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Free Book: How to Prepare and Cook Food at Home

 

How to Prepare and Cook Food at Home

606 Great Food Preparation and Cooking Ideas

How to Prepare and Cook Food at HomeThe general perception about preparing food is that it takes a lot of time and energy. This is true to some extent, but it is also true that many of us spend a lot of time on the food preparation rather than the actual cooking. This is what makes it a chore rather than an enjoyable experience. However, food preparation need not be time consuming if you plan ahead and know how to manage your time skillfully.
In this book you'll discover numerous tips and ideas that will actually make food preparation easier and make it more fun:
This book features dozens of great food preparation and cooking ideas, including food handling safety, and preparing great meals at home. These are simple tips that all cooks in the kitchen can follow for cooking a delicious and safely prepared food.
The book covers all of the following:

* Meat and Poultry
* Fish and Seafood
* Fruit
* Vegetables
* Eggs, Cheese, and Other Dairy Products
* Salads
* Soups, Sauces, Gravies, and Stuffings
* Herbs and Seasonings
* Bread, Rolls, Cookies, and Cakes
* Pancakes, Waffles, Pies, and Dessert
* Beverages
* General Food Storage
* Home Preserving, Canning, Freezing, Drying
Here's just a small sample of the tips included:

Fish and Seafood

It's easy to make your own fish scaler. Nail 3 bottle caps, serrated edges up, side by side at the end of a piece of wood. To make scaling easier, rub the entire fish with vinegar to loosen the scales.
To tell whether a fish is fresh or stale check the eyes. If they're slightly protruding, bright, and clear, the fish is fresh. If they're pink, sunken, or cloudy, the fish is stale. If the gills are gray, the fish is stale; they should be red or pink.
One way to freeze fish is to put the fillets in clean milk cartons filled with water. When the ice that surrounded the fish thaws in the defrosting process, use the liquid to water your houseplants- it's ideal fertilizer.

Give frozen fish a fresh flavor by thawing it in milk. The milk eliminates the frozen taste.
You can make any Fish taste tender and sweet by soaking it in % cup of lemon juice and water, or vinegar, or wine before cooking.
To remove most of the salty taste from saltwater fish, soak it in vinegar and rinse under cold water before cooking.
If you like halibut as white as popcorn, add a little milk and lemon juice to the seasoned liquid in which you cook it.
After handling fish, you can rid your hands of the odor by rubbing them with salt or vinegar.
If you're having a hard time prying clams or oysters from their shells, soak them for a few minutes in club soda to loosen both muscles and shell hinges. Or wash them in cold water, place in
a plastic bag, and freeze for 30 minutes. Or plunge the plastic bag into boiling water for several minutes. Either freezing or boiling makes it easy to open the shells with a beer-can opener or knife.
If you can't get a fishy odor out of a pan used for frying fish, sprinkle the pan with salt, pour hot water in it, let it stand for a while, and then wash as usual.
Fish won't stick to the pan during baking if you lay it on a bed of parsley, celery, and chopped onions. This vegetable bed also adds flavor.
If you chill canned shrimp before adding them to hot mixtures they'll hold their shape better.
If you don't like the tinny taste of canned shrimp, soak it for 15 minutes in a mixture of 1 teaspoon of sherry and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
If you've put too much mayonnaise in the tuna salad and you have no more tuna to add, substitute bread crumbs.

Fruit

Though their appearance might not be perfect, standard grades of fruits are as high in nutrition as the more expensive "fancy" grades.
Unless appearance is important, you can buy the cheaper grades and save money with no loss in food value.
Avoid buying prepackaged fruits and vegetables. The packaging may disguise rotten spots.
You can make your own fruit-ripening "bowl" from a perforated plastic bag. The perforations permit air movement, yet the bag will retain the fruit gases that hasten ripening.
To speed up the ripening of' pears, tomatoes, or peaches, put them in a brown paper bag with a ripe apple. Punch some holes in the bag, and put it in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Or, put the
fruit in a box and cover it with a newspaper to seal in the natural gases that promote ripening.
To speed up the ripening of avocados, place them in a brown paper bag and store the bag in a warm place. Once ripe, you can retard spoilage by keeping them in the refrigerator.
You can judge if an avocado is ripe by sticking a toothpick in the stem end. If it slides in and out with ease, the avocado is ready to eat.
To keep .an unused avocado half from turning dark, press the pit back into place before refrigerating the uneaten half.
For a perfect avocado half, cut the fruit in half lengthwise, pull the halves apart, and plunge a very sharp chefs knife into the pit. The pit will pull away cleanly with the knife. Remove the avocado halves from the shell with a spoon, or very gently with your fingers.

