November Week 1, November 1 - 3 Tips and Helpful Hints Week

WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8aNovember 1, 2012

This is a very short week, so thought we could use it to post helpful hints and tips. I have collected hints and tips these for years and will pull out some of my most used/useful to me to post that seem to relate to the upcoming Holiday Season. Hope you enjoy and contribute. So here we go.

When ready to cook fresh asparagus, leave the rubber bands on the asparagus. Pull up one bottom stalk and bring up until it snaps off; then do another one. Then just use a knife to cut the bottoms of the asparagus off level with the longest broken stalk. America's Test Kitchen

When using a cutting board, put a paper towel which sticks out under it, then as you chop unusable portions off, scrape onto the paper towel. When through, just pick up paper towel with trash and throw away. America's Test Kitchen

Baking pies in a Pyrex plate on a pizza stone makes the bottom crust nicely crisp. mabeldingeldine @ gardenweb

During the holidays a great space to store pies and cakes is the outside grill with the cover closed. It is usually cold enough outside and the closed grill protects the items. When we lived in Germany, we had a small balcony on which we kept a large covered metal box during the winter ��" that is what we put pies, cakes, beverages, etc., in.

Keep parsley fresh and easy to use in this way: Wash it thoroughly, then shake or pat it dry. Wrap it tightly in a piece of aluminum foil. Whenever you need some, use a sharp knife or scissors to cut off the necessary amount. Return remaining wrapped parsley to refrigerator.

The larger holes on a box grater work well when you need to rice potatoes but don't have a food mill.

Keep a bottle of vermouth for any recipe that asks for white wine. It's quick and easy, and adds a depth of flavor that otherwise wouldnot be in the food. And it won't go bad like a bottle of opened wine.

Always add garlic or onions to a cold pan with cold oil. It ensures that pieces are evenly cooked.

Let eggs come to room temperature before cooking in any way.

Use your rice steamer for cooking hard cooked eggs. Put the eggs in, add water, steam for 20 minutess and the shells practically jump off the eggs as you are peeling them under running water. Works always, everytime, even with fresh eggs.

If you don't want the tears when chopping onions, put the onions in the freezer about 1/2 hr before. It really works.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

nice idea and good hints thanks for starting the thread

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Walnutcreek!!

I keep my butter in the freezer, and use the big holes on the box grater to grate butter into pie crusts, biscuits etc. Works perfectly.

I use cereal boxes as magazine holders. Cut in the same shape as the ones you buy. They are in a cupboard so no one sees that they are cereal boxes. You can always cover them, if you want to display them.

I take coffee filters from the bottom of the stack. They come off easier than trying to unstick them from the top.

Celery really does stay longer in the frig, wrapped in aluminum foil.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can tell what I ususally don't have around when I need it.

If you need heavy cream for a recipe, you can make your own by combining 2/3 c. whole milk with 1/3 c. melted butter. Good to know.

Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Then, add milk until the amount reaches one cup. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. It should look curdled. Stir and you have homemade buttermilk

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 12:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As per Jasdip's hint on the even better if you wrap it in a paper towel before the foil. I also do my romaine lettuce this way. And for both, instead of tearing off stalks, just hold the bunch and finely chop off the top as needed.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 12:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the butter grating tip Jas....why didnt i think of that?

Karen UK

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 1:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When using the original tip about pulling up 2 asparagus stalks till breaking, then cutting all the rest at that level ...

... frugality suggests to me that if I slit that cut off lower end of the stalks down the middle, then add them to the pot, much of them will be edible. If one drops them into the hot water a bit earlier to cook a little longer, it may help, if they are a bit tough.

"Waste not, want not", Grandma used to say.

As the prices of food rises, we'll be looking for more ways to get fuller use of it.

And ... possibly ... eating less ...

... resulting in our being less obese ...

... so less of a drag on the healthcare system.

Oh, right - I (almost) forgot: you folks don't have universal health care: gotta buy yer own. Well - possibly the premiums might shift somewhat lower, give them a few years ... or might that be beyond the capability of the insurance companies?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 6:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you haven't seen this check out our "Tips to share" page

Here is a link that might be useful: Tips to share

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 7:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have quartz counters in my kitchen. When I want to defrost meat, I put the meat package face down on the counter. I find the stone sucks the cold out the product faster that any other way. Then, while it's still cold, but no longer frozen, I put it in the fridge till I'm ready to use it.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 9:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Thanks for the link above, Joann; I had never seen it. Here are some more tips.

