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The Quintessential eG Kitchen Tips/Trucs

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I keep all my shrimp shells from peeling raw shrimp in a bag in the freezer.  A five minute simmer in white wine and water and you have a lovely delicate shrimp stock.

I do this too. A lot of times I will make a shrimp stock the same day I peel the shrimp but if not the shells go into a bag in the freezer. I do the same with bones for other stocks.

Yes, I'd like to know that silver cleaning tip, please.

Use a sheet of aluminum foil to line the bottom of your sink or any other large vessel that you want to dip your silver into. Add hot water and baking soda. When you dip your silver item into the water and it touches the aluminum foil the tarnish will be liberated from the silver. The baking soda/aluminum combo pulls sulfur off the silver by a small electrolytic current set up through the "salt bridge". The heat of the water is just a catalyst and makes the reaction occur faster

Please don't do this to any valuable silver! It's a quick way to clean, but it's also a quick way to erode the silver. Your silver will lose weight each time you do this. With erosion, details in the design will blur.

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Please don't do this to any valuable silver! It's a quick way to clean, but it's also a quick way to erode the silver. Your silver will lose weight each time you do this. With erosion, details in the design will blur.

What might be a better way? I have some older silver-plated forks, knives & spoons that accidentally (I had nothing to do with this, trust me!) went into the dishwasher one Thanksgiving and came out, for want of a better word, cloudy. They might not have much monetary value, but they have enormous sentimental value. Can they be saved?

pat w.


I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/

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Please don't do this to any valuable silver! It's a quick way to clean, but it's also a quick way to erode the silver. Your silver will lose weight each time you do this. With erosion, details in the design will blur.

What might be a better way? I have some older silver-plated forks, knives & spoons that accidentally (I had nothing to do with this, trust me!) went into the dishwasher one Thanksgiving and came out, for want of a better word, cloudy. They might not have much monetary value, but they have enormous sentimental value. Can they be saved?

pat w.

I've read that cloudiness results from the heat and/or detergent of the dishwasher. How deep is the cloudy layer, I do not know. I'd consult an expert to see whether any other polishing method might help. Certainly a set of such great sentimental value is worth the effort, and I hope you have good luck. Most certainly silverplate should not be put into any electrolytic solution; else you'll have to re-plate sooner than you'd otherwise have to.

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Good thread. Here are a few tips and tricks I've picked up over the years:

- Save the aforementioned thick rubber bands to hold compression tongs closed. They won't fight with every other utensil in the drawer.

- Buy a cheap paint brush to clean your coffee grinder. Buy another for your spice grinder (and keep the separate!)

- Don't waste you money on one of those stainless steel onion / garlic hand deodorizers. Wipe them in your stainless steel sink. Viola, no smell.

- Freeze stock in ice cube containers. Store the cubes in a ziplock bag for when you need just a bit.

- Season meats on a platter in your sink. No salt / pepper / spice to clean off the counter.

- Freeze a seive before final straining of a cooled stock. The tiny fat particles will stick to the mesh.

- Use a rubber jar opener pad as a garlic skin remover (much cheaper than one of those specialized rubber tubes).

- Use the end of compression tongs as a juicer (you'll notice it's the same basic shape).

- Use a teaspoon to seed and de-rib jalapenos.

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Want to get that ground beef into small, fine  little chunks, like when you make it for tacos?

Start by placing the ground beef into a medium pan.  You dont want the protien to cook too quickly, as it will get tougher and tougher to break it up. Work the meat with the masher, then stir, work it again. This manages to get your ground beef fine ,without jabbing a wooden spoon over and over again.

Thank you thank you thank you!!! This is a problem I always have. I did not realize it was because I was cooking it too quickly. Is there a point to the medium pan?

Ooops. I meant a pan over medium heat so that the protein doesn't sieze up on you quickly.

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Ooops. I meant a pan over medium heat so that the protein doesn't sieze up on you quickly.

Sorry, ditsy blonde moment, now i get it :laugh::laugh::laugh:

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I also freeze the ginger and microplane frozen. There are just two of us here, and using up a hand of ginger takes some time.

