yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi posting in [community profile] homeeconomics101
Second verse, same as the first:

Over the next few days, I will be trying to post one entry per day where people can share general tips and tricks they think could be valuable to others. No matter how basic they are or how few people you think would profit from them. Just think about how you do things and share this with others.

This entry is all about cooking, baking and related disciplines.

Other entries:

Date: 2011-05-09 10:45 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
If you want to largely cook at home for any of ingredient control/health, taste, custom, but you're a busy person, it helps to have a mental list of 5 to 10 meals that really do take under 15 minutes to prepare.

Here's some that work for us. Most involve some pre-prepared food, I've marked where this is so. Also, we are omnivores and these involve meat.

Coucous. Boil 1 cup water. Take off heat. Add 1 cup couscous and a small amount of oil or butter (1 teaspoon to tablespoon, say). Cover for 2 minutes ish (see packet). Done! You can stir through sundried tomatoes and olives for couscous salad and it's an entire meal.

Take a barbecue chicken (pre-prepared) and place in a saucepan. Empty a can of cream of mushroom soup (pre-prepared) over it. Add some olives. Heat through. Serve.

Cream of mushroom soup from scratch. Fry mushrooms, add cream/sour cream/milk/..., reduce, serve. (There's various recipes online, we tend to just google and go for it.)

Wraps. Buy pre-prepared tortillas. Fry mince with onion. Place mince on tortilla with some combination of chopped tomato, lettuce, salsa (pre-prepared) and yoghurt. Fold wrap up and eat.

We also do a lot of stir-fries, usually red meat, purple onion, carrot, capsicum and baby bok choy. Flavour added with either coriander+lime+fish sauce (so, Thai-style) or coriander+kecap manis.
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
Obviously YMMV.


A big terracotta tile! Recommended to us by a chef as an ideal pizza stone, and indeed it is.

A blender (we have a stand one and a stick one). Good for smoothies, also you can stir pancake or crepe mixture easily with it, also good for creamy soups (eg mushroom).

A rice cooker. We eat heaps of rice and it takes the guesswork out of it.

The Furi knife sharpener gizmos. Not cheap though.

Not useful:

Waffle maker, juicer, egg beater (OK, occasionally useful, just turns out we don't make stuff that requires the whites of eggs much), pre-filled spice racks.

Also, Scanpan is nice stuff, but the glass lids on Scanpan fry-pans are NOT made of safety/shatter resistant glass. This was found out the hard way. Not nice when there's a crawling baby in the house.
From: [personal profile] lyd
side comment to this lovely comment, there are some stick blenders who have extras such as egg beater which is extremely handy for anyone who needs to bake (which is the reason why I use egg beaters at all otherwise they would be useless for me too ;))
miome: (I dunno)
From: [personal profile] miome
About your terracotta tile, how big is it? Where did you get it? I've been wanting a pizza stone, and this sounds perfect ...
From: [personal profile] puzzlement
It's a square about 20cm x 20cm, approximately 1cm thick or perhaps a touch thicker. My mother gave it to me, she would have picked it up from somewhere that sells paving equipment for garden paths.
From: [personal profile] lyd
It might just be me but I find it extremely useful to clean while I cook. But to do so when you have to wait for stuff to be done (be it because it's in the pan/boiling/oven). And I find it far easier to wash (carefully so you don't burn yourself) pans right after you're done (unless you were frying 'cause you have to wait for the oil to cool down so you can either re-use it or recycle it). And the stove do wash it asap, if there's something really kind fo stuck/burnt-ish then just put some water to the stove and let it 'soften it up' for you for a few minutes.

Also this might also concern cleaning. when you have a pan with stuff burnt in and you don't want to leave it for many hours with water and soap just do like 5 minutes of water with some vinegar - and it will be really easy to brush away the burnt stuff.

Date: 2011-05-09 01:25 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
If your recipes call for volume-measurements for dry ingredients, get a dedicated measuring implement to leave inside the storage cannisters for things like flour/sugar/rice, in the size that these things are usually measured.

Date: 2011-05-09 03:55 pm (UTC)
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (mischief)
From: [personal profile] foxfirefey
Panko bread crumbs, my friends, in recipes that call for bread crumbs. So crispy, without any effort!

Date: 2011-05-09 05:37 pm (UTC)
majoline: picture of Majoline, mother of Bon Mucho in Loco Roco 2 (Default)
From: [personal profile] majoline
The two things that have made a huge difference cooking are my slow cooker and convection oven.

The convection oven means that things like pizza and cookies and bread are cooked fast and healthily (especially things like fries - no oil and so good) and my slow cooker is normally used for making overnight breakfast.

Waking up in the morning to fresh breakfast is the best feeling in the world. Especially if you have a coffee pot with timer.

Date: 2011-05-09 06:14 pm (UTC)
ciaan: (wild in summer)
From: [personal profile] ciaan
What kinds of breakfasts do you make in a slow cooker?

