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Topic: Favorite Cooking "Secret"?  (Read 616 times)
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kelleys
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« on: April 19, 2009 12:58:52 PM »

Since this is the board for recipes and tips, why not share some of our handy tips and secrets?  Some of mine:

I've stopped buying brown sugar, I just add molasses to standard sugar; a tsp or so to a cup for light brown, and twice that for dark, though you can adjust to your taste. 


I often use herbal tea bags as impromptu seasoning, especially for rice dishes.  I just toss in a bag or two with the rice, adding salt if I want a savory dish.  Flavors like Orange and Spice and Lemon Chamomile work great.  When I make rice pudding, Celestial Seasonings has this awesome herbal chai called Bengal Spice. I use that along with coconut milk - best dessert ever! 

And speaking of rice...Whenever I've made a dish like roast chicken or pork or any such thing that has bits of caramelized meat or breading stuck to a pan, I get that pan really hot (usually just place it right on a burner if it's metal,) deglaze with a little white wine or chicken broth and scrape off all that yummy goodness, then toss with some cooked egg and rice, and some veggies if I have them.  Add soy sauce, and you guessed it, fried rice is ready for lunch tomorrow! 
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Selnith
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2009 01:14:32 PM »

i like to mix a little honey with my dark soy sauce to ease the saltiness

when baking, beat you butter as much as you can before adding anything else to help make your cakes light and fluffy

also, finish your ommelettes off under the grill, that way you can't break them by accident
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Daymoth
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2009 10:15:37 AM »

I would have never thought of using tea to season rice. I'm definitely going to try that!
Also the tip on the meat pan is making me hungry!! Tongue
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morrigan_le_faye
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009 06:19:18 AM »

My hot tip is:
Use a tiny little bit of cinnamon powder to finish your tomato spaghetti sauce. I brings the right drive in it!
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Selnith
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2009 06:21:40 AM »

ooh yea, or a squeeze of lemon juice as you're cooking your tomatos to really bring the flavour out
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hollydaze
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2009 06:41:59 AM »

My tips:

I never buy buttermilk; just use the vinegar (couple of tablespoons) and regular milk substitution to make sour milk. 

I always substitute applesauce for oil in any cake recipe, and hate when I run out and actually have to use oil.  Then the cake tastes really oily to me. 

One Christmas I was making truffles and didn't have any wax paper for cooling them - I wiped the crumbs off one of those bags used to line cereal boxes and used that instead.   It worked great.  I may never buy wax paper again, unless I want to use it for something crafty. 
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2009 09:44:21 AM »

all the tips mentioned are great, i do some of those too!

here are mine:
- a spoonful of cocoa powder to red chillies.
- a bit of cream of tartar when whipping egg whites to a stiff foam (make sure the bowl and beaters are free of oil and not plastic).
- you don't need high heat to brown food in a pan, medium heat is fine, just let the food sit there a bit longer and don't keep tossing it around.
- cream cheese should always be softened to room temperature before making cheesecake, a pan of hot water in the oven with the cheesecake prevents cracking.
- to thicken a sauce/soup, you can add a few spoons of flour (or cornstarch, use less); these actually can clump when mixed into hot liquids so first dissolve them in cold water.
- flip pancakes only once, they're ready to flip when you see a lot of bubbles rising to the top.
- never overmix muffins or biscuits or they will be tough, lumps are okay!
- old ovens have uneven heat distribution and lose a lot of heat when opened, putting a pizza stone in while it preheats will slow the preheat time but result in a more even temperature (learned this from alton brown!)
- watch alton brown's Good Eats show, he will teach you a lot about cooking. =)
- add a bit of oil to boiling water before you blanch veggies leaves them looking nice and green (my family does this all the time).
- salt your pasta water after it boils, otherwise it takes longer to boil; always salt before the pasta cooks or else the pasta won't absorb the salt.
- when making an omlette: if the bottom is cooked but the top is still very runny, lift the edge and let the extra egg run to the bottom of the pan - this will speed up cooking time (i personally love runny eggs but my bf likes them crispy).
- i buy sticks of butter for baking when they're on sale, then keep them in the freezer until I need them, just plan for extra defrost time; same for shredded cheese: i buy in bulk, portion them into ziplock baggies and keep them frozen.

hope these help, i listed so many because i'm really bored at work.  Roll Eyes
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