Tip of the Day – Freeze Your Cheese for Grating Ease

If you chill cheese before grating or shredding, you’ll get much better results. Place hard cheeses in the freezer for about 30-40 minutes and soft cheeses for 20-30 minutes before grating. You should also use a great grater, like the OXO Good Grip, and make sure you always give it a quick spritz with cooking spray (like Pam) so the cheese glides easily and doesn’t stick. This chilling technique also really works well when slicing chicken or any kind of meat for a stir-fry.

Tip of the Day – Never Refrigerate Bread…Freeze It!

Sourdough Whole Wheat BreadThe best way to keep bread is at room temperature. After 2-3 days, you should wrap the bread well, put it in a freezer bag and freeze it.  Never store any bread in the refrigerator, because the cold temperature (38º-40º) accelerates the crystallization of the starches, causing the bread to stale much faster. When I bake a bread, as soon as it cools completely, I cut it, freeze half immediately and keep the other half cut-side down on a cutting board covered with a clean cloth. When that’s consumed, I take out the frozen half, defrost it at room temperature or wrap it in foil and bake in a 450º oven for 10 minutes and it tastes just as good as the day it was baked.

Tip of the Day – The Best Way to Gain Weight ;-)

Awhile back I wrote about how important it is to have a great scale, like the OXO Good Grips Scale, and to weigh ingredients for consistent results. As you’ve probably experienced, Americans seldom give weights in recipes, but in the UK, they almost always do. Well, over at Lifehacker, someone named Jesseg came up with an amazingly simple, yet inciteful, idea…when looking for recipes, search using google.co.uk, rather than google.com and the recipes you find will almost always have weights…just make sure you remember to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, or your stuff may never get done!

Tip of the Day – Freeze Tomato Paste for the Sauce of the Future

Frozen tomato paste ballsI use tomato paste quite often in recipes to thicken up and give great flavor to pasta sauces, chili and soups, but seldom (and by seldom, I mean never) need an entire can at once. Simple solution…take an approx. 8″ square piece of plastic wrap, drop a 1 tablespoon dollop in the center and fold up the sides and twist closed. Stick these in a freezer bag and place in the toaster (just kidding…in the freezer), and, in the future, when a recipe calls for tomato paste, unwrap what you need (each one weighs about 1/2 oz.) and drop them in…it works great and there’s no waste. And, since they look like little hearts,  they also make a somewhat disgusting Valentine’s Day gift.

Tip of the Day – Make a Great Super-Melty Cheeseburger

When making cheeseburgers (btw, always use 80/20 chopped meat for the best results), if you like your cheese really melty, when your burgers are done the way you like them, top them with the cheese of your choice, drop a tablespoon of water into the pan and cover immediately. The resulting steam will melt the cheese in seconds, and you’ll have the perfect super-melty cheeseburger. Just top it with some caramelized onions, and you’ll be in cheeseburger paradise!

Tip of the Day – Refrigerate Your Banana

Bananas can be refrigerated for several days to slow down the ripening process. Make sure the bananas are ripe before you refrigerate them. The skin will quickly turn black, but the fruit will remain firm and tasty for up to five days.  If it starts to get soft, just freeze it, and it will be perfect for making smoothies or, when defrosted, Killer Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

Tip of the Day – Paper Towel Substitute for Grease Absorbtion

bacon Instead of using layers of paper towels to absorb grease from fried foods, take a few pages of newspaper and top that with one paper towel. Then put the bacon, or whatever you want to degrease, on top of the paper towel. The towel absorbs the grease, which is then sucked down and absorbed by the underlying newspaper. This not only conserves paper towels (newspapers are a lot cheaper), but it’s also is a great way to repurpose old newspaper…Eat bacon, Save a Tree!

Tip of the Day – What is that Thing in your Freezer?

You know when you look in your freezer and see a UFO (Unidentified Frozen Object), and you have no idea what it is or how long it’s been in there? Here is a simple little tip to remedy that situation. When you freeze something (and if it’s pork or chicken, you should definitely brine it first) just cut the label from the package it came in and stick it in the freezer bag…now you can see what it is, when you bought it and even what you paid for it (check it out…$1.99/lb for center cut pork chops…what a deal!).

 

Tip of the Day – Freeze Your Leftover Wine

red wine ice cubesDon’t you just hate to open an entire bottle of wine when you only need a cup or so for a recipe? Next time you have any left over wine (as unlikely as that may be) freeze it in ice cube trays. When frozen, put the cubes in a freezer bag, and the next time you have a recipe that calls for wine, just grab as many cubes as you need and add them to your dish.

Tip of the Day – Undercook Your Pasta for Better Pasta

Undercook your pasta for about a minute less then the box directions state and drain, reserving a little of the pasta water. Heat your sauce in the pan and then dump the pasta into the sauce (add a little of the pasta water to achieve the right consistency) and it will finish cooking in about a minute or two, absorbing all the great flavors in the sauce…top with a little Parmesan and you’re ready to go!