Date: 2011-05-09 07:39 pm (UTC)
majoline: picture of Majoline, mother of Bon Mucho in Loco Roco 2 (Default)
From: [personal profile] majoline
Oatmeal, farina, any kind of breakfast casserole, coffee cakes, and I've seen people just pour pancake mix in for a big thick cake (I've not tried that tho)

What I usually do is right before I go to bed, I pour rolled oats and cinnamon in completely covered with water and in the morning, use molasses to taste. That way it's sweetened with something full of nutrients.

Date: 2011-05-09 06:08 pm (UTC)
cledon: Female devil's food cake surrounded by temptations (Devil Food Cake)
From: [personal profile] cledon
My most useful cooking skill is the plain white sauce, which is endlessly variable.

1 tablespoon butter (margarine/oil)
1 flat tablespoon flour
1 cup milk (or other liquid)
Spices to taste

In a small saucepan, melt the butter or margarine or heat the oil. When it's sizzling, throw in the flour and stir, stir, stir a minute to cook the flour. I prefer a whisk but you could use a wooden spoon. Then pour in the cup of milk and stir, heating to a boil. Then lower to medium and stir, stir, stir until it thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now come the variables. Add a handful of grated cheese for cheese sauce. Pour over pasta or veggies. Add a couple heaping spoons of mustard for a mustard sauce. Add lots of dill and a squeeze of lemon and you have dill sauce for fish. Use the liquid from a can of mushrooms and add half-n-half to make a cup of liquid and you've got mushroom sauce. Add curry spices for an Indian style meal.

Then you can vary the liquid. Skim milk to full cream, including buttermilk. Use chicken or beef broth to add flavor and throw in a couple spoons of sour cream or yogurt once it's thickened. Use leftover strained soup. Whatever's in the fridge that might taste good.

If you fry meat in a pan, take the meat out and set aside. Eyeball the amount of oil left and pour off until you've got a tablespoon. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with as little liquid as possible (water or wine rather than milk). Add the flour and stir. Then a cup of meat broth. When it's thickened, add some sour cream if you like creamy gravies. Season to taste.

I've even made rice pudding this way when I had a late night desert craving. Using half-and-half with a little rum added. Then sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and leftover rice. It wasn't bad.

I mostly think of cooking as a) getting everything cooked and non-toxic (hello, meat thermometer). b) Then it's all about how do I flavor it? A tasty sauce is the easiest way to accomplish that.

Date: 2011-05-09 06:16 pm (UTC)
cledon: Yellow and white dandelions in vase on windowsill (Dandelions)
From: [personal profile] cledon
Oh, also. I cheat when cooking rice. I never can add the right amount of liquid to cook down at the same time the rice is done. The rice is either soupy or burnt at the bottom and still crunchy.

So I cook rice like pasta and just drain it well when it's done. Put it back in the pot to steam itself dry for a couple minutes and it's done.

Date: 2011-05-09 06:46 pm (UTC)
marymac: Noser from Middleman (Default)
From: [personal profile] marymac
I find my mum's trick for rice works almost foolproofly: double water to rice - so one mug of rice, two mugs water, cover, simmer low. Is magic.

(Admittedly I do have one pan that is still slightly black from The Time We Got Doug Drunk, but rice for twelve on short notice with drink taken is extenuating circumstances, right?)

Date: 2011-05-09 09:50 pm (UTC)
cledon: Ocean waves pounding on rocks (Ocean Waves)
From: [personal profile] cledon
Hee! Definitely extenuating circumstances.

That's actually the rice:water proportion I used until I gave up. So not proof against this fool. *g*

Date: 2011-05-10 03:38 am (UTC)
freya46: (Default)
From: [personal profile] freya46
I tend to use brown rices as they are much healthier. Also gives a totally different taste. I double the water as well, but then I add just a wee bit more because the brown rices really do require more.

Oh..a neat trick with garlic if you use a lot of it... slice the whole thing across the circumference, wrap in tin foil and then bake for about 45 minutes. Take it out, let it cool a bit then squeeze out the garlic into a container. It lasts for a very long time.

Date: 2011-05-10 02:51 pm (UTC)
cledon: Yellow and white dandelions in vase on windowsill (Dandelions)
From: [personal profile] cledon
Ooh, that's roasted garlic, isn't it? I used to buy it at a fancy deli in a city I no longer live in. *sob* Ate it on buttered toast with salt and pepper. Thank you for the instructions on how to make it myself.

Date: 2011-05-10 11:19 pm (UTC)
freya46: (Default)
From: [personal profile] freya46
I happened to turn on the tv to the cooking channel this afternoon and watched as someone made a scratch pizza using roasted garlic paste mashed with a bit of olive oil instead of tomato sauce. I cannot wait to try it. he also took the meat out of a couple of Italian sausages and spread it on top of the garlic.

Definitely not for someone going out on a date. *grin*

Date: 2011-05-11 03:01 am (UTC)
cledon: Female devil's food cake surrounded by temptations (Devil Food Cake)
From: [personal profile] cledon
My eyes are glazing over with lust at the thought of that pizza. OMGYUM!

Hmm... I've never made pizza. Maybe it's time to try it. *g*

Date: 2011-05-11 03:12 am (UTC)
freya46: (Default)
From: [personal profile] freya46
I can't physically roll out the dough, so I take two large wraps, throw some grated mozza between them to act as glue and then put whatever I want on it. Unlike pizza dough, it isn't necessary to pre-bake your pie.

