A great way to get into those corners of your cookie cutters and get them really clean is to use a bottle brush. It sneaks right into the crevices and makes cleaning a breeze.
To slice meat, poultry or slabs of bacon, freeze it first for about 15 minutes, until it is slushy. You don't want to freeze it solid, but at the slushy state, it makes slicing so much easier and more consistent for the end product. You can then slice it by hand or with a meat slicer for consistent thin slices.
Garlic, did you know that the bigger the pieces of garlic are, the more mild they are in taste? Roasted and cooked garlic is also more mild in flavor than raw garlic. However, you do have to be careful to not burn garlic. It will be very bitter and you will need to start over, with a clean pan. If you are ever short in a recipe for garlic, grate it with a microplane or smallest size on the cheese grater to get the most bang. If you add a little salt to the garlic as you are chopping, it helps to prevent the garlic from sticking to the knife. If you are going to chop garlic, the easiest way to get the skin off is to lay it flat on a cutting board and smack it with the side of your knife. The garlic is halfway to being chopped and the skin comes right off. To peel whole cloves of garlic, place the individual cloves in a bowl. Add very hot water and agitate with a spoon. The skins will come off easily with a paring knife. Also, make sure your fingers are wet, when peeling garlic, so the skins don't stick to you.
Chili vs. Chile. It seems the words are used interchangeably throughout the American dialect. Researching the two words, did not clear up much of the confusion. If you google Chili, you will find it refers to a small tapered pod with capscaicin and can be fresh, dried or ground. Chile on the other hand is a bit more difficult to find a definition of other than it is a country. Some interpretations say that Chile is a dish consisting of Chilis and meat, such as Chile con Carne. What it boils down to is demographics and even at that, you may use whichever spelling you are most comfortable with.
Juicing a lemon? Pick lemons with a smooth, thin skin as they tend to render more juice. You can put the lemon in a microwave for 10 seconds. Warm it in very hot water for 5 minutes or my favorite is to give it a good roll, back and forth on the counter for 30 seconds or so. You can feel the lemon get softer and the juices start flowing
Mouse pads, not just for computers.... Did you know that you can put a mouse pad under a mixing bowl to keep it steady on the counter? If you have non stick pans and you don't want them scratching, put a mouse pad in between the pans for cushion.
Do you use vanilla beans in baking? Don't throw away the pod once you have scraped out the seeds. Place the vanilla pod in your sugar container, and over time, it will add a light vanilla scent and flavor to your sugar. You can soak a vanilla pod if it is dried out and revive it. Try soaking it in some cream for a couple of days. Then your pod will be usable and the cream will go great in your coffee. Or for that afternoon cocktail, soak it in a bit of alcohol for a few days. This will add a kick to your recipe as well.
Always add vanilla extract to your dish at the end of a cooking process, such as in a custard. If you add it at the beginning of the cooking process, your vanilla will lose it's intensity and fall flat.
Did you know there is a difference between appetizers and hors d'ouevres?
While the terms are used interchangeably, an appetizer is typically served as a first course in a meal and is a somewhat smaller portion size than say the main course. Hors d'ouevres are served outside the meal (the French translation), usually a one or two bite tidbit.
Appetizers may be served with utensils, whereas hors d'ouevres are typically finger foods.
There are so many questions when it comes to knives. Which knife is the correct knife for the job at hand? Here is a description of many different kinds of knives and what the purpose of those knives are. The picture here is my set of knives at home. The top knife is a bread knife. The next knife a small serrated knife that I like to use for tomatoes. A Santoku knife is used when you have something that sticks to the blade. This knife has the ridges in the blade which does not allow the vegetable you are slicing to adhere completely to the blade.
Then I have a two chef's knives, both measuring 6". My favorite of the two is the upper chef's knife, which has a much thinner blade than the lower chef's knife. The first paring knife measures 4" and the bottom paring knife is 3". I rarely use the 3" paring knife as it is too small and the blade is too thick. However, the 4" paring knife has earned it's keep here. Most of my knives are Henckles, and I really do enjoy the quality from them. That little 4" paring knife was a gift about 20 years ago, and that is what started my Henckles love.
I hope you enjoy the article, and always, no matter what, make sure your knives are sharp!
Check out these delicious s'mores biscuits! I found a great recipe from Lauren's Latest here: http://www.laurenslatest.com/smore-doughnuts/.
I changed a couple of things on my version, baking the biscuits, rather than frying them. Also, I topped them with Nutella. I have to say, the scariest part of this recipe was opening the can of biscuits!