To get the most juice out of citrus fruit have it at room temperature and instead of cutting crosswise like we always have, cut lengthwise. Whereas one lemon cut cross wise will get you close to 2 T of juice, 2 lemons cut lengthwise will get you nearly 1/3 cup lemon juice, in other words 3 times as much lemon juice. They cut lemons this way in Mexico.

Grate a garlic clove (in its papery husk) on a microplane grater, and the peel stays on the microplane

Peter Reinhardt has a great tip for working with doughs: dry dough/dry hands, wet dough/wet hands. Works like a charm.

Grating root ginger into ice cube trays and freezing them is SO handy for making all sorts of things. I cube = about a tbsp and you can put them straight into the frying pan/casserole from the freezer.

Freeze your over ripe bananas in the peel. When you have 4 accumulated, make banana bread.

If you donâÂÂt have time to make your own stock, use "Better than Bouillon" brand chicken, turkey, vegetable and beef bases to replace bouillon cubes or granules. The BtB enhances the flavor of broths for soups and sauces.

Use "Bar Keeper's Friend" on your stainless steel and copper pans to clean them.

When you make salad, store it in a glass bowl or 9 x 13 pan. The cold glass keeps your salad crisp and lasts 3 times longer. Cover tightly.

One large eggplant will serve 3 people. Be sure to buy firm ones with bright green tops; they're less likely to have seeds.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 2:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for that tip, Luckygardnr. I have quartz countertops too, so I'll give it a try.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 2:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When you are making egg sandwiches grate the boiled eggs instead of mashing with a fork. put them in a bowl and ad anything you like.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 2:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the link...lots of good is one I just came across and it works like a peel garlic easily, just sticl in microwave for 5 seconds, peels just slide off....

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 5:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like these tips. I can't think of any to add right now. Sorry.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 11:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For chopping eggs finely and quicker, I put them in a bowl and pull out the pastry blender. Easier cleanup than a grater and no knucklebusting. Pizza cutter works well too.

When I want some egg for a salad and don't feel like cooking one egg, I'll fry one. Chop it up and works just fine as a substitute.

When rewrapping meat and the like I tear off the sheets I need of the waxed paper and foil and stack them up. Then I don't mess up the boxes handling them each time. Plop a blob on, wrap it, into the foil, wrap and set aside. Wash hands when finished and put in the freezer.

I've tried all the tricks on onion eye burn but the most effective way is simply air movement. I usually have a fan going in the kitchen so even the strongest onions don't bother me.

The meat trays get a quick rinse and used as a spoon rest while cooking or a garbage collector during prep work. Or use the produce bag as another option.

Haven't heard the one about cutting the citrus fruit lengthwise. That's interesting. Have heard though that you should cut tomatoes that way. Supposedly you lose less juice that way with tomatoes. Don't know if it's true or not since I tend to use Romas and they're usually diced for my cooking.

Double face tape and some clothespins and you have great package holders mounted on the inside of your cabinet door. Wasted space being repurposed. Great for holding packets of seasoning (onion soup, Kool-Aid, Taco seasoning, etc). Also works for hanging extra keys or other misc. items. And I've taped a couple favorite and frequently made recipes to the inside of the door too. Open it up and you have the recipe in front of you. Close the door and it's out of site.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 11:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Here are my last tips for this first week of November. The tips y'all have shared are just great. Thanks for contributing.

This tip for storing berries is wonderful. When get home from the grocery store, immediately rinse blueberries, strawberries and raspberries in hot water, drain and put in a glass jar when dry. Instead of a 24 hour life they can go almost a week with their flavor, texture and appearance intact. They'll keep as long as a week; it's amazing, but they last. Harold McGee

To keep grapes juicy, plump, and tasty for at least twice as long do the following: As soon as you get them home from the store remove them all from the stems, wash thoroughly, and seal in a plastic container. The grapes will last for several weeks without any loss of taste or texture.

Silpat Cooking Mat
-use it for forming dough on, instead of a floured counter or a bread board. As long as you handle the dough with oiled hands, no bench flour is necessary and clean-up is q & e.
-pour that holiday peanut brittle on it and it doesn't stick. Great for making small rounds of peanut brittle.
-line a jelly roll pan with a Silpat and bake meatballs or sausage balls on it. The grease wipes off and the meatballs don't stick.