Date: 2011-05-11 04:20 am (UTC)
cledon: Bright yellow sunrise over dark mountain. (Sunrise)
From: [personal profile] cledon
I was thinking of cheating with the pre-made pizza crust by Boboli. I've seen that in my supermarket but I've never tried it.

Not that your idea doesn't sound delicious, like a pizza quesadilla.

Date: 2011-05-11 05:02 am (UTC)
freya46: (Default)
From: [personal profile] freya46
Oh, we have them here as well. but I can't do all the fiddly stuff that's necessary. My digits don't always play well together. *grin*
Let me know how it comes out. :-)

Date: 2011-05-16 03:47 am (UTC)
cledon: Ocean waves pounding on rocks (Ocean Waves)
From: [personal profile] cledon
I made the garlic paste/sausage pizza tonight and it was delicious. I have heartburn and I DON'T CARE it was so yummy. Thank you for the recipe idea. This one is a keeper.

Date: 2011-05-16 04:18 am (UTC)
freya46: (Default)
From: [personal profile] freya46
I am glad. Try drinking some milk or a derivitive thereof when having anything spicy..for both your mouth and stomach. :-)

Date: 2011-05-16 03:05 pm (UTC)
cledon: Ocean waves pounding on rocks (Ocean Waves)
From: [personal profile] cledon
Since I will be having it again tonight, I will do so. Thanks! (not really a heartburn masochist)

Date: 2011-05-16 06:06 pm (UTC)
freya46: (Default)
From: [personal profile] freya46
It's something I learned when I lived in Israel. There is a very hot spice mixture called Harif. I couldn't eat it without milk. Since I hate milk..... *grin*

Date: 2011-05-10 10:02 am (UTC)
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)
From: [personal profile] amadi
If you eat white rice, rather than brown, skip the basic stuff and go for Jasmine rice. It cooks much faster, is almost impossible to mess up when you follow the proportions provided on the package, and it tastes immeasurably better than the plain variety. I've been known to eat it with just a shake of salt and pepper, nothing else necessary.

Date: 2011-05-10 02:48 pm (UTC)
cledon: San Francisco hill with dramatic pink clouds (Bernal Clouds)
From: [personal profile] cledon
I've seen that in the grocery store and will try it. Tastier versions of anything is always appreciated. Thanks!

Date: 2011-05-16 04:19 am (UTC)
freya46: (Default)
From: [personal profile] freya46
it's the only white rice I will eat. I use only brown otherwise. I got some dried jasmine flowers in an Asian store and added it in with the rice. Oh My!! It was fabulous.

Date: 2011-05-10 06:47 am (UTC)
butterflydreaming: coffee mug (coffee in my mug)
From: [personal profile] butterflydreaming
This scraper spatula is the most amazing multi-purpose tool. It's great for all the expected uses (scraping a bowl), but I've found out how good it is in unexpected ways. For example, after I have cooked something greasy (roasted chicken pieces, or bacon in a pan) I scrape the pan clean with the scraper. This leaves almost nothing to wash off, which is a good thing because grease should not go down drains, not even a little loosened with dish soap. (It's not good for the system overall.)

Another use is with non-stick pans. It makes a great cutting/removing tool that doesn't scratch the non-stick, such as with baking pans.

I have also found it to work really well for cutting fat into flour when making biscuit or pastry. I like more than a professional fat cutter because it is so much easier to clean.

I first bought this particular scraper spatula merely as a way to get the minimum for free shipping. What luck. It's large size and rigidity have made it my favorite kitchen tool, no matter what I'm cooking, baking, or making.

Date: 2011-05-16 08:44 pm (UTC)
ninetydegrees: Drawing: a girl's face, with a yellow and green stripe over one eye (Default)
From: [personal profile] ninetydegrees
A very simple sauce which works well with veal and turkey: in a pan, brown some onions in a tiny bit of butter then put your chop or scallop over them. When your meat's cooked put it on a plate then pour a little sour cream in your pan. Mix onions and cream, let the sauce reduce a little and finally pour the sauce on your dish. You can also use shallots instead of onions.

A very simple sauce for boiled fish: mix some butter with sour cream --there shouldn't be too much butter in the sauce, add salt, pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg. .

When breading meat, very lightly coat it with flour (shake the meat to remove the excess) before you sink it into raw egg. It will make breadcrumbs adhere better. You can make a perfect wiener schnitzel like this. Also the recipe for wiener schnitzel works with turkey, chicken and fish.

When you're on a diet you're often told to cook meat without any grease but sometimes meat becomes much less tasty without a little oil/butter. Besides limiting the amount of grease you put in your pan, you can also use kitchen papers to absorb as much grease as possible once it's cooked. This also works with some things you can cook in your oven such as duck filets, sausages, etc.

Mascarpone is a nice alternative to whipped cream. Fresh goat cheese can replace mayonnaise in sandwiches.

Bacon and leek quiche is delicious and very easy to make. :)


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