Son Of Kitchen Secrets: My Best Tip (Part Ii) - The Kitchen Garden: Fresh Herbs and Flavorings Blog at - 218563

The Kitchen Garden: Fresh Herbs and Flavorings

Son of Kitchen Secrets: My Best Tip (Part II) 
Jan. 21, 2011 8:56 am 
Updated: Apr. 5, 2011 4:49 am
Due to the great feedback (over 200 tips in one week) I received from the Best Tips blog, I decided to continue it.  I'll work on combining all tips in categories when I get my house back in order.  Many thanks to all who have taken the time to contribute and I'm looking forward to seeing more. 

For those of you who are visiting this blog for the first time, feel free to add any tip that will make life and cooking in the kitchen more pleasant (or out by the grill). 

Maybe there's nothing new under the sun, but this proves to me that I'm not a know-it-all!

Many thanks in advance & All the Best

Oh, and the tip that got the most interest and comments is the wooden spoon trick... read on!
Sunset on the Frying Pan
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Have Spices Will Travel
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Marvel's Best Sous Chef Steve
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Jan. 21, 2011 10:45 am
Hi, a small thing but to thicken a sauce that is cooking e.g bolognaise, chilli etc. Thoroughly mix some plain flour in a little cold water, no lumps. The slowly pour into the sauce, stirring constantly until disappears. Sauce thickens easily. But never add too much or flour will taste sauce. Cheers.
Jan. 21, 2011 10:55 am
When buying aluminum roasting pans at holiday time, always inspect them for tiny holes before purchasing!
Jan. 21, 2011 11:07 am
If you use recipe cards, stick them in a baggie before getting them to your cooking site. If anything splashes onto or spills on the recipe, just wipe off the baggie, and you can still follow the recipe! Use a sleeve protector if your recipe is on a full sized sheet of paper.
Jan. 21, 2011 4:48 pm
To cook bacon, line a rimmed cookie sheet or roasting pan with tin foil. Lay strips of bacon flat on foil and chill well (2 hours+). Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. The bacon will cook evenly and not shrink.
Jan. 21, 2011 6:04 pm
When you buy rolls or donuts or cinnamon rolls or any sweet like that, usually with us the last one or two usually end up more hocky puck then donut. Just put it in a large plastic bag and throw in the freezer. Keep doing this until you have a bag full. then break them up in small pieces and use them as the bread for your bread pudding. I have used dried maple bars, apple fritters, cinnamon rolls, crossiants for bread pudding and it was awesome. Just be sure to let them sit of ahile so soften and absorb the liquid.
Jan. 21, 2011 9:17 pm
Oh, my tip for the day is when you beat egg whites, beat up 2/3 of them until they are very stiff peaks (almost dry), then add the remaining 1/3. The beaten batch won't collapse and the additonal whites with produce a glossy, firm texture
Jan. 22, 2011 5:35 am
Hi simple tip to peel tomatoes. Make a big cross with a knife on bottom of tomato, Place in bowl, pour over with boiling water. Leave a minute or so. Pour out water, skins should have shrunk. Peel easily. Cheers.
Jan. 22, 2011 8:29 am
MK: I didn't read them all so this might be a repeat. When I make hamburger patties, I place a sheet of waxed paper on the countertop for easy cleanup.
Jan. 22, 2011 8:48 am
I like to fry hamburgers at home once in a while. But I don't like it when they shrivel up and are too small for the buns (not that I eat the bun, too many carbohydrates). I make my patties very thick, and take my index finger and put a hole in the middle.
Jan. 22, 2011 9:10 am
I love this blog! My tip for cleaning pots and pans with baked on grime is to add hot water and a splash of dishwasher detergent or one of the individual packets of the detergent to the pan and let it soak overnight. All of the gunk lifts right off, and it works every time!
