TILL'S TIPs OF THE DAY
FUN FOOD FACTS
#1 - For a non-flip over-easy fried egg, cover the pan with a lid. The trapped heat will cook the egg from the top.
#5 - Use dried herbs at the beginning and during cooking. Use fresh herbs at the end to give extra flavor.
#6 - To ensure you are buying the freshest corn, press on a kernel with your fingernail. Fresh corn kernels will pop and squirt.
#10 - Adding oil to butter will NOT keep it from burning. Use clarified butter or Ghee instead.
#13 - To mellow out raw onion flavor, place the chopped or sliced onion in a strainer and rinse with very hot tap water for 30 seconds. Use in salads, tacos, sandwiches etc.
#16 - To keep a halved avocado from browning, spray the cut surface with cooking spray.
#20 - To make cheese grating easier, spray the grater with cooking spray.
#21 - To crisp up wilted greens, soak them in cold water and add a splash of white vinegar.
#23 - Use ice cube trays to freeze fresh herbs. Chop the herbs and place in the tray, add water to cover and freeze. When you want to use them, just toss a cube of herbs into your sauce, soup or stew.
#24 - When poaching eggs, add 2 tbsp of white vinegar to the water to help set the whites faster.
#26 - Always buy shell-on shrimp. Save the shells and keep them in a zip top bag in the freezer. Once you have enough, roast them in a pan as a base for a fantastic seafood stock, bisque or compound butter.
#27 - Use Kosher salt. The larger flakes stick to your food and are easier to sprinkle.
#35 - Soften brown sugar that has hardened by microwaving it for 30 seconds.
#38 - When cooking meat in a crock pot, sear or grill the meat first. This will bring extra flavor to the dish.
#41 - Make sure your knives are always sharp. More accidents happen with dull knives than with sharp ones.
#46 - For kebabs, always use two skewers. This will prevent your food from spinning.
#48 – Always keep a large bowl for garbage on the counter while prepping and cooking. Clean as you go!
#49 - Place a bunch of scallions in a glass of water on your counter. Cut only the tops and use for cooking – they will grow back.
#52 - Control garlic flavor by choosing the right preparation: Whole = mild / Sliced = medium / Minced = strong / Smashed = even stronger
#57 - To peel tomatoes, core the stem and cut a shallow X in the top. Place the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds and then transfer them to a bowl with ice water. Let them cool for 1 minute and the skin will slide right off.
#59 - Secure your cutting board to the counter by placing a moist dish towel or reusable rubber shelf liner underneath.
#62 - To control the heat when cooking with fresh chiles, take out the seeds and cut out the veins. The seeds are spicy but the heat is most concentrated in the veins.
#64 - For a makeshift piping bag, use a zip top bag. Fill the bag with whatever you are dispensing (i.e. pancake batter, whipped cream etc.), cut off one corner and squeeze.
#67 - Always brown food in stainless or cast-iron pans. Preheat your pans dry and only add fat when the pan is hot. Leave non-stick coated pans for lower heat cooking.
#68 - Use an egg slicer to cut button mushrooms.
#70 - Never place your wooden cutting boards in the dish washer.
#71 - NEVER use glass or stone cutting boards, they will destroy your knives! Stick to wood or plastic.
#73 - When using fresh cilantro (corinander), don’t bother plucking the leaves. The stems are tender and full of flavor. Just chop them up along with the leaves and use as directed.
#79 - Invest in a good pair of kitchen shears. Use them to trim green beans, cut fresh herbs, turn a whole broccoli into florets etc. use them to cut almost anything.
#85 - Learn to use a honing steel and keep your knifes sharp. A dull knife is a dangerous knife!
#96 - Know your oven! Use an oven thermometer and measure temperatures in different spots. Compare the results to your dials. Chances are they will be off... Don’t trust your dials!
#107 - Use a food processor to turn stale bread into bread crumbs.
#123 - Store fresh herbs in a glass of water on your countertop. Change the water daily and your herbs will last a lot longer than stored in the fridge.
#143 - Invest in a good pepper mill. Never use pre-ground pepper; your taste buds will be rewarded.
#2 - Honey never spoils.
#5 - Rosemary is a member of the mint-family.
#13 - Eggplant is a fruit, more specifically a berry, not a vegetable!
#14 - The Atlantic deep-sea scallop can grow to a diameter of up to 12in (30cm).
#20 – The only difference between white and brown eggs is the color.
#21 - The lime tree flowers continually and bears fruit all year long.
#27 – The generic name for sage is “Salvia” and comes from the Latin salvus which means “healthy”.
#35 - Guava is part of the same family of plants as nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and eucalyptus.
#38 - Cloves are the dried, unopened flower buds of the clove tree.
#39 - Cucumbers belong to the same family as squash and melons.
#41 - There are over 30 varieties of garlic.
#43 - American Cream Cheese was invented in 1872.
#44 - The name Basil is derived from the Greek word “Basilikon”, meaning “Royal”.
#47 - In the middle ages, Nutmeg was believed to be an aphrodisiac.
#50 - Mangoes are relatives of the pistachio and cashew and have been cultivated for over 6000 years.
#52 – Botanically speaking, Quinoa is not a cereal but the fruit of a plant that is related to beets and spinach.
#55 – It takes about 70,000 of the Crocus Sativus flower to produce one pound of Saffron.
#121 – The plum tree grows on every continent except Antarctica.
#125 - Porcini mushrooms can grow up to 10 inches tall and 12 inches across.
#126 - Portobello mushrooms are mature button mushrooms.
STOP SLIP SLIDIN' AWAY
A cutting board that does not sit securely on the counter while you’re playing with knives could easily get you a trip to the medicine cabinet, or worse the ER. Get yourself a roll of non-adhesive rubber shelf liner. Place the liner on top of your cutting board and cut a piece that is 1/2” smaller all around. If you have different size cutting boards cut a couple of pieces to work with most of your boards; one small and one large is probably all you need. Every time you use a cutting board, make sure you place the mat on the counter and the board on top. No more slippin’ boards. You can wash the mat by hand or place it in the dish washer on the top rack.
CUTTING THE EASY WAY
Invest it a good quality set of kitchen shears. If you are not all too confident in your knife skills, these will become your best friend. Use them to cut almost anything. Cut fresh herbs, trim roots off vegetables, butterfly a chicken, trim a pie crust, clean green beans, cut a pizza, chop whole canned tomatoes right in the can, trim artichokes and on and on and on . . .
EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY
To get the most juice, roll the lemon or lime back and forth on the counter applying pressure with your hand. This will soften the lemon and break the cells inside. If you don’t have a dedicated lemon or lime juicer use your kitchen tongs to squeeze them dry.
GET RID OF THE STINK
Peeled some garlic, diced a few onions, filet a fish, ? The best way to get the smell of your hands is to rub them against stainless steel under running cold water. You can buy a stainless-steel bar at most kitchen stores but why spend money when you can use what you already have in your kitchen? If you have a stainless-steel sink use that. You can also use a stainless bowl or kitchen utensil. Once the smell is gone, just wash your hands normally with soap and warm water.