Kitchen 101

Here are some general cooking tips to help you along in your kitchen!

Food safety is imperative, so make sure your hands, cutting boards and utensils have been sterilized.

 

Cutting Boards, Knives and Other Utensils

  • Wipe away debris with a dry cloth or paper towel
  • Wash board with soap and water, using a clean brush to get into the grooves of the board
  • Finalize the sterilization process by apply bleach to the cutting board, rinse with hot water, place board in a clean area and allow to air dry
  • Clean knives in the same method; make sure knives are sharp=a sharp knife is a safe knife

General Cooking Tips

  • Temperature Danger Zone: foods should be kept at temperatures between 41°-135°F
  • Refrigerators should be maintained at 40°F or less
  • The FDA Food Code requires that foods be cooled from 135° to 70° F within two hours and from 70°-41° F within an additional four hours
  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave, but never at room temperature
  • High Altitude Cooking: increase liquid and flour; decrease leavening agent and time
  • If you have multiple dishes to cool, do not stack them in the refrigerator; put them side by side at first, until they’ve cooled to a minimum of 41°F

Common Equivalents

  • 1 pint = 2 cups=16 fl.oz=32T=96t
  • 1 cup=8 fl. oz=16 T = 48t
  • 1 large egg=2 fl. oz
  • 4 large eggs = just under 1 cup
  • 8-10 egg whites or 12-14 egg yolks = 1 cup

Common Temperatures (F)

  • Boiling 212°
  • Simmering 180°
  • Poaching 160°-180°
  • Scalding 150°

Eggs

  • The best way to boil an egg is to actually simmer it; then cool in ice water
  • Prevent that green ring in boiled eggs: use fresh eggs, simmer, don’t boil, cool in ice water
  • Best way to store eggs is on the top shelf of the fridge; not low or in the ‘egg bin’ in the door
  • Egg whites can be frozen without harm
  • Whole eggs or egg yolks can be frozen but must have sugar, salt or syrup added to them first
  • Egg whites are excellent foaming agents and two ingredients stabilize the egg foam: cream of tartar and sugar
  • Salt and fat (oil/butter) suppress foam, so if you need fluffy meringues, don’t use oil or salt
  • If a recipe calls for raw eggs, best to use a pasteurized egg product
  • When making an egg foam, always use room temperature eggs

Milk

  • Buttermilk substitutes:
    • 1 cup milk and juice of one lemon for buttermilk; let it stand for 3-5 minutes before incorporating into recipe
    • Plain yogurts
    • Kefir
    • Sour cream
  • Milk substitute: 1 part evaporated milk to 1 part water
  • Homogenized milk has been processed so that the fat globules are broken up, which prevents a cream layer forming
  • Pasteurized milk is milk that has been processed to kill pathogens
  • Homogenized, pasteurized milk is not sterile, only UHT milk is sterile (ultra-heat-treatment)
  • UHT milk and creams are in the boxes on the shelves at the grocer; not in the cold dairy section
  • The best way to cook with milk is low heat; high heat causes the whey proteins to form a skin on the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • When making a whipped cream, use cold cream, a cold bowl and cold mixing utensils, otherwise, you’ll end up with butter
  • When cooking with milk, always add acid to the milk at the end of the heating period

Cheese

  • When melting cheese, a sharp cheese melts better than a mild cheese due to the aging process; aging breaks down proteins which allow the cheese to melt
  • High fat cheese melts faster and leave an oily residue
  • Low fat cheese separates when melted
  • Cheddar cheese has more calcium than cottage cheese
    • cheddar cheese is a rennet cheese, wherein the calcium is retained in the curd
    • cottage cheese is an acid cheese, wherein the caseins coagulate and the calcium is lost in the whey
  • When cooking with cheese, select the best cheese, shred, grate or cube cheese before melting at a low temperature; in sauces, add the cheese at the end of the heating period to prevent separation

Seasonings

  • When using whole or ground spices, add whole spices at the beginning of the cooking process; ground spices at the end
  • Fresh vs. dried herbs: use a 3:1 ratio for fresh : dried herbs
  • White pepper is stronger than black pepper because it is ripe; black pepper is not ripe

Thickening Agents

  • Common thickening agents are flour and cornstarch; if you use flour, you’ll need twice as much than if you were using cornstarch
  • Flour contains proteins and starch, which makes the gravy cloudy instead of translucent; cornstarch will provide a clear gravy, or thickening sauce (think Chinese food)
  • Roux: a mixture of a liquid, starch and melted fat; used to make white sauces and dark roux for savory dishes
  • Slurry: a cold water thickener, usually made with flour or cornstarch

Rice and Grains

  • White rice will produce three times the amount of original product
  • Instant rice and pasta will produce twice the amount of original product

Still have questions? Ask and you shall receive!!!

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