Monday, April 6, 2009

Comment Card



Speaking of tricks, which one's your favorite?

All of us cooks have a little something up our sleeve to save time, add flavor or impress our guests.  Whether we learned them from Grandma or (gasp!) Sandra Lee, these secrets run the gamut from simple to complex to slightly bizarre.  Here's a couple to kick things off:

Freezing bananas: When making banana bread or anything that calls for mashed bananas, I freeze them first (in the peel), then thaw them out on the counter before proceeding with the recipe.  It makes them much easier to mash, and they'll blend right into any batter - no lumps.

Mayonnaise in cake:  Anyone heard of this one?  I've never tried this trick, but adding mayo or Miracle Whip to cakes dates back to the 50's, I think, and is supposed to yield unbelievably rich, moist results.  I wonder if it really works...

Now let's hear yours!

13 comments:

Suzy Shoup said...

I've never heard of the mayo trick, but do freeze bananas, however I've found it far easier to freeze them after peeling. They might not last quite as long, but thaw faster and there's no messing with the stringy peels in case you can't wait long enough for the thaw. As for other tricks, I can't seem to think of any other than just finding recipes that are tricks themselves (speaking of banana bread/muffins, I have a great shortcut recipe that involves instant oatmeal instead of all the flour, etc). Plus, Real Simple is my favorite magazine and I recall a "cheating" Key Lime Pie recipe I found in there that tasted just as good as a from scratch pie!

Eddie G said...

I tried the (vegan) mayo trick for my friend Bret's birthday cake in January...AMAZING results! It was a recipe from a book called Sinfully Vegan. Thanks for the banana tip:)

Momcat said...

Fresh parsley (preferably the flat-leaf Italian variety) - first learned this trick from Peg Bracken's 'I Hate to Cook Book' back in the 60's, reinforced by the divine Julia Child in her first TV shows. It brightens up soups and sauces, provides a pretty garnish, and can otherwise salvage a presentation that just didn't turn out quite right.

luniz said...

Put cut herbs in a zip loc in the freezer wrapped in a paper towel, or green onions in a cup with water in the bottom. Rinse/soak rice before cooking. Put bananas in a paper bag with an apple to ripen...uhh gee I guess I don't have too much. The mayo and cake trick, can't you just add extra eggs and possibly oil and get the same result?

JR said...

*BURSTS THROUGH THE DOOR* Well Kids, I see you didnt let the place totally go to pot while I was away. I will have to go through and catch up on all I missed and comment accordingly? What have I been up to you ask? Well, I have been busy finding great deals on www.jrshouseofstyle.com.....what? dont look at me like that...I was just simply informing you of my whereabouts...anywho, I have said it before and I will say it again Sandra Lee is a Crazy Bish. We have strung up poor Martha Stewart for being a third as neurotic as Sandra Lee....any who's sweater matches their wallpaper has issues...and you have no idea how much willpower it took for me to leave out the remaining part of that comment that had references to carpet and drapes....but I digress...I have always lived by 2 tricks of the trade to keep my dinner guests marveling at the culinary excellence before them and they are as follows:
1) your guests should only be microwave proficient and have no kitchen skills what-so-ever and the simple fact that you used the stove-top directions on the box will leave them speechless. Although, I do not recommend putting yourself out for these type guests as over kill is not needed....its like Pearls before Swine....
2)When giving out your recipes always leave out and ingridient or 2...or adjust the measurements. Nothing that will leave the dish inedible but just enough to where it will never taste like yours....I figure, that after I took the time to come up with such a combination of elements as to leave you drooling for more, why would I just give it away? Although, one word of caution on this move, make sure it is your own recipe and not one they can look up themselves as they will discover your ruthless plot and it leaves you blaming your old age and bad eye sight....which could probably work for most of you *scans the room*....until next time...J.R.

Classy&Sassy said...

Oh, JR, we have missed you :0) Welcome back!

And, Luniz, if you read this, what is the benefit of rinsing the rice before you cook it? Also, I'm always confused about the ratio of rice to water...?

gammypie said...

My Mom used to make chocolate mayonnaise cakes when I was growing up. They were always awesome!

luniz said...

sometimes I guess the rice get's a little crushed or rubs off and so you get a starchy coating on the grains. so that and any dirt/dust is what you're rinsing off. It makes the rice less clumpy/mushy sometimes. Since I buy all my rice in bulk, I rinse. You're not supposed to rinse the vitamin fortified rice. I also soak it sometimes, especially longer grain rice, to shorten cooking time.

As for ratio, it's not a strict linear relationship. For 1 cup of brown jasmine (bought in bulk at Sprout's) I use 2 cups or a bit less water/chicken broth. For white I use a lot less. But basically I try to keep track of how much I used and check it when it comes out to find what works pretty good for me.

Or you can just use a rice cooker which people claim turns out 100% perfect rice every time.

luniz said...

oops that's brown basmati not jasmine.

Classy&Sassy said...

Thanks, Luniz - that's valuable info. I've just recently started using *way* less water when I cook my (long grain white) rice, and I'm loving how much better it turns out. I think the ratio I'm liking right now is 1 cup of rice to 1 1/2 cups water. I'm now going to add rinsing to the routine and see how I like it!

Momcat said...

JR - so glad that you're posting again - we've missed you!

Amy S said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN2gYHJNT3Y

How to peel an egg without peeling video.

Smarry said...

Very nice thanks for sharing...........

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