Tips & Shortcuts
The following are some Tips & Shortcuts.
Reduce grease splatters.
Few things are messier than splattering grease. And if it gets on your skin it
can be painful.
Reduce grease splatters by sprinkling hot grease with salt prior to adding
the food to be fried. If this is not
completely effective, you can buy grease splatter shields at kitchen stores.
Easily grate cheese.
Make grating cheese a snap by tossing your cheese into the freezer for an hour
before shredding. This will make the cheese hard enough to grate without
compromising the taste or texture.
Make perfect gravy for turkey.
Looking for the perfect gravy to have with your holiday turkey? A great
tip from the pros is to use tea!
Boil a large pot of water and when you put the turkey in the oven add two orange
pekoe tea bags. Let the tea steep on top of the stove until the turkey is done
then add it to the juices in the pan. Thicken with a mixture of flour and water
Keep chicken broth handy.
Not only is chicken broth an easy way to add flavours to sauces, it can also be
used to add moisture to dry stuffing.
And the unsalted variety can be used to tame over-salty gravy without
diluting the flavours.
A flavorful alternative to sour cream.
Out of sour cream, or looking for something different? Consider a quick crème
fraiche, which can be made from one cup of buttermilk and three cups of heavy
cream. Mix them together and let
them sit on your counter for about three days. Then store it in the refrigerator
for as long as two weeks.
Reduce the power of garlic and onions.
Sometimes you don’t want a strong garlic or onion
taste. Get a milder flavor by sautéing them in butter or olive oil for a few
minutes prior to adding them to other foods. This will release their natural
sweetness and give a wonderful flavor.
Use caramelized onions to add flavor.
Caramelized onions are a delicious way to add flavor to mashed potatoes,
vegetables, soups and sauces. Luckily they can be made ahead and kept in the
refrigerator so they are available when you need them. Do this by chopping
onions fine and adding them to melted butter or margarine. Cook at a very low
heat until the onions are brown. Be sure there is always lots of butter or the
onions will become crispy. Once caramelized, transfer them to a plastic
container while the butter is still liquid and store them in the refrigerator.
Once solidified it’s easy to take a spoonful whenever you need it!
Fix lumpy sauces.
Is your sauce too lumpy? Remove it from the heat immediately and toss it in your
food processor to smooth out the lumps and blend the flavours. Add some hot
water if necessary to assist with the removal of the lumps. Then reheat as
Using pre-made tomato sauce.
Store bought tomato sauce is an easy alternative to making your own. But
sometimes it is too acidic or too salty for the dish you’re using it in. A great
tip to cut the acidity of tomato sauce is to add about one-eighth of a cup of
sugar. To reduce saltiness, add a little cream.
Use wine to add a unique flavor to dishes.
Wine is another way of flavoring your dishes, just like herbs and spices. There
are really no rules except those dictated by your own taste. Generally, the kind
of wine to use in a dish is the kind you would most enjoy drinking with it.
White wines are usually served with fish and white meats, and red wines with
dark meats. Don’t worry about the finished dish containing alcohol; wine loses
its alcohol when simmered long enough so no trace of alcohol remains. An easy
way to create a sauce is to deglaze your pan using wine. If needed, thicken with
a little cornstarch.
your own salad dressings.
Store bought salad dressings are loaded with extra calories and preservatives.
And once opened they often go bad long before they’re used up. A great
alternative is to make your own dressings.
For a tasty vinaigrette, mix
¾ cup of oil with ¼ cup of vinegar and season with salt, pepper and even some
Dijon mustard. For other variations try adding honey, balsamic vinegar, orange
juice, maple syrup, garlic or lime juice. With a little experimentation you’ll
be surprised how many great tastes you can create!
Stock, Broth, Bouillon and Consommé.
In recipes calling for chicken or beef stock, you can use homemade or canned
stock prepared from purchased cubes or powdered bases. (Be sure to watch the
amount of salt you later add to your recipe though because some cubes and
powdered bases are very salty). Stock, broth and bouillon are basically the same
– the clear liquid produced when meat, bones and vegetables are simmered in
water to extract flavor and then strained. Stock can be made from meat, poultry,
fish or vegetables. Consommé is stronger than bouillon; it is stock enriched
with more meat and vegetables and then concentrated and clarified. Now you know!
and easily thicken gravy.
Once the roast or turkey is cooked, there’s always the task of making the gravy
and waiting while it thickens. Luckily, there is a quicker way! Thicken your
gravy by adding a tablespoon of instant mashed potatoes.
Start there, and add more if needed until it’s the right consistency.
Dried herbs versus fresh ones.
Fresh herbs are best for flavor, but if unavailable, use about one-third as much
dried. If a recipe doesn’t specify fresh or dried, you can assume it means
dried, since dried herbs are much more commonly used. Whichever herbs you
choose, if you’re unsure of the amount, start with just a little, taste often
and add more during cooking. And to ensure that you’re using dried herbs with
the maximum amount of flavor, replace them every three months.