If you "store" your hand of ginger in a pot of sandy potting soil, you can have a houseplant and whenever you need a small piece, yank up the entire plant, break off one of the "fingers" (or toes, if it like the stuff I grow) and stick the rest back in the pot.

Florida is a great place to grow ginger. One of my friends, who lives in Naples, has kept two or three plants in an enlongated planter on her deck, going for more than five years.

She even got it to bloom one year, I think it was 2004.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I freeze my ginger too and take it right to the ginger grater. I don't even bother peeling the skin. It's so thin it's negligable to me.

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Good thread.  Here are a few tips and tricks I've picked up over the years:

- Save the aforementioned thick rubber bands to hold compression tongs closed.  They won't fight with every other utensil in the drawer.

- Freeze stock in ice cube containers.  Store the cubes in a ziplock bag for when you need just a bit.

- Use a teaspoon to seed and de-rib jalapenos.

I no longer use rubber bands, I use key rings to keep my tongs closed - mine don't go in a drawer, they stand in a utensil container or hang on hooks. I found some brass ones that don't rust at my local locksmiths and bought a bunch, they are really cheap.

I stopped using rubber bands when one broke when I was attempting to remove it and snapped into my eye.

I freeze stock, seasonings, various other things, some of which stain. I spread a sheet of plastic wrap over the tray, leaving a good overlap. Push down into the tray spaces with two fingers, then fill the sections - the weight will hold the plastic wrap in place after you have filled the first two.

Cover the tray with the extra wrap and freeze.

When frozen, transfer to a plastic bag or a freezer container, plastic wrap and all.

If you are freezing something highly aromatic, you can wrap each cube individually. Cambro containers will contain just about any odor to keep it from contaminating others. Even better, use a vacuum sealer.

Regarding celery.

I simply trim the celery, top and bottom, clean and separate the stalks and place it in a tall pitcher fill with water, cover and place in the fridge.

I do the same with lovage, including the leaves. (homegrown)

Ditto carrots that have been scrubbed, topped and tailed and split into quarters or smaller sticks.

They stay crisp and nice.

I change the water daily. I have a couple of the Tupperware 1-gallon pitchers.

My grandma kept celery like this in one of her tall, crystal, straight-sided vases that was not used for anything else. Carrot sticks were kept in a shorter and wider vase that happened to be Waterford cut-glass that had been chipped long before I was born and therefore suitable only for the kitchen(the chip was extremely difficult to find).


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I use empty cardboard tubes - like the ones that paper towel comes wrapped around - for storing tongs and keeping them closed, or for taming the cords that go with appliances (that electric skillet I rarely use) when they're in storage.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I don't understand about the ice cream maker bowl.  Do you mean you're storing the empty bowl in the bag in the freezer?  Why use a bag? 

I keep my ice cream maker bowls in the freezer in grocery bags. That's because I don't necessarily want to have to find a pair of gloves when I get the bowl out of the freezer right before I use it. It's easier to grab the bag by the handles, so I'm not touching the bowl itself, because my fingers don't get so cold. (And it's also easier to store stuff inside the bowl in the freezer, since I'm always looking for freezer space efficiency.)

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Use your oven effectively. If you are going to cook one thing, add more things that can be used later.

I have a feeling that in coming decades this kind of thinking is going to be a big deal. rising energy prices are going to effect food costs and (obviously) the cost of running an oven. it will be interesting to see how the changing energy picture effects cooking habits and even what's on the menu.


Notes from the underbelly

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What tiny tips do you have to share? (And trust me on the celery thing!)

another- if you buy bunches of fresh herbs, snip the bottom stems and keep them in a glass of water- they keep longer and can make for an attractive display in your kitchen.

(why do I feel like I should be in "Hints From Heloise"?)

Sincerely,

Dante

I've gotta second Dante on the herbs trick. I've got some thai basil and regular basil that I bought over a month ago that is still thriving this way. They've actually grown roots so I'm thinking about planting them. Any tips on transplanting so that they don't die once I put them in soil? My thumb is not as green as I would like and I'm afraid that they'll die as soon as I plant them.....


