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Apr 2, 2012 02:56 PM

Tricks you figured out in the kitchen and thought 'good one'!!!

Years ago I was making french toast and had the vanilla and cinnamon from the pantry and put them in the dish. Came back from the fridge with the eggs and added.them and the cinnamon did something it had never done before... it stayed mixed in and not all clumped on top. Now I always mix it in the extract first. Side note I have a friend who hates vanilla anything so I used vodka. Works with any alcohol. Not water though.

You can peel ginger with a spoon and save alot of the tasty flesh. Also, it grates better frozen
I put two slices of white bread in the bottom of my meatloaf pan to prevent it from stewing in its own juice.

Bread ends are great sponges in the pan to sop up fat after browning ground meat. Tilt the pan and push the meat to the side. Use tongs and sponge the fat away with the bread.

Tea balls are great in a pinch for a bouquet garni when you are out of cheese cloth.

If you wet your cookie sheet before you line it with foil you get a perfect seal to keep it clean when roasting. How many times have you had to scrub that pan because the chicken juices got past that foil? Ugh!

Hit me with some light bulb over your head moments. We all can use the help no matter how much knowledge we think we have. I am looking forward to hearing the tah day moments!

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  1. Just thought of another one. When roasting foul of any kind ( chicken Cornish game hen capon) pour boiling hot water over the skin before seasoning and you will get shatteringly crisp skin. Roast according to your usual recipe

    1. There have been numerous threads along these lines but I will play along because I don't wish to discourage you and I think there is a significant number of people that don't read through old threads. It will still be new info for them.

      Instead of bread to sop grease from ground beef, I use paper towels.
      If you wrap foil all the around a drip rack and close up so that is entirely enclosed, then punch holes in the top. Put the whole thing in a Jelly roll pan and form a free form meatloaf on the foil. The fat drains away and after everything is cool, you can unwrap the rack and throw the foil and the fat away.
      Put sliced mushrooms in a bowl with plastic wrap on top. Nuke in microwave for 4 minutes on high. Most of the moisture will have been cooked away. You can then saute the mushrooms and they will brown up, quickly.
      If you are knife challenged, you can slice mushrooms with an egg slicer.
      You can make a better cream of mushroom soup than Campbell's by throwing those sauteed mushrooms from above in a bechamel or white sauce.
      Brushing a meatloaf with a ketchup and worchestershire mixture makes a the meatloaf a beautiful color instead of that gray color.
      If I clarify a pound of butter (makes about 3/4 of a pound), the resulting butter has a much higher smoke point that is much harder to burn. You can even saute with it.
      Adding a little sugar (brown or white) to a highly acidic tomato based sauce takes that harsh acidic taste right out.
      Brining pork and chicken makes a huge difference.
      When cooking scrambled eggs, turning the flame off a minute before the eggs are done keeps the eggs from drying up.
      Only add a tablespoon of milk per egg to scrambled eggs. It makes a huge difference.
      Fresh ground pepper makes a huge difference. A good and unfortunately expensive pepper mill does too.
      Home made stock especially chicken makes a huge difference.
      A coffee filter tied with string or a cable tie makes a great bouquet garni.
      Old tea shirts work better than cheesecloth to filter stocks.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Hank Hanover

        Great response and thank you. I am a total ludite and my super sweet boyfriend got me a tablet as I suffer nerve damage and find home PC's difficult. I just found this site and feel a smidge sad that this is a tired site. I would love a few threads to give me a heads up on old tips and trick. Anyone want to chime in? Thanks bunch and I hope this post finds you happy, healthy and full.

        1. re: suzigirl

          I'm sorry. I had to look up a definition for ludite and I'm still not sure. You oppose technological change?

          Anyway.. Here is a link It is sort of a continuation of a thread for helpful tips. The 1st one got so big, they started a new one, but we put a synopsis of a lot of the tips from the first.

          I do apologize. I didn't mean to be mean. I'm just abrupt. Do you cook a lot or are you a newbie?

          1. re: Hank Hanover

            I think she was pointing out that she doesn't often use a computer, and isn't very familiar with this site, and so she didn't know she was repeating a topic.

            1. re: Hank Hanover

              Jvanderh is correct. It is a bastardized term meaning low tech. And that is me in a nutshell. Also correct that I am new to the site and enjoying it very much.

              1. re: Hank Hanover

                Oops. Forgot to answer that I am a 'seasoned home cook. I have been cooking since I was ten as my mother was scary in the kitchen and I taught myself out of self defense. Her Friday night meal was to take all the leftovers from the week and add them to a pot with water and boil. And as scary as your mt(ind can imagine the reality was worse. Beans and franks, pork chop, broccoli, scalloped potatoes from a box mixed with canned tuna(that was her signature creation),everyone in the pot. I later deemed Friday nights 'international heartburn night. Hey, I lived.

                1. re: suzigirl

                  oh dear. I'll never make fun of my Mom's cooking again! Did her
                  'cooking' ever improve? I've decided that instead of Mom being a rather bad cook, she just didn't enjoy it, so did the minimum necessary to keep us from starving.

                  1. re: pine time

                    My mom never learned to cook as a child and had no desire as an adult. My dad was a great cook and tried to teach her. What I never understood was why he didn't step in more. Instead of cartoons I watched Julia Child, Justin Wilson Graham Kerr and Jeff Smith. A girl has to eat! I could make you go pale if I told you some of the things she made. My dad got a pork tenderloin from the butcher and she boiled it. I was young so I didn't know what a food crime that was at the time. Yikes!! She is still a disaster in the kitchen. Thank god for pre made holiday dinners from Publix.

