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Monday, March 31, 2008

TEMPEH - TEMPE

tempe

WHAT IT IS
An Indonesian staple made from partially cooked, fermented soybeans that are pressed into cakes. Tempe has a mild, nutty taste and absorbs flavors well.

HOW IT'S USED
Cakes can be sliced or cubed, then marinated and baked, grilled or deep-fired. You can also crumble tempe for chili or chop and shape into burgers.

GETTING STARTED
To soften tempe and help it absorb flavors, steam or simmer in a marinade, broth or sauce at least 15 minutes. Unopened packages of tempe can be refrigerated up to two weeks or frozen up to three months.

LOOK FOR
Packaged blocks displayed with tofu in refrigerated sections. Tempe should have few or no black spots, which appear when it is exposed to air. (You can still eat it with spots; the taste will just be stronger). Flavor tempe - ften fermented with wild rice, vegetables or herbs - is delicious on sandwiches or in recipes where flavors complements the other ingredients.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

BAKING SUBSITUTES

Sometime we have a difficulty to find the right ingredient when we want to cook something.. To achieve the perfectness of the ingredients that we need, this is the common substitutes will help you out of a baking pinch.


MISSING INGREDIENTS:

1 cup buttermilk
replacing with : 1 tsp vinegar or 1 tbsp lemon juice + 1 cup milk

1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
replacing with :
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa + 1 tbsp oil or melted butter

1 cup honey
replacing with : 1 1/4 cup white sugar + 1/3 cup water

1/4 cup rum or liqueur
replacing with :
1/4 cup fruit juice

1 cup heavy cream (not for whipping)
replacing with : 3/4 cup milk + 3 tbsp melted butter

1 tbsp baking powder
replacing with : 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar + 3/4 tsp baking soda

HOW TO CUT AN ONION WITHOUT CRYING

Every time I work with the onions or shallots in the kitchen, usually the watering eyes is always a problems. I try to find out how to solve it, and here are some tips of how to cut on onion/ shallots without crying :

1. CHILL OUT - Put onions in the freezer 10 minutes before peeling and slicing. The cold minimizes volatile sulfur oils (the buggers responsible for activating you tear ducts.)

2. THINK SHARP - Slice and chop with the sharpest knife in your block. Dull blades crush the onion cells instead of cutting them, releasing more acidic chemicals into the air.

3. OPEN WIDE - Breathe though your mouth... inhaling through your nose lets more fumes get into you sinuses.

4. AVOID THE ROOTS - Most sulfuric compounds live in the root of an onion, so avoid releasing them into the air too soon by cutting the root off last thing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

VEGETABLES TIPS

assorted vegetables

For a long time, vegetables have played only a supporting role as a meal. Vegetables were eaten, not because they tasted good, but because they were good for you. Today, due to the global growing seasons and air-freight shipping, it is possible to purchase a wide variety of vegetables throughout the year. When fresh vegetables are prepared in creative, delicious ways, they are no longer stand on the sidelines but are an integral part of an enjoyable meal.

VEGETABLES PREPARATION:

Preparation can make or break the appeal of a vegetable. This is why it is important to know how cooking affects a vegetable's quality by changing its texture, flavor, color and nutrient content.

TEXTURE :
Most raw vegetables are hard and fibrous, which makes them appropriate for dipping or salads. But if they are to accompany an entree, they need to be softened to be palatable.
Cooking softens the fiber in vegetables, making them more tender and easier to eat. The degree of tenderness is determined by how the vegetable is cut and how long it is cooked. Most vegetables are best when cooked to the crisp-tender stage.

FLAVOR:
Some vegetable flavor is lost during cooking because flavor components leach into the water and evaporate in the steam. The best way to avoid flavor loss it to cook vegetables in as little water as possible.
With some strong-flavored vegetables, such as those in the cabbage family, it is desirable to dissolve some flavor into the cooking water or steam.
Some freshly harvested vegetables, such as corn, peas, and carrots, have a high sugar content that makes them taste sweet. As they mature or sit in storage, the sugar turns to starch, causing them to lose their sweetness. For the best flavor, it is important to use fresh, seasonal vegetables.

COLOR:
Cooking enhances the color of some vegetables. Overcooking can turn vibrant colors into dull grays and khaki greens. Because some pigments dissolve in water, such as those in beets and red cabbage, and other break down because of heat, such as those in peas and broccoli, vegetables should be cooked as quickly as possible to retain their colors.

NUTRIENT CONTENT:
Vegetables are important because they supply a wide assortment of nutrients. They are major sources of vitamin A and C and are loaded with other essential vitamins and minerals. The larger the amount of water, the higher the temperature and the longer the cooking time, the more nutrients the vegetables lose.

Monday, February 11, 2008

SUSHI



Sushi, for many in the West a synonym for Japanese food, is a general term for all dishes using sumeshi (vinegared rice) in combination with other ingredients, mainly raw fish. However, sushi began life not in Japan, but in ancient South-East Asia as a method for preserving fresh fish in steamed rice with salt.
Sushi was developed in its present form, based in vinegared rice, in the 19th century and flourished on street stalls in Edo, now Tokyo. It was the ‘fast-food’ of the time – and in many ways it still is. Many of children still take sushi as a special lunch for school outing, sports days and theatres.

