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Topic: Your favorite tip/trick/ingredient?  (Read 2545 times)
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« on: April 19, 2011 04:53:51 PM »

Lately I've been loving Better than Bouillon. I have it in Vegetable, Beef, and Chicken. It's a kind of bouillon paste, much easier to use than bouillon cubes which are sometimes hard to unwrap and dissolve, and these are lower in salt. I've also stopped buying stock because they are so tasty. Saves money and time!

What is your newest fave ingredient/tool/whatever for cooking?
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2011 05:40:42 PM »

We buy meats in "family" size containers. When we get them home, we immediately split the package up in to more appropriate meal sizes for us and freeze them in a marinade. Then, when we get up in the morning, we can grab a frozen pack of marinated meat, put it in the fridge and poof, dinner is well underway for that evening!

Also, I'm a firm believer now in herb gardens. I grow and dry a lot of my culinary herbs. My kids also love to go out on the deck just to pick a mint leaf to chew on. Cheesy
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2011 05:44:58 PM »

Ooh yum, what kind of marinades do you use?
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2011 03:01:03 AM »

Let's see...

-teryiyaki and pineapple juice w/ loads of ginger (great on chicken!)
-red wine, oregano, garlic (fresh), pepper, and marjoram (best of red meats)
-italian dressing ....LOVE this on brisket! We smoke it and then slap some BBQ on it for a quick char....YUM!

DH also does a tequila lime marinade from of those TOP SECRET cookbooks that is tasty too. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2011 10:31:30 AM »

i LOVE steak seasoning, when i can get it (am in England) i'll have it with everything
aside from that, honey, it fixes a multitude of sins while cooking and honey roast veg are just the bees knees
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011 07:12:49 AM »

Take a teaspoon of flour, cup your hand, put the flour into your cupped hand, and now you know what a teaspoon looks like. Do the same with the tablespoon, and a half teaspoon. Then, take your measuring spoons along with all the other stuff in your kitchen you don't use to the thrift store for a happier, less cluttered life!
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Haloofsoil
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2011 04:53:30 AM »

My favourite ingredient is a tough one... I'd probably say tinned chopped tomatoes; they're rediculously cheap, they last forever and you can pretty much do anything/put anything with them.

My favourite trick that I've picked up recently is frying cabbage with a little sugar and salt; it takes the edge off the cabbage so it doesn't taste as strong.
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Linnybelle
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2011 06:49:17 AM »

My mom taught me to measure most things by eye, and for liquid tablespoons, she taught me the second counting rule.  So for however many tablespoons you need, you just count out that many seconds while pouring in a steady stream.  It confuses my fiancee a lot, but I never measure small amounts of liquid any other way.
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2011 12:59:55 PM »

Haloofsoil, I agree.. my favorite ingredient is canned diced tomatoes... especially since the last fresh tomato I purchased cost $2.87!!  I buy the kind with italian seasoning and mexican style for some kick.  I use it for pasta salad, to chunk up canned sauces, drained for tacos or salads, pizza/calzones, soups, dips, dress up leftovers.. they usually are on sale 3/$1 so I always stock up.
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AimeeRose
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2011 12:18:35 PM »

My favorite things are, unfortunately (sp?) more expensive than I am willing to buy right now in this economic tight spot.  But for sake of argument they are:

1. Vanilla "Paste"- this has a thick syrup consistancy.  Fabulous deep vanilla flavor and has the little seeds in it.  I used it for all manner of baked goods, ice cream and more!

2. Smoked sea salt (flake type)- Yummy on fish, eggs and Mac'n' Cheese! Use as a garnish on these dishes, not as the main flavoring agent.
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2011 09:19:00 PM »

Ooh those both sound good!

I was cleaning out my baking cupboard the other night and found some tahitian vanilla beans I got a few years ago. Mmmm.
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011 06:48:40 AM »

This is a rub for a beef roast:

Mix equal parts black pepper, garlic and rosemary

Add olive oil and soy sauce, enough to make a thick paste consistency

Rub all over the outside of the roast.

Here is the trick for the most amazing roast ever:

Place your roast directly on the middle oven rack with a drip tray on the rack underneath. No pan, no nothing. This makes all the sides get crispy and wonderful, and for some reason it stays juicy and tender more than a pan method does. You need to cook it at 425 for the first fifteen minutes and then at 375 for the rest of the time. Seriously, I was skeptical at first, but now I never do it any other way, and I haven't found any restaurant beef that can hold a candle to it.
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2011 08:31:06 PM »

Ooh that sounds great! How long do you cook it at 375? Or I guess it depends on the size of the roast...
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« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2011 04:09:15 AM »

we buy whole chicken, cut up the different parts and debone what needs to be deboned. freeze the parts that will be used for later. all the "scraps", we boil it in water to make chicken stock. if we're making a recipe that requires chicken to be boiled first (my mom has a recipe for chicken and corn soup that needs boiled chicken meat, shredded), we add it to the stock too.

saves money and makes real chicken stock.

if skin and some fats were added to the stock, stick it in the fridge. when it's cold, scrape off any fatty stuff that hardens on the surface. this also works for any soupy dishes if you'd want to reduce the fats in the soup.
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« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2011 05:14:27 PM »

Ooh that sounds great! How long do you cook it at 375? Or I guess it depends on the size of the roast...

