15 January 2012

my little kitchen secrets


Hello, lovelies. How are you? Good? Good.

Today I'm going to share of my favorite cooking tips. This isn't "how to make a perfect macaron" or "souffles for experts." I mean quick, easy tips that I use every day.

Got buttermilk?
It is way more likely that you have regular milk in your house than buttermilk, but some of the most yummy baking recipes have buttermilk in them. If you're lazy like me, you HATE running out to the store just to get one ingredient. Luckily, making a buttermilk substitute is super easy and there are many different ways to do it!

1 3/4 tablespoon cream of tartar, add milk until you reach 1 cup, and whisk together. Then let it stand for 5-10 minutes until it looks curdled. Mix then use!
or
1 tablespoon lemon juice, add milk until you reach one cup, and whisk together. Then let it stand for 5-10 minutes, until it looks curdled.
or
2 tablespoons of plain yogurt with enough milk to equal one cup then stir to combine.
Combine milk with sour cream until you get the consistency of buttermilk.
or
1 tablespoon white vinegar, plus enough milk to make a cup, mixed together and left out for 5-10 minutes to curdle. Mix and use!

Um, you've got egg on your face.
Fried eggs are awesome. They add a hearty touch to chili, complete a sandwich, or can be a meal all on their own. I struggled with a pretty, perfectly cooked fried egg for a long time - until I learned this secret: Grease your pan, crack the egg in the frying pan and cook over high heat for 2 minutes, then place a tablespoon of water into the pan and cover immediately with the lid. The steam will cook your egg perfectly in about 1 more minute! I'm serious, do this. It works every time.

B-A-N-A-N-A-S
Despite how much I resent Gwen Stefani for leaving No Doubt, her song is the perfect title for this secret. Nobody likes mushy bananas, but they ripen so quickly! Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster. It's true.

Leftover pizza for breakfast
I personally enjoy cold pizza, but most people are normal and like to reheat theirs. But when you put it in the microwave it gets all mushy and gross, and the oven just takes too long. We want our pizza now, gosh darnit! Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to medium and heat till warm. It keeps the crust crispy!

Frosting follies
Running short on frosting in the middle of decorating? You can make more out of what you've got! If you put your frosting into a stand mixer or mix with a hand mixer for a few minutes, it will expand. It can almost double in size! As a bonus: you eat less frosting and it's fluffier.

Day old pancakes is better than no pancakes
If you had to refrigerate bread, pancakes, or biscuits because your eyes are bigger than your stomach, (I'm not judging you, I understand) put them in the microwave with a cup of water until warm. This will maintain the moisture in the bread as it warms!

Speaking of pancakes...
Everyone needs a go to pancake recipe. Here is mine:

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted

DIRECTIONS
Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with butter. Pour 1/4 cups of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
Eat pancakes. Eat a ton of them.

Hope you found these tips useful. If you have any kitchen secrets, I'd love to hear them! You can comment below or tweet them at me @sugarplusbutter.

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