Cooking Tips

How To Cook Eggplant

1. Start by trimming off the top and bottom of the eggplant, removing the stems and leaves.

2.  If desired, peel away the thick skin. Then slice into 1/2-inch to 1-inch rounds.

3.  Line a baking sheet with paper towels and generously sprinkle each slice of eggplant with kosher salt.

4.  Place in a single layer and allow to sit for a minimum of 20 minutes.

5.  When ready, blot off the surface liquid and any remaining salt left on the eggplant.

6. The enzymes have been denatured, and the eggplant is now ready to prepare.

Biggest Slow Cooker Mistakes

The slow cooker makes meal prep a cinch, but be sure to avoid these common mistakes:

1. Not browning meats
Browning meats in a skillet (or in the slow cooker's insert if it's stovetop safe) before programming the cook time will give your braise or stew heartier flavor.

2. Opening the lid while your dish is still cooking
When slow cookers lose heat, it takes them a long time to gain it back. Don't remove the lid until you have to. You don't need to check — we promise the food is cooking.

3. Always using the same temperature and time settings
Your kitchen might not be a chemistry lab, but a little experimentation may be necessary to get the best results. Try out a few combinations of temperature settings and cooking times to a get a recipe just right.

4. Not submerging meat
Cooking times for meat and poultry that are under liquid will be shorter than for pieces that aren't. Make sure that everything's submerged so that the entire dish cooks evenly.

5. Using the wrong setting
If your meat is consistently overcooked, chances are that your slow cooker is operating at a high temperature while on the warm setting. To remedy the problem, reduce the time your recipe cooks before going into keep warm mode.


Common Kitchen Mistakes

There are some strategies that you can use to help prevent common kitchen mistakes from ruining your meal. Here a few suggestions, guidelines, and hints that you can use to help recover from some of the more common mistakes.
  • Lumpy or greasy gravy. If you are really interested in having some lump free gravy, add just a pinch (no more) of salt to your water before you begin mixing the gravy. Also, if you find that your gravy is too greasy, add a pinch of baking soda to get rid of that nasty greasiness.
  • Fatty stews and soups. Sometimes fat has a way of accumulating in things like soups and stews. If you find yourself faced with a this problem, all you need to do is drop a few ice cubes into the mix. Stir everything around, and then remove the ice cubes before they melt. The fat will stick to the ice cubes, allowing you to get rid of it when you remove the ice cubes.
  • Soggy lettuce. If you lettuce has turned slightly soggy while it was sitting in the refrigerator, don't worry. All you need to do to do to fix this problem is to put a little bit (no more than a few drops) of lemon juice to a bowl of cold water. Place the lettuce into the bowl and set it in the refrigerator. Let everything sit for about an hour, and then dry and serve the lettuce.
  • Salty soup. If you have some salty soup, solve the problem by simply adding some sliced potatoes. Allow the potatoes to cook, and then remove them. The potatoes will draw out a lot of the salt, and help return the soup to more acceptable levels.
  • Wilted vegetables. Sometimes your lettuce, cabbage, or other vegetables will wilt before you can use it. Solve this problem by removing the wilted edges from the vegetables and then sprinkle with some cold water. Wrap everything up in a paper towel and refrigerate for at least an hour to return your vegetables to normal.
  • Burnt cooking odors. No one really likes the smell of burnt food, so don't put up with it. All you really need to do to mask or eliminate the odor of burnt food is to burn (yes, burn) three teaspoons of sugar, and two of cinnamon. The sweet smell will mask the other odors, and have people thinking that you have been slaving away all day baking delicious goodies.

Rescuing Ruined Meals

Here are some quick fixes for meals that you might think are ruined.

Bitter Spaghetti Sauce

If you made a spaghetti sauce that is on the bitter side, don't worry. Try adding a pinch of sugar. Sugar brings out the flavor of cooked tomatoes in your sauce and combats the bitterness.

Over-salted Soup, Stew, or Gravy

Have you added too much salt to your food? There's no need to throw it out. Simply cut a raw potato into medium-sized chunks and toss them into the pot for about 10 minutes. The potatoes will soak up much of the salt. Remove the potato chunks when they start to soften, and your meal will be saved.

Garlicky Sauce, Soup, or Stew

If you've made a perfect meal but added too much garlic, just put a few parsley flakes in a tea infuser and place the infuser in your food for a few minutes. Parsley absorbs the garlic flavor, and your meal will be as good as new.

Curdled Sauce

If your cream sauce has curdled, you can save it by straining it through a fine sieve or muslin.
To save a curdled Hollandaise sauce is a bit more complicated, but it can be done. You can add 2 tablespoons of boiling water to the sauce and beat it with a wire whisk until it's smooth again; or you can set the pan holding the sauce in a big bowl of ice water, whisk until it's smooth, and then warm it very gently over lightly simmering water, whisking constantly.
If your mayonnaise curdles, beat up an egg yolk in a separate bowl and slowly add the curdled mayonnaise to it, beating the mixture all the time.



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