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Handy Hints

Handy Hints

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Published by: Hangman on Feb 24, 2013
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Here are a few more handy tips to make your holiday season much less stressful, and a whole

lot more fun:)

1: When using lots of herbs and spices, particularly rosemary, bay leaves, peppercorns and whole cloves, it helps to create a little bag out of cheesecloth and place the herbs inside them tied with kitchen twine, then dropped in your soup, sauce or gravy. This is especially useful when small children, or the very elderly will be joining you, as they can choke very easily on some of these items. It also creates very clear clean broths and soup stocks. Once the broth is through cooking, simply toss the bag away.

2: Always wash your turkey thoroughly, inside and out, until the water runs clear. Then pat it dry with paper towelling before seasoning. Trim off extra fat and the "pope's nose" at the rear of the turkey. Make certain you remove all giblets, neck bones or other bits from the turkey before cooking.

3: Since it's not recommended you bake your bird with dressing inside, you can season the interior with a bit of sea salt, crushed black pepper, thyme, and basil. I also quarter either 2 whole apples or potatoes in the cavity to absorb extra fat.

4: Though it is recommended you roast your turkey breast side up, I begin my cooking with it breast down. This gives the bottom of the turkey a nice crunchy crust, avoiding the usual pale mushy wet meat on the bottom. Once it's browned, remove it from the oven, placing it on a stable surface, and with help lift the turkey over breast side up to continue the rest of the cooking.

5: To save calories and reduce fat, I use a bulb syringe to periodically remove greasy drippings from the bottom of the pan. I save a cup for gravy, letting it cool until I can easily skim off the fat. Baste the turkey with turkey broth which adds a delicious flavor without the calories. 6: Spray your roaster with olive oil cooking spray thoroughly, covering bottom, sides and the rack the bird rests on. If you're really on a strict cardiac/high cholesterol regimen, you can also use this to oil the bird, rather than using butter or olive oil. If not, use a premixed blend of softened butter and seasonings, and tuck it under the breast skin to season the meat.

7: When buying herbs and spices, buy the best you can find. It's worth the extra cost. The differences in taste alone are worth it.

Don't be afraid to step out . Wrong. Cover your bowls or plates with paper towels. 11: Soften raisins for cookies and cakes by soaking them in pure vanilla for an hour or so. Clean it periodically with catsup. Margarines are filled with hydrogenated oils and often high in transfats. This is super important when making candies or caramels. But that's ok. I spray my measuring cup with cooking spray to avoid sticking. use it often. pecans or almonds. failures and mistakes. and blends much more smoothly then ordinary granulated sugar. using plastic containers. and you get that annoying crystallization during cooking. your kitchen will be cleaner. I also spray my cheese cutters and knives when cutting cheeses or other sticky items. The only way good cooks learn is by experimenting to find out what works and what doesn't. get in the habit of cleaning up as you go. and much more pleasant to face after a big meal. Unless they're the new "heart smart" brands. I know I'm the Mad Housewife. and only use ceramic or Pyrexware to cook or reheat your dishes in. stick with real butter. Just remember. grape or safflower oils. It's finer. Johns Hopkins discovered that the plastics weep dioxins which are highly carcinogenic into the foods being heated. 14: When cooking. developing a soft patina and glow. 15: If you have sterling silver flatware. The small amounts used in cooking can be balanced by using good olive. 9: To add an extra flavor dimension to dishes using nuts-especially walnuts. 10: Many people think margarine is much healthier for you than butter. but catsup really does clean copper and silver beautifully. there are always going to be kitchen disasters. 12: Use Bakers sugar for your dessert recipes. the lovelier it becomes. Yup.8: Don't cook anything. It will save you so much time. It makes both slicing and cleanup so much easier. and an all round healthier diet. toast them lightly first to bring out all their nutty richness. especially high fat foods in the microwave. The more it's used. 13: When measuring fats such as butter or Crisco.

there and experiment with different herbs and spices. You might surprise yourself by some of the truly unique dishes you create! .

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