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What's the best hint/tip you found this year?


Pierogi
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We've had the thread about "Recipes that Rocked in 2008" running for a bit, and it's been, well, rocking with its information.

So how about a companion thread.

What is the single best kitchen/cooking hint or tip or shortcut or technique you learned in 2008? The source would be interesting as well.

I'll start....

For me it was to salt your salad greens BEFORE you dress them. Toss the greens and the other ingredients with some salt, then dress them and toss with the dressing. Adjust the seasoning at that point if needed. It makes a huge difference in taste, I don't know why, but it really does.

And for the life of me, I can't remember where I found that little gem. I'm pretty sure I read it in a newspaper article, and I'm also pretty sure that the credit was given to either Judy Rogers of the Zuni Cafe, or Joyce Goldstein of Square One, both San Francisco institutions.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Lay out your phyllo dough on the counter top and cover with a piece of "Press and Seal". You can peal back the cover, grab a sheet and reseal it. Unless you are doing a realy large project it will keep the dough from drying out long enough to get the job done.

Tip compliments of my mother. Thanks Mom.

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That you can use your FoodSaver to vacuum seal canning jars and also store bought jars such as pickles, relish, etc.

Now all my spices are vacuum sealed !!!!

BTW, if you have one of their cannisters, you don't need the jar sealer.

Works great.

Bill

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My version of what she said (she can correct me if she wants) is to do it on high in an open bowl/measuring cup until you start to smell it. With piñon this is 30 seconds or so, and whole almonds around 2 minutes. Works like a charm and I've not burned a nut since.

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My version of what she said (she can correct me if she wants) is to do it on high in an open bowl/measuring cup until you start to smell it.  With piñon this is 30 seconds or so, and whole almonds around 2 minutes.  Works like a charm and I've not burned a nut since.

That's about it. Nuke on high, giving them a stir now and then until they smell good. A big bowl of almonds takes 5 to 10 minutes depending on whether you want them lightly toasted for topping things or almost burnt for bark. Of course it will depend on the power of your microwave.

The hazelnuts I've been toasting over the past couple of days while I've been experimenting with gianduja - about a 1/2 cup at a time - I've nuked for between 2 and 3 minutes.

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Kerry Beal taught me to microwave my nuts...

Ouch! :blink:

As a close friend of The Doc, I know that she is in the process of establishing a new speciality for the Canadian Medical Association - The care and treatment of toasted nuts. :shock:

But the toasting process works wondrously.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Kerry Beal taught me to microwave my nuts for a fast toasting.  Changed my world forever!

I wonder if this would work for spices such as Szechuan peppercorns, etc??

Bill

It works great for toasting spices and for me is much safer than trying to do them on the stove top. I am less likely to burn them in the M/W.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Lay out your phyllo dough on the counter top and cover with a piece of "Press and Seal". You can peal back the cover, grab a sheet and reseal it. Unless you are doing a realy large project it will keep the dough from drying out long enough to get the job done.

Tip compliments of my mother. Thanks Mom.

That's a darn good idea!

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Using my BBQ as an outdoor fridge/freezer( of course this just pertains to Winter climates).  I dont know why I never thought of that.

Gosh, when we lost power for 12 days, my whole back porch became my fridge/freezer a couple of winters ago. Since then, I've kept the tradition up :biggrin: I have a big bench and the seat open up to hold shoes--only no shoes in mine, only food.

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somewhere here I found the suggestion to cut the tendons on your drumsticks before cooking. What a difference! I used to hate the little buggers and now they are one of my favorite tender little morsels.

:shock:

*digging for drumsticks to try this trick*

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Using my BBQ as an outdoor fridge/freezer( of course this just pertains to Winter climates).  I dont know why I never thought of that.

Gosh, when we lost power for 12 days, my whole back porch became my fridge/freezer a couple of winters ago. Since then, I've kept the tradition up :biggrin: I have a big bench and the seat open up to hold shoes--only no shoes in mine, only food.

From someone who lives in a relentlessly warm climate - what do you do with all that "stuff" in your trunk or BBQ or your back-porch when spring comes? Have a giant party to eat it all, or find indoor freezer space in a hurry?

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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Using my BBQ as an outdoor fridge/freezer( of course this just pertains to Winter climates).  I dont know why I never thought of that.

Gosh, when we lost power for 12 days, my whole back porch became my fridge/freezer a couple of winters ago. Since then, I've kept the tradition up :biggrin: I have a big bench and the seat open up to hold shoes--only no shoes in mine, only food.

From someone who lives in a relentlessly warm climate - what do you do with all that "stuff" in your trunk or BBQ or your back-porch when spring comes? Have a giant party to eat it all, or find indoor freezer space in a hurry?

Finding indoor space is top on the list!

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From Tyler Florence, on AOL...

To make a speedy and flavorful chicken broth, add a pound of ground chicken to your bones. The more surfaces, the more flavor, he says. I've got some cooking on the stove right now, only I am using turkey bones with the ground chicken.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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My favorite new trick is The Perfect Poached Egg. See method #4 - the Clingfilm Stampede. Break egg into a ramekin or espresso cup. Fold a large sheet of plastic wrap into a square and drop the egg into your palm in the cling film. Wrap and tie up the ends so you have a little egg-in-a-plastic-bag. Drop egg baggies into boiling water and set timer for 2 minutes 30 seconds. Fish bags out and drop into ice water to suspend cooking. Perfectly round little poached eggs every single time. And the pan isn't even dirty. I've tried every other poached egg method and all I've gotten is an egg white variant of weak egg drop soup. This works like a charm every single time. Bloody brilliant!!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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My favorite new trick is The Perfect Poached Egg.  See method #4 - the Clingfilm Stampede.  Break egg into a ramekin or espresso cup.  Fold a large sheet of plastic wrap into a square and drop the egg into your palm in the cling film.  Wrap and tie up the ends so you have a little egg-in-a-plastic-bag.  Drop egg baggies into boiling water and set timer for 2 minutes 30 seconds.  Fish bags out and drop into ice water to suspend cooking.  Perfectly round little poached eggs every single time.  And the pan isn't even dirty.  I've tried every other poached egg method and all I've gotten is an egg white variant of weak egg drop soup.  This works like a charm every single time.  Bloody brilliant!!

if you put the clingfilm into the ramekin, and break the egg into it, you don´t even have to wash up the ramekin!!

I poach eggs like this all the time. I usually brush the clingflim very lightly with a little oil to make sure the egg doesn´t stick to it.

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Salt your scrambled eggs AFTER cooking them. Makes a big difference in the flavor and the texture of the eggs. I forgot why, though !

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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tried the roasting nuts in the oven with some cashews. went for a single layer of nuts in a plate, the ones in the middle of the plate were burned while the ones on the edge were not browned. what did i do wrong? :(

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