Cooking is fun but
when you know a few tricks to make things easier or tips on making
something tastier it's just MORE fun! You can also impress your friends
with the overabundance of brains that you have!
Vegetables for dips
Fresh Vegetables for dips can be pulverized in a food processor
but they normally turn to mush. If you want just a little more consistency
you can run them over a shredder
All non-stick pans
Here's a little trick I stumbled upon.
Non-stick pots and pans (Teflon coated) are just that, but I'm not talking
about those. I'm talking about your other aluminum, stainless and cast
iron pans. Most of the time you'll be starting a dish with some sort of
oil. To get the surface of the pan to be non stick just coat the entire
bottom of the pan with peanut or other oil. Turn up the fire until it just starts
to smoke. Turn the fire off and let it sit for 5 minutes or more before you begin
your dish. Move the oil around as it cools. Be careful not to burn
yourself. When cooled down to warm just wipe (not wash) the excess
oil out if you don't need all of it. Bingo!, it's done. Now, when you do your dish don't turn the fire
wide open again with nothing in the pan. Just cut it back a tiny bit and your
pan should remain non-stick.
The theory to back this up is that metal expands
different rates at different temperatures. It will also soak up oil and
other things as it does this (which is why most foods stick). If the pan has
soaked up the oil (a non-sticking agent) and does not release it the pan
will remain non-stick. The non-stick condition will only remain if you
don't get the pot as hot as you did the first time! This will not
work with flour thrown in the pan. The flour will suck the oil out of the
metal and WILL stick!!
Most of us
will wash a pan with hot soapy water when we're done with it and POOF,
there goes the oil! So you'll have to do this every time.
I'm sure you've done cornbread and the recipe calls for oiling the pan,
putting it in the oven, and then, removing it to put the cornbread mixture
in. Hey, same principle. Trick here is to heat the pan about 25ºF higher
than you will cook the cornbread. Simple eh'?
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Heat the oven to 300ºF. Place aluminum foil in a pan and spray with
cooking spray. Place boudin on foil and bake for about an hour flipping it
once or twice. The skin becomes crisp and stays together. Keep an eye on it so it
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There's nothing like a good homemade hamburger filled with all your
favorite seasonings. There's also nothing like having your patty fall to
pieces as you flip it on the grill or in the pan. After years of mixing everything
except concrete in the meat to make it stay together I think I finally figured out
why they actually fall apart!
Here's the deal. Ground beef is chunks of beef and fat cut and forced
through a grinder. The grinder cuts the mixture in small pieces. When the
mixture is put together (like in a hamburger patty) it sticks together
because of the fat and small size of the meat pieces. When the mixture is
cooked the fat begins to melt away leaving voids (spaces) in the meat and
bingo, it falls apart. If you use the meat for a meat loaf it stays
together pretty good because of the physical size of the loaf. In a patty
we're using a thin layer of the mixture so if enough fat melts away it
wants to fall apart.
The problem with the patty (thin) is that the meat and fat particles are not mixed together
well enough for that thickness. If you would pass the mixture through a grinder once again
you would have a good fat dispersion for a hamburger patty but the meat
particles would be too small which would make it too dense, so we don't
want to do that. The bottom line is that you want to disperse the
fat throughout the meat more than the grinding has
Once mixed together better, the particles of
fat get dispersed more and the "melt-away" during cooking doesn't have as
great an affect of separation (leaving voids) therefore the patty doesn't
fall apart as easily.
You can remedy this at home by working the ground meat with your hands.
Take a handful of meat and squeeze it through your fingers (like making a
fist. Keep doing
this several times to the entire batch. You are basically spreading the
fat out which is pretty close to what would happen if you passed
it through a grinder again, but, this method doesn't chop the meat any
You wouldn't want to buy ground beef from the store that was ground
twice because when you went to use it for a dressing where it must fall
apart, you'd have a fight on your hands trying to get it separated because
meat particles would be too small.
Take a look at what I'm talking about. (click
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Freeze your sauce dishes in small containers. When
you're ready to take it out again you have the choice of serving as much
as you need thereby not wasting any.
Think about it! How many freezers have gone
out (that means "quit working") and the contents, beef, pork or
whatever, never reached a temperature above 40°F, yet, was all thrown
away! Did you make the right move? The rule (USDA rule) is any perishable
and refrigerated (even frozen already) food that reaches a temperature
above 40°F is not good to keep. That means if it stayed below
40°F "THE MEAT IS STILL GOOD"! Just keep it at or below
40°F and it will be just fine.
Here's a common
sense solution to possibly avoid this. Keep a thermometer in your freezer
at all times. If the freezer goes out, and, you're lucky enough to catch
it, open the door and look at the thermometer. Bingo, there's your
decision maker. If the temperature is below 40°F you're okay. You can
quickly ice the meat down and it's okay. Well I don't have enough ice
chests you say!!!! Throw the bags of ice in the freezer, hey!, the freezer
is insulated, it'll stay good! You've got to move quick on this though,
and watch the thermometer!
On the other hand if it is at, or above, 40°F for more than two hours you're luck just ran out... throw it all in the trash! This rule holds
true for all frozen meats and vegetables. Meats spoil between 40°F
and 140°F, that's a proven fact.
Okay, I can tell by that look on your face that you don't quite believe me,
so, here's the proof... (click
Protection tip for your appliances.
