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Food Dictionary
Ingredient Substitutions
Food Funnies
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Miscellaneous Tips
Storing Cheese
Tricks for using Skewers
How to Use Chopsticks
About Honey
Low Fat Cooking
Food Safety
Deep-Frying Tips
Fruit Pies
About Saffron
Left Over Halloween Pumpkins
Clarified Butter
About Shallots
Problems With Breads
Shelf Lives For Common Items
Barbecue Tips
Tips For Cooking a Turkey
Herbs and Spices
Shucking Oysters
Formal Table Setting
Cooking Tips For Icings
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Make Your Own Spice Mixes
Household Tips



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Storing Cheese:
Store cheese in your refrigerator, which approximates the
temperature of aging rooms. Keep it wrapped tightly in plastic,
away from air. Air helps mold grow on cheese. If you get a little
mold on the outside, just cut it off. The English say if mold
won't eat your cheddar it can't taste very good.
Bring cheese to room temperature before melting. Melt cheese
over a low heat to help prevent toughening and separation of
oils and liquids.
Most ripened or aged cheese is low in moisture content and
can be frozen without drastic flavor and texture changes. Thaw
slowly in the refrigerator for 24 hours or more. If frozen for
several months, the cheese may dry out somewhat and become
crumbly when thawed.
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Tricks for using Skewers:
Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before using
them so they won't burn during cooking.

If you prefer metal skewers, which have a long life, use
square or twisted types, which will hold the food better
than round ones.

To keep food from slipping off during cooking and turning,
use two parallel skewers rather than a single skewer.

If you're using a wooden skewer, as you thread the food
move the pieces close together, with no space showing.
If the skewer is metal, you can leave small spaces between
the pieces.

When using foods with different cooking times (such as shrimp
and beef), don't combine them on the same skewer. Instead,
make skewers of just shrimp or just beef, start cooking the
beef first, and then combine them on a serving platter.
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How to use Chopsticks:
Place the first chopstick so that thicker part rests at the
base of your thumb and the thinner part rests on the lower side
of your middle fingertip. Bring your thumb forward so that it
traps the stick firmly in place. At least two or three inches
of chopstick should extend beyond your fingertip. Relax.
Now position the other chopstick so that it is held against
the side of your index finger by the end of your thumb.
Tap the ends of both sticks on the plate, while holding them
at a slight angle to the table. Allow them to slide just a
little so that the ends line up. Place a little pressure on
the top chopstick. It will pivot on your index finger just
above the second knuckle. Remember: the bottom chopstick is
stationary. The tip of the top chopstick will move towards
the tip of the bottom chopstick.Encourage this. Hold those
tips together firmly enough to grasp a piece of food and
lift it off the plate. Place delicately into your waiting
mouth. Although there's no need to stoop, you may wish to
lean over your plate a bit during your first attempts.
It might save you a clean-up!
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About Honey:
To substitute honey for sugar in recipes, start by substituting
up to half of the sugar called for. With a little experimentation,
honey can replace all the sugar in some recipes.

When baking with honey, remember the following:
Reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used.
Add l/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used.
Reduce oven temperature by 25 F to prevent over-browning.

Because of its high fructose content, honey has a higher
sweetening power than sugar. This means you can use less honey
than sugar to achieve the desired sweetness.

When measuring honey, coat the measuring cup with non-stick
cooking spray or vegetable oil before adding the honey.
The honey will slide right out.

To retain honey's wonderfully luxuriant texture, always store
it at room temperature; never in the refrigerator. If your honey
becomes cloudy, don't worry. It's just crystallization, a natural
process. Place your honey jar in warm water until the crystals
disappear. If you're in a hurry, place it in a microwave-safe
container and heat it in the microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes,
stirring every 30 seconds. Remember, never boil or scorch honey.
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About Saffron:
Saffron is the dried, bright red stigmas of the flower Crocus
sativus, which is a relatively easy-to-grow perennial. It lies
dormant all summer, then pushes its purple blossoms up through
the mulch just as other plants are succumbing to frost. Each
blossom offers up to three scarlet stigmas. Plant the bulbs in
summer and harvest the stigmas in fall. A starter supply of about
50 bulbs costs about $30 and will produce about a tablespoon of
the spice the first year. However, each year more flowers will
grow, and therefore you'll get more of the spice. Ultimately,
your investment will pay off. Fresh saffron threads can be used
immediately for cooking, or they can be dried and stored. To dry
them, place on paper towels and leave for several days in a warm
place. Then transfer them to an airtight container and keep in
a cool, dry place.
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Left Over Halloween Pumpkins:
Scoop out seeds and strands if using a new pumpkin.
Stand pumpkin upright and cut down the middle. Halves should
be able to fit on a baking sheet. Place one half pumpkin, or two
if they fit, cut side down on the baking sheet. You may sprinkle
a little water on the sheet first. Bake at 350F for 30-60 minutes,
depending on the size. When done, the skin darkens and the pumpkin
begins to collapse. Check for softness with a fork or knife. It
will go in easily if done. Remove from oven, cool about 20 minutes.
Scoop pumpkin flesh away from skin. Discard skin then puree in food
processor.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. melted butter or oil (olive oil or vegetable oil work well)
salt to taste
Options To Taste:
garlic powder
cayenne pepper
seasoning salt
Cajun seasoning blend

