Tips and Common Sense
Wasn’t her note appropriate?  I loved our topic about our senses.  Common Sense being a requirement, so I thought I would just remind you to use yours.  Pay attention to how you use it, when you use it and how you feel about it.  I also thought I would list a few tips and ideas to make being in the kitchen a little easier.
Try making this base.  To make four servings, whisk together 6 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa, 5 tablespoons Splenda, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 cup water in a small saucepan.  Heat mixture over low heat for two minutes, stirring frequently.  Cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three weeks.  When you want some, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cocoa base to 8 ounces of skim milk and stir.  You get your chocolate fix and milk serving.
Use your French Press makers (for coffee) to soak mushrooms.  You put the mushrooms in the caraf, fill with very hot water, let mushrooms rehydrate, press and you have great mushrooms.  
The very best low sodium canned chicken broth is Swanson’s Natural Goodness.  It is also fat free.  
If you use Pyrex baking dishes you have to be careful.  When you remove the hot dish from the oven and place it on a cool, damp countertop it will explode!!  Sometimes the glass is scratched and over years or even months of use it changes the whole structure of the glass and makes it more vulnerable to breakage.  Also the heated dish reacted to the cooler counter and if there is any moisture, wham!! You get a broken exploding dish!!!  Pyrex calls this DOWN-SHOCK.  They explain:  It occurs when there is a sudden cooling of a glass surface.  if any flaws, such as scratches, are present when such rapid cooling occurs, the dish can shatter.  the opposite, UP-SHOCK (breakage upon a sudden heating of the glass) can also occur, but glass is much more vulnerable to down-shock HOW TO PREVENT IT you ask?  Inspect the dish before use by turning the bottom toward your face and then looking into bright light, but often it’s impossible to detect a tiny but fatal flaw.  It is possible to avoid the problem of contact with a hard, cold and/or wet surface by placing the hot dish on a clean, dry dish towel.  They advise strongly against using even slightly damp potholders to remove a hot Pyrex dish from the oven; it could break right in your hands!!  So COMMON SENSE again to the rescue.
KEEPING YOUR FOOD SCALE CLEANS...Weighing raw meat directly on the platform is great but not in the “hygiene rules” of a safe kitchen.  You could cover the platform with a sheet of plastic wrap or slide a large zipper lock bag over it and you will also have a clean platform and safe food.
USING FOIL SHINY SIDE DOWN OR OUT?  it doesn’t matter both sides are the same.  During the manufacturing process it creates the dull and shiny sides.  The side that doesn’t come in contact with the huge rollers isn’t shiny, so use any side you want!!
COOKING PASTA: use plenty of water (6 quarts to each pound of pasta) and salt the water.  I make the water like an ocean.  You won’t be eating all that salt but it’s the only time you really get to season the dry pasta.  
TACO SEASONING PACKETS: make your own and have them handy when you want to make tacos.  Combine 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano not Italian or Greek, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt) in baggies.  When you want to use them just grab the spice mix and add it to the meat mixture.  The taco seasonings you buy in the grocery stores have way too much sodium and this is much tastier.  It’s great on beef, pork, chicken, veges and soups.
Well that’s about all for today.  I’m looking to see what I will be cooking tonight and will report on it tomorrow.
Have a wonderful day!  Use your COMMON SENSE!!!
Tips and Common Sense
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
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