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Friday Tip

Friday Tip|Bulk Spices!

Mustard seeds waiting to be made into something delicious

Yeah yo, it’s Friday!  Tip time!!

This week’s tip is all about saving money (which we love).  Your cooking will improve exponentially with some good quality spices.  The problem?  They cost a boatload of money!

Not to fret, friends, not to fret.  You can get bulk spices at your nicer stores (think co-ops and heath food…if you’re really lucky you live someplace where there is a Tenzing Momo), at a lot of ethnic-oriented markets (Indian stores are particularly good), and sometimes even at the regular ol’ market (look for little bags of spices hanging on the endcap racks).  But first, you need containers.

Friday Tip|Warming Plates

Buenas! How is it Friday already?

Today we’re getting away from the freezer and warming things up. Specifically plates.

Ever noticed how recipes sometimes ask for food to be transferred to a warm plate or platter? Warming dishes is simple enough but I’ve found a couple of ways to do it that I think are really easy, so I’m going to share them.

Friday Tip|Fat (keep it cold)

Little butter cubes (backed by the frozen chicken stock Rockettes) waiting to blossom into pie crust...

 

Happy Friday – time for a tip!

We can’t seem to get away from the freezer (what did we do before there were freezers?). Today’s tip is about fat – the kind you cut into pastry, not the kind that results from eating pastry.

A lot of new bakers – and seasoned ones, now that I think about it – are intimidated by pie crust. I’ve written about pie before, but this tip is so good that I think it warrants its own post. The key to working successfully with pie dough is keeping everything cold, especially the fat. So whatever fat you choose to use, keep it cold.

Friday Tip|Freezing (part two)

Happy Friday!

Last week I mentioned how much I like ice cube trays for freezing small amounts of liquid.  This week, I have another freezing tip that has to do with freezing smaller individual items that are not liquid.

Every so often, I’ll make a bit too much ravioli or gnocchi or other bit of yumminess and I’ll also actually have the foresight to realize that I have too much before I cook it.*  When that happens, I usually want to freeze the extra amount, because pasta and gnocchi are both too soft to just throw in a ziplock in the fridge and we don’t have a ton of space.  What to do?

Friday Tip|Freezing (part one)

Halllooooo!  It’s Friday and it’s time for a tip!

I love making things with buttermilk.  There’s the Indian bread we love that calls for a 1/4 cup, and the beautiful German Chocolate Cake that needs a cup.  Problem is, buttermilk is sold in quarts…that’s a lot of bread and cake.  I hate throwing things out, so I decided to take the remaining buttermilk left from my friend V’s birthday cake and freeze it in an ice cube tray.  Beautiful thing – two cubes measures 1/4 cup.  Probably not exactly but close enough.  So if you take your standard ice cube tray, fill it up with buttermilk (or any other liquid, like, say, chicken stock, or nice dark veal stock, or even vegetable stock or orange juice, whatever), and then pop the cubes out and store them in a freezer bag, you can parse out what you need, when you need it.  Eight cubes = 1 cup.

Friday Tip|The Egg Edition (part two)

It’s Friday again (I’m sensing a pattern), so time for another helpful tip.

*****UPDATE*****

So I post this helpful tip on March 18 and exactly two week later, Cook’s Illustrated emails an egg cracking tip!  Coincidence?  I think not!!

Regardless, their egg cracking method is better than mine, so I’m stealing it.  Instead of cracking your eggs on the side of your bowl, crack them on the counter.  Simply hit the egg in the same place you would on the side of a bowl on the counter instead (at the chubby middle of the egg).*

Friday Tip|The Egg Edition (part one)

Hola!

It’s Friday, so it’s time for the third Friday Tip, which is actually going to be posted while it’s still Friday this week (thank you technology that lets me write posts in advance!).

This one is pretty simple – it’s about separating eggs and beating egg whites into…uh, beaten egg whites.  Here is all you have to remember:

Separating eggs – do it when they are cold

Beating egg whites – do it when they are warmed to room temperature

Friday Tip|The “Late” Edition (with name change)

Couple of things today:

First – I started my own Frrrrrrriday Rrrrrroundup, and I’ve already blown it – a day late and several dollars short. I’m going to blame this one on some out of town company – my great friend Amy Lang from Birds+Bees+Kids, who was in LA promoting her excellent wares – because I need something else to blame and because it gives me a great-but-very-rare opportunity to link to her site.

Could Be Helpful|My Version Of The Friday Roundup

This post is inspired by Colleen Wainwright, aka The Communicatrix, who takes a minute or two each Friday to send a shout out to five cool things/people/peoplewiththings that she finds when she’s poking around the internets.  I’d really like this blog to be helpful (hence the “could be helpful” category), so I started thinking that publishing a “Friday Five” of my own would be a good idea – instead of five cool things, I’m going for five things that I think are helpful.  Ideally, they’ll be in the kitchen, but probably not limited to the kitchen and not limited to cooking (mostly because I’m not sure I can come up with five helpful things for cooking every week).