Preheat oven to 300F. While it's fine to leave some strings and
pulp on your seeds (it adds flavor), clean off any major chunks.
Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and
seasonings of your choice. Purist will want only salt as a
seasoning, but, if you're feeling adventurous, experiment and have
fun with seasoning blends. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer
on baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown,
stirring occasionally.
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Clarified Butter:
For clarified butter, slowly melt unsalted butter over low heat.
Don't let the butter come to a boil, and don't stir it. This
allows the milk solids to separate from the liquid butter.
Once the butter has separated into three layers--foamy milk
solids on top, clarified butter in the middle, and milk solids on
the bottom--turn off the heat. Skim the foamy white solids from the
top. Then ladle off the clarified butter. Be careful not to disturb
the milk solids at the bottom of the pan.
Clarified butter can be used immediately. Or, let it solidify and
keep it in the refrigerator for up to three to four weeks.
Just remelt to use. One pound of unsalted butter yields 1-1/4 cups
clarified butter.
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About Shallots:
The Latin name for shallot is Allium Ascalonicum. The name refers to
Ascalon , an ancient Palestinian city where the shallot is thought to
have originated.
The flavor is a pungent blend of onion and garlic. Their color can vary
from pale brown to rose, and the flesh is off-white and barely tinged
with green or purple.
Shallots burn easily because of their high sugar content. For this
reason, saute briefly over low to medium heat. When using raw minced
shallots in salad dressings, lessen their pungency by reducing the
juice; wrap the minced shallots in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze
the shallots so the cloth absorbs some of their juices, then add the
shallots to the recipe as directed.
Shallots will keep for approximately six months if stored in a
cool, dry location.
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Cooking a Turkey:
* If you hate the memory of dry turkey from the old days, buy a
fresh-killed (meaning, never frozen) turkey. They truly are juicier,
tenderer, and tastier than frozen birds.

* Turkeys range in weight from the 6- to 8-pound category to as
large as 26 pounds. Very small and super-big are not better.
Small ones get blotchy. Big ones present food safety problems
because their mass resists total heat penetration. Best to go
with a basic 12- to 16-pound turkey.

* Trussing: The point of tying string around a turkey is to make
the bird into a round -- no protrusions, no wings sticking out.
This prevents burning of exposed areas. Twist the wing tips, which
will burn first, under themselves, using some force. Now run a strand
of string under the turkey's girth and up each side, catching the
wing tips under the string. Continue the string over to the drumsticks,
catching them and the fatty tail flap (Pope's Nose), and tie tightly.

* Turkey lifter: This major help comes in two styles. One resembles
an L-shaped metal prong. The prong goes right up the turkey's cavity
while a handle remains in your hand. All you do it lift. If you've
stuffed the turkey, get the type that looks like snow chains, lies
under the bird, and acts like a sling. Either device ends burned
hands, greasy potholders and lost drumsticks.

* Instant-read thermometer: This is your most important tool. With
this, you don't need a roasting chart or a clock. Read the facts on
the dial. There will be no question about the internal temperature
of your meat. If you don't have one, get one!
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Herbs and Spices:
Storage Tips:
Store spices in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause
herbs and spices to lose their flavor more quickly. Although the most
convenient place for your spice rack may be above your stove, moving
your spices to a different location may keep them fresh longer.

As a general rule, herbs and ground spices will retain their best flavors
for a year. Whole spices may last for 3 to 5 years. Proper storage should
result in longer freshness times.

When possible, grind whole spices in a grinder or mortar & pestle just
prior to using. Toasting whole spices in a dry skillet over medium heat
before grinding will bring out even more flavor. Be careful not to burn.

Because the refrigerator is a rather humid environment, storing herbs
and spices there is not recommended. To keep larger quantities of spices
fresh, store them in the freezer in tightly sealed containers.

Usage Tips:
Use a light hand when seasoning with spices and herbs. Your goal is to
compliment your dish without crowding out the flavor of the food.
Remember, it's usually impossible to "un-spice" a dish!

For long-cooking dishes, add herbs and spices an hour or less before
serving. Cooking spices for too long may result in overly strong flavors.

Finely crush dried herbs before adding to your dish after measuring.

Do not use dried herbs in the same quantity as fresh. In most cases,
use 1/3 the amount in dried as is called for fresh.

Keep it simple. Unless the recipe specifically calls for it, don't use
more than 3 herbs and spices in any one dish. The exception to this rule
is Indian cooking, which often calls for 10 or more different spices in
one curry dish!

