Cooking tips for new or experienced cooks
How many times have members of your family mildly bickered over wanting to have the middle piece of cake? You know, the part that has no crust.
I solved that for baked goods with a crust by cutting around the edge just inside the crust area. The cut is maybe one-eighth of an inch wide and it makes every piece crustless, just like any middle piece. As an added benefit, I let the crusts dry out for a few hours and the result is a biscotti effect, perfect for dunking.
To make stew, I use a heavy pot yet when I have it on a stove burner, there is a bit of sticking to the bottom of the pan which can lead to scorching. One of the benefits of stew is to let it cook on its own without having to monitor it. To achieve that level of non-attentiveness, I learned that once the stew was assembled, I could put it in the oven to cook. The indirect heat cooks it at the same rate as on the stove top without sticking. The same technique can be used for ham and beans or other concoctions.
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If you use an old bread recipe you will see that the directions tell you to scald the milk then let it cool. That was necessary before pasteurization but no longer. Instead heat the milk to room temperature or a bit warmer and continue with the recipe. It saves a bit of time and does not affect the quality. Recipes for yeast bread products say to let the mixture rise, punch it down and let it rise again to develop the flavors. But did you know you can achieve quite satisfactory baked goods by just letting the dough raise one time before forming it? I’ve had to do that once or twice when I was pressed for time. The difference in lightness and flavor is mostly discernable by the baker.
Beef and noodles or chicken and noodles are favorites and they are simple to make. The tender, homemade noodle recipe I use for one batch is: 1 egg, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons milk and one cup of flour. Beat the egg in a bowl, add salt and milk, stir. Add flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. This recipe can be doubled. Roll out on a lightly floured board as thin as you wish, then cut into strips. When my mom used to make noodles, she would roll them out, cut them and let them dry for a few hours or a day before using. Again, I cut out the wait time. I drop them into the hot broth as soon as they are cut. It also eliminates having noodles strung around the kitchen as they dry. A ratio of one chicken to four batches of noodles is what my family prefers. You can look on the internet for how to prepare the chicken or beef.
Try some of these ideas and see if your life goes a bit easier. Bon appétit. ❖
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