Jan. 22, 2011 9:13 am
When I make hamburger patties, I put a portion in one of the cheap sandwich bags and then pat into a pattie--hands and everything else stays clean (I hate the feel of the hamburger on my hands --and if freezing, I just leave the pattie in the bag and stack in the freezer. Then when ready to eat just remove qty needed from the freezer and they're not all stuck togeger
Jan. 22, 2011 9:40 am
Quick Cleaning Tip: Slip old socks over hands, or a fluffy car wash mitt, spray them with a little dusting product, and dust away with both hands, if you want! Turn sock or mitt over when soiled. If fine crevices in furniture, try dusting with a small paint brush.
Jan. 22, 2011 11:44 am
I had a small baking business when my kids were small and to separate the eggs for my chiffon cakes I used an egg cup. Break the egg into a saucer place the cup over the yellow and holding in place pour the whites into the bowl with no fuss.
Jan. 22, 2011 11:58 am
instead of pealing, scrub potatoes quick and easy with a bbq grill brush.
Jan. 22, 2011 1:36 pm
If you get a minor kitchen burn blot the area with pickle juice to take away the sting
Jan. 22, 2011 3:46 pm
To have fluffy rice every time, slightly brown rice in dry pan before adding water or broth. Comes out fluffy every time. Actually improves the food value by making it easier to assimilate. Blessings.
Jan. 22, 2011 5:48 pm
If you have a light bulb that won't go in the socket, check to feel if the metal is rough. If so, take a fine emery board and sand the rough areas down, and it will screw right in without any trouble.
Jan. 22, 2011 7:00 pm
Marvel, I tried the wooden spoon trick this past weekend, and it worked like a charm. Who knew? Great blog, saved as a weblink. Thank you!
Jan. 22, 2011 7:31 pm
Especially for new cooks: when you grate fresh cheese, wash the grater as soon as you have finished. Dried cheese is a real pain to get off.
Jan. 22, 2011 7:57 pm
If you have a recipe that calls for sweet butter, but only have salted. Put butter in two cups of lukewarm water and knead with you hands to expose and dissolve the salt. Remove the butter, rinse in cold water, place in cloth and ring water out. Refrigerate to firm or use.
Jan. 22, 2011 11:20 pm
Great Blog! I haven't read the 1st issue of these wonderful tips so please forgive any duplication. The best best tip I have is to read the the WHOLE recipe through before you begin. ALL the way through. Doing so will reward you in many ways. Here are a few benefits: 1) You will gain a much better feel for the recipe. Isn't that the part many chefs find exciting? 2) Better estimate the time it will really take to prepare and serve, and any steps that you can do ahead. 3) Identify any ingredients you only think your have in your cupboard, avoiding that mad last limit dash to the grocery store. Many great recipes turned into disasters and a total waste of food, not to mention a waste of time.
Jan. 23, 2011 8:31 am
Here's a DON'T tip: Don't use an immersion blender to mash potatoes unless you want paste! I thought it would be sure to produce nice smooth mashed potatoes. WRONG! The worst part is, I forgot the disastrous results and did it twice!
Jan. 23, 2011 9:11 am
When trying to handle a hot turkey (as in cooking breast side down for 1/2 the time and turning it over) or when trying to take it from pan to platter, place plastic food bags over your oven mitted hands. All the grease will go onto the bags to be discarded and the plastic food bags will also block some of the heat.
Jan. 23, 2011 10:27 am
If you need extra counter space when making cookies, pull out a drawer, and set your cookie sheet on it. You can get your cookies on the cookie sheet easily!
Jan. 23, 2011 12:19 pm
I roll out all my cookie doughs, such as sugar cookies etc. on Powdered sugar instead of flour. The cookies do not dry out as much by doing this. Just makes them a bit sweeter!!
Jan. 23, 2011 12:20 pm
I use a peanut butter jar lid lined with plastic wrap to make Hamburger patties.