Black pepper, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper are excellent
"after cooking" seasonings. Allow guests to season dishes with these
spices at the table.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice have a special affinity for
sweet dishes.

If you're feeling adventuresome, try replacing herbs and spices called
for in recipes with something different! Marjoram instead of oregano,
savory instead of thyme, cilantro instead of parsley,
anise seed instead of fennel, etc.
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Shucking Oysters:
Oysters are available seasonally. The old rule for shellfish
generally holds that any month (in the English language)
containing the letter R is a good month for shellfish.
(Note: this rule only works for the Northern hemisphere.)
These are the colder winter months, and shellfish prefer
cold water. More importantly, warmer waters mean an increase
in bacteria levels, and the shellfish can be dangerous to eat.

Shop for a good oyster knife at a good kitchen supply store
or at your local fish market. The features to look for are
a thick, solid handle made of sturdy wood or plastic, a
finger-guard (essential), and a short, thick blade. Strength
and durability will be more important than sharpness or size.

Fresh oysters should be closed tight, and kept either in fresh
sea water or on a bed of ice. Never select shellfish that are open!
Store oysters on ice until ready to serve. Cover them with a wet
towel or keep them in a closed container. An ice chest works well.

Look for the hinge of the shell. It should look like an exposed
seam which wraps around a smooth corner. Insert the oyster knife
into the seam, with the blade parallel to the seam. Use the point
to do this, gently but firmly rocking the knife back and forth.
Once the knife has been inserted, you can twist the blade to open
the hinge a little more. Repeat this process, gradually inserting
the oyster knife until you have cut the hinge completely.

Now slide the oyster knife along the inside edge between the shell
and the meat. As you work at this step, try to keep the oyster level
so that the liquid inside doesn't spill out. Some oyster eaters
consider this liquid, or liquor, to be the finest part of the
oyster-eating experience. There's one muscle, which looks like a
thick cord, that holds the shell tightly together. Use the knife
to cut this cord at the point where it adheres to the shell. This
can be done in a sort of scraping motion with the knife angled
against the shell.

Once the cord has been cut, the two halves of the shell should
fall neatly apart. Discard the empty half-shell and place the
full one on the serving platter.
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Formal Table Setting:
Generally, the more formal the occasion, the more courses are served,
which of course means more flatware. There should be a different set of
utensils for each course: salad fork, dinner fork; dinner knife,
bread knife; and so on.
Some special dishes such as oysters have special utensils. These can
be served at the presentation of the food, but generally are placed
on the table in order of course. When oysters are served as an appetizer
for example, set the oyster fork to the right of the spoon.

Building from the basic set-up (dinner fork on the left of the plate;
knife to the right of the plate, dinner spoon to the right of the knife):

On the left side of the plate put the salad fork to the left of the
dinner fork. On the right add a soup spoon to the outside of the dinner
spoon if soup will be served. Place the soup bowl above the soup spoon
and to the right. The bread plate goes to the left, about two inches
above the fork. Place the butter knife across the bread plate at a
diagonal, upper left to lower right. Small salad plates go to the
left and a little below the bread plate. Dessert spoons, or in some
cases knife and fork, are placed about an inch above the top of the
plate with the handle(s) on the right side.

The largest glass on the table is the water glass which goes on the
right side above the dinner knife. It may be filled and iced when
guests arrive or left empty to be filled at each diner's request.
If wine or some other beverage is served, set the appropriate glass
to the right and a little down from the water glass.
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Low Fat Cooking:
* Get into the habit of measuring the oil you use while you cook,
rather than just pouring it out of the bottle. It will be much
easier to moderate the amount you use.

* Use non-stick cookware so that you don't have to use as much,
if any, fat. When sauteing, use a small amount of chicken broth
or wine instead of butter or oil.

* To make fat-free broth, chill your meat or chicken broth. The
fat will rise to the top, and you can remove it before using
the broth.

* Many vegetables and fruits, including potatoes and apples,
retain many of their nutrients in their skin. So when possible,
leave the skin on your fruits and vegetables and cook them whole.

* Romaine lettuce is loaded with vitamins compared to iceberg.
It has three times as much Vitamin C and six times as much
Vitamin A.

* Vitamin C is destroyed quickly in cooking - so cook your
vegetables with Vitamin C in the smallest amount of water
possible and for a short amount of time.

* Stock up on spices. One of the keys to cooking low-fat and not
getting bored is to spice your food well. When you have finished
your recipe, always taste it and adjust the spices to meet your taste.

* Purchase the best (i.e. heaviest) set of non-stick cookware you
can afford.

* When cooking a dish with both vegetables and meat (i.e. in stir frys
and stews), reduce the amount of meat by 1/3 and increase the amount
of vegetables by 1/3. You will hardly notice!

* Thicken gravies with milk or broth blended in the blender with
flour. Be sure to cook long enough to remove the raw flour taste.
You'll never notice the lack of fat.

