Kitchen Tips - April 2009

  • If a recipe calls for wine, it is not advisable to substitute a cooking wine found on the grocery store shelf. The manufacturer must by law make the alcoholic cooking wines undrinkable by infusing them with large amounts of strong flavoring ingredients, such as salt or MSG. These additions throw recipes based on regular wine out of balance.
  • For even roasting of meats or poultry, always place the food on a rack set in the bottom of the roasting pan. The result of not using a rack is uneven cooking and a mushy, rather than crispy bottom.
  • Tougher cuts of meat are less expensive and can be tenderized with flavorful marinades. The marinade's acid (lemon juice, wine or vinegar) chemically softens the connective tissue. There are many bottled marinades to choose from, or simply use your favorite Italian salad dressing. Cuts of beef and pork should be marinated up to 24 hours in the refrigerator for best results.
  • If you are unable to use a package of bacon before it becomes rancid, roll up individual slices o the bacon in tight cylinders. Place the cylinders in a zipper closure food storage bag and place the bag flat in the freezer. When bacon is needed, simply pull out the desired number of slices and defrost.
  • It can be very difficult to clean a basting brush that has been dipped in oil or sauce. As a result, the bristles often remain sticky and can start to smell. To prevent this, wash the brush completely with liquid dish soap and very hot water, then rinse well and shake dry. Place the brush, bristles pointing down, into a cup and fill with coarse salt until the bristles are covered. The salt draws moisture out of the bristles and keeps them dry and fresh between uses. Simply shake off the salt before using the brush again.

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