There are four main types of sushi:

1. Rice rolled in sun-dried nori seeweed with ingredients in the centre, known as maki-zushi or nori maki
2. Rice press in a mould, topped with cured or salted fish, known as oshi-zushi or bo-zushi.
3. ‘Fingers’ of rice with a slice of fish, seafood or omelette on top, known as nigiri-zushi.
4. Bowls of rice with other ingredients mixed through or arranged on top, known as chirashi-zushi

All are easy to make at home, though nigiri-sushi is normally eaten at restaurants as it requires trained hands to mould rice to the right hardness so that the whole piece can be picked up easily yet still loosen once in the mouth. I will introduce some new ideas so you can be able to have fun making sushi through step by step making sushi rolls, using readily available ingredients as well as more authentic kinds. Many ingredients are now available in larger supermarkets and specialist food stores.
The key to success in handling rice is to treat it like a child, be gentle but firm with authority. Do not be put off at your first attempt, you need patience just as with children, and practice really does make perfect.
Sushi is ideal for parties too, rolled sushi (norimaki) and pressed sushi (oshi-zushi) can be made the day before and kept (at room temperature) until ready to serve. The lunchbox sushi mixture (chirashi) can also be prepared in advance and mixed with the other ingredients just before serving. Many sushi combination are also suitable for vegetarians. Try sushi; you’ll find it’s easy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

CHOCOLATE COOKIES, KUE COKLAT



Melt in your mouth cookies made with heavenly chocolate is an unbeatable combination. For those who would like to expand their cookie baking skills, I’ve also included easy-to-follow directions for special touches, such as pinwheel, cut-out and checkerboard cookies.

TYPES OF COOKIES
There are five basic types of cookies: bar, drop, refrigerator, rolled and shaped. These types are determined by the consistency of the dough and how it is formed into cookies.
Bar Cookies: Always use the pan size called for in the recipe. Using a different size will affect the cookies’texture; a smaller pan will give a more cakelike texture and a larger pan will give a drier texture.
Drop cookies: Cookies that are uniform in size and shape will finish baking at the same time. To easily shape drop cookies into a uniform size, use an ice cream scoop with a release bar. The bar usually has a number on it indicating the number of scoops that can be made from one litter of ice cream. The handiest size for cookies is a #80 or #90 scoop. This will yield about one rounded teaspoonful of dough for each cookies.
Refrigerator Cookies: Always shape the dough into rolls before chilling. Shaping is easier if you first place the dough on a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Before chilling, wrap the rolls securely in plastic wrap or air may cause the dough to dry out.
Use gentle pressure and a back-and-forth sawing motion with a sharp knife when slicing the rolls; this helps the cookies keep their nice round shape. Rotating the roll while slicing also keeps one side from flattening.
Rolled Cookies: Chill the cookies dough before rolling for easier handling. Remove only enough dough from the refrigerator to work with at one time. Save any trimmings and reroll them all at once to prevent the dough from becoming tough.
Shaped Cookies: These cookies can be simply hand-shaped into balls or crescents or forced through a cookie press into more complex shapes.

If the recipe calls for a cookie press, do not shape the cookies by hand unless the recipe states that you may do so. The consistency of the dough was created to work in a cookie press.
When using a cookie press, if your first efforts are not successful, just place the dough back into the cookie press.

TYPES OF CHOCOLATE
Unsweetened Chocolate: Also called bitter or baking chocolate, this is pure chocolate with no sugar or flavorings added. It is used in baking and is packaged in individually wrapped 1-ounce (28g) squares.
Bittersweet Chocolate: This is pure chocolate with some sugar added. Bittersweet chocolate is available in 1-ounce (28g) squares or in a bars. If unavailable, substitute half unsweetened chocolate and half semisweet chocolate.
Semisweet Chocolate: This is pure chocolate combined with some sugar and extra cocoa butter. It is sold in a variety of forms, including 1-ounce (28g) squares, bars, chips and chunks.’
Milk Chocolate: This is pure chocolate with sugar, extra cocoa butter and milk solids added. It is available in various shapes – bars, chips, stars etc.
Sweet Cooking Chocolate: This is pure chocolate combined with extra cocoa butter and sugar. It is available in bars.
White Chocolate: This is not considered real chocolate since most or all of the cocoa butter has been removed and replaced with another vegetable fat. White chocolate is available in chips and bars.
Unsweetened Cocoa: This is formed by extracting most of the cocoa butter from pure chocolate and grinding the remaining chocolate solids into a powder. Since most of the cocoa butter is removed, it is low in fat.

GENERAL GUIDELINES
Take the guesswork out of cookie baking by practicing the following techniques:
- Read the recipe before you begin.
- Remove butter, margarine and cream cheese from the refrigerator to soften, if necessary.
- Toast and chop nuts, peel and slice fruit and melt chocolate before preparing the dough.
- Measure all the ingredients accurately. Assemble them as directed in the recipe.
- When making bar cookies or brownies, use the pan size specified in the recipe. Prepare the pans according to the recipe directions. Adjust oven racks and preheat the oven. Check oven temperature for accuracy with an oven thermometer.
- Follow recipe directions and baking times.Check doneness with the test given in the recipe.

