Saturday, 1 July 2017

Cookbook Countdown #19

The first half of 2017 has gone. As we step into the second half of the year, let's take a minute or two to evaluate your goals and objectives, how has the first half fared for you? Are you happy with your existing diet plans or any plans for healthier meals, more greens, grains and fibres, and cut down on carbo and meat? As for me, we love greens in our house which is a plus, but we are not consuming grains and legumes as often as we should. I intend to change that, and incorporate more grains and legumes in our meals. What about you? Any special diet plans for the second half of 2017?

Let's see what you are cooking up this month (from your cookbooks), and link your post in the linky below.

Kitchen Tip For The Month : Guide To Storing Fruits and Vegetables (Part 1)

  • Do Not Store Fruits and Vegetables Together. Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables. (Think of the "one bad apple" adage.)
  • For Vegetables: Before storing, remove ties and rubber bands and trim any leafy ends. Leave an inch to keep the vegetable from drying out. Make sure the bag you store the veggies in has some holes punctured to allow for good air flow. Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the quicker they will rot. Leafy greens can be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.
  • For Fruits: Non-cherry stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop, while items like bell peppers, grapes, all citrus, and berries will only deteriorate and should be refrigerated. Bananas in particular ripen very quickly, and will also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.
  • For HerbsTreat them like a little bouquet, put them in a glass water, and put them in the fridge. Snip off stalks as you need them.
(source from here)



Thursday, 1 June 2017

Cookbook Countdown #18

As a home cook, do you select a recipe from a cookbook, then get the ingredients for the recipe? Or look for a recipe from your collection of cookbooks for the ingredients you already have at hand? Or maybe both ways work for you? Link your delicious post at the linky below.



Kitchen Tip For The Month : When To Use Glass Bakeware and When To Use Metal 
(source from The Kitchn)

When to Use Glass Bakeware

Glass is a poor conductor of heat, but it also distributes heat more evenly. What that means is that glass doesn't pick up heat quickly, but once a glass pan is hot, it will stay warm much longer outside of the oven. This can be a great feature if you are serving casseroles or braises that you would like to stay warm for as long as possible once out of the oven and set on the table. This goes for ceramic dishes, too.
Glass pans aren’t recommended when you want to broil foods because they may shatter. In fact, glass pans should never be used in direct high-heat cooking situations, like on the stovetop (unless otherwise specified from the manufacturer). So if you are roasting a meat and want to make a pan gravy on the stove after, stick to a metal roasting pan, not a glass pan, or else you will have to transfer everything to a pot first before making your sauce. 
  • Glass Bakeware YES: Casseroles and braised dishes that will be served directly to the table.
  • Glass Bakeware NO: When broiling or shifting from oven to stovetop.

When to Use Metal Bakeware

Metals, especially aluminum, are generally better at conducting heat: they pick up that heat but can lose it again quickly.
Grab metal baking pans when you want foods to heat up quickly and if you want them to brown, like when you are roasting potato wedges.
And because metal baking pans are better heat conductors, they will also cool more quickly once retrieved from the oven. If you are investing in aluminum baking sheets, opt for a thicker grade of aluminum so they can also serve for baking cookies without causing them to burn too quickly.
Avoid using metal bakeware, especially iron and aluminum pans, with reactive foods (foods that are acidic or basic), because these foods will react with the metal, discoloring the pan, leaving a grayish tinge on the layer of food in contact with the surface of the pan, and often adding an unwanted metallic flavor to those foods. Examples of things not to bake in aluminum or cast iron pans are fruit crumbles and savory cobblers 
  • Metal Bakeware YES: Quick-roasting foods and when you want browning
  • Metal Bakeware NO: Reactive foods such as fruit; foods that you want to keep warm for a period of time before serving.

A Note on Insulated Bakeware

Some baking sheets are actually two layers of metal with a layer of air in between. Air conducts heat poorly and therefore acts as an insulator to significantly slow down the transfer of heat and help even out the heat on the surface of the sheet. Insulated baking sheets are a great weapon in the battle against burned cookies.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Cookbook Countdown #17

Which cookbooks shall be your choice for May? Link your post in the linky below.


Kitchen Tips For This Month : How To Clean The Oven
(source from thekitchn)
What you need : Oven, Baking soda, Water, Rubber gloves, Damp dish cloth, Plastic or silicone spatula, Spray bottle and White vinegar.

Instructions :
  1. Remove the oven racks : Remove your oven racks, pizza stone, oven thermometer, and anything else you have inside the oven. Set aside.
  2. Make a baking soda paste : In a small bowl, mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Adjust the ratio of both as needed until you have a spreadable paste.
  3. Coat your oven : Spread the paste all over the interior surfaces of your oven, steering clear of the heating elements. Use a pair of gloves to protect your nails from the grimes and grease. The baking soda will turn a brownish colour as you rub it in; it also might be chunkier in some places than others. That is fine. Just try to coat the whole oven to the best of your abilities, paying attention to any particularly greasy areas.
  4. Let it sit overnight : Allow the baking soda mixture to rest for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
  5. Clean your oven racks : Meanwhile, clean your oven racks. See the full cleaning tutorial here.
  6. Wipe out the oven : After 12 hours or overnight, take a damp dish cloth and wipe out as much of the dried baking soda paste as you can. Use a plastic or silicone spatula to help scrape off the paste as needed. 
  7. Spray a little vinegar : Put a little vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz everywhere you still see baking soda residue in your oven. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and gently foam.
  8. Do a final wipe down : Take your damp cloth and wipe out the remaining foamy vinegar-baking-soda mixture. Repeat until all the baking soda residue is gone. Add more water or vinegar to your cloth as needed while wiping to really get the oven clean and shiny.
  9. Replace your oven racks : Replace the oven racks and anything else you keep in your oven, and you're done!