Hints and tips in the kitchen

Some hints and tips for the kitchen that I have been collecting in recipe books and e-mails….

Peel a banana from the bottom and you won’t have to pick the little “stringy things” off of it. That’s how the primates do it.

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminium foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simple chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.

Visit the hardware store! Insert a 3 inch nail or a metal skewer into each baked potato before baking. The metal heats up and helps cook the potato from the inside, thus speeding up cooking time. (by the way, I don’t recommend the “nail in the potato” one if you cook them in the microwave ~Kippy) ;)

Reheat Pizza – Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza.

Easy Devilled Eggs – Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up. The same works for piping icing or chocolate.

Expanding Frosting – When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

Reheating refrigerated bread – To warm scones, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Measuring Cups – Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out. Actually, a light dusting of flour does the same thing.

When coating meatballs or any other croquette, put your coating into a plastic bag, put the meatballs inside, a few at a time, and shake them around.

When I have to crush corn chips for a recipe, I put them in a plastic baggie and seal it almost completely. Then roll over it with a can from the pantry, ’til it’s the consistency I want. ~Kippy

If you want cookies to remain soft in a cookie canister, throw a piece of bread in with them. Every few days, replace the bread, because the moisture will be sucked out of the bread and into the cookies. ~Kippy

Older eggs peel easier when boiled than fresher ones do. ~Kippy


Bread Meat

After you’ve breaded a piece of meat for pan-frying (dip in flour, dip in a water-and-egg-white mixture, dip in bread crumbs), spray the breaded meat with a little water from a spritz bottle. The moisture will prevent the crumbs from absorbing too much oil while still preserving that crispy crunch.

—David Burke, David Burke Kitchen, New York

Make a Sandwich

Less is more. Proportion is key, making sure each element balances the next. I like a fresh slaw tossed in a light vinegar for some crunch and some acidity. Throw in the protein of your choosing, bearing in mind the salt that comes with cured or smoked meat. And when is adding a fried egg a bad thing? Butter the outside of your bread, griddle it, and that’s a sandwich.

—Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami

Scramble Eggs

For two eggs, add two tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of heavy cream, season with salt and fresh-cracked black pepper, and whip the hell out of them with a whisk until frothy. Melt some butter over medium heat and cook the eggs, not touching them until they are partially set. Then start some light stirring until they’re almost finished, and turn the heat off. They will finish cooking because the pan is still hot.

—Randy Zweiban, Province, Chicago

Grill Fruit

Start with ripe, juicy fruit with a high moisture content. Lightly brush on all sides with melted butter or coconut milk. Make a dessert rub by combining one cup sugar with one tablespoon cinnamon. Set up your grill for direct grilling — a preheated grate over a hot fire: Brush the grate clean with a stiff wire brush. Oil it with a paper towel folded into a tight pad, dipped in oil, and drawn across the bars of the grate. Oiling prevents sticking and gives you killer grill marks. Dip fruit in rub to coat on all sides, shaking off excess. Grill the fruit long enough to turn the sugar and fruit juices into bubbling, golden caramel.

—Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible; host of Primal Grill (PBS)

Make a Spice Rub

Start with spices that are whole (as opposed to ground) and fresh (as opposed to sitting in your cabinet for three years). Black pepper always goes well with coriander and mustard seed. Cinnamon always goes well with clove, anise, and allspice. Cardamom is usually too strong. Toast spices in a dry pan on the stove over low heat for a couple minutes, then grind them. (You can use a clean coffee grinder.) Then rub it on whatever meat you’re cooking.

—David Katz, Mémé, Philadelphia

Season Meats

Salt draws moisture out, so season just before sautéing meat or fish. If you salt too early, the surface of the flesh will become wet and will not get that nice golden crust. And if you marinate meat, remember to pat dry and season it just before you sear.

—Frank Stitt, Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham

Sauté Garlic

Start with a cold pan, add olive oil, then garlic, and turn burner to low heat. Through the gradual increase of temperature, you’ll infuse the oil with the flavour of garlic while it turns slightly brown.

—Marco Canora, Hearth, New York; author of Salt to Taste


If any more hints and tips get added in the comments, I’ll add them to this post with the appropriate credit and a link if given :)


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