MEASURING INGREDIENTS
Dry Ingredients:
- Always use standardized “dry” measuring spoons and “dry” measuring cups. Fill the correct measuring spoon or cup to overflowing and level it off with a metal spatula.
- Use “dry”measures to measure flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chips, sour cream, yogurt, nuts, dried fruit, coconut,chopped fresh fruit, preserved and jams.
- when measuring flour, lightly spoon it into a measuring cup, then level it off. Do not tap or bang the measuring cup as this will pack the flour.
- When measuring brown sugar, pack the sugar by pressing it into the cup. It should be the shape of the cup when turned out.
Liquid Ingredients:
- Use a standardized glass or plastic measuring cup (liquid measuring cup) with a pouring spout. Place the cup on a flat surface and fill to the desired mark. Check measurement at eye level.
- When measuring sticky liquids, such as honey and molasses, grease the measuring cup of spray it with nonstick cooking spray to make removal easier.

BAKING
- The best cookie sheets to use are those with no sides or up to two short sides. They allow the heat to circulate easily during baking and promote even browning.
- For even baking and browning place only one cookie sheet at a time in the center of the oven. If the cookies brown unevenly, rotate the cookie sheet from front to back halfway through the baking time.
- When baking more than one sheet of cookies at a time, rotate them from top to bottom halfway through the baking time.
- For best results, use shortening or a non stick cooking spray to grease cookie sheets. Or, just line the cookie sheets with parchment paper; it eliminates cleanup, bakes the cookies more evenly and allows them to cool right on the paper instead of on wire racks.
- Allow cookie sheets to cool between batches, as the dough spreads if placed on a hot cookie sheet.
- To avoid overbaking cookies, check them at the minimum baking time. If more time is needed, watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn. It is usually better to slightly underbake than to overbake cookies.
- many cookies should be removed from cookie sheets immediately after baking and placed in a single layer on wire racks to cool. Fragile cookies may need to cool slightly on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.Bar cookies and brownies may be cooled and stored right in the baking pan.


STORAGE
- Unbaked cookie dough can usually be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to six weeks. Label dough with baking information for convenience.
- Store soft and crisp cookies separately at room temperature to prevent changes in texture and flavor. Keep soft cookies in airtight containers. If they begin to dry out, add a piece of apple or bread to the container to help them retain moisture. If crisp cookies become soggy, heat undecorated cookies in a 300F (150C) oven for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Store cookies with sticky glazes, fragile decorations and icings in single layers between sheets of waxed paper. Bar cookies and brownies may be stored in their own baking pans. Cover with foil or plastic wrap when cool.
- As a rule, crisp cookies freeze better than soft, moist cookies. Rich, buttery bar cookies and brownies are exceptions to this rule since they freeze extremely well. Baked cookies can be frozen in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to three months. Meringue-based cookies do not freeze well and chocolate-dipped cookies may discolor if frozen. Cookies and brownies unwrapped at room temperature.

SALTY EXTRACTS




Products: Bouillon cubes, granulated broth, yeast extract
Aroma: all salty extracts are, obviously salty. They tend also to be spicy and piquant.
Use: salty extracts are popular products and substitute for salt in piquant dishes. Besides seasoning soups and stews, they are used to spice meat and fish dishes, vegetable dishes, sauces, souffl├ęs and savory cakes.
Buying/storing: their best-before data is always printed on the package. The products should be stored in a dry, dark and cool place, such as a cupboard. The jars should be closed very tightly because the extracts absorb humidity from the air, which makes measuring the instant powder more difficult.


BOUILLON CUBES / GRANULATED BROTH

- History: Bouillon cubes are classic soup spices. Sold by the Maggi company for the first time in 1990, they have been an integral part of its assortment ever since. Bouillon cubes became the basis of soups and stews in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but lately they have been replaced by granulated broth or instant broth. Frequently substituted for salt, bouillon cubes remain essential ingredients in broths.
- Manufacturing method: Bouillon cubes consist of thickened meat or vegetable extract. The water is drained and the extract is freeze-dried in cubes. Bones, meat, and cubed vegetable are roasted in fat and placed in water to simmer. The individual ingredients slowly release substances while simmering. All is seasoned with spices and salt. If industrially prepared, this broth is thickened and freeze-dried.

YEAST EXTRACT
- History: in the 19th century, Justus von Liebig, a German chemist, and Louis Pasteur, A French biologist and chemist, invented a procedure industrial extracts which could last a long time. Yeast extract as a spice experienced its renaissance at the beginning of the last century along with the discovery of vitamin B and its effect on human organism because yeast is rich in B-vitamin.
- Manufacturing method: There are two methods for manufacturing yeast extract. In autolysis, 122F (50C) warm water is added toyeast cultures. At this temperature, yeast cells die, but the enzymes of cell contens remain active. The yeast enzymes erode the cell contents remain active. The yeast enzymes erode the cell walls and the contents can leave while the proteins decompose into amino acids. The liquid is consequently filtered and evaporated. Acid hydrolysis is a chemical process in which yeast cultures are heated and neutralized with hydrochloride acids, caustic soda or with sodium carbonate. The decomposition and fermentation of yeast cultures are accelerated in the second process.

