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Karen From Colorado
Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:36 amFood.com Groupie
Lumpy sauce or gravy - Pour gravy or sauce through a strainer and mash out lumps with a wooden spoon. Re-heat very slowly.
Curdled or separated mayonnaise - Into a warmed bowl, put 1 t. mustard, 1 T. curdled mayo. Beat with whisk until creamy. Add mayo slowly until well blended.
Too much fat in gravy - Pour liquid through ice cubes in a bowl. The fat will solidify.
A crack in the middle of cake - The oven was too hot or temp was uneven during baking. Disguise with frosting.
Cake rises too much, overflows pan - Too much baking powder; too little flour; or pan was filled more than two thirds.
Cake rises in oven, caves when cooling - Pan was overfilled or egg whites where beaten when recipe didn't call for it.
Cake has a shiny, sticky streak - Poor mixing; too slow baking, or irregular heating of pan in oven.
Cake is sticky - Too much liquid or too much sugar was used or baking powder was too old.
Weak brewed coffee - Add a little instant to the pot. It will strengthen it without changing the fresh taste.
Bitter tasting brewed coffee - Put a pinch of salt into coffee that was brewed too long.
Weak brewed tea - Add a pinch of baking soda to the teapot.
Too much salt - Add a little vinegar and sugar, then taste. A raw potato helps absorb the salt in soups or stews.
Stewed fruit is turning sour - Add a pinch of baking soda to the fruit and reboil for 5 minutes.
When stewing very sour fruit - Add a pinch of salt while stewing to reduce the amount of sugar needed for sweetening.
Stored coconut is dry and hard - Put coconut in a strainer over a steaming pot of water for a few minutes.
Hands smell of onion and garlic - Rinse hands in cold water, rub with salt or baking powder, rinse again, then wash with soap and water.
Strong onion or cabbage cooking odors - To prevent odors while cooking, set a tin cup of vinegar on stove and let boil.
Sticky rice - Rinse rice throughly with warm water to wash out the excess starch. Grains will separate.
Shell cracks while egg is boiling - Add a few drops of vinegar to the water; use eggs at room temp.
One egg short for a recipe - Substitute 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.
Tough rubbery omelet - Add one scant teaspoon of boiling water per egg to mixture to keep omelet from being tough.
Slightly stale bread - Sprinkle bread with water or milk; wrap in foil, bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. If hard crusted, open foil for 3-5 min. more.
Dry coffee cake - Put 2 tablespoons water or milk in a large skillet; place un-iced cake on tivet and cover. Leave over low heat about 8 minutes. Do not cover iced coffeecake.
To keep sugar soft and moist - Place a slice of bread in the container and cover tightly.
Brown sugar caked and hard - Place in 200F over until the sugar is dry and crumbly; powder it in a blender or use a mortar and pestle.
To keep granulated sugar from lumping - Place a couple of salt crackers in the container and cover tightly.
Too much sugar - Add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar.
Fish has strong fishy odor - rub fish with lemon juice and salt to prevent odor from being absorbed by other foods.
Dried out leftover cheese - Store dried out cheese (unprocessed) in freezer; frozen it crumbles easily; slice it thin without thawing to use in recipes calling for grated cheese.
Frying fat has strong flavor or odor - After frying strong flavored foods, cool fat and clarify it by adding a raw potato and reheat slowly. Discard potato; strain fat and store.
Frying fat or oil left over - Cool and strain through cheesecloth. Store covered in refrigerator.
1 teaspoon apple pie spice - 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1/8 t. allspice and a dash of ground cloves or ginger.
1 teaspoon baking powder - 1/2 t. cream of tarter and 1/4 t. baking soda.
1 cup buttermilk - Sour milk by mixing 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar and enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand 5 minutes before using or 1 cup plain yogurt.
4 oz chocolate, sweet baking - 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/3 cup sugar and 3 T. shortening.
1 oz chocolate, semisweet - 3 T. semisweet chocolate pieces or 1 oz unsweetened chocolate plus 1 T. sugar.
1 Tablespoon cornstarch for thickening - 2 T. all purpose flour
1 cup Corn syrup - 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water.
1 whole egg - 2 egg whites or 2 egg yolks or 1/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed.
1 cup cake flour - 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup self-rising flour - 1 cup all purpose flour plus 1 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. salt, and 1/4 t. baking soda.