* Use olive oil for cooking when appropriate. It adds to the taste
of the dish and is better for you.
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Problems with Breads:
PROBLEM: What is the best way to bake brown and serve rolls?

First, brush their tops with melted butter or margarine. Bake at the
recommended temperature (on their package), but be careful of dark
coated baking sheets. Dark coated baking sheets may cause the bottoms
to burn before they are done. Bake brown and serve rolls at a high
temperature to insure a crispy, flavorful crust.

PROBLEM: Breads that are always too hard and heavy.

Breads made from scratch or from a mix must have an internal
temperature of about 80 degrees for the yeast to work properly. Cold
dough will not expand properly. Make sure the bread rises in a warm
draft free environment.

PROBLEM: Bread that rises too fast in the pan.

Use cool or cold water in the mix. The place you let the bread rise
in bulk should be about 80 degrees. Place the dough in the refrigerator
for a few minutes to cool down (while the dough is still in bulk form).

PROBLEM: French bread that has a pale crust.

Spray or paint the loaves with water (before cutting). Use an egg
wash to make the crust really brown up. French bread must have a high
temperature to bake properly. Check your oven to make sure the
temperature is correct. Add a little sugar to the mix.

PROBLEM: Tough pizza crust.

Most of the time a pizza crust dough should be wet and sticky (use
a little extra water). Toss in plenty of spices. Oil your pan with
olive oil. Try baking the crust first, then add any topping and bake
only to melt the cheese. Try dipping your fingers in olive oil when
you flatten the crust in the pan. Use plenty of olive oil and the
crust will be flavorful and crispy.

PROBLEM: Bread loaves and rolls that are heavy and soggy in the middle.

When everything else has been done right, maybe the unit weight is
too heavy. Try making the pieces smaller and let them rise longer.

PROBLEM: Bread loaves that cave in on their sides when removed from
the pan.

Always remove bread from the pan as soon as taken from the oven. The
crust sweats and may fall. Make sure that you use Bread Flour in the
mix. Weak flour will cause loaves to fall. Make sure the loaves are
done. Thump the top and if the loaf sounds hollow, it is done.
Setting (just baked) loaves in a cool draft of air will sometimes
cause their sides to cave in. When the dough is allowed to rise too
much before baking the loaves will sometimes collapse.

PROBLEM: Soft crusty breads.

The secret to good crusty breads is to use very little (if any) fats,
egg yolks, milks or sugar in the mix. Always serve crusty breads as
soon as they are baked for the best flavor and appearance. Use only
Bread Flour and make sure the dough is on the stiff side rather
than soft and sticky. However, some crusty breads are very sticky
(excess water). These breads are made by using an extra warm dough
and baking quickly at a high temperature.
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Fruit Pies:
* Save the drained juice from frozen or canned fruit and use
fruit juice instead of water in your recipe. This is only a good
idea if the juice does not have a lot of sugar in it.

* Add fresh butter to your fruit pie filling after it has been
cooked. Or dot pieces of butter over the fruit before you place
on the top crust.

* Don't cut apples pieces too thin when you are using fresh
apples. Larger chunks will hold together and have more apple flavor.

* Use a little red food color and a drop or two of almond extract
in your cherry pies when you use fresh or canned cherries.

* Use a little yellow food color and a teaspoon of lemon juice in
your apricot and peach fruit pies. The lemon juice will enhance
their flavor and also help keep a bright color.

* Mix a few raisins with fresh chopped apples and make a easy,
new apple pie.

* Do not over-cook pie fillings, especially those with corn starch
used as the thickener. The filling will break down and quickly become
watery. Over cooking fillings made with flour will cause the filling
to be thick.
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Icings:
* Use the icing as soon as it is made. All icing sets up quickly
and either forms a crust or becomes very stiff.

* Buy a icing spatula to apply icing. A good icing spatula will
enable you to work faster and the results will look great.

* Thin buttercream icing with evaporated milk or warm water. Use
only a little liquid and use a icing spatula to mix in.

* Thin cold chocolate buttercream icing with a little hot water
or hot coffee. Use only a small amount and mix in with a icing spatula.

* Always sprinkle toppings on while the icing is fresh, wet and
sticky. When the icing is too dry for topping to stick, thin it
with a little water or milk.

* Store buttercream icing in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Fresh is best, so don't make buttercream icing in advance if possible.

* Always let the buttercream warm to room temperature before thinning
it down for use.
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Chocolate Chip Cookies:
* Always add the chocolate morsels last to the mix. It's best
when they are very cold. Just barely stir the morsels in --
don't over mix.

* Cream the shortening and sugar well. All the rest of the
ingredients can be just mixed in, but proper creaming of the
shortening and sugar is important.

* Make sure that your baking pans are cool between cookie batches.

* Substitute cherry flavored morsels for 1/2 of the chocolate
morsels for a new taste treat.