Jan. 23, 2011 12:25 pm
Storing mushrooms, remove plastic wrap on container, fold up one paper towel to fit top of container, place on top, place another unfolded paper towel over top, use a rubber band to secure paper towel, store mushroom container upside down in fridge. Your mushrooms will last so much longer than in a paper bag. I have had mine last up to two weeks.
Jan. 23, 2011 2:40 pm
This site is better than "Good Houskeeping".
Jan. 23, 2011 3:18 pm
When making mayonnaise you need to incorporate the oil gradually, put the oil in a spouted container and hold more than a foot above the bowl, this will produce a thin stream of oil.
Jan. 23, 2011 5:43 pm
when boiling any type of noodles add a couple of tblsp. of butter or margaine to the kettle and the boiling noodles will not boil over.
Jan. 23, 2011 5:59 pm
when making a breakfast with potatoes try cooking them for half the time recommend in the micro wave.then take out and chop or slice makes for nice brown and faster cooked spuds. i dothis for breakfast cassroles toohen out of frzen hash browns..
Jan. 23, 2011 6:01 pm
forgot to say half time for micro wave is about 5 to 8 minutes depends on microwave
Jan. 23, 2011 6:03 pm
save left over mashed potatoes in the freezer for a fast start to potato soup.
Jan. 23, 2011 6:17 pm
anyone have pick eater on the veggie for?try sneaking them in quick bread or cakes sweet potatoes in a spice cake works well so does beets in a chocolate cake .sounds fun but they don't even know they are there. I have even done butternut squash into an orange cake no one knew just keep saying very moist good cake.another is using a mini food processer for carrots,red peppers and onions in any tomatoe based dishes gives a slight sweet from carrot but the onion is so small no one notices them.Have done child care for picky eater ... even used yellow sweet potaoe in pot roast with the other spud no one knew(husbandsaid good very good then told him what he ate..Me grinning at it.
Jan. 24, 2011 6:14 am
When setting up buffet style, a small baking sheet or 9x13 dish fits well across the sides of my double sink. Can place a dish there or all the bottles of condiments. Extra space.
Jan. 24, 2011 6:18 am
To clean a dirty microwave fast - put a measuring cup of water inside; heat on high for a few minutes and the steam will make the cooked on food sofr and wipe right off.
Jan. 24, 2011 6:21 am
More uses for cookie cutters. Use a favorite shape to cut bread, lunch meat & cheese for sandwiches. Use one to lightly press (do not cut through) into bread before toasting & it will leave the design. Mix a drop or two of food coloring into softened butter to paint the toast (ex- red for hearts, blue & red for trucks). Always delight the kiddies.
Jan. 24, 2011 9:04 am
Here's a tip from Maguerite (current What's Cookin' chef). When browning mushrooms, don't stir them until they take some color, after that you can stir so all sides get color.
Jan. 24, 2011 10:36 am
Hi, this is re Cilantro. Cheers. Coriander is the Britsh name (and a few others for your cilantro) Basically, it is an annual plant from which people use the leaves etc for cooking, mainly in mexican and asian cooking. It is delicious. Leave it growing and seeds will appear. they are also used for cooking. Crushed seeds make ground cilantro spice. Simple. You can freeze as said in ice cubes. it is perfect for use in any thing. I hope this helps. cheers. As a growing plant say like parsley, if you cut the stems and put in sugared water, changing the water with sugar every few days, it will keep for at least a week, not in fridge please.
Jan. 24, 2011 11:05 am
I have truly enjoyed reading your blog!! Some of the tips I knew but learned many new things. Will keep reading and contribute when I remember one that has not already been mentioned.
Jan. 24, 2011 12:40 pm
If you happen to get an oven burn from a pan,oven rack etc. simply use a paper towel soaked with some Vanilla Extract and dab on the burn - presto no more pain and the burn heals twice as fast...tip from my welder son!!
