Thursday, January 22, 2009

Do's and Dont's in the Kitchen

Nothing beats the kitchen that is organized. Now, if you can make your own an ideal one, don't you think it would be much better? But like in almost everything, trying to be organized calls for patience, commitment and dedication. And a lot of make-do tips, of course. Here are some that could lessen whatever inefficiencies you've been trying to overcome in your daily sojourn in the kitchen.

1. Let It Mature. Gingerbreads should never be tasted before storing because the treacle and syrup need time to mature. Wrap closely, put away in a tin, bring out in a few days and they should be nice and sticky.

2. Best Breads. Some bread keeps fresh better than others. Crust loaves are best eaten on the same day as baked. To keep bread at its best: soft, moist and free from mould, store it at normal room temperature in a clean, dry, well-ventilated container, such as a special bread bin or crock. The storage container should be airtight; the lid of a crock should not fit exactly.

3. No Place To Be. A refrigerator is not the best place to keep bread. A loaf kept for one day in the refrigerator is similar in staleness to a three-day-old loaf. However, the refrigerator does delay mould growth, so if bread is needed just for toasting this may be the answer. Wrap bread in a polythene bag.

4. Flavor Quest. Soy sauce is useful for its piquant saltiness, rich brown color, and its very individual flavor. Sea salt is an item that should feature in every cupboard. Coffee essence in chilled milk makes a fantastic milk shake. A range of mustards turns dull food into something quite special. Creamed horseradish is a helpful seasoning, superb with spinach and you can't serve fish, like trout, without it.

5. Veggie Rerun. Don't' stick rigidly to recipes, that's the fun of cooking. Add an odd carrot or two or a few peas to a macaroni cheese, or some green beans when a casserole is almost cooked. Pastry shells can be filled with chopped, cooked vegetables combined with carefully seasoned sauce. Second day roast spuds can be thinly sliced and shallow-fried until crisp, season well and served with plenty of chopped parsley.

6. Infestation Free. Don't store dog and cat cereals, biscuits, etc., in the larder or store cupboard --- any infestation that might be present could spread rapidly to other commodities. If this should occur, all affected foodstuff must be destroyed, the container washed, sterilized and well dried before use.

7. Never Together. Never put unwrapped cooked and raw meat together in the refrigerator, or anywhere else, as this can lead to cross contamination by bacteria.

8. Fridge Not. Warm food should not be put into the refrigerator, as it will raise the temperature of the food that is already there. It should be left, covered with a clean tea towel, in the coolest place in the kitchen. Ideally, there should be a free passage of air around it.

9. Wine Is Fine. Wine should stay fit for cooking for several days if recorked and kept in a cool dry place. Better still, pour wine into a smaller, clean bottle, so that it comes up to the neck, keeping the air space to a minimum. Make a note on the bottle that it should be used quickly, as wine soon turns to vinegar and then you have a different cooking ingredient!

10. At Room Temp. Olive oil and other oils do not need to be refrigerated but should be kept away from light. Olive oil thickens when refrigerated and changes color. If this does happen to any oil, leave at room temperature and it will return to its original color and density.

11. Sugar Free-Flow. Cool and dry are the best conditions for sugar. Brown sugar are more prone to "cracking" because of their non-sugar (molasses) content, so keep their containers tightly sealed against moisture. The darker the sugar, the more easily this could occur. If it does get solid, keep the sugar overnight in a bowl covered with a damp cloth.

source: lutongbahay

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