* Drop your cookies extra thick (use an ice cream scoop), flatten
the top a little, then place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator
for twenty minutes. Take the sheet from the refrigerator and bake
at 375 degrees until the cookie's edges are slightly brown and you
will have a soft centered delight.

* Warm cookies always taste better than cold ones. Heat releases
the flavor of chocolate and nut-meats. Try warming cookies in your
microwave oven for a few seconds or in a 300 degree oven for
about 5 minutes.
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Food Safety:
- Barbecues and Picnics -
* Try to plan just the right amount of foods to take. That way, you
won't have to worry about the storage or safety of leftovers.

* When taking foods off the grill, put them on a clean plate, not
the same platter that held raw meat.

* When preparing dishes like chicken or cooked meat salads, use
chilled ingredients. In other words, make sure your cooked
chicken has been cooked and chilled before it gets mixed with
other salad ingredients.

* It's a good idea to use a separate cooler for drinks, so the one
containing perishable food won't be constantly opened and closed.

* A cooler chest can also be used to keep hot food hot. Line the
cooler with a heavy kitchen towel for extra insulation and place
well wrapped hot foods inside. It's amazing how long the foods
will stay not only warm, but hot. Try to use a cooler that is
just the right size to pack fairly tightly with hot food so
less heat escapes.

* Wash ALL fresh produce thoroughly. When preparing
lettuce, break into pieces - then wash.

* Cook foods to the required minimum cooking temperatures:
- 165 F > Poultry, poultry stuffing, and stuffed meat.
- 158 F > Ground Beef, fish, and seafood.
- 150 F > Pork and food containing pork.
- 145 F > shell eggs and foods containing shell eggs.

* Separate raw animal foods from other raw or ready-to-eat
foods during storage and preparation.

* Cool leftovers as quickly as possible. Reheat to
165 F before serving again.

* BY ALL MEANS, REMEMBER THIS:
Bacteria on food will rapidly multiply when left at a
temperature between 45 F and 140 F. Avoid this danger
zone as much as possible.
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General Shelf Lives For Common Items:
Flour unopened: up to 12 months. Opened: 6-8 months.
Sugar unopened: 2 years. Sugars do not spoil but eventually
may change flavor.
Brown sugar unopened: 4 months.
Confectioners sugar unopened: 18 months.
Solid shortening unopened: 8 months. Opened: 3 months.
Cocoa unopened: indefinitely. opened: 1 year.
Whole spices: 2-4 years. Whether or not opened.
Ground spices: 2-3 years. Whether or not opened.
Paprika, red pepper and chili powder: 2 years
Baking soda unopened: 18 months. Opened: 6 months.
Baking powder unopened: 6 months. Opened: 3 months.
Cornstarch: 18 months. Whether or not opened.
Dry pasta made without eggs unopened: 2 years.
Opened: 1 year.
Dry egg noodles unopened: 2 years.
Opened: 1-2 months.
Salad dressing unopened: 10-12 months.
Opened: 3 months if refrigerated.
Honey: 1 year. Whether or not opened.
Ground, canned coffee unopened: 2 years.
Opened: 2 weeks, if refrigerated.
Jams, jellies and preserves unopened: 1 year.
Opened: 6 months if refrigerated.
Peanut butter unopened: 6-9 months.
Opened: 2-3 months.
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Deep-Frying Tips:
* The oil must reach a good temperature to brown the exterior of
the food quickly while cooking it. That temperature is almost
always between 350F and 375F degrees. To be sure the oil is
right use a frying thermometer.

* Use canola oil for frying. It is low in saturated fat, has a
high burning point, and does not detract from the flavor of
the food you are frying.

* Avoid crowding food that is deep-fat-fried. The food must be
surrounded by bubbling oil, and you must keep the temperature
from falling too much. If you add too much food to a small
amount of oil, the temperature will plummet, and the food will
wind up greasy and soggy.

* Never fill the pot more than halfway with oil; this will
prevent bubbling over when the food is added.

* Dry food well with paper towels before adding to the pot;
it helps reduce splattering.
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Make Your Own Spice Mixes:

FIVE SPICE POWDER
1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground cloves
1 tsp. Fennel seed
1 tsp. Star anise
1 tsp. Szechwan peppercorns

ITALIAN HERB SEASONING
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Marjoram
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 tsp. Sage

CINNAMON SUGAR
7/8 cup Granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. Ground cinnamon

TAMARIND PASTE
1 tsp. Dates
1 tsp. Prunes
1 tsp. Dried apricots
1 tsp. Lemon juice

CHILI POWDER
3 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. red or cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
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Barbecue Tips
* Approximately 30 minutes prior to grilling, prepare the charcoal
fire so coals have time to reach medium temperature. At medium,
the coals will be ash-covered. To check the temperature of the
coals, spread the coals in a single layer. CAREFULLY hold the
palm of your hand above the coals at cooking height. Count the
number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before
the heat forces you to pull it away: approximately 4 seconds for
medium heat. Position the cooking grid and follow recipe directions.