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Too much salt
What to do when I accidentally put too much salt in the pot? This works
okay for sauce dishes, if you added too much salt to a rice dish or
casserole you're pretty much out of luck. Here's
what I do. Cut a couple or more stalks of celery in 2" pieces and
throw them in. You can shave the outside of the celery with a potato
peeler and it'll pick up the salt even faster. Keep the fire low and stir
every five minutes or so. Taste after about 15 - 20 minutes. You can
then scoop the celery out easily since they're in big pieces. The celery will
also soak up some of the pepper but you can add more if needed. Some
people use potatoes but to me the celery is better because it absorbs
faster and won't fall apart.
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Many people are hesitant to mess with okra because of the slime. Here's a
little trick I learned using the microwave. It still slimes but it's easier to
deal with. Put the sliced okra in a deep
casserole dish leaving a 1" space to the top. Add a few tablespoons of
water and put the cover on. Microwave on high for about 10
minutes. Carefully (the steam will burn you) open the lid and stir it around.
Microwave another 10 minutes and stir again. After two 10 minute sessions reduce
the time to 5 minutes. Add a little more water and continue to go through the
cook-stir cycles. Do this until the slime disappears. You're still dealing with
the slime but it's a lot easier to manage in a glass dish as opposed to a
pot on the stove. Be careful not to burn
Here's another Tip sent in...
I had a good size mess of okra to cook but no time that day to
tend a pot on the stove or the microwave. So as an experiment, I put
the raw sliced okra in my 7 quart slow cooker along with about 2
cups of water. The temp was on Low. This was done about 7 pm. I
didn't touch it until the next morning. It was perfect and not a
speck of slime. This is now my new method of cooking okra.
C. Daigle... Bayou Blue
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products have acid in them; it's just the nature of the tomato. Chili,
which is already seasoning-heavy with peppers, will have even more acid in
it. To solve this problem add about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar (you can
estimate this) for each cup of sauce right before the dish is done. Don't
worry, you won't taste the sugar. This same rules also holds true for spaghetti
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Having problems with
peeling your boiled eggs? Here's something that might help. I've
heard that you should use eggs that are a week or more old. Well, if
I go to the store and pick up eggs to boil for a potato salad that
night I really don't think I can wait a week! Try this. Boil the
eggs as usual and put them in cool water for a few minutes. Crack
each one and put it back in the cool water. Sprinkle a little salt
in the water. Take each egg and pick a good looking spot to peel
away just a small portion of shell and be sure you break the
membrane under the shell. Do this on two sides of the egg opposite
of one another. Put them back in the water for about 15 minutes to
finish cooling. You should be able to peel them easier. This is NOT
Onion Tears I
chopping will often make you cry and the tears can be reduced by
chopping them while breathing through your mouth. That's why
you've heard of putting a cracker or piece of bread between your
Neither one has little if any effect on the onion fumes, they both keep you
from breathing through your nose.
Onion Tears II
thought I would share the trick my family has used for years
when peeling onions. Hold a couple of matches between your
lips (head of the match sticking out). The matches absorb
the onion fumes. This really works and will keep you from
Submitted by Patti C.
Onion Tears III
1. Refrigerate your onions
before you use them
2. Slice in half then rinse well before chopping
Submitted by Therese C.
Frozen Pizza is a pretty popular store
item. Millions are purchased every year and the majority taste good.
You can take a few minutes to Cajunize your frozen pizza and make it
taste even better. Click
Here to see how.
Rice Measuring Cup
I Lost the measuring cup for my rice
cooker, I can't cook rice!
Never fear... Jack is here! Typically, rice cookers come
with a measuring cup that you use to measure your un-cooked rice to
put in a rice cooker. You put the desired amount of raw rice in the
cooker, then, add water to the marked level on the cooking container
and bingo... rice. Here's the deal... The "cooked rice" amount is
what is specified by the rice cooker manufacturer, and, rice swells
when it cooks (you already knew that!). If you cook 3/4 of a cup of
raw rice you get 1 cup of cooked rice. If you loose that
"precious cup" measure 3/4 of a cup of raw rice per cooked
desired and you're home free!
you frustrating yourself trying to scoop and scrape tomato paste out
of the can? Open both sides of the can with a can opener. Push on
one side of the lid in the center with your finger or butt of a
spoon and ALL the paste comes out!
Stay away from the cut edges they may be sharp. This also works well
for refried beans and cranberry sauce. This won't work with the new
"One Touch" can opener.
Freeze that Roux
You know... when you make a roux, it's time
consuming so, why not make a big roux and save it for later? Well
this is what I do, make a very large batch of roux and let it cool,
pour it into plastic ice trays and freeze it. After the roux is
frozen solid, remove from trays and wrap each piece with wax paper
and put them all into a large zipper-lock bag, and store in freezer.
Whenever you need roux, just take out what you need.
I hope this helps... Ed
"Big Daddy" Broussard
Baking Powder Freshness Test
Mix 1 tsp. baking powder with 1/3 cup hot water. If it bubbles
real good it's okay to use.
Okay the celery has been in the fridge quite some time. It still
looks fine except it's starting to wilt. Here's a little trick to
bring it back to life. Put the celery in a coffee mug and put about
an inch of water in it. Set it on the kitchen counter and in about
24 hours it'll look like new.
This is normally a pain and some folks won't use fresh parsley
because of the difficulty involved with chopping. Well, I've come up
with a new way using an old kitchen tool. The pizza cutter! Simply
wash the parsley and lay it on your cutting board. Take the pizza
cutter and roll it back and forth over the parsley. You'll quickly
have perfectly chopped parsley.
When Freezing your crawfish tails in water add a little lemon
juice. They keep a while longer.
Make a "Fat" cube by separating the fat, simmer it a
little with lemon juice and freezing it in an ice cube tray adding a
little water. Once frozen remove from tray and put in zipper bags
and back in the freezer.
Send me your tip or trick and I'll post it.