Tips for cooking:
Use salty extracts instead of salt, but watch out! Too much salt is overpowering. Many instant powders are added to cold dishes while others only to hot liquids. When preparing a cold dish, pay attention to the directions on the package.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

KIMCHEE & RECIPES



Korea's favourite food - KIMCHEE - is not simply a side dish. Made by pickling vegetables and other foods, adding seasonings and allowing the mixture to mature, it is the country's national dish.

The Kimchee recipes are divided into WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN and YEAR-ROUND KIMCHEES, because traditionally the dishes were prepared at particular times of the year. But today, with increased availability of products, most of these dishes may be made year round.
There are certain ground rules that must be followed :
Never use a reactive metal container to store the kimchee; stainless steel will suffice, but porcelain is best.
If using plastic containers for storage, the chili redness will stain permanently.
Store kimchee in a cool dark spot (the back of a cool kitchen cupboard is a good place). Better still, keep in the fridge.
Always cover the container and seal well before allowing the fermentation processes to begin.
The recipes are offered in as traditional a manner as is possible, so beware of the variant in temperature. If making kimchee in the tropics or in a Mediterranean climate, you will need to adjust temperature controls!
The specified amounts of chili and chili powders err on the side of generous should adjust according to personal taste.
Many of the recipes use rice porridge, when making rice porridge, use the recipe for 1 quantity (1/2 cup or 125ml) dissolve 1 tablespoon rice flour in 3/4cup water; bring to the boil, and cool.

WINTER KIMCHEE RECIPES
Recipes for the more tobust and pungent kimchees can be found here. These flavours help to cut across the richness and heartiness of heavy winter fare such as slow-cooked casseroles and hotpots, noodle soup and grilled meats. These kimchees also make use of fresh,salted or preserved seafood – a virtue born of necessity due to the harsh Korean winters.


SPRING KIMCHEES RECIPES
These recipes make use of spring bounty such as young vine leaves, bamboo shoots, burdock and fresh watercress as they find their way to the markets. The run is towards a slightly milder kimchee (which are no less flavoursome). Most spring kimchees go well as a condiment with meat or seafood dishes.

SUMMER KIMCHEE RECIPES
Soupier, lighter and crunchier kimchees. The dishes are less fermented than those in autumn and winter, and are ideal to serve as side salads to main courses or with cold noodles. Highlights of the season include the glorious lotus root, cucumber, young grape leaves, and perilla leaves.

AUTUMN KIMCHEE RECIPES
The radish and cabbage, coupled with the other indispensables such as chili, garlic and fish paste, really come into their own in colder month kimchees. The recipes would have traditionally been made at harvest time, when the frosts are just settling in, and the last of the crops pulled out of the ground. The chewy texture of the kimchee and the heat from the red paste are appetite-enhancing.

YEAR-ROUND KIMCHEE RECIPES
Think of the kimchee featured in this chapter as starter kimchee, if you like. They are short-term kimchee, and not meant for long-term storage or preservation. Most are ideal to serve as a salad with noodles, or as a nibbly with drinks, in the style of the Italian antipasto. The quantities of chili and chili powder are generous, so go easy at the start until you ascertain your chili heat tolerance.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

SPICY SAUCES

We know several products of spicy sauces, such as :
1. WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
2. MAGGI LIQUID SPICE
3. HP SAUCE
4. KETCHUP
5. SALSA

In general, all the sauces above have similarities in :
- Aroma : all these sauces are spicy or extremely hot
- Buying/storing : All these sauces have a best-befor date. Make note of it and always keep them in the refridgerator.
- Tips for cooking: If you want to enhance dishes with these spicy sauces, add the sauces only after cooking or season with all these sauces individually at the table. All these sauces contain salt. Therefore, more salt is probably unnecessary.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

History : in 1835, Lord Sandys placed an order to druggists, John Lea and William Perrins, to develop a sauce similar to the sauces which he enjoyed during his stay in India. When the druggists finished their sauces, they were not satisfied with the result, but forgot to get rid of the product. The discarded sauce lay in a barrel in a cellar for about 2 years until, by chance, they found it. Before they poured out the nostrum, they tasted the dark brown liquid and discovered, to their surprise, that it tasted slightly like spiced wine. Worcestershire sauce became a real hit shortly after.
Manufacturing method: Today Worcestershire sauce is not only manufactured by Lea & Perrins. The ingredients and the manufacturing method are similar, but not identical, in all Worcestershire sauces. The dark English spice is prepared mainly from tamarind, chili, anchovies, malt vinegar, molasses, onion, garlic, sugar and number of spices. Every producer keeps his formula secret. In order to produce a good flavor, the ingredients must be stored in wooden barrels for 3 years. During this period, the products matures and develops a spicy and sweetish aroma similar to sherry.
Use : Worcestershire sauce is used to improve the taste of classic cuisine, particularly light sauces, ragouts, fish and egg dishes. A dash of Worcestershire sauce gives a Bloody Mary cocktail its proper taste. It is suitable for marinating grilled meat.


