Kitchen Wit & Wisdom

Remember when we were little, they told us the moon was made of green cheese?  It's not!

General Kitchen Wisdom
  • Always read through every recipe before you start (including the list of ingredients), even if you've made the dish a hundred times before.
  • Make sure you don't mistake teaspoons for tablespoons when skimming a recipe.
  • Its easy to mistake baking soda for baking powder, but the difference is profound.
  • ALWAYS set the oven timer.
  • To avoid accidents, turn your pot handles to the side or back of the cook-top.
  • A watched pot never boils!  Do something constructive while you wait.
  • Set the timer to ring five minutes before the recipe says to do so.  It never hurts to check.
  • Take your time!  When you rush, you make mistakes.  If something is worth making, it worth taking the time to make it right!
  • NEVER walk away in the middle of assembling a recipe.  Its too easy to forget where you left off.
  • Hard-boiled eggs will explode if the cooking water is allowed to boil away.  Set a timer, and listen for it!
  • Buy a candy and meat thermometer!  Neither is expensive, and they're so much better than guessing!
  • NEVER submerge a thermometer in water.  It ruins them!  Simply wipe them clean.
  • ALWAYS taste your food before adding seasonings.  And, remember, you can always add more salt, but you can't remove it.
  • NEVER add thickening agents (flour, corn starch) to hot liquid unless you want lumps in your gravy or sauce!
  • Remember that LESS IS MORE when it comes to adding spice or garlic.  Don't go overboard!
  • Don't put a lid on a skillet of eggs unless you want the yolks to be cooked solid.
  • Mash potatoes while they are still HOT!  And, don't add the milk until all the lumps have been beaten out.
  • Cold, left-over mashed potatoes can be fluffed with milk, but warm them first.
  • The dark meat of chicken and turkey has more flavor than the white meat.
  • Its impossible to make a good chicken broth using boneless, skinless, chicken parts.
  • If you must use boneless, skinless chicken parts in a soup or stew, use canned broth or stock in place of water.
    Baking Wisdom
    • There's nothing worse than having to dig a cake out of a pan. Use parchment paper to line cookie sheets, cake and bread pans, because nothing sticks to parchment.  I resisted this advice for years, until I got sick of patching baked goods that were reluctant to leave the pan.  The cost of the parchment is well worth the heartache, and time saved washing and greasing cookie sheets.  In the interest of going green, you can reuse the parchment!
    • When rolling pastry for pie or cookie dough, form into a disk and chill.  When firm, roll it out between two sheets of waxed paper.  This way, you won't have to add extra flour to prevent your confection from sticking to the counter or rolling pin.  Too much added flour alters taste!
    • Let brownies and bar cookies cool before attempting to cut into squares.  
    • When making buttercream frosting with confectioner's sugar, be careful you don't add too much liquid.  You won't believe how little it takes to make a spreadable frosting.
    • Be careful when whipping cream.  If you beat it too long after it stiffens, it will turn to butter.  If sweetening, add powdered sugar before the cream is stiff.
    • Check the expiration dates on baking powder and baking soda.  You won't get the desired chemical reactions if your powders aren't fresh.
    For Pet-Lovers
    • If a little dog really wants the cookies cooling on a rack on a kitchen counter, it'll find a way to get them.
    • A dog will find the chocolates stuffed in the bottom of the Christmas stockings left hanging by the fireplace.
    • Never leave a piece of meat resting on the kitchen counter.  Its amazing the damage a large dog can do to a spiral-sliced ham.
    • Don't leave the cheese-ball unattended on the coffee table while greeting your guests.
    • Cats and dogs like cheese-balls, but probably won't digest the nuts!