Some basic food tips - <INTERACTIVE>
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Posted on Tuesday Mar 1, 2011 at 8:48 PM  
Ok, here's the deal. I'm going to start this thread, with various tips and tricks on how to work with food. I'm going to start a list in this post. If any of you have a tip you want to add, just post a reply. I will cut/paste your tip into the list, and give you credit.

Here's a few to start off with:

- Basic Rule of Thumb for baking fish: 10 minutes per inch of thickness at 350 degrees F.
- White wine can only help fish.
- Always preheat the pan, then add the oil. For searing, get the pan really hot.
- I tend to cook at two temperatures, Full-Blast, and Simmer. High heat cooking creates a lot of smoke. Put some fans in windows, blowing out, to remove the smoke. It might help to have a fan on one side of the house blowing in, and the other side blowing out.
- To peel whole cloves of garlic: Lay the clove on a cutting board. Lay the flat side your chef's knife on the clove, and give it a quick rap with the heel of your hand. You want to use enough force to pop the husk and maybe crack the clove, but not to smash the clove.
- To smash cloves of garlic, peel them as above, then hit them again to mash them.
- To puree the cloves, repeat the two steps above, then pour a little salt over them. Using the flat side of your knife, grind the garlic into your cutting board. Rub the mixture back and forth over your cutting board, kind of like spreading spackle. You will eventually get a pureed mixture.
- Surgical gloves are great when you're breading or battering food. They help keep your hands clean.
- Fried food floats when it's done.
- Caramelize (brown) everything when you cook it. It will taste much better. I.E., instead of simmering raw chicken for soup, roast it. Saute all veggies for a stew, etc.
- Any time you have to rehydrate something, like mushrooms or dried cherries, use the liquid in the sauce. It will help the flavor of the finished sauce.
- From need2fish: A tip for those of us who don't want to spend 10-12 hours smoking a brisket. After marinating over night, put it in the oven for 6-8 hours at 200 degrees, then 4 hours on the smoker. Tastes plenty smokey and you won't have to drink an 18 pack to finish it.
- I've always hated grilling after dark. I've never had adequate lighting outside. I've just recently started using my headlamp for lighting after it gets dark and I'm checking my food.
- Keep a package of baby wipes in the kitchen. They will clean and sanitize surfaces at the same time. Excellent to clean/sanitize a probe thermometer with.
- New from me Whenever you lift the lid off a pot of boiling/simmering liquid, lift it so that the back edge swings up and towards you, while the edge nearest stays on the pan, then pull the lid away. This will angle the steam away from your face.
- New from me If you don't have a thermometer on your grill/smoker, you can improvise one. Get one of those oven probe thermometers with the cable, where the probe goes into the meat and the display stays on the counter. Skewer a potato with the probe, leaving the tip of the probe exposed on the other side of the potato. Place the potato on the cooking grate, close the lid, and leave the display where you can easily see it.
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