MAGGI LIQUID SPICE

History : In 1887, Julyus Maggie, a Swiss from Kempttal, developed Maggi spice. A German branch was established in “Gutterli-Husli” in Singen in very same year. Originally, Julyus Maggi did not intend to produce a spicy sauce, but he spotted a magnificent business opportunity. Therefore, he started experimenting with legumes in 1882. In 1884, he introduced the first legume flour into the market and, 3 years later, a spice named after him. Although originally a product for poor people, you can find it in almost every German household, from multi-millionaires to the poor.
Manufacturing method: The Maggi liquid spice consists of vegetables proteins, water, salt, aroma, glutamate and yeast extract. The vegetable protein decomposes during a fermentation process comparable with beer brewing, but no alcohol is produced. The spice matures for about 3-4 months in tanks, during which time it develops its characteristic aroma.
Use: Maggi is a universal spice and goes well with all piquant dishes. It is great for livening up any insipid, lifeless dish.

HP SAUCE:

History: in 1899, a brown sauce called HP sauce was developed. The abbreviation “H.P” stands for “House of Parliament”. The gastons developed the formula. Mr. Garton first sold homemade sauce in his vegetable store in Nottingham before selling his formula to the producer of HP sauce.
Manufacturing Method: HP sauce consists of a mix of malt vinegar, molasses, spirit vinegar, sugar, dates, tamarind, soy sauce, spices and salt. All the ingredients are mixed together and their combination result in the classic aroma of HP sauce. It contains no additives and is a purely vegetarian product.
Use: HP sauces are classic grill sauces used as table spices in every good steakhouse and they complement meat and fish dishes as well as substantial stews.

KETCHUP

History: Ketchup, the red, thick, piquant and spicy sauce, is definitely the first sauce that children in the West encounter. It is not absolutely clear who discovered ketchup British sailor brought ‘ketsiap’ or ‘kechap’ from faraway Malaysia. The original sauce was a typical Asian fish sauce prepared from fermented fish, shells and spices. Richard Brigg, an English cook, is said to be the first person to come up with the idea to substitute the fish with tomatoes in 1792. Since then there has been tomato ketchup and, naturally, every company keeps its formula secret.
Manufacturing Method: The basis of ketchup is tomato mixed with vinegar, sugar and spices like paprika, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, onion and nutmeg. Even though each company has its own formula, tomato ketchup must contain at least 7 percent tomatoes. Besides classic tomato ketchup, there are a number of variants. The most popular one is light brownish-yellow curry ketchup, but onion ketchup and Schaschlik ketchup can be found as well.
Use: Ketchup was actually developed as a grill sauce as well. However, it is used as a universal spice with pasta, eggs, potatoes and all savory dishes.

SALSA

History: We do not know for certain whether salsa was invented in Spain, South America or Mexico. However, one thing is sure; Spanish conquerors enjoy the spicy sauces of the Indians and a sauce survived that is used mainly in Latin America cuisines even today.
Manufacturing Method: Salsa is prepared from a mix tomatoes, tomatillos, chili, onion, garlic, and spices. In any case, the original salsa included oregano, vinegar and oil as well. There are various degrees of piquancy ranging from ‘hot’ or ‘medium’ to ‘mild. The piquancy depends on the chili content.
Use: Salsa is the most piquant spicy sauce and is served with meat and fish dishes in Latin American cuisines.





Monday, January 28, 2008

PASTA & RECIPES




While there are more than 150 varieties of pasta, we have featured the most popular shapes, such as spaghetti, macaroni, fettuccine, shells, linguine, lasagna, etc. with step by step directions, you will discover how pasta makes a great addition to soups, salads, casseroles, and skillet dishes. Pasta also makes a fantastic main course when topped with savory sauces.

COOKING PASTA
Dry Pasta:
For every pound of dry pasta, bring 4-6 liters of water to a full, rolling boil. Add 2 teaspoon (5ml) salt, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Gradually add pasta, allowing water to return to a boil The water helps circulate the pasta so that it cooks evenly. Stir frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking. Begin testing for doneness at the minimum recommended time given on the package directions. Pasta should be “al dente” – tender, yet firm, not mushy. Immediately drain pasta to prevent overcooking. For best result, toss the pasta with sauce immediately after draining. If the sauce is not ready, toss the pasta with some butter or oil to prevent it from sticking. Store dry uncooked pasta in a cool dry place.

Fresh Pasta
Homemade pasta takes less time to cook than dry pasta. Cook fresh pasta in the same manner as dry, except begin testing for doneness after 2 minutes. Fresh pasta will last several weeks in the refrigerator or it can be frozen for up to one month.

EQUIPMENT
Pasta machine
:
Pasta machines with hand-turned rollers are very useful in kneading and rolling pasta dough. Cutting attachment (fettucine and angel hair are usually included) help to cut pasta dough, however the pasta usually lacks the resilience of hand-worked dough and the machines are more expensive.

Paring knife:
A sharp knife with a thin 3 or 4 inch (7.5 or 10 cm) long blade used for peeling and slicing fruits and vegetables and cutting or chopping herbs.

Utility knife:
A sharp knife with a thin 6-8 inch (15-20 cm) long blade. It is used for the same purpose as a paring knife, but the longer blade can provide better leverage.

Chef’s knife:

a sharp knife with a wide 6-10 inch (15-25cm) long blade. It is used for chopping and slicing large, tick items.

