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Useful Kitchen Hacks

Make A Bouquet Garni Sandwich

                     Don’t waste time with cheesecloth: cut two pieces of celery, sandwich the other herbs in between and tie with a string.proper bouquet garni

Make Your Soufflé Stand Up Straight

cheese souffle in KD test kitchenAfter you have buttered and floured (you can use grated cheese, cocoa, nut flours, not just flour) your soufflé dish, put it in the fridge.  Making it cold before you put the soufflé mixture in, will make your soufflé rise up straighter instead of over the sides. Before baking, make an inner circle cut with a knife or spatula to make the crown shown.

Saving Your Corn On The Cob For Another Day

Edna Lewis Corn On The Cob HackFrom Edna Lewis’s Taste Of Country Cooking – Place several ears of unshucked corn in a bowl that is filled about half way with cool water.  Make sure that the it is the stem end that is placed in the water.  The corn will absorb the water and stay fresh for 2 to 3 days. 

Best Pan For Frying Chicken

Use a carbon steel wok for southern fried chicken.  It is much easier than turning chicken in a cast iron fry pan.  Chicken rotates easily so that you get a golden crust.  Always check your interior temperature (160F) with a Themoworks thermometer, as they are the most accurate

Improve Your Roast Bird With A Vinegar Shower

Add 2 tablespoons to roast duck or chicken in the last 20 minutes of roasting.  It will improve the sauce, puff out the skin and help with moistness in the bird. A trick I learned from a Susan Hermann Loomis cookbook.

Which capers? Salt-Cured Or Brined

Except for decorating savory appetizers, the salt cured ones are so much better in flavor than the brined ones.  Soak them for a few minutes in water, rinse and dry. You taste more brine  than tart/sweet caper in the latter. 

Curing The Gas Grill Blues

Gas grills won’t give you the smoky flavor and aroma that a wood or charcoal fired grill does. Fill a metal pan with some wood chips and a little water and place it over the gas element.  Water should evaporate and then the chips will start smoking.

Baking with Yeast and Salt

Learned by watching and testing from Great British Bake Off Master Class: We all use Instant yeast now, so add it to one side of your mixing bowl with the flour and other ingredients and the salt on the other side.  Salt, when added to the bowl on top of the yeast, weakens and kills those necessary little critters. 

Cold Water Helps Improve Flavor in Yeast Breads

Yet another surprise from The Great British Bake Off Master Class: don’t bother with warm water added to your dry ingredients.  Use cold water, and while the proofing will take longer, the flavor is enhanced.