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Cooking tricks/tips! List here!

Cactus Flower
April 29th, 2005, 05:41 PM
You make a pot of tea, and after it has been sitting for about a half hour on the warmer, you notice a film of TEA ICK floating on the top :yuck: .

This just happened to me. It happens all the time. I was trying to scoop out the tea ick and it struck me: I should ask the folks on the boards if there is a trick to avoiding this.

Then I thought, why not ask for any cooking tips? I have quite a few myself. Please list your tips/tricks here! I'll be trying them out, I promise!

A few of my own:

*Add potatoes when you've oversalted your stew- they absorb salt, and you can take them out after they've done their job.

*Instant potatoes thicken up a stew nicely.

*Add ice cubes to gravy, stew, etc. and stir gently. They will solidify any melted fat/grease, and it can be scooped out easily.

*Put a large (clean) nail through your baked potato, and it will cook in less time (the nail heats up and cooks it from the inside).

I'm very excited to hear tips from you all! (I love this sort of thing) :D !
And if anyone can tell me how to avoid the TEA ICK....I'd be forever grateful.

April 29th, 2005, 07:25 PM
I have heard that if you over-spice something, like too hot spicy, that a generous apple slice will fix it....anyone else heard/tried it?

I love tricks like this too!!

April 29th, 2005, 07:43 PM
This is an intresting thread, I can't wait to try the nail in the potatoe trick :)

I put rice grains in the salt shaker (keeps salt from clumping).

I wash all my meat with lemon juice prior to cooking (kills alot of bacteria)

rinse cooked ground beef with hot water , prior to adding to sauce (gets rid of the grease)

put a few drops of vanilla extract on the burner when cooking smelly food (fish) kills the bad smell.

April 29th, 2005, 07:54 PM
Fold paper towels lengthwise to make a strip about 2" wide that is long enough to go around the outside of a round cake pan. Wet it and secure it around the cake pan with a pin before putting your cake into the oven. Your cake layer will be nice and level, not humped in the middle. I've made over a dozen wedding cakes and I've never had to trim the top.

When browning a pot roast, sprinkle it with a little sugar. The sugar will caramelize and you'll get a really rich brown colored gravy.

April 29th, 2005, 08:26 PM
Cactus...the film on your tea is the natural oils in the tea leaves, and is good for you, so don't worry about it! Oh...never wash your tea pot either! I know, sounds gross, but tea has natural anti fungals and anti bacterials in it. If you go to any reputable tea house, you can bet they don't wash their tea pots. Washing it makes the tea taste bad.

Um...I have so many I can't even begin to start....

Cook your steaks at the highest head available, for about 3 minutes per side for a 1 inch thick steak (2 min per side for anything thinner). Then put on a place and cover with foil and let sit for at least 10 minutes. I guarantee they will be juicy and melt in your mouth. For extra tenderness, marinate for at least 24 hours in an olive oil/vinegar mix with your favorite spices added.

On the cake theme (being that I've taken a few cake decorating and pastry art classes) don't use butter or pam or oil or anything like that to grease you pan! Only use vegetable shortning, spread very thin using your fingers, then flour the pan and tap it out so all the excess flour comes out. Cakes don't dome either this way and cook more even.

If you want to make merangue or royal icing(can't spell tonight) make sure all your utensils, bowls, everything is washed in hot soapy water and completely free of any fat or oil. Any fat or oil will will ruin the merangue or royal icing.

Don't use anything that is non-stick for baking. Things that are non-stick heat up to a higher temperature, and the outside of your food will burn.

The reason cake mixes are easy is because they are loaded with TRANS FAT. Trans fat is anything that is labeled as "hydrogenated" or "shortening". If you want to live a long time, never buy anything with hydrogenated or shortening in the ingredients. I know this contradicts the above thing about using shortening for greasing your pans. I buy it because I make cakes for people. It's about the only thing I use trans fat for, and for buttercream icing. All those store bough cakes with the sweet sweet icing have about 3 cups of vegetable shortening per 8 inch round cake (ewww!!). I never liked the taste of icing, and now I like it even less knowing how much fat is in it!!

I know I will think of more as soon as I hit submit!

April 29th, 2005, 08:32 PM
cool. I've also heard not to use margarine in baking as it burns quicker than butter.

And also, put your metal bowl and beaters in the freezer before making whip cream, or whipping egg whites. :thumbs up

Cactus Flower
April 29th, 2005, 10:45 PM
OH MY GOSH I am in heaven here- this is great!!!!!!!! I've actually bookmarked this page so I can get to it in one click any time I want.
I used to spend over an hour at a time online reading cooking tips. It's so nice to get them from people I can communicate with directly, ask questions, etc.

I haven't tried the sliced apple trick, but I like my food really hot and spicy, anyway (I'm a jalapeno/tabasco junkie).

I'll try to come to terms with the tea ick being good for me, but not washing out my tea pot is more than I can bear. Have patience :) .

THANK YOU everyone for some really wonderful tips! EVERY ONE is valuable- keep them coming, all!