Author Topic: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade  (Read 10442 times)

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dawnfire

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #75 on: May 01, 2013, 07:35:46 PM »
On the knife thing- TAKE CARE OF YOUR KNIVES!

If you're chopping and want to rake up your veggies/herbs in to a little pile, do it with the flat back of the knife, not the sharp blade. Scraping with the blade of your knife can dull it faster.

Please please please get some kind of storage block for your knives. I keep my good ones in a knife roll, but a block or magnetic strip is great too. Throwing a nice sharp knife in a drawer where it knocks against other knifes and stuff will dull it.

Quote
If you are going to freeze stock, reduce the stock before freezing. Each cube will have more "stock power" and they will take up less room in the fridge. When using, add extra water to bring it back up. If you are in a hurry, just pop the ice cubes in and your sauce or soup won't need to be reduced as much before it is ready (the flavours won't meld as well but, given enough hunger, that is not a problem).

This. Definitely.

If you have a knife block store the knifes blade up as you can blunt the blade putting it blade down.

Luci

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #76 on: May 01, 2013, 10:41:45 PM »
Lettuce for salad from a head of iceberg: I was always told it must be torn to keep it from wilting and getting icky.

I have just found that I can cut a slice off the head with a very, very sharp knife and it keeps just fine.

(Bamming the stem on the counter and pulling out the core is a given. Then I munch on the core for a bit.)

We also know that iceburg isn't all that healthful, but it is a good carrier for tomatoes, celery, carrots and all that other stuff.

RebeccainGA

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #77 on: May 02, 2013, 08:28:23 AM »
My trick, which I share widely, if if you like loin cuts of meat (beef or pork), such as center cut pork chops or filet mignon, buy the whole loin and disassemble it yourself. I get perfect, huge, wonderful pork chops (usually 16-18) and a large loin roast (the end of the loin, where the flesh texture changes and isn't ideal for chops) from a pork loin that costs me about $20. I'm not talking about the little shrink wrapped pre-marinated ones from the grocery store, I'm talking about the huge ones from Costco or Sams' club.

I put a jelly roll pan (a big ugly one that I use for a lot of these kinds of jobs, not for baking) on the counter, drop the loin onto it, slice it into chops about 3/4 inch thick (the pan catches any drips), and then freeze them. At my house, you can always find nice chops in the freezer.

The giant industrial jelly roll pan is also useful for lots of messy things in the kitchen. Mixing meatloaf? Use the pan (you can get a better folding action for incorporating starches, IMO, on a flat surface). Stuffing chicken breasts? Flatten on the pan, then stuff and roll. Making anything sticky? Spray the pan with canola oil and use it to mix things on - even in a bowl, putting the bowl on the pan. No more sticky stuff on the counter you have to scrub like mad - just throw the pan in the dishwasher. Love it!

JenJay

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #78 on: May 02, 2013, 08:41:01 AM »
My trick, which I share widely, if if you like loin cuts of meat (beef or pork), such as center cut pork chops or filet mignon, buy the whole loin and disassemble it yourself. I get perfect, huge, wonderful pork chops (usually 16-18) and a large loin roast (the end of the loin, where the flesh texture changes and isn't ideal for chops) from a pork loin that costs me about $20. I'm not talking about the little shrink wrapped pre-marinated ones from the grocery store, I'm talking about the huge ones from Costco or Sams' club.

I put a jelly roll pan (a big ugly one that I use for a lot of these kinds of jobs, not for baking) on the counter, drop the loin onto it, slice it into chops about 3/4 inch thick (the pan catches any drips), and then freeze them. At my house, you can always find nice chops in the freezer.

The giant industrial jelly roll pan is also useful for lots of messy things in the kitchen. Mixing meatloaf? Use the pan (you can get a better folding action for incorporating starches, IMO, on a flat surface). Stuffing chicken breasts? Flatten on the pan, then stuff and roll. Making anything sticky? Spray the pan with canola oil and use it to mix things on - even in a bowl, putting the bowl on the pan. No more sticky stuff on the counter you have to scrub like mad - just throw the pan in the dishwasher. Love it!