TIME SAVING TIPS
- Plan on preparing an extra batch of your favorite pasta soup or sauce. Pour into serving size freezer containers and freeze. Reheat for a last minute dinner or quick lunch.
- Lasagna, manicotti and stuffed shells are perfect dishes to prepare and freeze for another time. Try freezing casseroles in single-serving portions for days when quick meals are necessary. Heat to serving temperature in the microwave or conventional oven.
- When cooking, add extra pasta to the boiling water so that you will have leftovers. If you like, toss the left over pasta with a little olive oil to help prevent sticking. Use plain leftover pasta as a base or extender for salads, soups, side dishes and casseroles. Simply store the leftover pasta in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days. Freshen the pasta by rinsing with hot or cold water, depending on how you plan to use it. Pasta can also be frozen and then reheated in boiling water or microwave for a fresh-cooked texture and taste.
- Combine leftover cooked meats, poultry, fish and vegetables with your favorite pasta shape and a simple sauce for a fast new meal.
- One cup of uncooked macaroni type pasta will yield 2 cups (500ml) cooked pasta.

For more exciting recipes, see at PASTA RECIPES

VEGETABLES CUISINE


RATATOUILLE-STUFFED PEPPER HALVES
makes 6 side-dish servings

INDGREDIENTS :
3 large bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 red, 1 green or combination)
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
1 small eggplant (3/4 pound/335 g) unpeeled, cut into 1/2inch cubes
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) sliced fresh mushrooms
½ teaspoon (2 ml) each dried basil and oregano leaves, crushed
½ teaspoon (2ml) salt
Dash ground black pepper
Dash ground red pepper
1 zucchini, quartered and cut into ½ inch (1.5 cm) chunks
Plum tomato slices and fresh basil leaves for garnish

HOW TO MAKE :

1 .Cut bell pepper (including stem) in half lengthwise.
2. Scrape out seeds and membrane with spoon, being careful not to cut through shell. Rinse out pepper halves under running water; drain.
3. To steam pepper halves, place steamer basket in large saucepan or stockpot; add 1 inch (2.5cm) of water. (water should not touch bottom of basket). Place pepper halves, cut sides up., in steamer basket; cover. Bring to a boil; steam 5 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender. Add water, as necessary, to prevent pan from boiling dry. Plunge pepper halves into ice water to stop cooking. Place pepper halves in 13x9-inch (32.5x22.5 cm) baking dish.
4. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook eggplant and onion in hot oil 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, tomato, mushroom, basil, oregano, salt, ground black pepper and ground red pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini; simmer 5 minutes more or until mixture thickens slightly.
5. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Spoon mixture evenly into pepper halves. Bake 15 minutes or until heated through. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

SOY SAUCES AND SPICY SAUCES

Aroma : the taste of soy sauces is salty, spicy and depending on type, slightly sweet.
Use: Soy sauce is the most important flavoring in Asian cuisine. It goes well with meat, fish, poultry, and vegetarian dishes. In particular, it is suitable for marinating tofu, spicing sauces and soups and as a seasoning for the table. Soy sauce is a dip for sushi.
Buying/storing : Soy sauce is available in supermarkets, Asian specialty stores or in delicatessens. It is available bottled. One cup bottles are preferable because soy sauce loses its aroma if store open for a long time. Although storing the product in open bottles at room temperature does not harm the product, it is better to store soy sauce in the refridgerator.

Tips for cooking : You can season both cold and hot dishes with soy sauce. Do not underestimate the salt content in soy sauce. Adding additional salt is usually not necessary.

There are 2 kinds of soy beans sauces :
SOY SAUCE :
- Chinese soy sauce : The original Chinese soy sauce is prepared purely from soy beans. There are two types: dark and light. The dark sauce can be store longer that the light sauce and its taste is milder.
- Japanese Soy sauce : It is also called ‘shoyu’ and was probably developed 1,000 years later than the Chinese soy sauce. It consistc of only soy beans and wheat. In Japan, thera are two types of soy sauce : light and dark. The light soy sauce is saltier but milder in taste. You cannot store it very long and Amazake, a sweet liquid, is added to it during the fermentation process.

SPICY SOY-BASED SAUCE

- Bean sauce : Bean sauce is a dark, thick sauce popular mainly in northern and wester China and it contains fermented soy beans. There are two variations : mild and spicy variant, depending on the different spice and salt contents.
- Kecap Bango : Kecap Bango is an Indonesian sauce enhance with spices, herbs and sugar. You can distinguish between slightly sweetened sauce with addition of ‘asin’ and intensely sweetened sauce with ‘manis’.
- Hoisin Sauce : Hoisinsauce is a Chinese variant of soy sauce. It contains soy paste, garlic, sesame oil, vinegar, chili and spices. It differs from other spicy sauces by its red color. It is served with Peking duck.
- Teriyaki : Teriyaki is a special Japanese soy sauce. Additionally, teriyaki sauce contains wine, vinegar, sugar and Asian spices. It is ideal for grilling. Use it to marinate or rub on grilled meat. Owing to the sugar content, the meat caramelizes and turns an attractive color.
- Tamari : Tamari is another type of soy sauce produced by lactic acid fermentation. It is by-product of Miso production. Tamari is milder and usually less salty than normal soy sauce. It contains no wheat.
- Miso : Miso is a brown paste made from soy beans and is very popular in Japan. It is used to prepare miso soup. Miso is dissolved in water and cooked with rice, vegetables and meat.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

SPICES AND TIPS FOR COOKING

GARLIC

Synonyms : Clown’s trade

Forms of use : Bulb, fresh, whole, or in the form of a paste, dried and ground.

