Tuesday Tips-Lemons

vtlemon

Today has definitely been a “glass 3/4 empty” kind of day.  The kind of day where life poos in your Cheerios and then has flatulence to boot.  I don’t feel I am exaggerating when I say that today lived up to the “life is a dirty rotten bastard” adage.  If it isn’t an adage yet, it will be.

Okay, deep and cleansing breaths, this is not a blog on my crappy day (God what a great and compelling title that would be for a blog).  I was banging my head into a wall trying to think of a cooking tip and all thoughts of how awful today was kept intruding.  I was stern with myself and said “When life hands you lemons…slice those bad boys up and add them to your vodka tonic!”  So today will be about the lemon.  Because I was a slacker last week, I will include a couple of lemon related tips.

  • When choosing lemons, go for the firm one with smooth, shiny skin.
  • To get more juice out of your lemon, nuke it on high for 10-20 seconds and/or rub between your hands.
  • Lemon zest is the yellow bit of the skin.  Once you reach the white part stop.  That is the pith and is bitter.
  • Lemon juice is great for preventing discoloration in food, like sliced apples.
  • Lemons are a great way to remove the scent from hands, cutting boards, knives, etc.
  • Lemons help fight scurvy.
  • Lemons are the perfect garnish for a vodka tonic when buying a drink for the brilliant author of this blog.

Cheers!

Terra’s Tips-Spoon Coating

Every once in a while, a friend or relative decides that I am a walking dictionary on food and calls for advice.  Well, either that or every once in a while my friends suffer through the food snob babbling until something useful falls out of my mouth, but I am feeling generous with myself today.

One of the fun things about food is that there is always something you have not tried or understood yet.  Especially for those of us in the self taught category.  You can read directions, but if no one is there to babble at you and explain why or what is meant by that, then you apply your own meaning.  I had that point brought home in a cooking class taught by a French trained chef.  The class was a gift to my son for Christmas, as the food snob thing is contagious.  I was amazed at how many things I learned, or got deeper meaning out of.  I knew how to do many of the things he taught, but didn’t know the why.  Learning the why or the methodology and reasons behind the methodology were exciting.  It brought more depth to what I do when I cook.  It also inspired me to begin teaching a cooking class for a few friends.

One night a month we will get together and cook some food in a combination of girls night out and learning.  Being such a complete and utter food dork, I have already developed a syllabus in my head.  I can’t wait.  The thought occurred to me that I could do a similar thing here.  My goal is to publish a short tip every Tuesday.

Today’s tip is coating the back of a spoon.  Many recipes have the instructions to reduce liquid until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  This phrase to me is way too subjective.  Define coat.  Is it windbreaker thick or expedition to the South Pole thick?  Try this trick using a wooden/bamboo spoon, and yes the wooden/bamboo spoon helps (that is another tip for another day).  Dip spoon in sauce.  Use finger to draw a line in the back of the  spoon with your finger.  If the sauce does not run down and obliterate your line, the right thickness has been achieved.

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