1 tablespoon Fruit liqueur - 1 T. fruit juice.
1 teaspoon grated ginger - 1/4 t. ground ginger.
1 cup half-and-half or light cream - 1 T. melted butter or margarine plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup.
1 cup honey - 1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 water.
8 oz mascarpone cheese - 8 oz regular cream cheese.
1 cup milk - 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 water or 1 cup water plus 1/3 cup dry milk powder.
1 cup Molasses - 1 cup honey
1 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice - 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. ground ginger, 1/4 t. allspice and 1/8 t. nutmeg.
1 cup sour cream - 1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar - 1 cup packed brown sugar.
package dry active yeast - 1 cake compressed yeast.
Teary eyes while chopping onions - Light a candle and place it next to or on your cutting board.
Measuring shortening, lard, peanut butter or butter the easy way - IE 1/2 cup: Fill a glass measuring cup with 1/2 cup of water. Spoon the shortening, lard, peanut butter or butter into the cup until the water level reaches 1 cup. This displacement of the water will give you 1/2 cup of the required ingredient.
Food too hot or spicy Drizzle in a little honey. Stir and taste.
More cooking tips
Don't toss out the onion peels, carrot peels, garlic ends, celery ends, parsley, etc when preparing your meals. Add them to a freezer bag, kept in the freezer, as you get them and use them to make stock when you have enough. They are delicious as a vegetable stock or added to chicken or beef parts also kept in a separate freezer bag until there is enough to use.
Use good quality knives (tip by JeanV)
Cut an apple or pear in half and then remover the seeds with a melon baller. Works perfect. (tip by Chef #308507)
When chopping onion, put a teaspoon in your mouth with the curved side facing your tongue. (tip by Verelucky)
To keep onions from making your eye's water: Fill a bowl with cold water and add plenty of ice. Let water get really cold. Cut onions in 1/2 and put them in the ice water for about 15 minutes. Then cut as usual. (tip by Jody #35)
If you dont want to cry when dicing or cutting onions, never cut into the "eye" (the root). (tip by EZBEE)
To keep past or potatoes from foaming over when boiling, add a tablespoon of oil. (tip by EXBEE)
Wrap your cucumbers in paper towels. Even after using part of one, just wrap it back up in the paper towel. Mine have lasted up to 2 weeks. (tip by FLUFFSTER)
Another cucumber trick is to run the cucumber in very hot water for 30 to 45 seconds. It is what the produce people do before putting them out in the store. It helps to keep the cukes from spoiling. (tip by FLUFFSTER)
When measuring honey or anything else sticky, spray the measuring cup with Pam, or other release spray first. (tip by FLUFFSTER)
Spray your box grater with Pam first before grating cheese and it will be a breeze to wash. (tip by FLUFFSTER)
When using part of a can of tomato paste, individually wrap the rest in approx. tablespoons in a little cling wrap. It only takes a couple of minutes and whenever you need a little paste, such as for soups or sauces, it really comes in handy. I open a can up and wrap the whole thing just to have it on hand. (tip by FLUFFSTER)
When making soups, sauces or stews and you have a little grease floating on top, just take a couple of paper towels, bunch them up and skim along the top and the paper towels will soak up the grease . Then just toss the paper towels away. (tip by FLUFFSTER)
If you love cast iron but hate when eggs stick to the pan, a friend once taught me to heat up the pan and then heat up the oil before adding the eggs (not adding them until the oil is nice and hot)--then they slide right out--no mess. It works for anything you cook in cast iron. (tip by riversanctuary)
wrap your celery in heavy duty foil .It will keep for 2 to 3 weeks and stay crisp in th refrigerator. (tip by Magbitt)
too many lemons? half or quarter them,put in freezer bag and toss in the freezer,i do mine and use them when lemons aren't in season. (tip by EZBEE )
When adding cornflour (cornstarch) to gravy or sauces to thicken them, try premixing it with cold water to form a paste and then adding. This will prevent floury lumps in your gravy. (tip by Gary C)
Before browning any meats, especially minced meats (ground meat) try frying off a bit of chopping onion in some oil first, this will prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. (tip by Gary C)
Do you still chop fresh parsley on a board and with a knife? Try putting the parsley leaves with stalks in a mug and use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut it up, as finely as you wish. (tip by Chef #341965 )
