Kitchen Tips

(kitchen tips from within recipes I've posted... all in one place!)

Chipotle peppers freeze well which is great because most recipes call for just one. I bag them individually (1-2 chiles per bag) with a teaspoon or two of the adobo sauce. Don't forget to label each bag with the number of chiles per package. Then place all the bags in one quart-size freezer bag and stick them in your freezer! If using a frozen chipotle for a recipe (and if you don't mind the extra heat from the seeds), chop it up while frozen. This makes the chopping SO much easier!

Make your own buttermilk!
What you need: 1 cup milk and 1 Tablespoon white vinegar (or 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or 1 and 3/4 Tablespoons cream of tartar).
What you do: Add your acid (vingar, lemon juice, cream of tartar) to your milk and stir.  Let stand for about 15 minutes, until the milk begins to curdle.  Stir well.

If you don't use bacon often, you can keep the package in your freezer (put in a ziploc freezer bag). No need to thaw before cutting into strips and cooking.

I buy several lemons/limes at a time and freeze their juice in ice cube trays (about 1 Tbls per cube) so that I always have their juice on hand for the recipes that call for just a tablespoon or two.  Using silicone ice cube trays makes it easier to pop the cubes out.  After freezing, store in ziploc freezer bags.

Bananas freeze well in their skins.  When you have one or two bananas that overripen in your bunch, don't throw them out.  Toss them in the freezer and when you have enough bananas, thaw them and make your banana bread!  They thaw in just a couple hours (will be more liquidy but will still be just fine in your baked goods).

Pesto can be frozen and thawed for later use. I freeze it in silicone ice cube trays then transfer to a labeled Ziploc freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Thaw cubes as needed (takes just an hour or so). Do not heat pesto, allow the pasta to heat pesto through.

Chocolate chips will sink in many batters. Try coating them in flour before folding into batter or use mini chocolate chips instead.

To reduce some of the fat in baked goods, you can replace half of the oil with applesauce. 

Pork tenderloins come 2 in one package. Use one and freeze the other for up to 3 months.

Using a madolin slicer makes for very quick, even slicing. I use mine all the time!

How to Make Chocolate Leaves
Melt 2-4 ounces semisweet chocolate with a teaspoon of shortening in a double boiler or bowl set over boiling water, stir until smooth. Brush underside of leaves (with the veins) with melted chocolate. Carefully wipe off chocolate that may have run onto front side of leaf. Refrigerate until firm and then peel off leaves. Refrigerate chocolate leaves until needed.