Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grandma Worthy Hints and Tips Food: Tips 1-10

I have a recipe book that my wonderful Grandma Holm made me many, many years ago....through out the years I have added many more recipes, ideas and tips from some of my best known bakers! My Family! Thanks to my contributors Grandma Haley and Rita as well!

Here are only a few tips (10) from grandma knowledge!

10 Hints and Tips for Food:

1. Freezing Berries: To prevent berries from sticking together when you freeze wash them gently, pat dry and lay on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer. Once frozen remove berries and place into desired bags.Hulling Strawberries: To easily hull strawberries insert a sturdy straw through the bottom tip of berry and push it out the top. This will remove the hull and leaves.

2. Avocados: To store halved avocados and prevent them from turning brown, refrigerate them flesh side down in a bowl of water with a little bit of lemon juice. They will keep for a few days. You can also do this when preparing slices of avocado ahead of time for salads or garnishes. To keep guacamole from turning brown, lay plastic wrap directly onto the guacamole.

3. Baking Pastries: When baking cookies, choux puffs, or pastries cases directly on a baking sheet (or just use a pastry sheet), slide a thin palette knife or metal spatula under the pastries to loosen them from the sheet halfway through the cooking time.

4. Ball of Herbs: Put loose herbs into a tea ball and hook the chain over the edge of the pot. Then you don't have to strain the sauce or go fishing for the cheesecloth bag. Another trick if you want to use the cheesecloth bag, tie the bag with long enough string to tie to the pot handle or lid handle. Then you can easily find it.

5. Chicken Roasters vs. Broilers-fryers:
A Roaster chicken is usually a 3-5 month chicken weighing 5-7 pounds. It has a thicker layer of fat, which help baste the bird, as it roasts. They aren't as good for grilling or boiling since the large pieces will overcook on the outside before cooking the middle. Its meat is slightly tougher but more flavorful, which means it benefits from slower cooking of roasting, braising or stewing.
Broiler-fryer chickens are younger and tenderer meat coming to market from 6-8 weeks old and are more suitable for broiling or frying over higher heat. They usually weigh between 3-4 pounds. Left whole they make a fine roast chicken although the parts are smaller and a 4 pound chicken will barely serve four people. They are not suitable for slow cooking methods such as stews or braise since they could dry out more easily.

6. Chili Peppers: When handling chili peppers put your hands in plastic bags to prevent the juices and smell from your hands.

7. Cooling Stock: The easiest way to chill stock is to allow enough time for it to cool in the refrigerator. The fat congeals on top and you can easily skim it off with a flat bottomed spoon. If the stock is warm, skin off as much as you can with a spoon and then use a paper towel. Lay the paper towel over the surface of the stock. Immediately draw it up toward you and away from the stock. Have the trash can handy for the dripping towels. Cool lettuce also works to attract fat molecules. Use it as you would the paper towels.

8. Cutting Cheese Cake: When cutting cheesecake use fishing line or dental floss instead of a knife. Cut it longer than the diameter of the cheesecake. Wrap the ends of the line around your middle fingers, stretch the line and push down through the cake. Let go of the line with one hand and pull through the line staying as close to the plate as possible.

9. Egg Wash: To make an egg wash that is smooth, evenly textured and brushes on easily, add a pinch of salt to one whole egg beaten with 1 tbs. of water. The salt breaks down the protein in the egg white so the wash is fluid. Egg wash can be used for instance to brush on a pie crust.

10. Edible Flowers:
Sweet Flowers: anise hyssop, elderberry, honeysuckle, lavender, lemon balm, rose, scented geranium, violets, johnny jump ups.
Savory Flowers: borage, calendula, chive, chervil, chrysanthemum, coriander, dandelion, day lily, dill, fennel, lovage, nasturtium, rosemary, sage, squash, thyme.
Sweet/Savory Flowers: daisy, dianthus, lilac, pansy.

Happy Cooking~
Bree and J
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