An easier way to mash bananas for banana bread is to put them in a ziplock bag,squeeze out all the air,seal the bag & Squish away with your hands.After they are done, snip one corner off the bottom of the bag & squeeze into the batter.No messy cleanup! (tip by Chef #348252)
To make several grilled sandwiches at one time, place them on a cookie sheet & pop them in the oven.(make sure the sandwiches are buttered on the outside..both sides, so they will be toasted & crispy.) (tip by Chef #348252)
To crush crackers for meatloaf, I put it in a heavy duty zip lock bag, leaving a little opening for any air to escape and run it over in my car!! (tip by Zeph's Wife)
You know how hard it is to grab that little piece of egg shell that sometimes ends up in the bowl? Use another bigger piece of egg shell to scoop it out. It seems to cling to it like magic. (tip by Ms. Mojo)
When I get a baked chicken from the local market, after we have eaten all the meat I put the bones in a pot with water to cover along with a carrot, onion and some celery. Boil for a hour, drain, cool and freeze. You have wonderful stock to add to other dishes that is low in sodium, tasty and basically free. (tip by Blonddee)
Don't peel garlic before crushing it in the garlic press. Cut it in half and put it in the press with the cut side down. Garlic squeezes out and you just take out the peel that is left behind. To get rid of the smell on your hands after working with garlic, simply rub your hands on your sink...it is stainless steel! (tip by Maverick Chef)
When I'm working with onions or something particularly stinky and can't get the smell off my hands, I wash my hands with a good sized gob of toothpaste. (tip by Jessica S.)
What always works for me to get the smell of onions or garlic off my hands is running my hands on My Stainless knives under running water the steel neutralizes the smell. (tip by CunSwim)
You can also run your hands over your faucet, the same principal applies, the stainless steel takes away the onion smell. (tip by Janet Christo)
Fresh lemon also works for smells on your hands - and after you rub a slice or wedge of lemon over your hands, squishing out the juice, it makes your disposal smell good too! Grind with water running, of course, and preferably the last thing you grind so you get all the lovely scent. (tip by Dawn in So Cal)
when roasting chicken, etc. I combine all spices with oil making a paste then smear on & in chicken which keeps the spices in place while roasting. (tip by Tante B)
Anytime you need to measure honey for a recipe first coat measuring utensil with veg. oil - the honey just slides out. (tip by Tante B)
To remove garlic odor off your fingers or when cutting hot peppers to remove the sting, rub fingers and hands well with any toothpaste, then wash with soap and water, rinse well. (tip by William (Uncle Bill) Anat)
To prevent lumpy gravy, use Instant Mashed Potatoes to thicken your gravy, adds another good flavor and NO LUMPS. (tip by William (Uncle Bill) Anat)
Buy Five Spice powder instead of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, etc. Use in place of cinnamon/spices for pumpkin pies, oatmeal cookies, etc. (Costs less to buy one spice instead of several, takes up less room, and can be replaced more frequently- so spices don't sit in the cupboard for years losing potency...) (tip by cheryl)
If you keep your onions and garlic in the fridge and cut them whilst they are cold you will not cry. (tip by JetteP)
When making whipped cream after beating to stabilize for 7 to 8 hours, fold in a tsp or so of powdered skim milk (tip by andypandy)
Alcohol substitutions (tip by Neta)
White wine: Substitute with white grape juice; chicken or vegetable broth; ginger ale.
Red wine: Substitute with grape juice; cranberry juice; chicken, beef or vegetable broth; flavored vinegar; tomato juice.
Brandy: Substitute with white grape juice; apple juice; cherry, peach or apricot syrup.
Beer: Substitute with chicken, beef or mushroom broth; white grape juice; ginger ale.
Rum: Substitute with pineapple juice with almond extract or molasses; vanilla extract.
Vodka: Substitute with water; apple cider or white grape juice with a squeeze of lime.
Sherry: Substitute with orange or pineapple juice; coffee; vanilla extract.
Last edited by Karen From Colorado on Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total
Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:34 pmFood.com Groupie
Karen, you should make this a sticky! It's full of great tips.
Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:38 pmFood.com Groupie
"Lumpy sauce or gravy - Pour gravy or sauce thru a strainer and mash out lumps with a wooden spoon. Re-heat very slowly. "
That is the main reason God invented the food processor or blender. After all.. "You are the only one in the kitchen."
