Cooking tips

Searing

in

Searing is a cooking method that uses high heat to capture the natural juices and flavor of a cut of meat or fish. It can be used on its own or in combination with other cooking methods, such as roasting or braising. Keep heat medium-high to high throughout the searing process. It's a smoky process, so don't be alarmed by a smoking pan or the setting off of a sensitive smoke alarm. If you turn down the heat, you will hamper the searing process.
Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy-bottomed saute pan. Pat dry and season whatever cut of meat you are using, such as a chuck roast. When the oil is just beginning to smoke, add the meat to the pan. Once the meat has been set down in the pan, it is very important not to move it until it has developed a rich brown crust. Lift the meat with tongs and turn it onto another side once it has been suitably seared on the first side, and continue creating crusts. Crusts should be created even on the edges, which may have to be seared by holding the cut of meat upright with the tongs. When the meat is properly seared, it will be completely crusted and brown on all surfaces and rare on the inside.

How to Choose Shrimp

in

Tiger Shrimpi - Mild flavor, with a sweet taste and a crunchy texture.
White Shrimp - Mild flavor, with a slightly salty, shrimpy taste and firm texture. Great for salads and stir-fry.
Pink Shrimp - Mild to medium flavor, with a medium texture. Perfect for shrimp cocktail.
Browni Shrimp - Full, robust flavor, with medium texture. Best when used for full-flavor dishes like gumbo or for frying.

White Sauce

in

For instant white sauce, blend a cup each of softened butter and flour and spread it evenly in an ice cub tray. Freeze, then cut into 16 cubes and store in a plastic bag until you want to make a sauce. Then heat 1 cup milk and 1 cube, stirring until the cube is melted and the liquid is warm.
To prepare white sauce at the right consistency, remember 1-2-3. For each cup of milk use 1 tablespoon of flour for a thin sauce, 2 tablespoons of flour for a medium sauce and 3 tablespoons of flour for a thick sauce. Use 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine for any thickness.

seasonings - Usage Tip

in

Always season your food while you are cooking. The seasonings work while the food is cooking and will not be the same if you add it at the table. And, always salt your meat before cooking will not become tough - it will bring out the juice and flavors.

Water Sauteing

in

Carrots, potatoes, broccoli and other 'meaty' vegetables can be water sauteed as a quick and flavorful change to boiling and steaming. Water sauteing first uses steam to soften the vegetable and then direct heat and oil to brown it. Place a non-stick saute pan over a medium flame. Add a sliced clove of garlic, some red pepper flakes, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and enough water to submerge the garlic. Let the mixture boil until it totally evaporates, and the garlic and pepper begin to saute in the oil. A mild garlic and pepper flavor remains in the oil and coating the pan. Then, add the vegetables, sliced carrots for instance, and enough water to partially submerge them. Bring the pan back to a boil, and cover and simmer for a three to five minutes. The steam will make the carrots tender. Remove the lid and turn up the heat to let the water evaporate. The tender carrots will begin to saute in the oil. Sautei until slightly caramelized. The mild garlic and red pepper will enhance the flavor of the beautifully browned and slightly crisp carrots. Be creative by trying other vegetable and seasoning combinations.

Shallots

in

The Latin name for shallot is Allium Ascalonicum. The name refers to Ascalon , an ancient Palestinian city where the shallot is thought to have originated.
The flavor is a pungent blend of onion and garlic. Their color can vary
from pale brown to rose, and the flesh is off-white and barely tinged with green or purple.
Shallots burn easily because of their high sugar content. For this reason, saute briefly over low to medium heat. When using raw minced shallots in salad dressings, lessen their pungency by reducing the juice; wrap the minced shallots in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze the shallots so the cloth absorbs some of their juices, then add the shallots to the recipe as directed.
Shallots will keep for approximately six months if stored in a cool, dry location.

Shortening - What to Use

in

Did you ever wonder what to use when a recipe calls for shortening? Shorteningi is usually used in making pastry, dough and batters. You may use butter, margarine, salad and cooking oil, solid vegetable fat, such as crisco. You may also use drippings, but remember this may make a difference in the flavor of your pastry. Do not use fat scraps. Can turn Rancid easily.

Sauteing - Basic Techniques

in

Cooking with a small quantity of fat or oil at a high temperature is known as sauteing. It is a simple technique that maximizes flavor while minimizing cooking time. First, place a saute; pan on a high heat and add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. The oil allows even heating and prevents sticking while the high temperature browns the food, quickly sealing in the juices. A fat or oil that can withstand high heat, such as clarified butter or canola oil, is essential. When the oil is hot, place the food in the pan on its most attractive side. Do not overcrowd the pan because the temperature will drop and the food will not brown properly. After the first side has browned, turn it over and brown the other side. Do not turn the food more than once or twice because this will hinder flavor creation. Sauteing is most effective with fish and thin cuts of tender meat. Thicker pieces would burn before the inside was cooked, and so it is necessary to decrease the heat after the initial browning. Cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the food and personal taste.

Saffron

in

Saffroni is the dried, bright red stigmas of the flower Crocus sativus, which is a relatively easy-to-grow perennial. It lies dormant all summer, then pushes its purple blossoms up through the mulch just as other plants are succumbing to frost. Each blossom offers up to three scarlet stigmas. Plant the bulbs in summer and harvest the stigmas in fall. A starter supply of about 50 bulbs costs about $30 and will produce about a tablespoon of the spice the first year. However, each year more flowers will grow, and therefore you'll get more of the spice. Ultimately, your investment will pay off. Fresh saffron threads can be used
immediately for cooking, or they can be dried and stored. To dry them, place on paper towels and leave for several days in a warm place. Then transfer them to an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry place.

Salt - How to Store and Use

in

To prevent salt from clogging in the shaker, keep 5 to 10 grains of rice inside the shaker.
If you have over-salted a dish, try to save it by adding a teaspoon each of vinegar and sugar to the dish and simmer for a short while. This may save the dish.
Slices of raw potato will absorb extra salt. For a stew or soup, you can try adding thick slices of potato. The potato will attract and hold some of the excess salt and can be removed before serving the dish.