* Never place meat directly over an open flame. An open flame is an
indication of incomplete combustion, the fire will discolor the
meat by leaving a black carbon residue on the meat. Actually an
open flame has a lower temperature than coals that are glowing red.

* Whenever barbecuing, use tongs to turn the meat. A fork should
never be used. For it will punch holes in the flesh and allow
the natural juices to escape and loose flavor and become chewy.

* Tomato and/or sugar based BBQ sauces should be added only at the
end of the grilling process. These products will burn easily and
are seldom considered an internal meat flavoring. Once added, the
meat should be turned often to minimize the possibility of burning.
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Household Tips:
Stubborn stains can be removed from non-stick
cookware by boiling, 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar,
and 1 cup of water for ten minutes. Before using the pan again,
season it with salad oil.

Burnt food can be removed from a glass baking
dish by spraying it with oven cleaner and letting it soak for
30 minutes. The burnt-on residue will be easier to wipe off.

Whenever you empty a jar of dill pickles,
use the left-over juice to clean the copper bottoms of your pans.
Just pour the juice in a large bowl, set the pan in the juice
for about 15 minutes. Comes out looking like new.

To restore color and shine to an aluminum pan, boil some apple peels
in it for a few minutes, then rinse and dry.

Instead of using expensive silver cleaners, put a dab of toothpaste
on a clean rag and rub it on your precious possession. After you've
rubbed it in, just clean it with another clean rag.
Your silver will look like new.

To clean copper bottoms on pots and pans, simply open a can of tomato
soup paste, rub it on and scrub then rinse. If you do this weekly,
your pots and pans stay shiny clean. This is a very inexpensive
way to clean copper and brass items!

Stains and sediment in cut glass or hobnob bowls or vases respond
to olive oil. Pour some in and let stand until the stains or
sediment disappear.

Clean eyeglasses; Wipe each lens with a drop of vinegar.

When preparing lunches for your children (or anyone), try "drinkable" ice packs: Fill a 12-ounce plastic bottle about halfway with drinking water and freeze it
overnight, tilting the bottle so the water will freeze at an angle (if you freeze it straight up, the expanded water will make the bottle bulge). Next morning pack the lunch, add more drinking water to the bottle, and stick it in the lunch box to keep the food cool and be melted enough to drink by lunchtime.
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Miscellaneous Tips:
* To slice meat into thin strips, as for Chinese dishes -
partially freeze and it will slice easily.

* A roast with the bone in will cook faster than a boneless roast -
the bone carries the heat to the inside of the roast quicker.

* For a juicer hamburger add cold water to the beef before grilling
(1/2 cup to 1 pound of meat).

* To keep cauliflower white while cooking -
add a little milk to the water.

* Let raw potatoes stand in cold water for at least half an hour
before frying to improve the crispness of french-fried potatoes.

* Buy mushrooms before they "open." When stems and caps are attached
snugly, mushrooms are truly fresh.

* Lettuce keeps better if you store in refrigerator without washing
first so that the leaves are dry. Wash the day you are going to use.

* Do not use metal bowls when mixing salads.
Use wooden, glass or china.

* A Perfect Pastry Crust? In your favorite recipe, substitute a
4:1 ratio of lard:butter.

* To make your own corn meal mix: combine 1 cup corn meal, 1 cup
all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 teaspoons baking
powder. You can store it in a tightly covered container for
up to 6 months.

* It's important to let a roast -- beef, pork, lamb or poultry --
sit a little while before carving. That allows the juices to
retreat back into the meat. If you carve a roast too soon,
much of its goodness will spill out onto the carving board.

* Microwave a lemon for 15 seconds and double the juice you get
before squeezing.

* Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds and the skins slip
right off.

* When slicing a hard boiled egg, try wetting the knife just before
cutting. If that doesn't do the trick, try applying a bit of
cooking spray to the edge.

* Rescue stale or soggy chips and crackers: Preheat the oven to
300F. Spread the chips or crackers in a single layer on a
baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool,
then seal in a plastic bag or container.

* The best way to store fresh celery is to wrap it in aluminum
foil and put it in the refrigerator--it will keep for weeks.

* Store freshly cut basil on your kitchen counter in a glass
with the water level covering only the stems. Change the
water occasionally. It will keep for weeks this way,
even develop roots! Basil hates to be cold, so NEVER put
it in the refrigerator. Also, regular cutting encourages
new growth and healthier plants.

* A dampened paper towel or terry cloth brushed downward on a cob of
corn will remove every strand of corn silk.

* Fresh eggs' shells are rough and chalky; old eggs are smooth and
shiny.

* No "curly" bacon for breakfast when you dip it into cold water
before frying.

* When working with dough, don't flour your hands; coat them with
olive oil to prevent sticking.

