October 2011 Tips

To access the past hints please click on the link, Archives Tips

Cooking Tips

Here is a selection of hints that I think are really useful. These were in the magazine, Cook's Illustrated.

Sometimes if it is difficult to remove a cake from it's container, if it has been out of the oven for a while. By carefully running the cake pan over low heat on the stove, the grease that was spread on the bottom of the pan, melts. It is then easy to flip the cake out. This method may be used for flans, creme caramels and other food. Just be careful that you do not have the heat on a high temerature.

Use your pizza cutter to quickly and efficiently cut small size pieces of French Toast, waffles and pancakes for little kids.

Masking tape is a good way to quickly write the date, as well as the contents of the containers, that are placed in the refrigerator.

Use a clean plastic bag to hold both grater and cheese. Place the grater in the center of the plastic bag. From the outside of the plastic, take hold of the cheese and grate. This way you are grating cheese with clean hands and prevent bits of cheese falling around. I assume the same can be applied to grating carrots and so forth.

Fresh ginger can often be used several times, as most recipes call for small amounts. To keep them fresh, peel and wash ginger, then make small slices and keep in a zip lock bag in the freezer. When needed, remove the amount you need and put back the rest in freezer. As the pieces thaw, it is very easy to mash.

Use clean sweat bands around the middle of oil bottles to prevent messy pantry shelves. You may also used a thick wad of paper towel held with a rubber band. Then throw this away when dirty. I have found that keeping oil bottles in plastic baskets, keeps the shelves clean, but the baskets do get oily with the drips.

I love this hint and look forward to using this the next time I need to to speed up the bread making process. Use a microwaveable neck wrap, the type that is used to relieve aches and pain. When heated in the microwave and wrapped around the container of dough, it provides enough heat to reduces the rising time of the dough by half.

If you are transporting cake or other food, try lining the box, or other carrier with non-skid shelf liner. It will prevent the contents from sliding into the walls of the box. Another reader uses the shelf liners under her cutting boards. This prevents the board from slipping and sliding. When not in use, they can be put away.

Russet potatoes are best kind, for potato salad. They absorb dressing better than other potatoes and the starchy texture makes a rich salad, with slight crumbs. It is best to add the vinegar while the potato is still hot.

Tips From Heloise

I loved this hint. To clean brass, just use Tomato Sauce/Ketchup . Rub ketchup on the surface, then take it off with a damp clean cloth, Buff until dry. I tried it and it worked!! I did apply some vinegar to stubborn stains. But overall it does a wonderful job of cleaning brass. The next time you shop,buy the cheapest brand of ketchup, if you have a lot of brass to clean. One word of caution: do not use ketchup on lacquered brass, this only needs a damp soft cloth and no cleaners or polish should be used.

Wipe down a picnic table with vinegar when outdoors. It helps to keep the flies away.

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