A truly destitute man is not one without riches, but the poor wretch who has never partaken of lobster. - anonymous

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The only thing tricky (and it's not very) about growing basil, is that it doesn't like cold temperatures. Once the overnight temperature starts dipping very much below 55, the plants must be brought inside. You should water every day in extremely hot, dry weather; every-other day in extremely warm weather, and other than that, you can water about every 3 to 4 days. When it starts to bolt (grow the seed/flower thing), pinch those off so that the plant won't dedicate any energy to seed production.

It's been my experience that basil that's over a couple of months old (still growing in the pot) starts to taste like gasoline. Has anybody else had this happen, and if so, what do you know about it?

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I've got basil in 3 places right now, all the same age. Fullsun basil went 'off' first, then the lots-of-sun basil. The partial-sun basil is still sweet and good. The leaves change shape too - the 'off' tasting stuff has narrower pointier leaves. I'm thinking of moving it to more shade and seeing what happens with new growth.

The weather here is nice enough to allow me to grow a giant basil shrub if I take care on cold winter nights, but if its going to taste bad, I'll put frequent reseedings into my trucs file!


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I freeze stock, seasonings, various other things, some of which stain.  I spread a sheet of plastic wrap over the tray, leaving a good overlap.  Push down into the tray spaces with two fingers, then fill the sections - the weight will hold the plastic wrap in place after you have filled the first two.

Cover the tray with the extra wrap and freeze. 

When frozen, transfer to a plastic bag or a freezer container, plastic wrap and all. 

If you are freezing something highly aromatic, you can wrap each cube individually.  Cambro containers will contain just about any odor to keep it from contaminating others.  Even better, use a vacuum sealer.

Hey!!! That was going to be my tip! Man, it just sucks whenever I learn I'm not as smart or original as I think I am... :sad::laugh:

I actually sent that tip to Fine Cooking, but never heard back from them.

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Another question: what's the best way to keep green onions (scallions) fresh as long as possible?

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Another question:  what's the best way to keep green onions (scallions) fresh as long as possible?

Wrap paper towels around them and store in a zip loc baggie in the veggie compartment of your fridge.

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Celery update: the very same head I mentioned when I started this topic is hard, crisp, and fab in it's foil suit. Even the leaves look fresh. Hey, it's a saving of 1.69 every two weeks! No octupi.

All of you are brilliant. Merci.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Chop hard cooked (I almost said hard boiled, but I have learned a thing or two from this place) with your pastry blender.

Great for egg salad or tuna salad. You can have it put together faster than you can tell about it.


sparrowgrass

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Chop hard cooked (I almost said hard boiled, but I have learned a thing or two from this place) with your pastry blender.

Great for egg salad or tuna salad.  You can have it put together faster than you can tell about it.

I use a pastry blender to chop up the cooked egg yolks for deviled eggs. Makes quick work of it.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Good thread.  Here are a few tips and tricks I've picked up over the years:

- Save the aforementioned thick rubber bands to hold compression tongs closed.  They won't fight with every other utensil in the drawer.

- Buy a cheap paint brush to clean your coffee grinder.  Buy another for your spice grinder (and keep the separate!)

  - Freeze stock in ice cube containers.  Store the cubes in a ziplock bag for when you need just a bit.

  - Use the end of compression tongs as a juicer (you'll notice it's the same basic shape).

- Use a teaspoon to seed and de-rib jalapenos.

I do all of these. I also use the teaspoon to peel ginger. The skin scrapes off very easily with the spoon and you don't waste as much ginger.

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My mother passed this one on to me last week: Add a bit of water (~1-2 T.) to your eggs when you beat them for a fluffier omelette.

As for basil, I put mine in a vase full of water and add a bit of fertilizer once the roots get going. The roots grow like crazy with the extra food, and you can generally pot the plant pretty successfully.

I like the celery tip -- I'll have to give that one a try next time I have a bunch!

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When you're buying cherry or grape tomatoes by volume, as in a pint, you should pick the smallest tomatoes. The smaller they are, the greater total amount of tomato you get. If you pick the big ones, you lose. Plus, most of the time in my experience, the smaller ones are better eating.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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