Origin : Native to western Asia. It is grown in temperate and subtropical climate.

Aroma : slightly savory, slightly sweetish taste. It smells like sulfur and therefore it is peculiarly penetrating.

Use : Garlic plays a big role in Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. Very dominant in tapas, antipastos or mezzos. It goes well with meat and fish, souffl├ęs, and soup. Its aroma contributes to some salad dressings and dips.

Hidden use : whether mixed into Italian pesto, Asian curry, pasta or Indian spice dishes, many cooks consider garlic an essential ingredient.

Buying/storing : available all year aroung. In spring, young garlic can be eaten whole as a vegetable. If it is stored in a dark, dry place, it will last for several months. Garlic paste, both in a jar and in a tube, should be store in a refrigerator once opened. Garlic powder as well as salt should be firmly closed and stored in a dark place.

Tips for cooking :

You can recognize fresh garlic by its hard white cloves covered with a dry peel. When buying garlic, push carefully on the bulb. Maybe you wonder why some bulbs are rose and others are white. The difference in taste is insignificant. Gourmet cooks usually prefer rose colored garlic. Garlic paste tastes very similar to bulbs. Use salt or powder only if you want to season something quickly.

Before you start peeling and cutting garlic, moisten your hands and the cutting board – they will release their smell faster.

Garlic develops its full aroma only when pressed through garlic press or sliced with a knife. When garlic is roasted in oil or cooked, it loses its piquancy.

HORSERADISH

Synonyms: red cole, cran, cranson, meredic, rabano picante

Form of use : root, fresh, whole and grated, as a paste, dried, as powder or in flakes, ground, in powder or pickled.

Origin : Grows in the steppes of eastern Russia and Ukraine. It is cultivated all over Europe, Asia, and North America.

Aroma : Sharp and acrid. Fresh-grated horse radish fills the eyes with tears.

Use : Essensial spice in Bavarian and Austrian cuisines. Horseradish is added to beef dishes and goes well with hearty stews and soups.

Buying/storing : Horseradish roots should be used fresh immediately after digging. Should remain whole if stored. The white flesh should not be grayish. The root cannot have more than two heads and should weight at least 6 oz. Fresh horseradish is available from Oktaober to March. You can store it in cold cellar or in the refridgerator. You should use bottled horseradish during the rest of the year. Horseradish powder and flakes are rarely available.

Tips for cooking

Horseradish powder and flakes must be mixed with water. The potency of horseradish roots peaks at harvest time in the fall and then gradually decreases. Pay attention to this fact when cooking with fresh horseradish.

CINNAMON

Synonyms : -

Form of use : dried bark, divided into pieces or ground

Origin : Srilanka (Ceylon). It is cultivated in Indonesia, Madagaskar, the Lesser Antilles and Central America as well.

Aroma : Highly aromatic, fine and sweet. However, its taste is sometimes bitter.

Use : It is used in sweet dishes, cakes, chocolate drinks, fruit juice, mulled wine, tea and honey, and is added to rice milk in some countries. In Asian cuisine, it is common to use cinnamon to season meat and fish dishes as well as pilafs and curry. Cola drinks, lemonades, and chewing gums often contain cinnamon oil.

Buying/storing : Cinnamon powder, ground from crushed sticks, is more precious than sticks. Both cinnamon sticks and powder should be stored in airproof containers in a dark, dry place.

Tips for cooking :

Cinnamon is the most important ingredient in gingerbread, which contains coriander, anis, Chinese anis, cloves, orange and lemon peel, cardamom, nutmeg, mace and pimento. Mulled wine spices include cinnamon sticks, Chinese anise, cloves and cardamon

Important warning : cinnamon oil, prepared from bark, can irritate skin. Therefore, mild oil prepared from cinnamon leaves is suitable for baths and massages because of its relaxing and antispasmodic properties. It is a good way to treat gastrointestinal disorders or strained muscles.

you can get more spices and information at SPICES

CHILI SAUCES AND PASTES

AMERICAN CHILI SAUCES

Tabasco

It is a pure and natural product from chili peppers. The peppers pods are ground and mixed with a little salt on harvest day. The mixture is poured into oak casks and aged for 3 years. As it ferments, it develops its full spicy aroma. When the chili pepper mix has rested long enough, unwanted liquid is drained and distilled vinegar is added. Everything is blended continuously for 4 weeks. Then the remaining shucks and seed corns are separated. The red sauce is bottled, packed in cardboard boxes and distributed all over the world. The proportion of ingredients contained in the mix, namely chili peppers, salt and distilled vinegar, is not known because it is a fiercely guarded family secret.


Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce
A sister of the red pepper sauce was invented I 1996. It is milder and is made from aromatic Jalapeno peppers. This sauce is intended for lovers of mildly hot dishes.

Carribean Chili Sauce

There are a number of Carribbean chili sauces, but one thing in common – all of them contain cut chili, onion, vinegar and salt. Depending on the particular chili sauce, the color can be bright red (if it contains tomatoes) or yellow (if it contains tumeric).


ASIAN CHILI SAUCES

Chinese and Korean chili sauces
It is usually very salty and is used as a kind of salt substitute in traditional Asian cuisine. In China, it is common mainly in the Sezchuan and Hunan provinces.


