, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 10 EASY COOKING TIP 4289


Sharpening Knives
Your cupboard is probably full of some of the best knife sharpeners around. I'm talking about the unglazed rims on the bottoms of many bowls, plates, saucers, and mugs. When ceramic ware is removed from the kiln and cooled, its bottom is typically ground flat. This removes the glaze along the rim and exposes a very hard, abrasive surface that's perfect for putting fresh edges on knives and cleavers.

To sharpen a knife on the bottom of a plate, flip the plate over and hold it in one hand along your forearm. Holding the knife in your other hand (at an angle of about 25° to the plate) , slide the knife forward, heel to toe, along the rim, as though you were trying to take a thin slice off the plate. Turn the knife over every few strokes to hone the opposing edge. The rim of the plate will begin to darken as it cuts away steel from the blade. When it gets really dark, which means the ceramic is clogged with filings, move to an unused part of the rim. Running the plate through the dishwasher will remove most of the metal and keep stains off your good linens. But a brown stain-residual rust depositswill remain on the rim.
-Albert Pound, New Haven, CT

Preparing Pasta Ahead
In my j ]ob as chef to the Governor of Ohio, I often serve pasta for dinner parties. I've always found it difficult to cook and sauce the pasta just before service s o I found a method for cooking the pasta ahead of time and holding it until I'm ready to serve it.

This method works for any type of pasta, but dried pasta seems to hold up a little better than fresh. Cook the pastawhatever the shape-in the usual manner until done. Drain it well, then toss it with oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. You should use just a little bit of oil and toss the pasta thoroughly so that each strand is completely coated. Put the pasta in a large, ovenproof bowl and cover with foil. Put the bowl in a very low oven-250°F. The pasta will stay hot for up to an hour and won't stick together. When you're ready for the pasta course, just add the sauce and serve.
-Frannie Packard, Governor's Residence, Columbus, OH

Chopping Onion Quickly
When I lived in Mexico, I picked up a tip for chopping a small amount of onion. Peel the onion and grasp it firmly in one hand, stem end up and fingers held out of he way. Strike the onion with a sharp knife, making parallel cuts about half an inch deep across the top. Turn the onion 90° and strike it some more, making a crosshatch pattern of cuts. Finally, set the onion on a cu tting board and slice through the scored part of the onion. Wrap the remaining onion in plastic and refrigerate until next time. It takes a little getting used to, but once you're confident, it's very quick and efficient. When just starting out, work carefully, keeping your fingertips curled well away from the knife. Make sure to use a knife with a blade long enough to span the whole surface of the onion.
-Peggy Cain, Glenwood Springs, CO

Fat,Free Stock
It's easy to remove a large amount of fat from a sauce or stock by simply spooning it off, but it's not so easy to get that last film of fat without spooning away half of your precious stock. One method that works to remove the fat but leaves the stock is to use a sheet of paper towel to absorb the fat. The stock should be in a wide pan or bowl, and it should be warm, so the fat is free-flowing. Lay a sheet of paper towel over the surface of the stock. (If you have a two-ply sheet, separate it and use only one layer.) Immediately draw it up toward you and away from the stock. Have the trash can handy for the dripping towels. Repeat with new sheets until no more fat is visible on the surface of the stock.
-Blair Sanders, Dallas, TX

Zester as Grater
When I want to grate just a little Parmesan cheese, I use my lemon zester instead of my cheese grater. With the zester, I can shave off a small amount quickly enough, and I'm not left with the chore of washing the grid panel of the grater.
-Steve Hunter, Brookfield, CT

Retrieving Bouquet Gami
When I use a bouquet gami (a bundle of fresh parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and celery that I wrap in leek leaves) in a soup or stew, it gets soft and mushy during cooking, and it's often difficult to fish out. I tie it with an extra length of kitchen twine and attach the other end to the pot handle. When I'm ready to remove the bundle, I j ust pull it out by the twine.
-Joan Dall'Acqua, Arlington, VA

Baking Pastries Perfectly
I learned a valuable baking technique from Chef Albert J orant, one of my teachers at La Varenne cooking school in Paris. When baking cookies, choux puffs, or pastry cases directly on a baking sheet, slide a thin palette knife or metal spatula under the pastries to loosen them from the sheet about halfway through the cooking time. If you don't do this, some parts of the pastry can become stuck to the sheet and will receive more heat directly from the metal sheet. By " freeing" the underside of the pastries, the whole bottom surface of the pastry receives the same amount of heat and therefore will brown evenly, with no dark rings or edges. Chef Jorant performed this step without thinking (and without telling us students) , and it was only after months of watching him work that I realized how important a maneuver it is. I've adopted this technique, and over the years it has saved many batches of pastries, I'm sure.
-Anne Sterling, Lincroft, NJ

Natural Copper Cleaner
For a quick and natural way to clean copperware, j ust mix a solution of about two parts salt to one part vinegar or lemon juice, rub it lightly onto the copper, and then rinse. Be sure to wear rubber gloves if you have any cuts or nicks on your hands, because the combination of acid and salt is not soothing!
-Inger Skaarup, Kansas City, MO

Folding with a Whisk
When combining beaten egg whites with other ingredients, use a whisk instead of a rubber spatula to fold in the delicate whites. The goal is to avoid deflating the whites by working quickly and efficiently, so that you have the maximum volume in your souffle, cake batter, mousse, or whatever. When you fold with a whisk, each wire of the whisk draws the egg whites into the rest of the mixture, so only a few deft strokes are necessary to thoroughly blend the two components. With the conventional spatula method, you need to use more strokes, and you're working with a heavier utensil, so you risk overworking the whites and losing precious volume. Use the same "cuttingand-rolling" motion that you would with a spatula, and be sure to turn the bowl as you fold.
-Karen Metz, Peter Kump's School of Culinary Arts, Washington, DC

Removing Fish Bones
To remove the pin bones from along the center of a salmon fillet, a pair of needle nose pliers works best, but in a pinch, you can use a rigid-blade vegetable peeler. First run your finger along the center of the fillet to find the row of bones and to make each bone stand up and away from the flesh. Slide the vegetable peeler over the bone so that the bone threads itself through one slot of the blade. Rotate the blade away from you just a little to catch the bone, then pull sharply to remove it.
-Randall Price, Middletown, OH


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