Creepy Eyeball Coffee, Onion Butter and Other Tips
Today I’m still traveling returning home from the blogging conference this weekend. It was exceptional and I am so motivated and happy to be doing what I’m doing. Thanks to all of you who come and visit and take time out of your day to see what I have to say. It means more than you know. I hope you leave this site learning something new or go away feeling like you know something or can do something you couldn’t before. Maybe I even made you smile for a minute of your day. Most of you who know me know that I write the way I talk. I suppose lots of people do. Do you? Is it just me? Anyway, today since I’m away from home, I decided to do a post on tips I’ve learned and accumulated over my 41 years of life. Yep…I said it. I’m not afraid anymore. Take a look and let me know what you think. Is there something here that’s new to you? Can you suggest any other tips we might not know? Let’s keep it going! I will periodically do these types of tip posts and I can include some of yours in the future, with your permission of course!
So let’s get into it, k?
1.) I’ve posted this method in a couple of other recipes but it warrants including it again as it is insanely easy and truly the Best Ever Caramel recipe. Check out my Salted Caramel Toffee Cheesecake Brownie Bars and Apple Cider Caramel Toffee Pudding for ways to use it. It also goes well in any recipe that calls for caramel or just crisp granny smith apples or fingers…we eat it on our fingers. I make several cans of it at a time and store them in the fridge to open and eat when we want which is always.
Take a can of unopened sweetened condensed milk and place it in a large sauce pot. Cover with water by at least several inches. The reason for this is because as it simmers it loses volume and the water line will go below the cans and that’s not what you want. Cover and simmer for 3 full hours. Remove from water and cool. Open and enjoy! It’s so rich and creamy. You have to let me know when you try it and how much you love it.
2.) Did you know that when pouring your morning coffee, if you heat your cup and or carafe you retain most of your brewing temperature? I’m a little strange when it comes to temperatures. I won’t eat my food hot. When I make things at home or when we go to a restaurant, I sit and wait once my food has been delivered because I don’t eat my food hot. Just warm. I feel like I can taste it better if it’s just good and warm. However, my coffee needs to be piping hot. Here are the numbers: Optimum brewing temp to brew without bitterness is 194-203 F. Temperature loss when pouring is up to 10 degrees (there’s no changing that). Temperature loss in a non pre-heated cup or carafe is up to 30 degrees! Then the milk or cream reduces it even further. So, before you make your coffee, run hot water in your pot and mug. It’ll stay warm longer! I got this information from the documentation that came with my Breville coffee maker. I didn’t just make it up. And look at what was looking back at me today! Creepy eyeball coffee!
3.) So many things call for buttermilk when baking but buttermilk (I suppose because of the high fat content) tends to spoil really quickly. I ran across this tip a while back on Pinterest and use it now all the time. It’s perfect. Once you’ve used all the buttermilk you need for a recipe, (I use it in this Jalapeño Ranch recipe among others) freeze the rest in an ice cube tray, transfer to zip locks once frozen and thaw only the amount you need the next time. My trays (I found them at the dollar store) hold exactly 2 tablespoons. We could probably also do this with heavy cream, too. It’s genius.
4.) This may seem a little strange but trust me and try it. At first I thought it was strange too. The next time you need a small snack, make a cheese toast but this time sprinkle the extra sharp cheddar with sugar. There’s something about the cheesy sharpness and sweet together. I’ve been doing this for probably 20 years. When I’m craving something late in the evening this is what I make. It’s not the healthiest of snacks, I know. But it’s small and a quick and easy treat. I slice thick slices of sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese from a block and layer it on bread. White is the best for this in my opinion but all I normally have is wheat. It’s still good. Sprinkle heavily with sugar and pop it under the broiler. Whoa! So good!
5.) How do you store your potatoes? “They” recommend storing them in a cool dry place and not the refrigerator, right? Well, I used to eat mashed potatoes at a friends house a lot. Hers were the very best mashed potatoes I had ever eaten. So I had her teach me the recipe and I would go home and try them but never would they come out like hers. Never! I did everything correctly and couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Mine were ok. But hers were great! Then one day I was watching Martha Stewart (this was back long before she went to jail) and she was talking about how you shouldn’t refrigerate your potatoes because over time the starch would begin to break down into sugar. It hit me! My friend who lived alone, kept hers in the fridge to keep them fresher longer. That was it! Her mashed potatoes just had a different depth of flavor that I could never put my finger on or achieve by myself. So now, I always break the rule and keep mine in my refrigerator just for mashed potatoes. And everyone raves over them! If I don’t have potatoes that have been in the fridge for a good couple weeks, I won’t even make them anymore. So, now you know. Try it and let me know if you can tell. It’s subtle for sure. You won’t taste sweetness so don’t be alarmed or looking for sweet potatoes. But it does make a difference.
6.) Last but not least. Have you ever been to a nice steak restaurant where they list maitre d’ butter as a finish for steaks? I’ve always wondered what that is. Like there was a waiter-like person at the podium holding a ladle of butter for the steaks and dishing it out as it comes out of the kitchen. I still don’t really know what it is but I use a butter to finish my steaks with what we call onion butter. I take a really large white or yellow onion (I prefer yellow because they’re milder and a little sweet) and cut a big section out. I cut it about 3/4 of the way down but not through the bottom and in a circle so that I can grill it with butter inside. Cut the bottom off if your onion doesn’t sit well alone. You’re essentially making an onion bowl. The butter gets the grill flavor as well as the onion flavor and then I pour it over my steaks. It’s wonderful! Try it next time you grill steaks or chicken or ribs…it works on anything. You may already know that I am really not an onion fan but this just gives the steak this extra rich flavor that I love!
What’ your best tip? Looking forward to hearing form you!