Wednesday, March 26, 2008

tips, hints and other dealywhoppers

Since I've been spending more time in the kitchen, I've picked up a few things that help make life simpler. I'll update as I learn!

-I burn myself a lot. To prevent the pain and blistering, you gotta immediately run cold water or hold an ice cube over the burn. This, to me, is annoying because I've still got cooking to do. So what I've done is taken a used tea bag, placed it in a baggie and frozen it. I also keep rubber bands in my kitchen "junk drawer," so when I get a burn all I have to do is position the frozen tea bag in place with the rubber band and keep working. The tea bag doesn't "sweat" as much as an ice cube would, and the shape stays pretty much the same as it thaws, unlike an ice cube that slides around. I can keep the cold on the burn for longer and I get to keep working. When I'm done, I throw it back in the freezer until next time. I think it's genius.

-Basic flour mixes:
I started using the mix below but I usually adapt by adding soy, sweet sorghum, bean flour, Bob's all-purpose mix, or some other flour depending on what I'm making. But here's the basic that I mix all at once and store in a jar.

1 1/2 c. rice flour
3/4 c. potato starch
3/4 c. cornstarch
1 c. tapioca starch

-Where do I find these flours?
Well, most of these I have found in small bags at higher prices at Whole Foods, online, or some other neighborhood grocery store. I can find a lot of them at asian food stores for WAY cheaper, and usually in larger sizes so I'm not always at the store buying more. I look in the "ethnic" aisles instead of the yuppie "specialty" aisle and can usually find a better price for the same thing. Kudos to my friend JN for suggesting that!

-Most of the recipes I try, I end up not liking the recipe and not finishing the food. So, when I try a new one I always halve it. That way I don't feel AS bad for wasting food when a recipe comes out of the oven tasting wonderful but the next day is disgusting. This happens especially with baked goods.

-Wal Mart puts "gluten free" on every gluten free "Walmart" brand they sell. That's been helpful when reading labels.

-I recommend getting an oven thermometer to see just how accurate the dial is. Mine kept burning everything, so I got one and discovered that it heated 40 degrees higher than it said it was. Things turn out a lot better now.

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