Take an ear of corn and stick it into the hole of a Bundt pan, then slice the corn off into the pan.

Never put tomatoes in the same drawer with your other produce. It gives off a gas that makes produce ripen too fast.

If you use non-stick frying pans, never use Pam type sprays on them. The propellent eats into the coatings and ruins them. Instead, add a drop of oil and use a brush to spread it around.

Microwave sliced fresh mushrooms on paper towels just until they give up their water then squeeze them just a little. Then fry them in butter and they brown nicely and quickly without that moisture you always get in the frying pan.

Whenever you need oat flour, you can make your own by blending oatmeal into a fine powder in your blender or food processor. It takes approximately 1-1/2 c. of oatmeal to make about 1-cup oat flour.

After buttering the bread for grilled cheese sandwiches, press the buttered side into some grated parmigiano or pecorino before grilling. It totally adds to the texture and flavor. Crispy cheesy salty bread.

If you want the yolks of your deviled eggs to be perfectly centered, stir the pot a few times in the first moments they are beginning to simmer.

Purchase a whole bone-in rib roast when it goes on sale the day after Thanksgiving for an obscenely cheap price. Then it can be butchered into a Christmas rib roast, several steaks, have bones for beef stock, and scraps for grinding meat.

Greens - The grit problem was brilliantly solved by the Mississippi Delta Chinese families. Put greens of any kind into a net bag like stockings are washed in and put it in the washing machine for a quick rinse in cold water and a spin. Works great.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you are knitting or crocheting with fuzzy yarn and the fluff gets in your nose....get a small fan to blow the fluff away.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd never heard that about centering the yolks in hard boiled eggs. Will have to try that.

I like the weekly format.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 5:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i don't see any recipes on this thread. are they being posted somewhere else? i miss the recipes.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are having tips this time because it was a short week. Recipes should start today.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks, sue!! :)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Regarding my tip about grating frozen butter (which does work fantastic), our butter is formed in 1-lb bricks.

I slice it as best I can into 1/4 cup measures; make 8 slices out of a block, and freeze.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 12:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I took a bag of white sugar out of the pantry yesterday and it was hard.
I put it out on the balcony overnight and it thawed so I could pour it into my canister on the counter. Freezing works great!!

I read recently that keeping your wool in a colander and feeding the strands through the holes keeps it from tangling.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I took a bag of white sugar out of the pantry yesterday and it was hard.
I put it out on the balcony overnight and it thawed so I could pour it into my canister on the counter. Freezing works great!!

I read recently that keeping your wool in a colander and feeding the strands through the holes keeps it from tangling.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Paper towel under the cuttingboard, to scrape not wanted stufff onto, then pitch ... costs a couple of vents (that was supposed to be "cents")!)

A chunk o' newspaper similarly positioned, similar purpose ... is free!

I store magazines that I may want to check later, a year or two's worth, in pie/cereal boxes.

o j

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:24PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Guest room is finished.
About 3 weeks ago I asked for mattress recomendations...
Rose Pekelnicky
CNN says "Co-Pilot reprogrammed autopilot to crash plane"
It is so unfortunate that we seem to be succeeding...
Today is "Purple Day!"
This is my iris bed outside my bay window 2014. Dang...
Amazing Aunt Audrey
Why don't they......
Put either a longer cord or a much shorter cord on...
Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b
man, that was windy, and the hail was big
HUGE storm just went over. Still raining. I hope,...
Sponsored Products
Kichler Olympia 11 in. Bowl Light Fixture - Olde Bronze - 380000OZW
$82.00 | Hayneedle
Menlow Park 60063-1 1-Light Pendant
Contemporary Indoor/Outdoor Bamboo Area Rug: Kas Rugs Rugs Screen Mocha 3 ft. 6
Home Depot
Lanai 3-piece Coverlet Set
Katonti 3 Piece Outdoor Patio Dining Set in Brown White
$599.00 | LexMod
Light Bronze Metallic Cleo 24" Wide Pendant Chandelier
Lamps Plus
LBL Icicle II 5 1/2" Wide Opal Glass Mini Pendant
Euro Style Lighting
Celina Dark Rust Sconce with Candy Glass
$98.00 | Bellacor
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™