Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Back To The Kitchen

There are times during the year, when being in the kitchen is just NOT where I want to be.  However...if you want to eat, you have to cook.  Oh yea, I know, you could go out to eat, and sometimes that's the answer.  But what is it, is it just me or do I think about those dastardly high prices they are charging in restaurants for only mediocre food are a deal breaker?

The good news, is, that phase left me and I am back in the kitchen.  I'm on an Italian food kick,.  Anything that has tomato sauce or garlic or pasta, seems to make my mouth water.

Here are some hot kitchen tips you might want to try.
1. After opening a bottle of olive oil, fold a paper towel to 1 inch wide and  wrap it around the bottle.  Secure it with a rubber band and those nasty drips won't grease up your cupboard shelf.

2. Some people think to prevent pasta from sticking together after it is drained, it is a good idea to pour a little olive oil on it.  Actually this will prevent the sauce from sticking to the pasta when you serve it.  A better idea is to put a small amount of sauce on the pasta, then serve it.  People can add more if they like (most will) but this will at least keep the pasta from being one gooey clump.

3. When you are searing meat, do not turn or prod it too much.  This will encourage the leaking of liquid in the meat and will prevent you from having the nice, juicy cut of meat you are expecting.  If you must check it for color during the searing process, use a smooth surface tong and gently lift a corner of the meat.

4. Do not slice the meat right after removing from the oven.  When meat is hot, the muscle fibers contract and the juices will ooze out if it's cut immediately.  If you allow it to "rest" 10-15 minutes, the muscle fibers will quit cooking and the juices will redistribute.

5. Do not buy the earnest cut of ground beef.  Nobody likes a chewy, dry burger or meatball.  80/20 is a good combination. Don't worry about the extra fat content, most of it cooks off.

6. Do not add garlic too early in the recipe.  Garlic does burn easily.  That can make it have an "off" flavor. Add it toward the end of the cooking time if you are saut√©ing ingredients.

7. When baking use room temperature eggs and milk. both eggs and milk will trap more air and create a lighter, more tender product.

8. Ever have a "mealy" tomato?  Chances are that came from storing it the refrigerator too long.  A fresh tomato should be used as soon as possible and not refrigerated, if you can help it.

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