To hasten the ripening of green bananas, place them so that they touch overripe ones, or wrap them in a damp cloth and put them in a bag.
If you store ripe bananas in your refrigerator they won't go soft so quickly. The cold darkens their skins, but it doesn't affect the fruit. The best way to use up overripe bananas is to make banana bread.
When shopping for berries, examine the container bottoms. If they are wet or stained much of the fruit is probably moldy or mushy, so select only those containers that have dry bottoms. If you discover 1 or 2 bruised and spoiled berries when you get home discard them; molds quickly spread from berry to berry.
To keep berries in tip-top condition don't wash them until you're ready to eat them.

Strawberries will stay firm for several days if they are stored in a colander in the refrigerator.
The colander allows cold air to circulate through and around them, keeping them fresh.
Hull strawberries after you've washed them; if you do it beforehand they'll soak up water and turn mushy.
There's an old-fashioned "thumping test" for gauging a watermelon's ripeness. Whack your index finger against it If you can hear a high plink, the melon isn't ripe. If you hear a low plunk, it is.
How can you tell when a melon is ripe? Hold it to your ear and shake it. It's ripe if you can hear the juice and seeds sloshing around.
When selecting oranges, don't be misled by the intensity of their color-most oranges are dyed to make them look more appetizing. Instead,
look for brown spots-surprisingly enough, they indicate top quality. And remember: The sweetest oranges have the biggest navel holes.
If oranges seem spongy, light in weight, or puffy, they won't be juicy.

 

To select the juiciest grapefruits, look for those with the thinnest skins. The "yellowness" of grapefruit skin doesn't indicate anything.
To get the juiciest, most flavorful lemons, pick those with smooth skins and small points at each end.
As soon as you bring lemons home from the store, put them in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container of water. Doing so encourages them to yield more juice. (You can get the same result by immersing a lemon in hot water for about 15 minutes before squeezing it'll If you need only a drop or two of fresh lemon juice, you needn't cut into the whole lemon. Just puncture it and squeeze out the desired amount.
If you then store the lemon in the refrigerator, its freshness and flavor will be unaffected.
Save the liquids from canned fruits; add a little cornstarch to the juice to make an instant sauce for cake or pudding.
Juices saved from canned fruits can be combined with flavored or unflavored gelatin for a dessert or salad. If you don't want to use the juice at once, freeze it.
Fresh papayas will be soft when you squeeze them gently.
To keep dried fruit fresh for a longer period, keep it in the freezer.
Since carbon steel knives react with fruit and cause discoloration, cut your fruit with stainless steel knives.
To maintain the crispness of apple slices and to prevent them from browning, immerse them in salted water for 10 minutes before use.
When dicing several apples to make a large apple salad, mix them with dressing or mayonnaise as you chop. If you wait until you've cut all the apples, the first ones cut may discolor; coating them with mayonnaise will prevent this.
So that apples won't shrink when you bake them, remove a horizontal belt of peel from around the middle of each one. So that they won't wrinkle during baking, cut random slits in each one before placing them in the oven.
You can restore flavor to dried-out apples by slicing them into sections and sprinkling the sections with apple cider.
Frozen grapes make cooling warm weather snacks. They look attractive, too.
A quick way to remove seeds from grapes is to slice the grapes slightly off-center. This exposes the seeds and makes them easy to flick away.
If a fresh pineapple isn't as ripe as it could be, but you're eager to eat it, you can make it taste ripe this way: Prepare it as usual and then put the pieces in a pot, cover them with water, add sugar, and boil for a few minutes. Then drain off the water, let the fruit cool, and chill it in the refrigerator.
The center ring of a doughnut cutter is ideal for removing the core from slices of fresh pineapple. Just press the ring on each pineapple slice.
If a recipe calls for gelatin and pineapple, use either canned fruit or fresh pineapple that has been boiled for 5 minutes. There is an enzyme in fresh pineapple that will prevent gelatin from setting.
Taking a watermelon on a picnic? If you wrap it in dry newspaper or burlap as soon as you remove it from the refrigerator, it will stay refreshingly cool till you're ready to eat it.
To peel a difficult-to-skin fruit, hold it on a fork over a gas flame till the skin cracks, and then slide off the skin.
Another trick for peeling thick-skinned fruit: Put the fruit in a bowl, pour boiling water over it, wait 60 seconds, then remove the fruit and peel the skin with a paring knife.
To prevent freshly cut fruit from browning, place it in a bowl of cool water in which you've dissolved two powdered vitamin-C tablets; or keep the fruit submerged in water to which you've added juice from a half a lemon.
To avoid discoloration in fresh fruits you've sliced into, brush the exposed interior surfaces with lemon juice.

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