Thank you!! For some reason I have the absolute worst luck with pork chops - they are always dry and/or rubbery. I've tried every cooking style and recipe and they never turn out (except when DH grills them over the fire pit - then they're better than steak!). I seem to have good luck with those large loins, though, so I'm going to try this. Not to mention that it'll be cheaper than buying 6 thick chops at a time!  :D

Moonie

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #79 on: May 02, 2013, 09:20:58 AM »
When making deviled eggs, put the yolks in a ziplock or sandwich bag, add your mayo and whatever else you put in them. Mash everything together in the bag, then snip off a corner of the bag and use it to pipe the yolk into the whites. No mess at all!

Lexophile

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #80 on: May 02, 2013, 11:57:45 AM »
To clean your sink disposal: Throw in some ice cubes and lemon halves. Switch it on, turn on the water, and let it run until it sounds like it's done.

When boiling eggs: Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the water. The shells will slide right off when they are done cooking.

Leftover quinoa: Makes a star addition to a breakfast bowl.  It's a superfood, high-quality protein, and I don't know about you, but when I make it for dinner I end up with tons of it leftover. I pile it up on top of Greek yogurt with some blueberries, almonds, and ground flaxseed.

Salad bank: I have an enormous popcorn bowl with an airtight lid that I use for salad greens. Each week, I buy a large tub of prewashed greens and dump it into the bowl. If you keep the lid on it, the greens will keep for awhile and I can just reach in and grab a handful for a quick salad in a pinch.

Fruit/veggie wash: I fill half my kitchen sink with water and throw in a cup of plain white vinegar when I get home from grocery shopping. Then I dump all my produce in (sometimes in batches if I have a lot) and let it all float around for about 10 minutes before putting it away. All the gunk stays in the water and I can rinse it, dry it, and it's ready to eat. This helps them last longer in storage too and I peel off the little stickers as I put them in the sink so I don't have to worry about that later.

Caring for non-stick cookware: One of the sales staff at Williams Sonoma told us to never, ever use spray-on cooking oil in our non-stick cookware. It will damage the teflon and make it flake off into your food. She also told us to never heat non-stick beyond medium heat, as that will damage it as well. Wait until it cools before cleaning it.

Cooking crab legs: I pounce on crabs legs when they go on sale. To cook them, I wrap themin clean dishtowels that are damp, then seal them up in plastic wrap or a large plastic bag. I pop them in the microwave and cook on full power for two minutes. Perfect crab legs every time.

Microwave popcorn: Expensive and bad for you to boot. I buy bulk popcorn and pop it in a paper bag in my microwave. Just pour about 1/3 cup of popcorn into a plain paper bag, fold down the top a couple times, and pop it on full power for about 1.5 minutes. No nasty chemicals. You can add a little melted butter, salt, whatever you want.

I have more, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head.  :D
(Edited for typos)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 12:00:23 PM by Lexophile »
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Kariachi

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #81 on: May 02, 2013, 12:22:00 PM »
I'm still learning my way around the kitchen, but here are a few things me/my family does that work for us.

1) For people who use House Autry breading: Don't use them for what they say to. Use chicken breading for pork, pork breading for beef and onions (butter, beef, onions, pork breading, thickened on the stove, over rice, trust me), and medium-hot for everything you can think of.

2) When making chocolate brownies from box, remove about a tablespoon of mix and replace with ground coffee. You can hardly taste it, but it makes the chocolate stand out so well.

3) For making biscuits: If you don't care about having a round shape, or don't like rolling dough, just pat it out and cut it in rectangles/squares with a chef's knife. As long as you dust the knife with flour between cuts it won't stick, you don't have to worry about hunting and searching for your cutter, and if the dough isn't evenly thick then you can alter the size of the biscuits to promote even cooking. Also, you don't have to worry about scraps.

