Interest in all things DIY is rising. With this, comes a great deal of advice about old-world foods you can make at home like people used to. Baking bread at home is certainly nothing unusual, but what about yogurt or butter? Well, unless you have a lot of time on your hands, yogurt may not be your, well, cup of yogurt. Butter, however, is surprisingly simple to make and takes up much less time. The question, then, for those who want to make butter at home is, should you buy a butter churn or not?
Many recipes call for room-temperature eggs. If you want to fry your eggs, you will find that it works much better to use room temperature eggs rather than cold eggs. As well, for cakes and other recipes, room temperature eggs combine better with other ingredients such as butter or shortening. Also, cold egg whites will not whip up to as high a volume as room temperature eggs. If you're making a souffle or a meringue, this could be crucial. So, when a recipe calls for room temperature eggs, don't ignore the instruction and use eggs straight out of the refrigerator. But, if your eggs are cold and you don't want to wait for a long time letting them warm up, what do you do?
When using oil for frying, you need to have your oil temperature dialed in pretty well.
Without a candy or fat thermometer, this can be challenging. There is, however, a pretty good way to test the temperature of your oil to within around ten degrees Fahrenheit or five degree Celsius, using nothing more than an ordinary piece of white bread.
Whenever I see professional pizza makers putting their pizza into an oven, it just slides off the peel as pretty as can be. When I make pizza at home, which I often do, I always find it hard to get the pizza to slide off my pizza peel without messing up the shape of the pizza, or potentially even ruining it. As well, some of the toppings might fall off, etc. One problem is the pizza peel itself, or whatever you are sliding the pizza off of. My pizza peel is a fairly rough wooden one. That is not exactly conducive to sliding a flat thin dough off of, especially one weighted down with toppings. But at the same time, a smooth metal one may not be any better, as there is more surface area making contact with the pizza dough.
After asparagus is cut, it goes bad fairly rapidly. There are several easy ways to tell how fresh asparagus is in your supermarket produce section. Follow these guidelines to insure that you buy the freshest asparagus available.
Now and then, we want to place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, for one reason or another. Often, it is simply because we know that what we are cooking is going to have messy spillover, and we want to make clean-up easier.
You may have noticed that it can be a bit of a pain to get a sheet of foil to lie flat. You push one end down, the other end pops up. I know this isn't exactly the most monumental problem, but it is annoying.
What to do? How can you get the foil to lay nice and flat on the pan?
Oysters are great to eat (for some at least) but getting them out of the shell can be a pain in the butt. If you don't know how to open the shell, you end up tearing up your hands, or even slicing your hand open, and messing up the succulent oyster inside, as well.
So, how do you shuck an oyster safely and effectively? Here is how to do it if you don't want to end up with a trip to the emergency room for some stitches.
Before learning how to make your own coconut milk, it may be helpful to understand just what coconut milk is. There are some confusing and overlapping terms used to describe products that may seem similar to coconut milk, but that are not actually the same thing. First, then, I'll provide a little background, and further information.
Those new to avocados, if they try to peel one, after several seconds of struggle, will invariably ask, "How are you supposed to peel this thing?!"
The problem is that the flesh is soft but the peel is firm.
It is difficult to peel the fruit without mangling the flesh, and at the same time the slippery soft texture makes the avocado quite difficult to hold onto while you are peeling it.
Chocolate syrup is exceedingly easy to make at home, not to mention cost-effective.
To make chocolate syrup, you don't really need chocolate, you only need cocoa and sugar.
This means with a few basic ingredients and some cocoa on hand (which lasts quite a while in your cupboard), you can make chocolate syrup whenever you want it.
Chocolate syrup is nothing more than a simple syrup with cocoa, and some vanilla for flavor.
Your homemade chocolate syrup will last as long as store-bought chocolate syrup such as Hershey's, if stored in a tightly close container in the refrigerator.
