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Kitchen Secrets & Tips



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Kosher Kitchen Secrets and Tips from KosherEye
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Quick Cook One Pan Pasta

No need to use a huge pot of boiling water to cook pasta. Here's a great video tip from cooking scientist Harold McGee on how to cook pasta in a deep frying pan. Use less water to cook the pasta. Any broth can be substituted for the water to add a depth of flavor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zkz4ef53YjA

One Pan Pasta Aglio E Oglio
After cooking pasta in deep fry pan, reserve some of the liquid – set aside.
Pour some olive oil into the same pan—add garlic; sauté until fragrant. Add some crushed red pepper (to taste) and salt. Return pasta to pan; Heat toss and serve. If too dry, add a bit of the reserved liquid.
Optional: Toss in some roasted red peppers or roasted tomatoes

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Canola_field

What is Canola?
A reader asked us a simple question: What is a Canola? OOPS, we did not know. KosherEye buys canola oil all the time; in fact- we often choose it instead of plain vegetable oil...but what is canola and why should we use it?

We referred to canolainfo.org for the following:

Canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of the canola plant. Canola is part of the Brassica family. Cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower are also part of this same botanical family. Each canola plant grows from 3 to 6 feet (1 m -2 m) tall and produces many yellow flowers.
As the plant matures, pods form that are similar in shape to pea pods, but about 1/5th the size. Each pod contains about twenty tiny round black or brownish-yellow seeds. 

Once harvested, canola seeds are taken to a facility where they are crushed to extract the oil contained within the seed. This oil is then further refined and bottled as canola oil.
Basic characteristics of this cooking oil include a pale golden color, light texture, neutral taste and high heat tolerance. The average canola seed is 45% oil. The remainder of the seed, which is very high in protein, is processed into canola meal and used as a high quality animal feed.

Canola is grown primarily in the prairie regions of Western Canada, with some acreage being planted in Ontario and the Pacific Northwest. Smaller volumes are also grown in the North-central and South-eastern United States.

Canola oil has generated a lot of research interest into its potential health benefits because of its low level of saturated fat, high monounsaturated fat and good balance of omega 3 and 6 fats.

One additional question arises about Canola oil—does it contain toxins?

We found an answer from the Mayo Clinic
From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Health concerns about canola oil are unfounded. Canola oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant, is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.
Misinformation about canola oil may stem from the fact that the canola plant was developed through crossbreeding with the rapeseed plant. Rapeseed oil contains very high levels of erucic acid, a compound that in large amounts can be toxic to humans. Canola oil, however, contains very low levels of erucic acid.
Canola oil is also low in saturated fat and has a high proportion of monounsaturated fat, which makes it a healthy and safe choice when it comes to cooking oils.

 

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Should we "Love it or Lose it"?

 Best_By_Date

Do you have the same daily dilemma we do.. When we open the pantry or the fridge - should we "Love it or Lose it"?  What do expiration dates, sell by dates and use by dates actually mean? Is it safe to keep foods past their prime? One of our favorite TV doctors weighs in on this very important topic.

An excerpt of an article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Time.com
Use-by dates are contributing to millions of pounds of wasted food each year. A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic says Americans are prematurely throwing out food, largely because of confusion over what expiration dates actually mean.

"Use by" and "Best by": These dates are intended for consumer use, but are typically the date the manufacturer deems the product reaches peak freshness. It's not a date to indicate spoilage, nor does it necessarily signal that the food is no longer safe to eat.

"Sell by": This date is only intended to help manufacturers and retailers, not consumers. It's a stocking and marketing tool provided by food makers to ensure proper turnover of the products in the store so they still have a long shelf life after consumers buy them. Consumers, however, are misinterpreting it as a date to guide their buying decisions. The report authors say that "sell by" dates should be made invisible to the consumer.

Most consumers mistakenly believe that expiration dates on food indicate how safe the food is to consume, when these dates actually aren't related to the risk of food poisoning or foodborne illness. Food dating emerged in the 1970s, prompted by consumer demand, as Americans produced less of their own food but still demanded information about how it was made. The dates solely indicate freshness, and are used by manufacturers to convey when the product is at its peak. That means the food does not expire in the sense of becoming inedible.

For un-refrigerated foods, there may be no difference in taste or quality, and expired foods won't necessarily make people sick.
But according to the new analysis, words like "use by" and "sell by" are used so inconsistently that they contribute to widespread misinterpretation — and waste — by consumers. More than 90% of Americans throw out food prematurely, and 40% of the U.S. food supply is tossed--unused--every year because of food dating.

The result is a confused public — and tons of wasted food. Correcting these entrenched misconceptions, however, won't be easy. The report authors say the re-education could start with a clearer understanding of what the dates mean.

