When you need to juice a lemon or lime, place it on a hard surface and roll it back and forth under your palm, applying pressure, for about a minute before juicing. The helps break down the cells and will result in more juice with less effort.
To slice meat into thin strips for a stir fry, partially freeze the meat for about 20-30 minutes, and then you’ll be able to easily slice it into thin uniform strips. Also, be sure cut it on a bias across the grain to ensure maximum tenderness.
When a recipe calls for a cup of flour, most people just scoop out a “cup” and then level it off with a knife…easy and fast but, unfortunately, not very accurate or consistent. A little too much flour here or sugar there, and instead of a delicious chewy cookie you could end up with rockhard paperweight better suited for self-defense then dessert. That’s why weighing ingredients, especially when baking, is essential. A great scale, like the OXO Good Grips Scale, is an important tool for success in the kitchen. I try to give ingredients in my recipes by both weight and volume, but if you encounter a recipe that doesn’t, King Arthur Flour has a really helpful Master weight chart for just about every commonly used ingredient in baking. If you need to convert to metric or vice-versa, just click here for some charts to help with converting metric equivalents or try this interactive Online Cooking Converter that converts cooking units instantly…it’s amazing! Once you start weighing ingredients, you’ll see an incredible improvement in outcomes and consistency.
Thanks to Good Housekeeping for the photo.
One of the great ways to force yourself out of the rut of always cooking the same thing is to let your shopping dictate your menus. This technique accomplishes two things…it not only expands your horizons food-wise and adds variety to your meals, but it also saves you a lot of money…a win-win situation.
Here’s the way this works…it’s simple. First, you get your weekly flyer from the local supermarket and see what’s on sale. It doesn’t matter that you never cooked a picnic pork shoulder (or even heard of one)…if it’s on sale for 49 cents a pound, you’re buying it. The next thing you do is get on the internet (I know you know how to do that…you’re here, aren’t you?) and search for recipes for whatever is on sale that week. You’ll be amazed to find that no matter what you buy there are about a bazillion recipes for it, at least one of which I guarantee you’ll want to try. After a while, you’ll start seeing which sites and blogs have great recipes that suit your tastes…bookmark them and make them your go-to sites. Remember that pork shoulder you bought for 49 cents a pound…well, here you go…see, it really works!
One of the great joys of cooking is experimenting and trying something new…give it a shot. The worst thing that could happen is you’ll save a little money and add some much-needed diversity to your dining.
Instead of using layers and layers of paper towels to absorb grease or water, 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 (and keeps the whole deal sanitary) and the grease is then sucked down and absorbed by the underlying newspaper. This not only conserves on paper towels (newspapers are a lot cheaper!), but it’s also is a great way to repurpose old newspaper.