Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wisdom from Julia's Kitchen

  • To make canned broth taste homemade - Simmer for 15-20 minutes with a handful of minced carrots, onions and celery.  You can also add a little dry white wine or dry white French vermouth.

  • How do I know if baking power is still okay to use?  Baking powder usually lasts about 6 months.  To test add a teaspoon into 1/2 cup hot water.  If it doesn't bubble up throw away.  Make sure to smooth out lumps before adding to recipe.

  • To clean a burn blackened pan (I know that hasn't ever happened to you!!!) Fill the pan with 2 Tablespoons baking soda per quart (4 cups) of water.  Simmer for 10 minutes, cover and let soak off heat for several hours or overnight.  The black residue should scrub off easily.

  • Figuring the timing between convection ovens and regular ovens.  Convection ovens are usually about 1/3 faster.  So if you roast something for 2 hours and 325 degrees.  It would probably take about 1 1/2 hours in a convection oven.

  • When is bread done?? The loaves should feel light and they should make a nice thump when taped. (an instant read thermometer reads 200).

  • When baking how do I proof the yeast?  Stir a tablespoon of active yeast in 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar.  Yeast should be bubbly in about 5-10 minutes.

  • How do I saute?  
    • Make sure the food is dry.  If it is damp the meat will steam not brown.  Pat it dry with  paper towels.
    • Heat the pan.  Add butter or oil and wait until it is almost smoling.
    • Don't crowd the pan. Leave about a 1/4 inch between the pieces.  If you crowd them, they will steam, not brown.
    • Find a good solid frying pan. It shouldn't too big or too small.  It won't be fancy but functional every day pan.

Excerpts taken from the book "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom"  
How many minutes should you cook green beans? Is it better to steam them or to boil them?
What are the right proportions for a vinaigrette?
How do you skim off fat?
What is the perfect way to roast a chicken?

Julia Child gave us extensive answers to all these questions–and so many more–in the masterly books she published over the course of her career. But which one do you turn to for which solutions? Over the years Julia also developed some new approaches to old problems, using time-saving equipment and more readily available products. So where do you locate the latest findings?

All the answers are close to hand in this indispensable little volume: the delicious, comforting, essential compendium of Julia’s kitchen wisdom–a book you can’t do without

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I love to cook. It is my passion.