Thai and Malaysian chili sauces
These Asian chili sauces differ from Chinese and Korean varieties because they usually contain a good deal of ginger. Their consistency is thicker that that of other chili sauces.


Sambals
Sambal are pastes rather than sauces. They are made from chili peppers. You can still spot little pieces of the pods in the product. They originated in Indonesian cuisine, but are now a fixture in the cuisines of many other Asian Countries. They come in various flavors. Sambal Ulek, sometimes called oelek, is the best-known chili paste. It is extremely hot and should be added to dishes only in very small quantities. Sambal manis is a sweet and rather mild paste. It is a mix of chili and shrimp, enhanced with Kaffir lime leaves, Kemer (pistachio) nuts, brown sugar and oil. Most sambals are soft at room temperature, but some are solid and sold in blocks. The most popular one is sambal kacang, which includes ground peanuts. It must be diluted with hot water before use.


AFRICAN CHILI PASTE

Harrissa

This chili paste is from North Africa. It is extremely hot and is produced from dried or fresh chili. Harrissa also contains garlic, salt, cumin, coriander and mint. Milder versions contain tomato as well. It is used in Arab cuisine to season soups and stews and to color mayonnaise and rice. Lamb, chicken and fish are marinated in it before grilling. This hot paste is served with couscous in North Africa.


IMPORTANT WARNING :
If your fingers come in touch with hot sauce or sambal, wash your hands well and be careful not to rub your eyes. The capsaicin contained in chili peppers is very aggressive and extremely hot.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

VEGETABLES TIPS

HOW TO PICK GOOD VEGETABLES :

ASPARAGUS
Available sporadically all year; peak March to June. Look for firm, straight spears with closed, tightly budded, compact tips. The stalk should be crisp, not wilted. Buy spears of uniform size to ensure even cooking. Avoid woody, dry stems. To help retain moisture, stand cut ends in an inch of water or wrap ends in a moist paper towel or cloth; place in a plastic bag, making sure tips stay dry. Refrigerate up to 5 days.

BROCCOLI
Available all year; peak October to April. Look for tightly closed, compact, dark green to purplish-green flowerets on tender, firm stalks. Avoid those with yellow flowers, wilted leaves or thick, tough stems. Refrigerate in a plastic bag up to 4 days.


BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Available October to March. Look for tight, vivid green heads with unblemished, compact leaves. Avoid those who loose leaves and any signs of yellowing. Refrigerate in a plastic bag up to 5 days. Use as soon as possible since flavor gets stronger with age.

CARROTS
Available all year. Look for firm, smooth, well-shaped carrots with a deep orange color. Avoid those that are flabby, soft, cracked, shriveled or show signs of mold. If leaves are attached, they should look fresh. To store, cut off leaves and refrigerate in a plastic bag up to 2 weeks. Apples produce a gas that cause a bitter flavor in carrots; therefore, store separately. Wilted carrots still have flavor and vitamin A, which makes them good for soup, stews, stocks and purees.
CORN
Available May to September. Look for fresh, moist, green husks, cob should be well filled with bright, plump, milky kernels that pop easily when pressed with a fingernail. Kernels should be tightly packed together in even rows. Refrigerate immediately in husks; if shucked, store in plastic bags up to 2 days. Use as soon as possible since the sugar in a corn begins to turn to starch as soon as it is picked.

EGGPLANTS
Available all year; peak August and September. Look for firm eggplants with smooth skin and a uniform color. Avoid those that are soft, shriveled or have cuts or scars. Usually, the smaller the eggplant is the sweeter and more tender it is. Eggplants bruise easily. Handle gently and store at room temperature up to 2 days. Or refrigerate in a plastic bag up to 4 days. Use as soon as possible since eggplant become bitter with age.

MUSHROOMS
Available all year for most fresh and dried varieties; some exotics peak in fall or spring. Look for firm, fleshy mushrooms with no discoloration or bruised. Avoid limp or dehydrated specimens; button mushroom should not have gills showing. Refrigerate, unwashed, in a paper bag, ventilated package or plastic bag punched with holes up to 5 days. If damp, wrap mushrooms in paper towels before storing. Use as soon as possible for the best flavor.
you can get more information about vegetables and tips at Pick Vegetables

Friday, January 4, 2008

HOW TO FILLET A FISH

A sharp knife is essential to make this process work. While most of us buy our fish already filleted, there will no doubt be proud fisherfolk out there keen to fillet their own catches. Here by the steps :



1. Insert the knife on a diagonal at the end of the gill plate (where the scales end). Hold the head of the fish firmly and work by feel until you hit the mid or centre bone.

2. Turn the knife around, without the tip of it going past the centre line. Cut along until about halfway down the fish, letting the backbone be your guide.

3. Once past the rib cage, slide the knife across under the flesh, and keep going until the knife pops out right down at the tail.

4. Turn the knife back towards to the head of the fish, letting it rest on the rib cage, and work back up to where you originally started.

5. To remove the skin from the fillet, turn it skin-side down on a board. Push the knife along the skin, wiggling a little as you go.

6. Remove the pin bones, which you can feel with your fingers, from the thick end of the fillet by making a V-shaped cut as shown. Then turn the fish over and fillet the other
side.