4) If you're making a boxed cake to take somewhere, or you think it'll have to sit, add a box of pudding mix. Not only does this make the cake amazingly moist, but it won't go stale. Ever.
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magicdomino

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #82 on: May 02, 2013, 12:29:26 PM »
My trick, which I share widely, if if you like loin cuts of meat (beef or pork), such as center cut pork chops or filet mignon, buy the whole loin and disassemble it yourself. I get perfect, huge, wonderful pork chops (usually 16-18) and a large loin roast (the end of the loin, where the flesh texture changes and isn't ideal for chops) from a pork loin that costs me about $20. I'm not talking about the little shrink wrapped pre-marinated ones from the grocery store, I'm talking about the huge ones from Costco or Sams' club.


I also get the big whole pork loins and chop them up myself.  I like to cut up the less fatty end for stir-frying, freezing a recipe's worth in each quart freezer bag.  In fact, the stir-fy meat is getting used more often than the chops, so the next loin will be cut up accordingly.  I've also ground pork loin and a couple of shrimp with the KitchenAid grinder attachment, and made my own won-tons for the freezer. 

sparksals

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #83 on: May 02, 2013, 12:42:04 PM »
My tips:
- Dampen a paper towel and lie it flat on the counter underneath your cutting board to keep the cutting board from sliding around on the counter.



I use the non-slip rubber stuff for under carpets/rugs.   It works great to put under cutting boards and is reusable and I throw it on the top rack of the dishwasher when it needs washing. [size=78%]I cut it to the size of my largest cutting board, then fold it in half if I am using my smaller board.[/size][size=78%]  [/size][size=78%]I know some other people line their cupboards with them as well.  [/size]





sparksals

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #84 on: May 02, 2013, 12:42:50 PM »
My trick, which I share widely, if if you like loin cuts of meat (beef or pork), such as center cut pork chops or filet mignon, buy the whole loin and disassemble it yourself. I get perfect, huge, wonderful pork chops (usually 16-18) and a large loin roast (the end of the loin, where the flesh texture changes and isn't ideal for chops) from a pork loin that costs me about $20. I'm not talking about the little shrink wrapped pre-marinated ones from the grocery store, I'm talking about the huge ones from Costco or Sams' club.

I put a jelly roll pan (a big ugly one that I use for a lot of these kinds of jobs, not for baking) on the counter, drop the loin onto it, slice it into chops about 3/4 inch thick (the pan catches any drips), and then freeze them. At my house, you can always find nice chops in the freezer.

The giant industrial jelly roll pan is also useful for lots of messy things in the kitchen. Mixing meatloaf? Use the pan (you can get a better folding action for incorporating starches, IMO, on a flat surface). Stuffing chicken breasts? Flatten on the pan, then stuff and roll. Making anything sticky? Spray the pan with canola oil and use it to mix things on - even in a bowl, putting the bowl on the pan. No more sticky stuff on the counter you have to scrub like mad - just throw the pan in the dishwasher. Love it!


What a great idea!!

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #85 on: May 02, 2013, 01:14:39 PM »
3) For making biscuits: If you don't care about having a round shape, or don't like rolling dough, just pat it out and cut it in rectangles/squares with a chef's knife. As long as you dust the knife with flour between cuts it won't stick, you don't have to worry about hunting and searching for your cutter, and if the dough isn't evenly thick then you can alter the size of the biscuits to promote even cooking. Also, you don't have to worry about scraps.

Assuming we're talking American biscuits and British ones, here's something I discovered:  Use a bread pan, make a biscuit loaf.  Buttered slices of biscuit bread are SO GOOD.
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Luci

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #86 on: May 02, 2013, 01:31:16 PM »
3) For making biscuits: If you don't care about having a round shape, or don't like rolling dough, just pat it out and cut it in rectangles/squares with a chef's knife. As long as you dust the knife with flour between cuts it won't stick, you don't have to worry about hunting and searching for your cutter, and if the dough isn't evenly thick then you can alter the size of the biscuits to promote even cooking. Also, you don't have to worry about scraps.