Jan. 24, 2011 8:37 pm
The key to a light Irish soda bread is to have a "wet" dough and work quickly. The initial rise from the baking soda starts once it hits the buttermilk. Too much mixing and jostling will flatten the bread.
Jan. 25, 2011 8:52 am
Great Blog. I also freeze many leftover items to use later. Tomato paste in 1 Tbs. cubes in ice cube trays. extra lemon juice etc. Hadn't thought of wine. what a great idea. will implement this p.m.I also freeze left over mashed potatoes to use in soups.
Anne C. 
Jan. 25, 2011 10:09 am
My trick that I don't know if it was mentioned: When your brown sugar hardens, put it in a ziplock bag with a slice of bread. Softens it every time! Also, I would like to view the first blog, how do I find it?
Jan. 25, 2011 10:22 am
When rinsing veggies before storing place rinsed veggies in a clean towel and spin them in your washing machine on a spin cycle. It removes the moisture that spoils the food faster. Place spun items in a baggie and store in refrigerator. Foods last longer
Jan. 25, 2011 10:57 am
This is a great blog. I have a tip. When you feel that your milk is going bad, just boil it and add a teaspoon of lemon juice to it. This will split the milk. You can use a fine cloth to separate the solids from the liquid. The solid can be pressed for a couple of hours to make yummy unseasoned cheese. The liquid can be added while kneading dough to make bread to make it softer.
Jan. 25, 2011 11:29 am
when icing a cake, first dust of crumbs and apply a very very thing layer of icing. Wait about 15 minutes until the thin layer hardens, then ice the generously. The first, thin layer will trao any crumbs that didn't get brushed off and it will allow the thick layer of icing to "stick" to the cake. It's much easier to get a smooth, clean iced cake this way
Jan. 25, 2011 11:31 am
Also, if you are making cupcakes and want a fondant icing look, just put your regular icing in the microwave for a bout 30 seconds, stir up the now liquid icing, and dip the cupcakes. Once they dry, they will look like they have that smooth, fondant finish
Jan. 25, 2011 11:44 am
- If you're trying to get a yeast bread to rise, and it's just not warm enough in the kitchen, you can speed it up with a microwave. Put a clean, damp tea towel over the top of the bowl and put it in the microwave on 50% power for up to 5 minutes. I live in a cool place, and I also will put the bowl of dough right above the dishwasher, then run a load of dishes and "heat dry" them. There's some heat and steam that comes through that makes my dough rise better! - When you're peeling potatoes or another vegetable, you can put a large strainer in the bottom of the sink to catch all the peelings. It makes cleaning up a lot easier. - A pizza stone is great for making your own pizzas or heating up frozen pizzas. It is also great for baking bread on, it makes the crust really crispy. I leave mine in the bottom rack of the oven, and it regulates the temperature of the oven better - the stone gets hot, and then releases the heat while the oven is cycling cooler. - An oldie but goodie: if you make bacon, save the grease afterwards in a (clean) glass jar or tin can. You can then use the grease anywhere you would use oil for frying. It makes really good scrambled eggs! Also, lard isn't as bad for us as the health experts have led us to believe, it's not hydrogenated. - Cast iron pans are great for cooking. They last forever and are non-stick with proper care, won't give you teflon poisoning, and can go in the oven too. - If you're making a pot of hard boiled eggs, a tablespoon of vinegar in the water will prevent any cracked eggs from oozing out. There will be a little bit of egg like a scar where it was cracked, but you can still use it for deviled eggs! - If you want to make whipped egg whites but don't want to separate all those eggs, you can use a carton of liquid egg whites. They're sold next to the cartons of eggs in the grocery store. Just make sure that you get real egg whites, without any spices or added egg yolk. "All Whites" is the brand I use. There's usually a measurement exchange on the side of the carton, but mine is 2 Tablespoons egg whites = 1 egg white. - Label all your spices when you get them. I put the date and the name of the spice on top of the lid with a little painter's tape. This makes it easy to see what the spice is from above, and when it is really old. (Most ground spices & herbs are good for about a year, whole spices for 2.) Old spices can taste off and won't have the same punch that fresh ones have.
