Cookbook

FYI: Tips and Hints 2

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Storing Leftovers

Posted By: Chef Steve Date: Tuesday, 22 August 2000, at 7:05 a.m.

Storing leftovers should be done properly, since anything less could make you sick. Warm food is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Normally you cook and serve food before any harmful growth occurs, but what about leftovers? Safe storage means proper temperatures and proper containers. Refrigeration is necessary, but must be implemented correctly for a number of reasons. First, refrigeration does not stop bacterial growth; it only slows it. Second, the refrigerator is for keeping things cold, not making warm things cold. Bacterial growth is rapid between 40 and 140 degrees so if you put warm food into the refrigerator, the bacteria will continue a rapid growth, and the food's warmth will raise the temperature of the refrigerator. Thick foods, such as stuffing, beans, and stews have a long cooling time unless they are spread out in a shallow pan, you may have to use a couple of them. So on Thanksgiving, do not leave the stuffing in the bird when you refrigerate it. Soups are another fertile breeding ground for bacteria. Soup should be chilled in a metal container in an ice bath before storing. You can pour the soup into plastic containers after it is cool. Air tight containers will prevent drying, and flavors from spreading to other food. Label and date leftovers. They have a limited life; so don't guess what they are or how old they are. Thanksgiving time is when the most reported cases of food poisoning occurs in the home. Being in the restaurant business, this was my top concern of giving someone food poisoning.

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Freezer Techniques and Safety

Posted By: Chef Steve Date: Wednesday, 23 August 2000, at 4:20 a.m.

Freezing extends the life of food, but not forever and not under all conditions. Freezing food brings bacteria to a standstill, but does not kill it-chemical activity continues but at a much slower rate. Freezer burn is the reaction of meat to the formation of ice crystals and leaves the meat dry and stringy. Additionally, the fat in meat continues to oxidize and eventually becomes rancid. Under perfect freezing conditions fish, poultry, and pork will hold for two months while beef will last a year. Commercial food processors use blast freezers that reach temperatures of minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit very rapidly. This minimizes oxidation and the chance of freezer burn. When operating properly, however, home freezers are designed to keep food at 0 degrees. Raw meat will take hours to freeze at this temperature, instead of minutes, creating conditions for freezer burn. You can help the situation by wrapping food properly. Use resealable plastic bags especially designed for the freezer, but make sure you squeeze out the air. Or, you can tightly wrap food twice in plastic and then wrap it in aluminum. Be sure to label and date it. Remember, if food is just about to spoil it can't be saved by freezing.

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Muffin Tip

Posted By: Chef Steve Date: Thursday, 24 August 2000, at 6:03 a.m.

Muffins will slide right out of tin pans if you first place the hot pan on a wet towel.

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Cake Tip

Posted By: nancyo Date: Friday, 1 September 2000, at 7:58 p.m.

I always put some of the cake batter into a separate small pan so I can get a taste of the cakes I make since they go to work with my DH. There's no way he could save me a piece since the folks here line up when they know I've sent a cake. It's not that my cakes are soooo good (even tho they are good) it's that the cakes here are soooooo bad. LOL... Anyway, for me to get a taste I make a muffin size for me.

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Misc. Tips

Posted by Phyllis A. on March 3, 2000, 8:54 pm

When cutting or seeding hot peppers, use rubber or plastic gloves to protect your hands. Avoid touching your face.

To get rid of the most grease when you cook ground beef, cook it in the microwave. Put it in a microwave-safe colander and place the colander in another microwave-safe bowl. Cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently.

Who says biscuits have to be round? Roll them out and then cut them into squares with a knife or pizza cutter. No more scraps to reroll.

To make biscuits easy to cut open. Roll the dough half as thick as usual, then fold it over. Presto...easy open biscuits.

Need a long match to lite birthday candles or tall candles, use a piece of dry spaghetti. Works great and is a lot cheaper.

Do not store onions and potatoes together. The onions absorb moisture from the potatoes and it rots them.

Cut open Both Ends of a can of tomato paste and push out all the contents. You'll have no waste. Also...You can freeze the leftovers in a resealable plastic bag.

After cooking fish, place a pierced lemon in the oven at 300-F for 15 minutes and leave the oven door open for a bit. Odors disappear.

Are you tired of 'sticky jam jars' and the mess that comes with them. Put you jams and jellies into plastic squeeze bottles. To transfer you may need to soften the jam a bit. It won't hurt it to be microwaved until soft. Be careful when removing jam from the microwave.

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FYI: HOW-TO'S, WHAT-TO-DO'S & ANY-HOO'S # 28

cleaning with baking soda
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