July 10, 2008
Dress it up!
There are two main types of salad dressings:
1. vinegrettes, which are based on oil and/or an acidic liquid such as vinegar or fruit juice.
2. creamy dressings, which are based on mayonnaise, milk, sour or sweet cream, buttermilk, or yoghurt
A good dressing enhanes the freshness and natural taste of all the ingredients in a salad. In most cases, salads are dressed and tossed just a few minutes before serving. However, some Philippine salad recipes (such as the popular atchara) use the dressing as a marinade to “cook” the ingredients, thus transforming their flavor and texture.
Frying, Sauteing, Browning
1. In pan frying and sauteing, always get your pan hot first before adding the oil or butter so food won’t stick to the pan.
2. When sauteing with garlic or ginger, always brown them in oil after salt has been added but before any other ingredients. This will bring out the full flavor ofingredients.
3. Never pierce meats when browning them; the juices will escape and the meats become tough and dry. Use tongs, not fork, for turning them over.
4. When frying several pieces of food at a time, never let the pieces touch each other as they cook or they will stew instead of saute.
5. Brown red meats quickly, over high heat, uncovered. Brown poultry slowly, covered or uncovered.
6. Keep fried foods warm in a 250° F. oven. They may also be reheated by placing them in a 400° F. oven for 15 minutes.
1. Use a deep heavy saucepan (3 to 4 quart size) if an electric fryer is not available.
2. Oil should be enough to cover the food to be fried and to allow it to move freely in the pan but should never exceed half the depth of the pan. This is to prevent spilling over of hot oil when it bubbles up on addition of cold food.
3. A wire basket is necessary in frying small food items as meat balls, french fries, etc. for even browning on all sides, and for ease of loading and unloading to and from the pan.
4. Be sure fat is preheated to the recommended temperature before the food is added so that the heat, not the oil, penetrates the food. A frying thermometer is most helpful to know exact oil temperature. If it is not available, do a simple temperature test by dropping a 1″ cube of bread into the hot fat. At 370° Fahr. Which is satisfactory temperature for frying most foods, the bread.will brown between 50 to 60 seconds; at 390°Fahr. it will take from 20 to 25 seconds. Adjust heat to keep an even temperature.
Boiling, Simmering, Steaming
1. Steam potatoes whenever possible to conserve nutrients. If you have to boil them, add 1 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice to the water to make potatoes snowy white. Add a little milk to the water in which cauliflower is cooked to retain whiteness.
2. Grate a quarter of a small onion and add it and a dash of sugar and salt to the water in which you boil frozen or canned vegetables to improve the flavor. Or add a dash of MSG, garlic powder, pepper and onion flakes or powder to the salted boiling water before adding the vegetables for a richer flavor.
3. To cook eggs in the shell: Boil water, lower eggs into the boiling water in a metal spoon so the metal absorbs the heat and the eggs won’t crack from the sudden change in temperature. Lower heat to simmer and cook eggs to desired doneness. For eggs at room temperature — soft cooked, 3 to 4 minutes; hard cooked, 10 minutes.. For eggs right out of the refrigerator: soft cooked,, 5 minutes; hard cooked, 12 minutes. Immediately plunge eggs in cold water after cooking; the shell will peel off easily and the whites will be tender.
4. A teaspoon of salt added to water brings it to boil faster, cuts down on whites running out in case the shells crack.
Broiling, Barbecuing, Roasting
1. When broiling steaks or chops, put one cup water in the bottom of the broiler pan to prevent grease burning on the pan, eliminate smoke, make pan easy to wash and catch the drippings for the gravy.
2. For barbecues, chicken should not be more than 3 Ibs.; 2 Ibs. is best because it cooks fast and is tender and juicy. Pork should be thinly sliced so it is thoroughly cooked. Beef steak should not be less than an inch thick or it will dry out; 1-1/2″ thick is best for rare, medium or well done.
3. When roasting or broiling, line roaster pans with foil (barbecue pans, too) to facilitate cleaning. Cover the rack also but slash between the grooves to allow the fat to drip into the pan.
Baking, Candy making
1. When making pastry for pie crust, add a pinch or two of baking powder to the dry ingredients before adding the water; makes the pastry more flaky.
2. When adding water to pastry, be stingy with it, use only ice cold water and never pour it all in one spot on the flour and shortening mixture. Shake or sprinkle the water,sparingly over the mixture while stirring with a fork. Dough mixes easier this way and the pastry is flakier.
3. After removing a cake from the oven, prace the pan on a damp cloth for a few minutes and the cake will come loose from the pan easily.
4. When butter is too hard to cream, shred it into a warmed bowl and it will cream faster.
5. Prevent nuts and fruits from sinking to the bottom of cake batter by
coating them with flour. ,
6. When beating eggs separately, beat whites first; then the yolks may be beaten without washing the beaters. Whites will not beat up to full volume or stiffness if any yolk or bit of fat gets into the bowl.
7. To make good meringue, always let the egg whites warm up to room temperature before beating them. Also, add 1 tsp. of water for each egg white. It will increase the volume and make the meringue more tender.