Jan. 25, 2011 11:54 am
Store leftover tomato paste in zip lock style bag. Flatten out to remove the air and zip shut. Lie bag flat on counter and score your finger in a grid pattern to separate paste. Freeze flat. Break off one piece at a time as needed. No more dirting ice cube trays.
Jan. 25, 2011 11:58 am
Need a small amount of garlic onion or bell pepper sauted? Put in the microwave in a mug with a little oil for a minute or so and the veggies or garlic will be softened. I use this method to soften the garlic and onion for meatballs and meat loaf.
Jan. 26, 2011 12:43 am
Hi, my tip is to put brown sugar in the freezer. It doesn't dry out and you only have to defrost it for a few minutes.
Jan. 26, 2011 7:52 am
Got stale chips? Put them on a cookie sheet and throw into a hot oven for a few minutes. Crisps right up!
Jan. 26, 2011 8:07 am
If coffee filters stick together and are hard to separate into singles, use a rubber finger tip,the type used in offices or an old rubber glove finger.Just one swipe with your finger and the filters come apart.
Jan. 26, 2011 8:48 am
Use inexpensive (dollar store) shower caps to cover your bread as it rises. They fit 9 x 5 pans perfectly. Turn inside out to dry and re use. They was easily as well, hang to dry before storing.
Jan. 26, 2011 11:04 am
I freeze ginger whole and simply grate to use it after scraping off skin.
Jan. 26, 2011 12:26 pm
Shower caps can also be used to keep your scale's bowl/receptacle dust-free between uses.
Jan. 26, 2011 4:26 pm
One of my tips is after I cut up a onion I put leftovers in a glass canning jar that way it keeps the fridge from getting smelly. I also use canning jars to store homemade soups in the refrigerator,they use up less space
Jan. 26, 2011 7:16 pm
Here's my tip of the day to keep food from sticking, when frying fish (or grilling) be patient and don't move it until it is crisped, when cooking meat do the opposite, move it when you start frying.
Jan. 26, 2011 8:47 pm
I keep my favorite recipes on hand all the time. I tape them to the inside of my kitchen cupboards. They are out of the way and easy to read also they don't get food on them. Best of all, I don't have to try to find the recipes.
Jan. 26, 2011 10:42 pm
Don't remember where I read this, but storing celery in aluminum foil extends its life in the fridge. Wrap the dull side next to the celery with the shiny side out.
Jan. 27, 2011 12:36 am
When shredding or grating cheese, especially if is a softer type, put it in the freezer for at least half an hour, but don't freeze it solid. Your cheese will grate/shred faster and easier without crumbling.
Jan. 27, 2011 10:14 am
keep your plastic wrap in the freezer and it won,t kling to itself when using....
Jan. 27, 2011 11:30 am
When cutting slices of cheese from a block of cheese, keep your eye on the block of cheese and not the slice. Your slices will be much more even and exact...
Jan. 27, 2011 11:33 am
I always buy bone in chicken breasts, and whole wings with the tips. It takes but a minute to debone the breast,or cut the wings into protions, and you have the bones to make stock. I also freeze the leaves from clelery stocks and throw the frozen leaves into my soups, or any thing that you want the flavor of celery in.
Jan. 27, 2011 11:36 am
In the south we cook vegetables with ham hocks. When I buy ham hocks I boil them all at once in a large pot covered with water until they are almost tender. I then cut the meat up and store a little meat with as much broth as I will need to cook one meal of either greens or peas such as black eyes. This ham hock broth gives vegetables tremendous flavor and I have eliminated the time involved in precooking the meat. Now I can cook these vegetables in a quarter of the time.
Jan. 27, 2011 11:37 am
Oh, I freeze the containers of ham hock and broth then thaw in microwave before using in vegetables.
