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More Kitchen Tips

 

In our recent MTTD Survey Leslie in Ohio said she loves kitchen and cooking tips. So since I had nothing else on my mind to write about today I thought this would be a good time to share some more tips.

How can I soften brown sugar that has gotten hard?

This happens to me a lot. I have read and tried dozens of ways to get hardened brown sugar soft and stay soft. The absolutely, positively best way (And the only way that actually works.) I have found is from Robert L. Wolke’s book, What Einstein Told His Cook. Wolke is a scientist who explains the science of food and the kitchen. It is a very enjoyable read full of great ideas, information, and tips. 

I don’t know if this is an actual quote from the book. It is what I typed up and put into a Word document and stored on my computer to help me remember what to do.

“In its usual (hopefully) tight container cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap

Place a damp paper towel on top of the plastic wrap

Seal it all up

In a day or two it should be back to normal.”

I did this last spring and my brown sugar is still soft. And it had been solid as a rock.

How can I keep celery crisp?

Cut the bottom off of the celery. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. 

I do this and it works.

What is the best way to store garlic?

Garlic should be stored in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. The worst place to store garlic is in a refrigerator or freezer, which promotes sprouting and destroies the flavor and texture of garlic.

How long can I keep wine vinegar?

Wiki Answers says, “Vinegar is the last cycle of a sugar molecules life. It begins as sugar, ferments and becomes alcohol. It then ages to become vinegar. In all three cycles, there is no expiration date. So, unless it becomes contaminated, it should have an unlimited shelf life.” 

I have found though that it can lose flavor after a while.

Is it safe to refreeze food once it has been thawed? 

In a word, no. For meat, if you cook the meat, it can then be frozen again.

How long do eggs stay fresh?

Legally an egg’s sell by date is 21 days after laying. Best before date is 28 days after laying. However they can be kept longer than this and be perfectly good to eat. To check if an egg is ok put it in water, if it sinks its fine, if it floats it is at least stale at best, and at worst bad. 

 

How can I tell which super market loaf of bread is the freshest?

This is easy. I leaned this when I was a cashier for a supermarket many, many, many, too, too many years ago. The bread manufactures have a simple color code for when bread is delivered to the store. I am sure you have noticed the bread has a “twist’em tie” or a plastic tag closure. These are different colors. The colrs tell you when the bread was delivered to the store.

If the bread is delivered on Monday, the tag color is BLUE.

On Tuesday, the tag color is GREEN.

No bread is normally delivered on Wednesday. If it is, the tag color  is ORANGE.

On Thursday, the tag color is RED.

On Friday, the tag color is WHITE.

On Saturday, the tag color is YELLOW.

No bread is normally delivered on Sunday.

So now you will be able to tell which loaf of bread is the freshest when you shop. This code is for commercially produced packaged breads, not that which is baked in the store or specialty breads.

If you have a food or kitchen tip question leave it in the Comments section and I will compile them and do another Q&A soon.

 Featured Recipe:   Creamy Mushroom Chicken

In our last MTTD Survey several people asked that more chicken recipes be featured. So  today I have another chicken recipe.

I love this recipe. It is so easy and so delicious. Yet it is elegant enough for company too.

This is what you will need for 3 people: 

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1-2 teaspoons cooking oil

1 medium onion

8-10 ounces mushrooms

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup water

Salt & Pepper to taste 

Here is what you do: 

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat about 1 teaspoon of oil over medium to medium high heat.

Sauté the chicken breasts until they are golden on both side; about 8-10 minutes each side.

While the chicken is cooking slice the onion ………..

……..using a mushroom brush wipe the mushrooms clean……….

…….then slice the mushrooms.

When the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken to a plate and tent with aluminium foil to keep warm.

If necessary, add about a teaspoon more oil to the skillet. Now add the onion and sauté until they just start to color.

Then add the sliced mushrooms………….

……and cook until onions and mushrooms are golden and tender.

Now reduce the heat to low; stir in the sour cream and the water.

stir everything together and heat through.

Place the chicken on individual plates. Add any chicken juices that have accumulated into the sauce and stir.

Spoon some of the mushroom and onion sauce over each chicken  and serve with a vegetable or rice side and a salad.

Cost

Chicken breasts        $5.81

Cooking oil               $0.07

1 onion                    $1.19

Mushrooms              $2.29

Sour cream              $0.96

Total cost for 3 = $10.32
Cost per person = $3.44

 Bon Appetit!!!

Quote of the Day:    Advice from your friends is like the weather, some of it is good; some of it is bad.   Proverb

 

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