Assuming we're talking American biscuits and British ones, here's something I discovered:  Use a bread pan, make a biscuit loaf.  Buttered slices of biscuit bread are SO GOOD.

I use a pizza cutter for the bolded. When making fudge, I flip the cooled product onto a giant cutting board and cut it with the pizza cutter, to.

Diane AKA Traska - trying the biscuit loaf now! How long to bake at what temp?

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #87 on: May 02, 2013, 01:34:47 PM »
3) For making biscuits: If you don't care about having a round shape, or don't like rolling dough, just pat it out and cut it in rectangles/squares with a chef's knife. As long as you dust the knife with flour between cuts it won't stick, you don't have to worry about hunting and searching for your cutter, and if the dough isn't evenly thick then you can alter the size of the biscuits to promote even cooking. Also, you don't have to worry about scraps.

Assuming we're talking American biscuits and British ones, here's something I discovered:  Use a bread pan, make a biscuit loaf.  Buttered slices of biscuit bread are SO GOOD.

I use a pizza cutter for the bolded. When making fudge, I flip the cooled product onto a giant cutting board and cut it with the pizza cutter, to.

Diane AKA Traska - trying the biscuit loaf now! How long to bake at what temp?

Sadly, I no longer remember (it's been... oh deity, it's been THAT LONG... I need to make some soon).  I inherited my cooking traits from Mom, and sadly she was the kind of cook that never wrote anything down.  I'm better these days.  But I'd start with regular biscuit time and test for doneness, then best-guess it.  That's my plan for an upcoming weekend.  I'm not craving biscuit bread again.  Oooh... and I'm already planning on trying fried chicken soon.
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RebeccainGA

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #88 on: May 02, 2013, 02:17:41 PM »
Forgot one that I picked up at a greasy spoon in Austin, TX - cracker meal on chicken. CRUD MONKEYS!. I take the tag ends of the cracker package (there is always that three or four no one wants to eat) and save them in the freezer in a big bag. I smash them with a rolling pin, and mix a handful into the flour for frying chicken. Add a lot of seasoning (we use 1 Tbsp. of granulated garlic, 1 Tbsp. of seasoned salt, and a couple dashes of cayenne to about four cups of flour and one cup cracker meal, and use as much as needed for the chicken we're making (reserving the rest in bags for another time, BEFORE you roll the chicken in it).

Shallow fried in cast iron, that's the best chicken I've ever eaten. May have to make some tonight, now.

JenJay

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Re: Tricks of the (Kitchen) Trade
« Reply #89 on: May 02, 2013, 02:27:09 PM »
Forgot one that I picked up at a greasy spoon in Austin, TX - cracker meal on chicken. CRUD MONKEYS!. I take the tag ends of the cracker package (there is always that three or four no one wants to eat) and save them in the freezer in a big bag. I smash them with a rolling pin, and mix a handful into the flour for frying chicken. Add a lot of seasoning (we use 1 Tbsp. of granulated garlic, 1 Tbsp. of seasoned salt, and a couple dashes of cayenne to about four cups of flour and one cup cracker meal, and use as much as needed for the chicken we're making (reserving the rest in bags for another time, BEFORE you roll the chicken in it).

Shallow fried in cast iron, that's the best chicken I've ever eaten. May have to make some tonight, now.

My former favorite chicken strip coating called for crushed saltines and instant potato flakes. That was really good! We try to avoid grains now so we use a combo of almond meal and grated parmesan cheese. It's so good that, even if I wasn't concerned with grains, I'd still do my chicken with it!

The saltines/flakes recipe, if anyone is interested - http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-fried-chicken/detail.aspx