RANDOM TIPS LEARNED OVER THE YEARS (SALLYE)
Maybe you already know them, or maybe if you are a novice cook they will be helpful.
GOOD COOKING, Y'ALL.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Always read the entire recipe including instructions before you start. Check to make certain you have all the tools needed and ingredients available before you start. That way, you won't be surprised and frustrated during the mixing process.
Pecans do not keep for long periods of time, so it is best to store shelled nuts in the freezer.
Buy the expensive lump crab meat when it will be served alone; the less expensive flaked crab meat is fine mixed with other ingredients; the same rule applies to tuna.
Extra hard avocados have been picked too early and will never ripen. They will rot.
To ripen an avocado, place in a paper bag with a ripe apple. Poke small holes in the bag to allow the carbon dioxide to escape.
Red chiles are green chiles that have ripened and dried; most commonly used ground or crushed.
Fresh herbs are not as pungent as dried herbs, so you will have to use more of them. For the most flavor never buy the powdered dried type, buy the leaves and crush them yourself.
Oregano has a natural affinity for tomato sauce.
Curry powders vary in heat. Indian style curry will have more fire than other curries
Add tarragon to the melted butter you plan to serve with seafood
Spices were used in ancient times to retard food spoilage. America was discovered because Christopher Columbus was searching for a route to the Spice Islands.
Mushrooms absorb water; do not wash them. Wipe gently with a damp paper towel. When buying mushrooms, look for tightly closed caps.
The outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage contain most of the nutrients; use as many of them as possible.
Eat your parsley, not only is it a great source of Vitamin A and C and calcium, it is a breath freshener. Do not be satisfied with dried parsley as fresh is readily available year round in markets.
Coriander(cilantro) is a spicier parsley-like herb used extensively in Mexican cooking; also readily available in markets.
Iceberg is the most popular lettuce. However, romaine, bibb, endive, spinach and leaf lettuce have much more nutrients and flavor.
Romaine or curly leaf lettuce make striking “beds” for laying out appetizers on.
Buy only green, tightly closed broccoli bunches. Yellowed tips of buds mean that the broccoli is past its prime. Do not buy if there's evidence that judicial cutting has occurred on the broccoli by the market to extend the “sell” value.
A red bell pepper is simply a more mature green bell pepper. Buy only firm peppers with shiny skins. Once they begin to wrinkle, they will go bad quickly.
Use large eggs in recipes. Small, medium or too large (extra large or jumbo) may ruin your effort.
To make a more tender omelet, use water instead of milk for the liquid.
If you have leftover egg yolks, cover with water and store in fridge; they will keep for 2 or 3 days.
Except when separating the yolk from the white of an egg, always let it come to room temperature before using in your recipe.
Adding cream of tartar when beating egg whites will increase their volume.
Eggs can absorb strong odors in your fridge. Do not place them next to garlic or other highly flavored items.
Always store eggs with the pointed end down.
Always have the water boiling before adding vegetables if you plan to boil them
Steaming vegetables preserves the nutrients that boiling removes.
Sugar, honey or cornmeal increases the action of yeast. Salt retards action, so mix salt in with flour mixture.
For quick rising, turn oven to 140º as you begin kneading the dough. After you have placed the dough in the bread pans, turn off the oven and put the pans inside. The bread should be ready to bake in 20 minutes.
The test for ripeness in many fruits is smell. If the fruit has a pleasing aroma, then it is ripe.
Most of the Vitamin C in Americans' diets come from oranges.
Do not wash strawberries until ready to use. Do not take the stems off until after they are washed.
Avoid buying fruit in a bag; one rotten apple can spoil the whole bag!
Peaches and plums do not ripen after picked. Use within 1-2 days after purchase; they have a short shelf life.