Follow the easy formula below, and add to the recipe to create flavors you like.
Idea? Chocolate syrup with a cayenne kick! Below is also a simple chocolate syrup brownie recipe.
The insides and even the outsides of stainless steel pans can develop white, cloudy spots, like the well-used All-Clad® saucepan shown below.
These spots come from mineral deposits left in the pan after boiling water, and the white spots can come from both salt and/or calcium deposits. It may help to make sure you bring water to a boil before you add salt.
Stainless Steel's Best Friend
If you want a general cookware cleaning product for taking care of stains on your stainless steel and aluminum pots, as well as to clean many other surfaces such as Pyrex and even ceramic cooktops, you can do no better than Barkeeper's Friend. Safe to use on pots and very effective at removing discoloration from stainless steel without scratching. Barkeeper's friend will also remove the stains that some folks call "rainbow stains" from your stainless steel pots, the almost translucent streaks of pink to blue that form on stainless steel cookware.
Other Stainless Steel Cleaning Solutions
There are many things that can damage the appearance of stainless steel, and some things that can actually damage the steel itself, but unless you're a real stickler, the appearance of your pans is no big deal.
However, after mineral deposits are "baked on," an automatic dishwasher or routine washing will not always remove white spots. Bon Ami and some elbow grease will remove them, or scrubby sponges with cleaning soaps already in them, but the easiest way is to use a little vinegar and a plastic scrubby.
Vinegar is acetic acid, which makes a very good cleaning solvent, and is strong enough to dissolve those stubborn mineral deposits off the pan.
Many tomato-based recipes like sauces or salsas, call for tomatoes to be peeled, but if you've ever tried to remove the thin, well-adhered skin from a tomato, you probably found it quite difficult to do with mangling the tomato.
Fortunately, there is a time-honored chef trick to make removing the peels from tomatoes easy. As well, this method will work for peaches and apricots, both of which are about as difficult to peel as tomatoes.
I will include a good video of the method from foodell.com, below, but the basic steps are as follows below. Keep in mind that plum tomatoes can often be peeled without using this method, as the flesh is firmer. It is usually reserved for "round" tomatoes or firm tomatoes. If you don't know whether your tomato is a firm variety, and you don't want to remove a bunch of the flesh while peeling them, it's advisable to go ahead and use the steps below.
The usual way to speed up the ripening of green bananas is to put them into a paper bag. This will speed up ripening a lot, and you will probably have a ripe banana by the next day or so. To speed it up even more, put a ripe banana in with the green ones, or an apple. I recommend the apple, since ripe bananas in a bag can get mushy and messy. Apples give off more ethylene gas than ripening green bananas, so this will ramp up the ripening process. However, if you only have unripe bananas and you want to make banana bread like right now, don't worry, there's a trick for that.
It has happened to all of us. We buy a head of celery, throw it in the crisper (how ironic), forget, or just neglect, to use it, and, when we decide to make some chicken salad — we love some celery in our chicken salad — we discover the celery is limp, rubbery, and saggy. Can it be rescued and brought back to it's former crispy state?
Many recipes that call for nuts or seeds specify toasted nuts or seeds. What this means is that you are expected to have bought the nuts in a raw state (not roasted) and toast them yourself. Toasting helps bring out the flavor of nuts or seeds, making it deeper and richer. Toasting, in essence, makes nuts taste more nutty.
The reason toasting does this is because of chemical reactions that take place, just like they would if the nuts were roasted. It brings oils to the surface, and also initiates the Maillard browning reaction of sugars and proteins. As well, it darkens the color and makes the nuts or seeds more crisp. If the nuts are slightly stale, toasting will freshen them up! In fact, even if the nuts or seeds have already been toasted, or roasted, it will help to toast them a few minutes yourself, to bring out their flavor and freshen them up in case any staleness has begun. There are two basic ways to toast nuts, and the method you choose will probably depend on the amount of nuts you need.