool water, then place in the freezer for a few minutes.

Add Sparkle to Beverages

Add seltzer water or lemon-lime soda to fruit juice (cranberry, grape, orange, grapefruit, etc.) for a sparkling treat.

Fruit Ice

Tired of watered down beverages? Try freezing juice in an ice cube tray. Fruit ice provides a refreshing alternative to traditional cubes. Try dropping them into iced tea, water and more.

Homemade Croutons

Is your French bread past its prime? Cut it into large cubes, brush with olive oil, rub with garlic and brown in a 400 F. oven to create crunchy and flavorful homemade croutons. Keep a close eye on the bread - it can quickly go from brown to burned.

Keep out bugs

To keep bugs out of your flour and pasta, place a few bay leaves in the container or on the cabinet shelf. (Bugs hate them!)

Bread Foods

Before breading, dredge food items in flour. Dip the floured item in an egg wash (whipped eggs with a little milk), then drain off any excess. With one hand, set the item in a shallow dish filled with your breading. With the other, scoop and pat the breading into place. Get creative with your breadings -- breadcrumbs are fine, but other items can be used. (Crushed melba toast, cornmeal, crushed cereals, etc.)

Measuring Pasta Quantities

Not sure how much pasta to throw in? The National Pasta Association offers the following guidelines:

Perfect Pasta Dishes

For extra flavor, saute al dente pasta in a little olive oil with garlic and herbs before introducing it to a dish.

Reheating Rice

Does your rice dry out when you reheat it? Next time, add 2 tablespoons of liquid for each cup of cooked rice. Cover and heat for a few minutes on the stove or in the oven. In the microwave, cook on high about 1 minute per cup. Fluff it with a fork and enjoy!

Dress Up Pasta Sauce

Don't have time to make your own spaghetti sauce? Try revamping prepared sauces by adding a few ingredients. Here are a few to try:

Heating Tortillas

Tough and chewy tortillas? Try spraying tortillas with water (or running them quickly under the faucet), then sauteing them briefly in a lightly greased skillet over medium high heat.

Edible Toothpick

Try using raw spaghetti instead of toothpicks to secure stuffed chicken breasts or other meats. It's a great edible solution!

No-Mess Hamburger Patties

Making hamburger patties is a slimy job. This tip keeps hands cleaner during the process. Invert a plastic bag, grab the ground beef, form the pattie in the bag, then slide it onto a plate or tray.

Scale a Fish

Scale a fish easily by rubbing vinegar over its skin.

Tame Smelly Trash

Freeze smelly trash items (like seafood, broccoli or melon) until trash day to prevent unwanted smells and visitors.

Keep the Stovetop Clean

Next time you prepare a messy meal, cover the unused side of the stovetop with an upside-down cookie sheet. The cookie sheet will catch most of the mess, and it can easily be tossed in the dishwasher.

Disposal Deodorant

Smelly sink? Next time you zest a lemon, lime or orange, quarter the carcass and put it down the disposal. If you don't have citrus fruits handy, try a little ice and lemon juice.

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Created on ... December 14, 2006