8. For drop cookies, oil the spoon. Batter will not stick and will drop off easily.
9. In making dishes that call for hot milk or liquid to be added to eggs, as in custards, mix sugar with eggs and stir in hot liquid gradually to avoid curdling.
10. Pie crust brown beautifully with a sheen when brushed with milk or beaten egg yolk before baking.
Disasters and Remedies
1. If a dish is too salty, slices of raw pared potato added to it while cooking will absorb excess saltiness. When cooking adobo and it turns out too sour, add sugar.
2. If a pan of grease catches fire, sprinkle baking soda or salt over it to stop fire and smoke. Do not use water or flour.
3. To save burned food, immediately set burned pot containing the food in a larger container with cold water. Do not stir the food. Leave uncovered until cooled. Then pour contents into another pan. Do not scrape the bottom. Scorched food will adhere to the bottom and can be discarded thus eliminating the burnt taste from the rest of the food.
4. When boiling rice and the water has completely evaporated but the rice is not yet cooked, soak a double layer of paper towel with water and put it on top of the rice. Cover pot and keep on low heat. This way the rice will cook evenly and the bottom will not be soggy or burned.
5. To correct a too thick sauce: heat until simmering, then beat in, a spoonful at a time, a little cream or stock until of right consistency. Use a wooden spoon, spatula or wire whisk and scrape over bottom of pan as you stir.
6. To correct a too thin hot sauce: blend a tsp. of flour with a tsp. of
soft butter, or more as needed, always in equal amount. Beat into hot sauce,
away from the heat, until smooth. Simmer a minute or two. to remove any
raw taste of flour. .
7. To correct a lumpy sauce, strain or beat with a whisk until smooth.
1. Boil a little vinegar on the stove to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors. However, cooking foods with vinegar like adobo and paArs/wdoes not help because the combination of vinegar with other foods like garlic creates odors
2. To eliminate fishy odor, rub fish inside and out with a slice of lemon.
3. To keep raw fish fillets fresh and odorless in the refrigerator, rinse\in a solution of 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 cup water, dry thoroughly, wrap and refrigerate.
4. Put orange peelings on the oven racks when you preheat the oven; gives the house a delicious smell. Take out the peelings when you use the oven because burnt peelings have too strong a smell. Return peelings to the oven as soon as you turn it off and the remaining heat will be just enough to bring out the sweet orangey smell.
5. To remove the smell of garlic from the fingers, rub them with a cut ripe tomato.
6. A little vinegar added to the water in which cabbage or beets are boiled will help them keep their colors and cut down the cooking odors.
7. When cooking foods with strong odors, close all doors to other rooms in the house; if possible, open kitchen window and allow air to cross ventilate by opening a door to the outside. If a lot of cooking with garlic is done in the wintertime, ventilate the house once in a while when the temperature is mild (30°F. and above). Lower thermostat 5 degrees. Open the front and back doors and allow the air to cut through the house for at least 5 minutes. On a windy day 5 minutes is more than enough.
8. Lighting up the fireplace doesn’t only give a warmth and a glow to the house, it also provides a draft which clears the air of cooking odors.
1. To keep parsley crisp and fresh, place a bunch upright in a wide mouthed jar with airtight lid. Add just enough water to the jar to cover the stems without it touching the leaves. Store in the refrigerator.
2. Wash a bunch of green onions. Cut off roots. Pat dry with a paper towel and mince. Store in tightly covered plastic containers in the refrigerator. Keeps better and longer than when left in the crisper.
3. Cut off about half an inch from both ends of cucumbers to remove bitterness. To bring out their taste, slice them ahead of time, sprinkte with a little salt and refrigerate until ready for use.
4. To avoid tears when cutting onions, leave them in the refrigerator for a few days before using them.(Or peel and cut them in half under cold running water. Keep under running water for about a minute or let soak in cold water for a time before slicing.)
5. Roll lemon with palm over a hard surface or heat lemons before squeezing to get more juice from thenru
6. Scale fish under water to keep scales from flying around.
7. Frozen raw meats defrost faster when submerged in cold water rather than when left standing at room temperature.
8. For fluffier and higher pancakes, double the number of eggs called for in the recipe. Put yolks in the batter, beat the whites separately until stiff and gently fold in the batter.
9. When preparing sauces, add flour to melted butter off the heat for a smoother mixture. When adding any liquid to a sauce base, stir it in off the heat also. Add hot sauce to cold sauce two tbsp. at a time so the cold sauce warms up gradually and does not curdle.
10. If a recipe calls for a covered casserole or skillet and none is available, use a piece of aluminum foil as a lid.
11. Marinate meat in clear plastic bags. Close tightly and press occasionally to distribute fluid.
12. To coat meats or chicken pieces, measure seasoned flour into a paper bag, drop in a few pieces at a time and’ gently shake bag.
13. To keep open boxes of raisins and prunes, keep them in tightly covered jars. Hard dried out prunes and raisins may be revived by dropping them in boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes. Drain and dry and they will be tender again.
14. Store peeled ginger root in a plastic bag in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator and they will not dry up. When a recipe calls for ginger root, simply grate frozen root.
15. To center gelatin mold on serving plate, smooth a few drops of water on plate with fingers; unmold gelatin.