Yeah, I mostly guess! But here is the recipe I got it from. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roast_beef/
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« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2011 06:21:17 PM »

Thanks!
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2011 03:45:58 AM »

My favourite ingredient is mushrooms.  You can have them so many different ways with different things.  I thin-slice them to add into omelettes, tiny button mushrooms taste great sauted in butter, straw mushrooms in stir-fry, big portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese and a tiny bit of bacon or sliced into soup...
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2011 03:28:57 PM »

Mmm I love mushrooms! I'm adding some to my pasta tonight, yummy! Pureed cooked mushrooms make an awesome thickener for a soup if you don't want to use cream!
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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2011 07:23:22 PM »

Mmm I love mushrooms! I'm adding some to my pasta tonight, yummy! Pureed cooked mushrooms make an awesome thickener for a soup if you don't want to use cream!

AND they add just a tiny hint of extra flavour.  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2011 08:01:17 PM »

Definitely!
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« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2011 06:14:39 PM »

I buy MSG-free, vegan bouillion cubes. They're easy to cut so you don't need a full one if you don't want to. I use them for everything!

Freezing all leftover tomato paste flat in a ziploc bag so you can break off however much you need, whenever.

Lentils, dried. They last forever, are nutritious and can be very tasty. Lend themselves to flavors nicely.

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). Plenty of protein and a blank canvas for all sorts of savory treats. More shelf-stable than tofu as a meat replacement.
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« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2011 06:54:58 AM »

With every meal I usually have a few leftover fresh bits - chopped carrots or onion, tomatoes, a handful of cooked rice, pinch of fresh basil...I keep a freezer bag going, then when it's full enough I dump it all into a pot, add some chicken or beef broth and have a delicious freezer soup. It turns out perfect every time.

Don't bother trying to blanch everything before it goes in the freezer. Keep it wrapped as tight as you can, but don't obsess about freezer burn unless it gets to be 6 months old or something. Use it up within a couple months and it will be OK.
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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2011 01:27:28 PM »

My favorite cupcake tip--when making cupcakes from a box mix, if you only make 18 instead of 24 you get a much nicer high cupcake. Also, sometimes I like to just make 9 at a time. I weigh out half the contents of the box, add half the water, oil, and eggs called for, and seal the rest up tight for another use. This works if you have a smaller gathering, don't want too many cupcakes lingering around, and I've also done this when I had cupcake orders from friends for multiple flavors.
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« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2011 12:49:47 PM »

Dried beans/pasta/rice are awesome.  I made a huuuuge batch of chili and only used half of two bags of beans.  And by huge I mean we ate it for three days and have 3 portions frozen for future dinners. (Enough to have a bit left over for lunches the next day)  Plus, you can add beans/pasta/rice to just about anything to make it more filling.  I have a 15 year old brother who is in love with Ramen.  I sneak some veggies and a bit of rice in while he's not looking and he's usually good for almost two hours after that.  I don't think he even notices that it's there.  He just kind of swallows it all whole. I also like to make soups a bit soupier than most like it and then eat it over rice.  I guess it gives you the choice of having a light meal or a heavier meal.  Oh, and of course they are awesome because as long as they stay dry, they don't go bad like... Ever.  I've had this super huge bag of rice for like, three years now.  (I believe it was like 13 pounds or so?)  It's great to have when we run low on food (Yeah... Lazy about going shopping.  Too many people. >.<) 'cause we -never- run out of seasonings and I don't think we'll be running out of soy sauce any time soon either. (Bulk is <3)
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« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2011 09:08:05 PM »

Favorite tip:
If a dish doesn't taste right, add salt (before the point where you taste "salt" and after the point where the flavors brighten up. NEVER put salt in soup until you're just about to serve it!), lemon juice (not a lot, just a touch of acidity will add incredible depth to a dish sometimes. No lemon? Add a touch of vinegar and just heat whatever you put it in until you can't smell the vinegar anymore), and failing those two things: a touch of cayenne (will chemically stimulate your tastebuds making one taste the food better).


Ingredient:
Garlic.
Add garlic to anything and it'll instantly taste better.
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