To read more about food safety and expiration dates, visit http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/19/health/sell-by-dates-waste-food/index.html?iref=allsearch

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Preparing Cake Pans

Watch this video as Bridget Lancaster from America's Test Kitchen Cooking School shares her tips to prevent cakes and cupcakes from sticking to pans:

 

CakePans

 

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Kitchen Safety

As we approach the days of YomTov, we spend hours, and hours, and hours cooking and baking in our kitchens-- slicing, chopping, dicing, mixing, simmering, reaching– Get the picture?

Careful-in-kitchen-sm
Artwork by Carl Wiens for the New York Times

A recent article in the New York Times by one of our favorite columnists, Jane E. Brody, reminds us and warns us to be careful in the kitchen. This is a must read for every cook, and every 'helpful in the kitchen' family member. Read the article here:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/19/tested-recipes-for-kitchen-safety/?ref=janeebrody&_r=0

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Schmaltz PDF Print E-mail

schmaltz

Remember schmaltz? Your mom and Bubbie likely used a lot of it in their cooking. Schmaltz, or chicken fat, has a great flavor and richness, and is part of Jewish culinary tradition.

Rendered chicken fat adds rich flavor to many recipes and makes use of parts of the bird that would otherwise be wasted. (Our Bubbies wasted nothing!) It is traditional to use schmaltz in chopped liver recipes, but schmaltz is also good for cooking potatoes and other root vegetables. What was old, is new again--in moderation, please!

To make schmaltz (a.k.a. rendered chicken fat), begin by saving bits of fat and skin removed from raw chicken. You can stockpile these in a sealable bag or container-and store in the freezer until  about 3 cups are accumulated.

Place the fat and skin scraps in a heavy bottomed, non-reactive pan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the scraps render most of their fat and begin to brown.
At this point, some add a chopped onion. Raise the heat to medium. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the chicken scraps are golden brown and crispy, but not burned. Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Strain through a fine meshed strainer, or a cheesecloth. Store in a sealable container
Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 4-6 months.

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Try this with basil, tarragon, parsley, thyme, and sage for fresh garden herbs year round. After freezing the herbs in the olive oil, simply pop out and place in plastic freezer bags. Use these herb cubes as recipe starters.

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Dental Floss in the Kitchen
5 Tips

Dental floss is not only for cleaning between your teeth - it also is a handy kitchen tool!

Dental_floss_-_cake_layers

When a recipe calls for splitting a cake into two or more layers horizontally,  toothpicks and dental floss make this task easy.  Use several toothpicks placed at the proper level (use a ruler if you want precision sized layers) around the outer circumference of the cake, and then use a two-foot piece of waxed or unwaxed dental floss to make a clean straight cut. Just be certain that it is the unflavored type or your cake will have a hint of mint (which you might enjoy!).

floss-cinnamonroll-264x272

Cut pastries in even slices with floss. Floss works well on cinnamon roll dough

Use dental floss to slice crumbly cheeses such as goat cheese or bleu cheese

Use floss to cut a cookie log into individual cookies.

Dental floss can sub in the kitchen for twine when tying herbs and veggies.

No – Do not use in oven.

 

From Real Simple and America's Test Kitchen

Bake a cake, grab some dental floss, and watch this video to perfect your layering technique:

 

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Corn Tips

Corn_bundt
Cutting kernels off the cob
Cut corn from the cob without a mess. Place an ear in the center of a Bundt pan. As you slide the knife down, the corn will fall into the pan. Sweet Corn even Sweeter
Adding some sugar to the water used to cook to the corn will enhance its sweetness

Decorate with Corn
Cut a couple cooked cobs into small wheels and placing those wheels of fresh corn around the already cooked corn platter dish. A lovely presentation and your guests will know that they're eating fresh sweet corn!

corn-tooth-brush_300Toothbrush as Corn Cleaner
Use a clean toothbrush to remove stray threads of silk from freshly shucked ears of corn. The bristles will lift them away quickly and efficiently.

Cook and Shuck Corn in the Microwave
Watch our KosherEye Featured Video: Shucking Corn - Clean Ears Every Time

If you would like to buy a corn zipper- here's our favorite:
Kuhn Rikon Corn Zipper, Stainless

 

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How to make them last longer and eliminate rusting

Gefen Steel Wood PadsWhen you purchase a box of steel wool pads, immediately take a pair of scissors and cut each pad into halves. After years of having to throw away rusted and unused and smelly pads, you'll decide that this will be much more economical. In fact, you'll notice that the scissors get sharpened this way!

Plain steel wool pads, which are NOT filled with soap are kosher.  Steel wool pads which are filled with soap do need kosher certification.  Use steel wool to:

  • Eliminate coffee and tea stains from your carafe and porcelain mugs

  • Make your aluminum, iron and stainless steel pots and pans sparkle

  • Remove sticky tags, labels and glue off jars

  • Purge crusty baked-on food from casserole dishes

  • Brighten up flatware and serving utensils

  • Degrease stoves, ovens, broiler pans, oven racks and range hoods

Rachael Ray's steel wool tip: Watch this video to prevent steel wool from rusting.

One kosher brand of steel wool soap pads is Gefen Steel Wool Soap Pad (certified OU-P).

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