03-07-2017 Be A Kitchen Magician

3 July 2017

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Practical Living

1) Stop throwing out salad

Make a crisp, tossed salad the day before your holiday gathering and spend time mingling with your guests. Here is the secret. Choose a large bowl and add lettuce, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, green and red capsicums, carrots and green onions. Don’t add any tomatoes. Cover the salad completely with water and refrigerate. When it is time to serve your guests, drain the salad well and add tomatoes. Your salad will be as fresh as if you just made it.

2) Cook pasta like a pro

Cooking pasta to perfection is a delicate operation, so don’t be heavy-handed. Use a lightweight pot and the water will boil faster and return to a boil quickly after you add the pasta. Best of all, your spaghetti won’t clump together or stick to the bottom of the pot.

3) Protect pasta from hidden peril

You would never know by looking at it but the pasta you have in pretty glass jars on your counter is under attack. Once fortified pasta is exposed to light, its vitamin starts to break down. You will have to use it within a month or two to get the benefit of the vitamins. For long-term storage, hide pasta in airtight containers in a dark place. You can keep it up to 18 months when stored properly.

4) To rinse or not to rinse

Experts say you shouldn’t rinse pasta destined for the sauce since it’s slightly sticky starch helps hold the sauce on your spaghetti. But if you are making lasagna, go ahead and rinse the wide noodles for better handling. Also, rinse any pasta you will use in a cold salad. Cold, starchy pasta doesn’t taste so hot.

5) Smart boiling secrets

If you place a spoon in a pot of pasta before boiling, it won’t boil over. Another trick is to treat the pot with nonstick spray before adding the water or adding a dash of oil and salt to the water. Whatever you do, never add the pasta before the water boils. If you do, you will slow down the boiling process and your pasta will stick together.

6) How to store spaghetti

This is easy! Take them out from their bags or boxes. Store them in an airtight spaghetti jar or container. Remember to label with its expiry date.

7) Don’t let kitchen fires pan out

Reach for a cookie sheet when you have a pan fire on your stove. Smothering the fire with the sheet will extinguish it faster than you can say “chocolate chip”.

8) Save dinner from going up in smoke

If you frequently forget about food cooking in the oven, wear a timer around your neck! Set the alarm so even if you snooze you will know it is time to take your dinner out of the oven.

9) Shake, rattle and put out the fire

Always keep a super-size shaker of salt, baking soda, or baking powder on your stove to help put out small cooking fires.

10) Improve a child’s grip

Children sometimes have a difficult time holding onto a water glass. A wide rubber band, slipped around the glass, can improve their grip and lessen the chance of spills.