Tips & Shortcuts
The following are some Tips & Shortcuts.
Add garlic to oils and vinegars.
Oils and vinegars that have been flavored with garlic provide a quick and easy
way to add some punch to salad dressings, stir fries and meats. Once prepared
they can keep indefinitely and can be grabbed whenever you want to add a little
flavor. To make your own simply peel garlic cloves and cut them in thirds. Put
them in the bottom of the vinegar or oil shaker and leave for a few weeks before
marinades to add flavor.
A good marinade will add lots of extra flavor and juices to meats and
vegetables. But be careful not to marinade longer than the recipe calls for.
Some foods, seafood in particular, break down when marinated in acidic
ingredients such as vinegar, wine or citrus fruit juices. The result can be a
mushy mess that no one wants to eat!
For thicker gravy, mix some
butter and flour in a frying pan and cook until the mixture is smooth and thick.
Add it to your hot gravy for a thick and rich texture.
Meat and Poultry:
perfect cuts of red meat.
Red meat such as beef, pork and lamb should have a moist, red surface with no
signs of drying or surface film. The fat should be a creamy white color and
should not be dry. Look for even, well-cut meat that is free from sinew and
excess fat. To store your meat, it is best to loosely wrap it on a plate and put
it in the coldest part of your refrigerator so the air can circulate around it.
Red meat should be either cooked or frozen within 2-3 days or purchase.
Keep the breading on meats.
If a recipe calls for coating meat with breadcrumbs, refrigerate the breaded
portions for an hour or even overnight before cooking. This will help the
breading cling when you cook the meat instead of sticking to the bottom of the
pan! Breaded meats can even be frozen and pan-fried without defrosting. Be sure
to increase the cooking time slightly.
When freezing red meat or poultry, wrap it very tightly or seal it in a plastic
bag to prevent air spoilage or freezer burn. Be sure not to pile pieces on top
of each other but do pack meat as flat as possible so it freezes quickly, which
will ensure its texture is not spoiled. Meat should be completely thawed in the
refrigerator before cooking. Never thaw poultry at room temperature or you risk
Stop meatloaf from sticking to the pan.
Tired of meatloaf that sticks to the pan? Toss in a slice of raw bacon before
adding meat to the pan, and say goodbye to the sticking. It may not be the
healthiest alternative but it does work (and tastes great)!
To keep all of the natural juices inside your roast, sear it on all sides in a
hot skillet with a little vegetable oil before putting it in the roasting pan. A
few seconds per side is all it takes since the point is not to cook the meat but
rather to toughen up the outside so that the juices don’t flow out while it’s
cooking. Then be sure to use a shallow roaster to
retain more of the moisture. Uncover the meat halfway through roasting in order
to avoid a steamed appearance and to get the top of your roast browned.
Make tastier hamburgers.
Homemade hamburgers are easy to make and taste far better than the store bought
variety. Make them with medium ground beef, an egg and breads crumbs or crushed
crackers. Season with your favorite seasonings or add barbecue sauce for a smoky
For juicier burgers, add one-eighth cup of ice water to your beef or
turkey before forming patties.
When choosing poultry, the skin should be a light creamy color and it should be
moist. It should also be unbroken with no dark patches. Fresh poultry should be
stored loosely covered on a plate in the refrigerator for up to 2 days
Get crispier fried chicken.
For crispier fried chicken, add a teaspoon of baking powder to your coating mix
then coat and fry as you normally would. Remember to make sure that the oil is
very hot before adding the chicken to avoid an overpowering greasy taste.
Don’t salt meat before cooking.
One of the biggest faux pas when it comes to cooking meat is to salt it prior to
cooking. What the salt actually does is draws the juices out and impedes the
browning of the meat. Instead, add salt once the meat is already half cooked.
Then taste it when it’s done and if more salt is needed you can add it then. The
result is juicy, tasty meat that doesn’t contain more salt then it needs!
Despite what you may have heard, poultry does not need to be washed before
cooking. Wipe it with a damp cloth if needed. If it has been frozen, wipe it
with absorbent paper to remove any excess moisture. Always be sure that poultry
is cooked through. To test for readiness, pierce the flesh at the thickest part
with a fork. If the juices run clear then it is cooked.
To minimize moisture loss when grilling, baking or sautéing fish, it’s important
to use a relatively high heat and cook the fish for a short time. When you cook
fish longer than necessary, the juices and flavors are lost, leaving the fish
dry and chewy. Plus, overcooked fish is prone to falling apart.