Sep 22, 2015

How To….

How To Store Tortillas:

If your flour tortillas are too hard and won’t bend, it could be from not rolling them thin enough, the pan not being hot enough (cast iron is best), or not storing them properly. I store mine in a zip top plastic bag (put them in while they are still warm) and then close it up and remove all the air. Mine are always soft and every time I remove one, I close it back up, air removed each time.

How To Store Tortillas

How To Store Celery:

I got tired to throwing away half of my celery when it went bad so I found a way to keep it twice as long. Here’s how:

  1. Separate and wash the celery.
  2. Pat it to remove excess water.
  3. Lay down a large sheet (about 18 by 18 inches) of heavy duty extra wide aluminum foil.
  4. Wrap the still damp celery in 2-3 paper towels and place in the center of the foil.

Celery1200_02875. Wrap the celery in the paper towels and then the foil, starting with the long side and then fold in the ends.

Celery2_1200_02826. It’s easy to open and re-close the celery packet when you use heavy duty foil. The paper towels continue to keep moisture away from the celery, allowing it to stay fresh much longer. The worst thing to wrap celery, or any other high-moisture vegetables in, is plastic.

How To Measure (& Aerate) Flour:

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Flour must be aerated before measuring because it often settles in the bag or container making it heavy  and compact. (Aerating basically means fluffing it up) If you dip into flour without aerating, you will be getting too much flour and your dough will be too dry. To aerate flour you simply stir it around with a spoon before measuring. To measure, be sure to use a flat-topped dry measuring cup. You can see how I aerate flour in my Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake video: http://mobiledev.jennycancook.com/recipes/easy-one-bowl-chocolate-cake/

After aerating, there are two ways to measure the flour: 1) Scoop & Level – Gently scoop the flour up with a spoon and sprinkle it into your measuring cup until it’s mounded above the rim. Do not tap the cup or the container of flour. Finally, level off the excess flour with the back of a knife. 2) Dip & Level – Gently dip your measuring cup into the flour until it’s mounded above the rim and level off the excess flour with the back of a knife. A properly measured cup of flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces.

How To Freeze Pesto:

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Drop some pesto in each compartment of an ice cube tray but not all the way to the top. Then cover each one with a little olive oil, just enough to cover the top completely. This will keep the pesto from turning brown. Freeze the tray and once the cubes are frozen, remove from the tray and store in zip top freezer bags.

How To Toast Nuts:

Toast Walnuts1200_7288

Place raw nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds) on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Cool completely before using. Toasting greatly enhances the flavor of nuts. Always toast nuts before chopping.

How To Keep Cookies Crisp:

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  • Cool cookies completely before storing.
  • Do not store soft cookies together with crispy cookies.
  • Glass containers are good for storing crispy cookies.
  • Do not store in plastic bags but use a covered container.
  • Refrigerating cookies will help keep them crisp.
  • If you freeze cookies they will be crispy if you eat them frozen.
  • Cookies that have softened will be never become crispy when stored no matter what tricks you use.
  • Cookies can be re-crisped in a 300 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add something to the container that absorbs moisture like rice or baking soda.

I usually put about 1/3 cup of baking soda in a coffee filter, staple it together and place it in the bottom of my container, layering the cookies on top. The baking soda absorbs moisture and the coffee filter is made of a porous material full of tiny holes that lets the air circulate easily and allows the baking soda to absorb any moisture.

How To Keep Brown Sugar Soft

Brown sugar gets hard when its moisture escapes. The best way to keep brown sugar soft is to use a small clay disc and it works really well. Here’s an example below…

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It costs less than $5 and you just soak the disc in water for 15 minutes and then put it into a fresh bag of brown sugar. Seal up the bag tightly and you’re done.  Mine stays soft until I finish the bag. You can even use a piece of broken clay from a pot as long as it’s unglazed.

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