                    1. re: suzigirl

                      I used to wonder the same thing. Dad could make perfectly edible scrambled eggs and pancakes, and cream chipped beef, and macaroni and cheese! :-)

                      1. re: jvanderh

                        I remembered something funny. Funny strange and funny haha. If my dad made a comment that something tasted good you got it in everything for at least a week. Told her the french onion burgers were good one night and she put it in spaghetti sauce that week, pork chops and potatoes. That wasn't so bad but the dried oregano in srambled eggs was a tough one. Same with the french onion soup canned green beans

                  2. re: suzigirl

                    my husband's mom was the same. She would throw a leftover pork chop, 3 leftover grren beans, a raw, unpeeled potato and a can of cream of mushroom soup in the oven and call it a casserole.

                    1. re: dianne0712

                      Oh lord. I can relate. He and I could spend the afternoon one-upping each other on the ick factor at the dinner table. Lol. My mom was adopted. I wonder....... kidding

                  3. re: Hank Hanover

                    I too HH had to look it up and couldn't under that spelling.
                    think you're right about technological thing.

                    love bench scrapers for all kinds of things in the kitchen.
                    seems when I need a tool it has many functions. that isn't anything new to those who use them. and like you HH, I also had added [if not mistaken] to the other thread that is about hints or good tips in the kitchen, but I could always use more. also started a thread where one was already going but couldn't find in search bar.

              2. A thick stone countertop will thaw food faster than on a plate. It is a greater heat sink.

                First heat the pan, then add the oil.

                Never walk away while cooking garlic or making roux. They burn and turn bitter in a few seconds.

                Spend real money on your knives and learn how to keep them sharp.

                Go to and learn how to cut up a whole chicken. Your budget will expand greatly.

                Pick a memorable day and always renew your herbs and spices on that day. If they smell like tea, they are past dead.

                If using recipes prior to about 1965, milk means whole milk, cream means whipping cream, and butter is unsalted. Cooking times for meats are based on them starting at room temperture.

                When buying shellfish, have the monger tap on each one to ensure they are alive. Once had over 6 people patiently waiting behind as he tested 6 lbs.of mussels, and discarded about one in ten. Everybody was expecting the same level of service.

                Most fish has been frozen at some time in it's travels. Everything else has been iced down on the way back to the dock. Learn how to identify fish worth the price by the eyes and gills.

                The wealth of Angus branded meat and the resulting increase in price is due to superior marketing rather than superior flavor.

                Learn how to identify prime meat sold as choice. Learn to read the marbling of fat.

                Fat equals flavor. Which is why veal schnitzel is cooked in butter. Try a taste test of 97% beef hamburger versus the average 80% beef, 20% fat. Then stick with the one you prefer.

                The first time, follow the recipe exactly. The next time you can revise it to your personal taste.

                "Life is to short for cheap wine." Many claims.

                Dried herbs affect a dish differently from fresh herbs. Fresh ground pepper is vastly different from ground pepper in a can.

                Kosher salt, sea salt, pickling salt, and iodised salt are all different. Learn the strengths of each. And use appropriately.

                Making your own salad dressing wows the masses. Learn a couple that you enjoy and stick with them.

                Iceburg lettuce is not from the Dark Side. Try cooking with it as well as in salads.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                    You heat the pan and add the oil if you are sauteing, but you add the oil to a cold pan and heat it gently if you are sweating.

                  2. These are all great.

                    Can't think of much to add except that I LOVE my rasp for grating garlic. Haven't touched a garlic press since I got the rasp.

                    Don't underestimate the power of dry rub marinating. Most lean to liquid marinades but the salt in a dry rub draws the moisture of, say, a piece fo chicken out naturally, creates a brine flavored with the seasonings in the dry rub and flavours the meat right down to the bone.

                    When making a stock, roast the veg and bones first for more flavour.

                    Grate onions on a cheese grater when you want the flavour but not necessarily the texture depending on what youre cooking.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Jjjr

                      Do you mind me asking what a rasp is? I'm intrigued.

                      1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                        A rasp is a file made for scraping wood or metal particles off a bigger piece. Metal and wood workers use them for rounding corners, removing rough spots or burrs. The link below shows images of some:


                        Rasps were the inspiration for microplanes. Images of them can be found at the link below:


                        1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                          It is a very fine grater you can ues fie things you want grated fine such as garlic,ginger, cinnamon,nutmeg,citrus peel,parm etc.... hope that helps

                      2. When frying on our induction cook top, I spread news papers on the top and cook through it. When done, pitch the papers and have a grease free cook top.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: subal

                          That's interesting. I guess it doesn't catch fire.

                          Oh a tip that goes with frying bacon. Don't do it with your shirt off. :-)

                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                            Okay, I never, ever laugh out loud when reading Chowhound, but today I did!

                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                              I am a nurse. People do fry topless.....more often than you think. I have seen repeatedly...frightening but very hard not to laugh despited horrific consequences.

                              1. re: crispy1

                                Well, I bet a lot of robes come open with terrible timing.

                                1. re: crispy1

                                  As Benjamin Franklin said: "Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other."

                              2. re: subal

                                i have never used induction but that sounds like a good trick except for the fire danger. remember farenheit 451 by ray bradbury. maybe you could spray paper with water first? i hate to deep fry inside because of mess and odor. a splatter screen helps.