Some Home Cooking Tips - How to cook better and server better

   

-- When roasting an unstuffed chicken or turkey, place some aromatics (carrots, onion, garlic, fresh herbs) in the cavity for a wonderfully perfumed bird

-- Soups should be seasonal, taking advantage of the many vegetables that are both inexpensive and in ample supply. A little cheating can be done by cooking tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables when they are of their flavorful peak, then pureeing and freezing them for delicious soups in the winter.

-- To keep loaf cakes fresher longer, cut slices from the middle rather than from the end. When you're finished slicing, firmly push the two leftover sections together to reform a loaf. This way, you eliminate leaving an exposed, quick-to-dry-out end slice.

-- Wash all produce prior to packing into containers. Vegetables and large fruits can be cut into pieces and pitted if necessary. Smaller fruits such as berries can be left whole. Fruits can be dipped in asorbic acid (vitamin C) and packed in sugar syrup to preserve their color, texture and flavor.

-- The cake is done when it shrinks slightly from the sides of the pan or if it springs back when touched lightly with the finger.

-- To plump dried fruit for fruitcake, place fruit in a shallow baking dish, sprinkle generously with water, then cover. Place dish in oven while oven is heating for baking cake. In 10 to 15 minutes the fruit will be soft and plump. Cool slightly and add to cake batter.

-- Choose only perfect products. Overripe or damaged fruits and vegetables are more prone to spoilage.

-- To keep loaf cakes fresher longer, cut slices from the middle rather than from the end. When you're finished slicing, firmly push the two leftover sections together to reform a loaf. This way, you eliminate leaving an exposed, quick-to-dry-out "end" slice.

-- If you are using a porcelain-lined cap jar, wet the rubber ring and fit it against the top/shoulder of the jar. Screw the cap on firmly, then back off one quarter turn. After processing, immediately screw the cap tightly again.

-- For a slightly browner and crisper crust, brush bread after 20 minutes of baking with a whole egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk.

-- When a recipe calls for adding oil, garlic, and onions to a pan, always add garlic last. This keeps it from burning and tasting bitter.

-- Biscuits will be crisp on the outside and flaky in the center if you roll the dough thin and fold it over once before cutting out biscuits. They'll also split open easily when you're ready to butter them


-- Never put cooked or ready-to-serve foods on plates, cutting boards, counters, or other surfaces where you have placed raw meat, poultry, fish, or egg products without first washing these surfaces with hot, soapy water.

-- Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before any kind of food preparation. You may need to wash your hands several times as you cook, especially after touching raw meat, poultry (chicken and turkey), fish, and egg products.

-- To keep appetizers appealingly hot- and you out of the kitchen - use your chafing dish and warming trays for serving.

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