* Use a gentle touch when shaping ground beef patties. Overhandling
will result in a firm, compact texture after cooking. Don't press
or flatten with spatula during cooking.

* Never heat pesto sauce - the basil will turn black and taste bitter.

* Butter pie pastry scraps: sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and
bake like cookies.

* A jar lid or a couple of marbles in the bottom half of a double-boiler
will rattle when the water gets low and warn you to add more before
the pan scorches or burns.

* When mincing garlic, sprinkle on a little salt so the pieces won't
stick to your knife or cutting board.

* If your cake recipe calls for nuts, heat them first in the oven,
then dust with flour before adding to the batter to keep them from
settling to the bottom of the pan.

* Noodles, spaghetti and other starches won't boil over if you rub
the inside of the pot with vegetable oil.

* Brown gravy in a hurry with a bit of instant coffee straight from
the jar... no bitter taste, either.

* To hasten the cooking of foods in a double boiler, add salt to the
water in the outer boiler.

* Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to
prevent ice cream drips.

* To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the
potatoes.

* Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your
forehead. The throbbing will go away.

* Don't throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for
future use in casseroles and sauces.

* If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing
gloves. They give a on-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

* Add a little lemon and lime to tuna to add zest and flavor to tuna
sandwiches. Use cucumbers soaked in vinegar and pepper in sandwich
instead of tomatoes. Use mustard instead of mayo to cut the fat
and add a tang.

* Instead of the water your recipe calls for, try juices, bouillon,
or water you've cooked vegetables in. Instead of milk, try
buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. It can add a whole new flavor
and improve nutrition.

* Steak Sauce With A Kick: Deglaze your frying pan (after searing your
New York steaks) with brandy. Add two tablespoons of butter, a little
white wine and a splash of Grand Marnier. Serve over steaks -
you'll never use steak sauce again.

* When browning ground meat, brown several pounds and drain. Divide
evenly in freezer containers and freeze. Unthaw in microwave for
quick fixing next time.

* Ground spices really should be replaced every 6 months or so!
Unless you know you will use them up fairly quickly, buy a bottle
in partnership with a friend and split the contents.
You'll each benefit from fresh spices.

* Sunlight doesn't ripen tomatoes, warmth does. Store tomatoes with stems
pointed down and they will stay fresher, longer.

* Place green fruits in a perforated plastic bag. The holes will allow
air to circulate while retaining the ethylene gas that fruits
produce during ripening.

* Marshmallows won't dry out when frozen.

* Poke a hole in the middle of the hamburger patties while shaping them.
The burgers will cook faster and the holes will disappear when done.

* For fluffier, whiter rice, add one teaspoon of lemon juice per quart of
water. To add extra flavor and nutrition to rice, cook it in liquid
reserved from cooking vegetables.

* Cheese won't harden if you butter the exposed edges before storing.

* Sausage patties rolled in flour before frying won't crack open
during cooking.

* Two drops of yellow food coloring added to boiling noodles will
make them look homemade.

* When separating eggs, break them into a funnel. The whites will
go through leaving the yolk intact in the funnel.

* Fresh fish freeze well in a milk carton filled with water.

* Make your own celery flakes. Just cut and wash the leaves from the
celery stalks; place them in the oven on low heat or in the hot sun
until thoroughly dry. Crumble and store in an air-tight container.

* When picking a melon, smell it for freshness and ripeness.
Check to see that the fruit is heavy in weight and that the
spot on the end where it has been plucked from the vine is soft.

* When tossing a salad with a basic vinaigrette, always make the
vinaigrette at least 1/2 hour ahead of time and let the mixture
sit to allow the flavors to marry. Pour the vinaigrette down
the side of the bowl, not directly on the greens, for a more
evenly dressed salad.

* For the perfect boiled egg, cover eggs with cold water and
a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a full boil. Remove the
pan from the heat and cover. Let the eggs sit for 8-9 minutes.
Drain the water and place the eggs in ice water to cool to
stop the cooking process.

* When braising meat, cook it at a low temperature for a long
time to keep the meat tender and have it retain all the juices.

* When cooking any kind of strawberry dessert, add a splash of
aged Balsamic vinegar to the recipe to enhance the flavor
of the strawberries.

* For fresh flavor in orange juice add the juice of one lemon.

* Tenderize pot roast or stewing meat by using two cups of
hot tea as a cooking liquid.

* When making roux for a recipe, make extra and keep in
the refrigerator for future use.

* Chefs pound meat not to tenderize the meat, but to help
even the meat so it cooks evenly.

* To remove egg shells from a batter, use the remaining shell
to attract the piece.

* If a recipe calls for 1 cup sour cream, you may substitute
1 cup cottage cheese blended until smooth with 1 tablespoon
lemon juice and 1/3 cup buttermilk.

* When using fresh herbs such as dill, chives, parsley, etc.,
hold them together in small bunches and snip with kitchen
scissors. It is a lot faster this way, and you'll find the
herbs will be light and fluffy, not bruised and wet as they
often get when chopped.

