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Old 09-27-2012, 10:41 AM   #121
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Chief's Tip Of The Day

When preparing a meal, be it beans and wieners, or a 5-course Italian spread, take a little time to think about the meal. You might just find that with a little thought, you can re-purpose leftovers to create wonderful appetizers, or side dishes, or even main courses. For instance, left over mashed potatoes can be used to make potato-bread rolls. Cooked carrots can be mashed, and used to make sweet carrot tarts, (similar to pumpkin pie custard). Left over pasta can be turned into a flavorful soup appetizer, and so on.

And remember, plan your meal, make sure you have all of the ingredients, and organize them to make preparation of the meal easier, and more efficient.

A little imagination can turn those leftovers into something special.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:10 PM   #122
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Chief's Tip of the Day:

Never assume that any seasoning, or ingredient you used previously is going to taste the same, or react the same way as the last time you used it. Herbs, and spices, even when stored properly, lose their savor over time. Flour settles and becomes more dense per unit volume. Moisture from the air causes baking powder to lose its leavening ability.

There are very few constants in cooking. If you want constants, make math your hobby. Pi will always be pi, unless its fry-pie.

About the only constants that I can think of: water us always water, and will be neutral in flavor and reactivity, unless of course, you draw it from your sister's well, which is rich in sulfur, compared to your well, that's rich in iron.

Salt is always salty, and doesn't lose it's savor, unless it's that special French salt that gets a good portion of its flavor from the impurities of the sea from which it's extracted.

The point is, be aware that ingredients need to be updated, or more fresh. Recipes may need to be altered slightly, depending on the ingredients available. Nothing is set in stone. Cooking is a science, and an art. Sometimes you need to follow exacting procedures. Sometimes you have to adjust those procedures on the fly. It is by understanding both disciplines that you become competent.

My post - "Holy Jalapeno" demonstrates this concept. I was surprised by the intense heat of one jalapeno pepper that I tasted. It was far hotter than the habanero peppers that I had tasted just thirty minutes earlier. Just so you know.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:13 PM   #123
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Chief's Tip of the Day

To season stuffing, or dressing, combine the chopped veggies such as onion, celery, and such with the bread, cornbread, or rice. Add enough poultry stock to moisten. Fold the ingredients together. Don't stir them. Add the seasonings, a little at a time. Universal seasonings for stuffing/dressing include ground, rubbed, or fresh sage, thyme, ground black pepper, garlic, onion, and salt. There are others that can, and are used, depending on other ingredients. Old Bay is great in a savory bread dressing/stuffing that has clams, liver, or oysters added to the mix. Sweet Basil, tarragon, and fennel work with pork sausage. And don't forget that various ingredients such as cranberries, or currents can help "season" the stuffing as well.

Don't forget that your broth, or stock contains salt. So be careful with adding extra salt. With all of the above, add a little, stir it in, let it sit for a few minutes, and then taste it. Then adjust the seasonings as required. Don't fold in beaten egg until the seasonings are correct. That way, you can taste the stuffing before cooking it.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:26 PM   #124
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:50 AM   #125
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Good one Derek

OUCH
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:06 PM   #126
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I can't find the kitchen tricks thread:

To keep a "plastic" cutting board from slipping, dampen a dish towel and position it between the cutting board and the counter top.
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:26 PM   #127
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That is a good one CWS...Jamie Oliver does that all the time in his 30 Minute Meal shows
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:34 PM   #128
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I know I mentioned this before. But on ATK they showed a really good one.

Keep your hasp grater in an empty paper carboard roll. Tape over the end so it doesn't slide through. They are very sharp and you can get a nasty scrape or cut if they are just floating around in your utensil drawer. One day I was feeling crafty, had a small piece of contact paper left over from another project and covered it. Now it looks pretty as well as functional.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:05 PM   #129
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Chief's Tip of the Day

Think about the properties of the tools you are using. Case in point. There is a current topic about what the best non-stick pans are. There is a discussion on that thread about cast iron pans where one person says that pre-seasoned new pans by a particular maker are just garbage, and won't perform as well as older, well seasoned cast iron.

I own, and have used several makes of cast iron pans, including a new label that has recently been introduced to me. The newer pre-seasoned Lodge pans that I have work as well as do my venerable Griswold and Wagner pans. But there is a definite difference in them. The Lodge have a more grainy surface, though I haven't perceived that to make them any less stick free, once seasoned. Out of the box, they aren't seasoned well enough to perform like my older pans. An hour in a 350' oven, after wiping with cooking oil takes care of that.

The real strength of the Lodge pans is their mass. Because they are so heavy, they have more heat retention capability. It makes them harder to move around, and so I use my lighter cast iron for everyday use. But when I want to brown a half frozen roast, or pan fry in three or four inches of oil, I reach for the lodge pan. As I add food to it, the pan isn't cooled nearly as much as my thinner pans are. This means that the temperature regulation is more even, resulting in more controllable, and predictable temperature control.

It also means that once the pan reaches the desired cooking temperature, it is less apt to have hot spots. The heat is more evenly distributed across its cooking surface.

On the other hand, if I'm frying eggs, or making stir-fries, sauteed food, etc, I reach for my Griswold or Wagner, depending on the amount of food I'm cooking (my Griswold pans are smaller, 10 inch, and 6 inch). They are lighter in weight, and heat more quickly. They allow me to hand toss the food, or swirl it around in the pan.

All of my cast iron is pretty much stick free. But the different thicknesses of the pans means that they have different cooking properties, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

In the same way, my aluminum and stainless steel pans each have strengths and weaknesses.

Get to know the cooking properties of your cook-wear. Use them within their limitations, and they will serve you wonderfully.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:24 PM   #130
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It seems that CI pans all have an individual personality.

I now have five by four makers and they all do a fine job but the 6 inch Griswold is as slippery as any modern nonstick pan, the two oldest with no markings come in second and the two Wagner's come in third.

I am curious if all Griswold's are super slippery or if I just got lucky on this little gem!
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