Sunday, 16 March 2014

SOME ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TIPS

SOME ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TIPS


1. Peeling Ginger with a Spoon
Ginger can be tricky to peel with all its bumps and uneven shape. Rather than using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, reach for the spoon. Scrape it against the skin and it’ll come off easily, following the same throughout will minimize the wastage

2. Using an Immersion BlenderWhether it’s puréeing soups directly in the pot, getting rid of ugly lumps in my cheese sauce, or any gravy or curry, the immersion blender is the tool for the job. It is very easy to use and requires very less space.Much easier to clean than a counter top blender or food processor, no need to transport hot ingredients from a pot to the blender jar, and the ability to work with even small quantities of ingredients,

3. Freezing the Leftover Liquids/Stocks.Freezes wine in ice cube trays and store them in the freezer, ready to be pulled out one at a time and added to pan sauces and stews, saving you from having to open a whole bottle every time a recipe calls for some wine.Similarly, if a large batch of stock is left, freeze it in convenient portion sizes in the freezer—ice cube trays and half-pint deli containers are great for this—then transfer them to a plastic freezer bag to be pulled out an used whenever you need fresh stock. This can also be done with tomato purees, bechamel sauce, or gravy bases.

4. Freeze the Things as Flat as Possible.One more freezer trick, freeze things flat and stack them to reduce the space. Whether it’s soups, stews, or ground meat, the flatter and wider you can get them, the faster they’ll freeze and defrost, which not only makes you more efficient, it also improves the quality of the food (the longer something takes to freeze, the more cellular damage it will suffer).When freezing raw meat, soups, and stews, try to remove as much air as possible from the bag, lay the bag flat, and use your hands to work the contents into as flat and even a shape as possible.When freezing vegetables, cut them into pieces and blanch any green vegetables. Place them on a large plate or sheet tray spaced apart from each other and freeze them solid and later transfer them to a plastic bag and store in the freezer.

5. Defrosting Meat on Aluminum TraysThe fastest way to defrost meat is under a cold running tap. But if you want to save water and speed things up a bit, place your meat on an aluminum sheet tray or skillet. Aluminum is a great conductor of heat and will draw energy from the surrounding environment into your frozen meat much faster than a wooden cutting board. Defrosting time comes down by about 30 percent this way. It not only helps defrost meat but anything which is frozen.

6. Slice Avocados/Mangoes in their SkinsTo slice avocados for salads or guacamole, split them in half, remove the pit by whacking it with the heel of your knife and twisting it out, then slice it directly in the skin using the tip of a paring knife or chef’s knife. While scooping it out with a spoon, the slices will be ready. This not only saves time but also gives proper slices and makes less mess around the working table.


The same can be done with mangoes, just slice them along the seed and the same procedure to be followed.

                         

7. Buy Pre-Peeled GarlicNow a days, pre-peeled garlic is easily available in the market. Buying a packet of these not only saves time, but sometimes the taste also differs and is also very cost effective.


8. Use a Scale for BakingThere are two reasons to use a precise scale when baking: accuracy and efficiency.Using volumetric cup measures is extremely inaccurate for compressible foods like flour. Depending on your scooping or sifting method, a cup of flour can weight anywhere between four and six ounces. That’s a difference of 50 percent! With a scale, on the other hand, it is known that the cup of flour is exactly the same time after time, giving a better, more consistent results.A scale will also save clean up time. Rather than using different cups to measure out every ingredient, just place a bowl on the weighing scale, and measure directly into the work bowl.

9. Partially Freeze Meat Before CuttingSlicing meat to grind or cook in a stir-fry can be tricky even with a sharp knife.
To make it easier, place the meat in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to stiffen it up.

10. Use Egg Shells to Remove Egg Shells. If by mistake the egg shells falls in the bow, take the empty half of an egg shell, it is the best tool to extract stubborn bits of cracked shells that have ended up in the bowl.








11. Keeping the Knives SharpHaving sharp knives is not only safer (the knife is less likely to slip off a vegetable and into your finger), but it just makes cooking so much more pleasurable when the knife can fly through the slicing, dicing, and chopping tasks. Even with a sharp knife, it is important to hone the blade by stroking it across a steel to align any microscopic dings and bends before each use.A blunt knife is more dangerous compared to a sharp knife, there are more chances that the blunt knife will slip and hurt the hand or leg.


12. Saving the Parmesan RindsSave the Parmesan rinds (or any hard cheese rind) after the cheese is finished and store it in a sealed bag in the freezer. It can be used to add intense flavor to broths, soups, and stews by adding it to the simmering liquid for 20 to 30 minutes.


                                  


13. Dont Throw the Rice/Pasta Water.After cooking rice or pasta, dont throw the water away. The water contains the starch from them and can be used to thicken up sauces, gravies and much more.

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