Cooking Tips #2
I thought it would be a good idea to share some cooking tips that I’ve found to be helpful over the years. I wrote this post on cooking tips back in October and every now and then when I think of something to share with you lovelies I jot it down. I think it’s time again.
These tips aren’t going to be mind blowing by any means and they may even be things you already know. If so, come back Friday for something new. If you have tips to share, put them in the comments and I’ll include them next time I write a cooking tips post and list you as the contributor? Sound like a plan? I thought so, too.
Do you normally make home made whipped cream or buy store bought? Did you know how super easy it is to make it fresh? It is. I love making it and customizing it for whatever dessert I’m cooking. For example, this Warm Chocolate Cheesecake has almond extract in the batter so I use almond in the whipped cream as well instead of vanilla. Or you could use orange or lemon zest if the recipe has citrus. See my point? I love anything that can be tweaked or customized to make it more special and specific to the recipe. When making fresh whipped cream it works best if you use a metal bowl and about 30 minutes before you start put the bowl and beaters in the freezer and chill them really well. This will make your cream whip up super fast.
Any time I’m making a sweet baked good, instead of buttering and flouring the pan, I use sugar. It gives it a really nice little crunch on the outside that is super subtle but something different and it keeps the outside from getting that white-ish dust on the it when you remove it from the pan. I’ve also heard of people using cocoa powder when making something chocolate. It’s your call but I think it’s a great touch. It’s my favorite on a good banana bread or a yummy Amish Friendship Bread. I used sugar on this Hot Chocolate Pound Cake and it turned out perfect.
This next tip came from Nicole from Thriving Wives and I love it! It’s genius. Anytime she’s cooking she saves the ends of her veggies like celery or carrots or basically parts that you would normally throw away and puts them in a bag in the freezer. When it’s time to make stock, vegetable or chicken, she has all these left over pieces and doesn’t have to buy as many ingredients, maybe not at all depending on her quantity. Such a great idea, right?? I recently made a fresh batch of regular Homemade Chicken Stock and a new Asian Chicken Stock and that would have been wonderful to have ingredients put back for this purpose that I normally would have thrown out.
In my last cooking tips post I talked about freezing buttermilk in ice cube trays to be used later since it spoils so quickly. Why not do the same with left over wine? Wine goes bad so quickly and I’m pretty picky about it. If it’s been open more than a day or so I won’t drink it but it’s a great additive to soups and stocks and sauces so why not freeze it and use it to cook with?
Let’s talk about pasta? Do you cook pasta at home much? So many people are pasta lovers so I wanted to share this quick tip. When cooking pasta, always reserve some of the water the pasta was cooked in to add to whatever sauce you’re serving with it. It can thin an overly thick sauce or be part of the liquid in the recipe. It helps the sauce stick to the pasta really well and adds body to make the sauce even better! AND it’s already the temperature you need. Try it. Most Italian cooks use this method and swear by it. I don’t make too much pasta around here but this Fettuccine Carbonara Alfredo was wonderful as was my Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad. You’ll be seeing more like this soon. I have something new coming up that I’m super excited about.
Did you know there’s a big difference in the sodium content and overall salty flavor in table salt versus sea salt? Table or regular iodized salt is saltier tasting and can drastically change the flavor of your finished product. I didn’t realize that it was that much different until about a year ago. If you’re following a recipe, always make sure to use exactly the salt variety that the recipe calls for or you could have a huge mess on your hands.
This last one isn’t really a tip more than it is a reminder of where to find instructions on How To Properly Season Cast Iron. I can’t say enough how much I love my pots and pans made of cast iron. If you don’t have one, or several, go get some now, season them well and you’ll have a tool you can cook almost anything in for life.