Read, learn and carry on

Published 10:06 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Today’s Special

By Peggy Walker, R.D.

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August is here, school’s back in session and time to learn a few kitchen tips, pointers, hints, secrets, reminders, hacks or whatever you prefer to call them.  Pay attention for class is now in session and there will be homework. The first tips 3 are repeats, but will be on the test.

*Always stir or whisk flour before measuring to break up large clumps which could affect the amount of flour you actually put in your measuring cup.  However, if you weigh your flour on a kitchen scale, stirring the flour first isn’t necessary because you will always get the right amount.

*Before squeezing a lemon, microwave it to help it release more juice — 10 seconds for a small lemon, about 18 for a large one. Then roll the lemons on the counter, pressing firmly with your hand and you’ll get more juice!

*Do not refrigerate fresh tomatoes until you slice them, then refrigerate until serving time.

*Put a lid on a pot of water you are bringing to a boil as for pasta, rice, corn on cob, tea, etc.  Covered water will boil faster but evaporate less.  Saves your valuable time and makes supper happen faster!

*For a perfect whipped cream that will hold up for 2 -3 days, place the mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for several hours first and don’t remove the whipping cream from the refrigerator until right before you are ready to whip it.  Keep whipped cream in the refrigerator.

*Let hard avocados ripen at room temperature (on the kitchen counter is good). Once softened, keep them in the fridge and use within 2 – 3 days.

*Speaking of avocados.  If you tire of eating an apple a day, try an avocado a day for an occasional healthy change.

*Out of baking powder? Substitute ¼ teaspoon baking soda plus ½ teaspoon cream of tartar.

*A perfect meringue is possible: add one tablespoon of sugar at a time and beat on low speed of electric mixer until each is dissolved, before adding the next one.  And, always let a browned meringue cool slowly to keep it from weeping…never put a warm meringue in the refrigerator.

*If you like to cook with wine but don’t want to waste a large bottle, buy a small bottle carton of 4 of either white or red wine. Wine keeps better unopened, so you won’t have as much to use up or possibly waste.  Do store opened bottles in the refrigerator with the caps on and use within a couple of weeks or so.

1 cup of plain yogurt can substitute for 1 cup buttermilk.

Allow ⅓ pound fish fillets per serving. Eat more fish!

For a creamy and tender risotto use a medium-grain rice and cook it in a large, always uncovered, heavy saucepan, adding simmering (not cold) liquids and stirring almost constantly.  Allow the risotto to rest, off the heat, for a few minutes before serving.

Do not rinse cooked pasta unless it will be used in a salad or in a baked dish.  The starches in pasta help the sauces blend, or fuse, with the pasta as they are added (such as marinara, Béchamel, or Italian).

Size matters in loaf pans when baking bread, a loaf cake or a quick bread.  To find out how much batter your loaf pan will hold, fill it about ¾ full of water, then measure how much water it took to fill it to this level.  Loaf pans come in many sizes but for a consistent product use the size pan the recipe calls for.

When greasing a loaf pan for a cake, grease (and flour if called for) the bottom and up the sides to within one inch of the rim.  The ungreased area will release the cake batter as it rises and help form a nicely rounded top which won’t happen if you grease all the way to the top of the pan.

And for extra credit DW adds this final tip.  Make these no-bake cookies often for those that like them. Mix 1 stick margarine, 2 cups sugar, ½ cup milk, 5 tablespoons cocoa, in large pan and bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup quick cooking oats, ½ cup smooth peanut butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Drop by spoonful onto wax paper and let cool.

Recipe of the Week

Charlene’s Mustard Sauce

Delicious accompaniment to ham, pork tenderloin, smoked sausage or

for bonus points as a dip on a meat & cheese charcuterie board.

1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup dry mustard

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

1 beef bouillon cube

½ cup water

½ cup apple cider vinegar

2 well beaten eggs

Mix dry ingredients all together.  Dissolve bouillon cube in ½ cup water, add to dry ingredients. Then stir in vinegar and beaten eggs.  Cook slowly in double boiler until thick, stirring constantly, about 25 minutes.  Keep in refrigerator.