Jan. 27, 2011 11:42 am
If you have oversalted something, throw a peeled potato in it will draw out the excess salt and the potato may be disposed of in the end. Depending on what it is, sometimes I peel and dice the potato and leave it in the dish.
Jan. 27, 2011 12:13 pm
Love your blog! Another simple way to prevent pasta from boiling over is to spray a little cooking oil spray (Like Pam) on top of the boiling water before or after adding the pasta.
Jan. 27, 2011 5:03 pm
When the oven is to be used, plan to prepare several baked items, to make optimal use of the oven being on.
Jan. 27, 2011 9:52 pm
I have tried to grow a lemon tree in most of the places we have lived because I love to use lemon juice and zest when cooking many of the dishes I cook. I have been unsuccessful in growing a lemon tree where we live now, as the local fauna keep on eating it. I have lots of friends with lemon trees, however, and when they give them to me I freeze the lemons. When I need one I just zap it in the microwave for one minute. Be careful when cutting it though, because parts of it can be hotter than others. I have learned a lot from reading this blog. Thank you. How do you find the rest of the hints?
Jan. 28, 2011 4:10 am
If you are as minor burns prone as I am and hate the scar that it leaves behind,immediately whip an ice cube in oil ( any cooking oil)in a small container using a fork, and rub the white foam that forms on the burn. No mark, no burn!
Jan. 28, 2011 5:02 am
Louie, Why not pot up a Meyer lemon tree. You can move it around (or even inside) until you find a varmit-proof spot. The tips come from all the people like you... some probably gained through trail and error!
Jan. 28, 2011 6:38 am
When making Deviled Eggs I mix the yolks in a quart sized plastic Ziplock bags. I squish till smooth then I cut off a corner and pipe the filling into the waiting eggs. Easy and very little clean up.
Jan. 28, 2011 7:28 am
When filling a pastry or piping bag by myself, I place the bag in a tall skinny container (the tall soup containers from chinese food work very well). Just fold the bag over the top of of the container and fill. It catches any drips from the hole in the bag as well as provide a place to set the bag between batches.
Jan. 28, 2011 2:24 pm
Not really a kitchen tip, but I scan Menus from Restaurants for take-out into my computer and have created a file. No more drawers filled with those things.
Jan. 28, 2011 4:55 pm
Don't know if this was mentioned, but the flat-bottomed coffee filters are great to use for kids to put snacks in (instead of dirtying bowls). Popcorn, pretzels, Goldfish, small cookie bites, etc. When at work, they are easy to use if you microwave popcorn. Pour some popped corn from the bag into the filter and it also absorbs any grease from the butter flavorings. If you are decorating cookies w/ reg or colored sugars by dipping the bottom of a glass into the sugars, these are easy to use and you won't have more dirty dishes.
Jan. 28, 2011 10:53 pm
To reinvigorate limp scallions (green onions), or celery, cut the root end off, and submerge standing, into a glass of ice water. Wait a few minutes and watch as they perk right up. To keep green salad crisp and delicious while storing in a bowl, fold a double of thickness of paper towel, place on surface of salad. Wrap bowl with plastic wrap and store upside down. The paper towel will absorb extra moisture and keep the salad like new for a day or so.
Feb. 18, 2011 3:33 pm
their r alot of very good tips on her thanks to all here u r doing a good deed for alot of people
Apr. 5, 2011 4:49 am
Marvel, I was wondering if you had any tips on how to place a 12x18x2 cake on top of the same size cake without it breaking. I have two wilton cake lifters and wonder if that's going to do the job. I like a "tall" cake since the pan is only 2" deep I put another on top. and it always breaks on me when transferring it. Thanks
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About Me
Marvel is my mother's name and her kitchen is where I started learning to cook. It should also be Gramma's kitchen, Auntie Jean's, Auntie Phil's, etc. Still learning from friends, family and you all. Many thanks and all the best!
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