Top Chefs’ Advice Makes Home Cooking Easier

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by Michelle
(Houston, Texas, USA)

Everyone wants to prepare food well at home, but it can laborious and time-consuming. Professional chefs offer this array of tips for cutting down kitchen work and turning out delicious meals any family will love.

* Partially freeze meat before slicing for stir-fry and other dishes and it will slice much more easily.

* A bone-in roast cooks faster than a boneless one because the bone carries the cooking heat inside the meal faster.

* Want a really juicy hamburger? Add one-half cup of water per pound of beef to the mixture before forming patties for grilling.

* A little milk in the water will keep cauliflower from turning yellow while cooking.

* Place raw potatoes in cold water for 30 minutes before frying and they’ll be crisper.

* Look for mushrooms with caps snugly attached to their stems to get the freshest ones. Mushrooms that have “opened” will be less flavorful.

* Store lettuce unwashed in the refrigerator until it’s salad time. It keeps better that way. Also don’t mix the salad in a metal bowl, which can cause it turn brown just like a metal knife. Instead use bowls made of glass, china or wood.

* Lard, rather than butter or solid shortening, makes the flakiest pie or pastry crust. Substitute lard for butter at a ratio of 4:1, such as four tablespoons of lard for one tablespoon of butter.

* Make your own cornmeal mix for cornbread or muffins by combining 1 cup of corn meal, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 4 teaspoons of baking powder. Store in a tightly covered container and it will keep for up to six months.

* Always allow a roast of any meat to sit for at least 15 minutes before carving. Resting time lets the roast, whether it’s pork, beef, poultry or lamb, finish cooking. During this time juices will flow back into the meat, so that all of the flavor and moistness is retained. Carve a roast too soon, and most of its flavor will drain out onto the platter.

* Learn how to use a microwave properly for cooking and for easier food preparation. For example, “zap” a lemon for 15 seconds and you’ll get twice the juice when squeezing. Garlic skins will slip off after they’re microwaved for 15 seconds.

* Ragged hard-boiled egg slices can ruin the presentation of many dishes. To avoid this problem, slightly wet a knife or the wires of an egg slicer just before cutting eggs. The eggs should cut cleanly, but if they don’t, try a quick spritz of non-stick cooking spray. Speaking of eggs, you can tell fresh from old eggs by their shells; old eggs look smooth and shiny, while fresh eggs have chalky, rough shells.

* Food storage: Wrap fresh celery in aluminum foil and it will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. On the other hand, never put basil in the refrigerator; it hates cold! Instead, store fresh-cut basil in a glass with water covering just the steps. Basil will keep stored this way and may even develop roots for new plants. Cutting basil plants regularly encourages new growth.

Michelle previously had no idea what precisely a crock pot was basically before her good friend invited her home for dinner one evening. She agreed, assuming they’d be feeding on leftovers or perhaps take-out Chinese. In fact, they had a tasty crock pot pot roast that had been slowly cooking away almost all day while both girls were at work.

Updated: July 12, 2013 — 6:09 pm

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