Karen From Colorado
Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:06 pmFood.com Groupie
Karen, you should make this a sticky! It's full of great tips.
The request is already in
William (Uncle Bill) Anat
Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:09 pmFood.com Groupie
Firstly, there is one item that I do not agree on and
that is fish with a strong Fish Odor.
Fresh fish does not have a strong fishy odor.
On 2 occasions, my DW purchased supposed to be Fresh
Halibut. Well, she came home it it was so rank that I
threw it out.
I now smell any fish that I buy and if it has a strong fish
smell, I DO NOT buy it and tell the market that this is not
The lemon/salt is a good idea, but the smell will come out
when the fish is being cooked.
Here are some of my tips and probably I had given some of
these out before:
1. When preparing a turkey or chicken for roasting, make
sure it is thawed properly, clean out the cavities, then place the turkey in a clean sink or into the roaster. Boil a pot of
water and then pour the scalding water over the entire bird
and into the cavities. You will see the skin shrink tightly
against the bird. This helps hold the juices in the meat while
roasting and you get a nicely cooked and moist meat, in
particular, the breast meat.
2. Hard cheese will not dry out if stored by wrapping in a
cloth dampened with white vinegar.
3. To remove the aroma of garlic from your hands, rub the
hands with toothpaste, then wash with soap and water.
This also works well to remove the heat from hot peppers.
4. When frying in a pan, sprinkle a little salt in the pan. This will keep the oil from spattering.
5. Testing baking soda for freshness - Add 1/4 teaspoon of
baking soda to 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice
If it bubbles, then the baking soda is fresh.
6. To eliminate odors from used jars, such as peanut butter
or mayonnaise jars, rinse them well with white vinegar.
7. Eliminate the smell of cabbage while cooking by adding
half a lemon to the water when boiling.
8. To remove an egg that is stuck to the carton, just wet
the carton or put water around the stuck egg, leave it for a
few minutes and the egg can be removed easily without
cracking the shell.
9. Use an unbeaten egg white spread over the bottom crust
of a fruit pie. This will keep the juices from soaking into the
10. Glasses that are stuck together:
Immerse bottom glass up to 3/4 of its height in hot water.
This should expand the bottom glass sufficiently to rlease
the top glass. If the glasses are still stuck, put some cold
water or ice cubes into the top glass while the bottom glass
is still in hot water. This will definitely work.
Will continue with more later.
Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:59 pmFood.com Groupie
If your cookies are drying out, put a slice of bread in with them to soften them up. Replace the bread every other day.
Sat Nov 18, 2006 7:13 pmRegular "Line Cook" Poster
This full of some really great advice.
I have a question of my own though, I have come across numerous recipes that require " baking mix " too be used, I am in Australia and haven't seen this term before.
Could someone tell me what it is or a good alternative, thanks.
Sun Nov 19, 2006 3:20 amFood.com Groupie
Tanika, we don't have it in France either, so I use this The Master Mix (Homemade 'bisquick' Substitute) which works out great.
Sun Nov 19, 2006 4:33 pmRegular "Line Cook" Poster
Thanks so much PossumGirl
Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:49 amFood.com Groupie
My pleasure, Tanika. I use oil instead of shortening and just keep it in the fridge.
Last night, we came home after a long day out and I used it to make a batch of raisin biscuits for dessert. Took me a whole 3 minutes to get them ready for the oven!
Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:14 pmExperienced "Head Chef" Poster
My question is what should I use to cover any jelled salad or relish dish to prevent it from 'weeping'? (Liquid forming in the bottom of the bowl).
Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:46 amFood.com Groupie
I just learned that you not only use beaten egg white on unbaked pie srust, which I do all the time......bu when baking or prebaking a crust for a cooked pie filling or tart, bake it then immediately brush some beaten white over the crust this cooks the egg and seals the crust, which helps against getting soggy..
Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:55 pmFood.com Groupie
ONION SMELL OFF HANDS can also be achieved using a stainless steel spoon if you don't have a stainles steel sink.
Thu Dec 28, 2006 8:21 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
My bean soup turned out very spicy hot. It would take lots of honey (suggested as remedy) because I made a big pot. Do you have another suggestion to make it less hot? Thanks!
Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:29 pmFood.com Groupie
seve with toppings, such as sour cream or yogurt, diced tomatoes and cheese, the milk product helps.
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