* When going on a picnic, keep sandwiches from becoming soggy
by packing lettuce and condiments in separate containers.
Add them to sandwiches just before serving.

* Maple-flavored syrup, commonly found on the shelves in the
store and in restaurants, is actually corn syrup flavored
with a bit of pure maple syrup to keep the cost down.

* Thaw fish in milk for fresher flavor

* Put meat used for stir frying in freezer for 45 min. to 1 hr. to make
slicing easier.

* You can correct greasy gravy by adding a little baking soda to it.

* If you need only 1/2 an onion, save the root half. It will last longer.

* Keep popcorn fresh and encourage more kernels to pop by storing in
the freezer.

* Lemons stored in a sealed jar of water will produce twice the juice.

* Use paper bags rather than plastic to store lettuce and celery in the
crisper. They will stay fresh longer.

* Bread will stay fresh longer if a celery rib is stored with it in the
package.

* Save butter wrappers in the freezer to use for greasing pans when baking.

* To keep salt from clogging in the shaker, add 1/2 teaspoon of uncooked rice.

* If guests are coming and you're behind making dinner, throw some onions on
to saute and your kitchen will smell wonderful and homey.

* Egg whites should always be at room temperature before whipping.
Be certain there is no yolk in the whites and that the bowl and
beaters are perfectly clean. Cream, on the other hand, should be
well-chilled. For the largest volume, chill the bowl and beaters
before whipping.

* When using spaghetti, keep in mind that 8 ounces of uncooked
pasta makes 4 cups cooked.

* When using all-purpose flour, keep in mind that one pound flour
is the equivalent to 4 cups.

* When using dried beans and peas, keep in mind that 1 cup dry beans
or peas makes 2 1/2 cups cooked.

* When using rice, keep in mind that 1 cup of uncooked long-grain
white rice makes 3 cups cooked.

* When using granulated sugar, keep in mind that one pound sugar
is the equivalent to 2 cups.

* Ultimate Disposable Pastry Bag:
Take a heavy-duty zipper-seal plastic bag and snip off
one corner, making a slightly curved cut. Using a standard
two-piece plastic coupler (available wherever cake decorating
supplies are sold), insert the larger piece into the hole.
Choose a tip and secure it with the coupler's ring. Fill the
bag and zip the top closed. Decorate away, then remove the
coupler/tip assembly and toss the bag. No messy cleanup!

* One way to preserve the flavor of fresh herbs is to make herb butter.
Let the butter soften, then add finely chopped herbs in any
combination, abbout 2 to 4 tablespoons per stick of butter. The
butter freezes well, and you can serve it spread on French bread
or with seafood or chicken.

* Pancakes are lighter and fluffier when you substitute club soda
for milk in the batter.

* Before opening a package of bacon, roll it. This helps separate
the slices for easy removal of individual slices.

* Drain deep fried foods on brown paper grocery bags as opposed to
paper towels to retain crispness.

* Whenever possible, warm your dinner plates slightly in the oven
before serving so the meal stays a little bit hotter.

* To make lighter and fluffier mashed potatoes, add a pinch or two
of baking powder to the potatoes before whipping.

* Cookies will spread if your dough is too pliable by allowing butter
to get too soft. If your cookies are spreading too much, try
refrigerating the dough for a couple of hours before baking.

* Cookie dough can be frozen up to three months in an airtight
container or refrigerated three to four days.

* Check cookies at minimum baking time.

* Let cookies cool completely before storing. Store different types
of cookies in separate containers so they'll keep their original
flavor and texture.

* Marinate red meats in wine to tenderize.

* Marinate chicken in buttermilk to tenderize.

* Use margarine instead of butter to panfry or saute.
Butter burns quickly.

* Instead of adding raw garlic to sauces, saute the garlic
first for a milder flavor.

* Thaw frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator and not on
the kitchen counter where bacteria can grow.

* Add a small amount of lemon juice to the artichoke cooking
water to retain the color of the artichoke.

* A low-calorie solution for high-fat frying of corn tortillas is
to place them in the oven, directly on the rack. Bake at 350 F,
to desired crispness. The tortillas will automatically fold over
into taco shell form with just a little postioning help.

* A simple way to sharpen kitchen shears: cut a piece of steel wool.

* Don't just keep dental floss in your medicine cabinet. Keep some
in the kitchen. It's a great tool. Unflavored dental floss is
often better than a& knife to cleanly cut all kinds of soft foods,
soft cheese, rolled dough, layered cake and cheesecake.

* If lettuce starts turning a little brown (but not slimy) it may
not be suitable for salads, but it is for sauteing. Sauteed
salad greens like lettuce, radicchio, and endive make an unusual
but tasty side dish. Saute lettuces just as you would spinach.
Cook them quickly in a little olive oil, minced garlic, and salt.
They taste great, and you cant tell that the greens were once
a little brown.
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