Faster Oven Cooked Foods:

How can restaurants cook their orders as fast as they do, compared to how long it takes you to cook the same items at home. The answer is actually very simple, and that is the beginning temperature of the items to be cooked. It is the fault of the way home cooks are taught and the fact that most of the cookbooks of today have been abridged and some very important information has been left out. How many times have you put a roast for example in the oven at the correct temperature, cooked it for the correct amount of time, and it wasn’t cooked. The reason for that is the recipes assumed that your item was at or near room temperature when you put it into the oven. Restaurants are aware of this and take the beginning temperature into account, and whenever possible (and safe) they have their items at or near room temperature.

Preparing Carrots & Potatoes for Cooking:

What you are about to read is going to seem like pure heresy, is completely antithetical to everything that you have read or learned. Before you begin to prepare your carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, or potatoes for cooking, there is one very important thing that you MUST ABSOLUTELY DO! No ifs, and or buts. You need to throw out any stiff-bristled vegetable brush that you have in your kitchen. Those things are absolutely dangerous and unhealthy. If you use one of those things to clean your root vegetables all you are doing is introducing bacteria and other pathogens into the interior of your vegetables. What, you have got to be kidding me. I wish I was; however, the simple fact is those bristles break the skin and inject any and all of the nasty critters on the surface of your root vegetables into the interior. However, a lot of the information that is still available, recommends using a brush. The problem with that is that unless you sterilize your brushes before every use, you are doing more harm than good. Kitchen brushes just like sponges are breeding grounds for all kinds of nasty critters. Use a clean/sterilized soft-bristled brush to brush away any soil that is clinging to the outside of your root vegetable, and then rinse under lukewarm water. Turn the vegetable several times until it is clean, and then let drain to dry. You can softly use your hand to wipe away anything on the outside, softly is the key. Using Hot water can open the pores in the skin and allow them nasty critters access to the inside of your root vegetable.

To Peel Or Not To Peel?

Again, what you are about to read may be highly heretical to the majority of you. My answer to the above question is not only NO but ‘Heck’ NO! Why do I say that, very simply, a large amount of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber (fibre) of root vegetables like Parsnips, Carrots, Potatoes, etc. Are contained in the skin of those vegetables, by peeling those vegetables. By peeling them you waste a lot of the important nutrients. Most of the root vegetables thee skins are completely edible and flavourful, however, there are some exceptions to that rule. The skin of Rutabagas may be a bit too bitter for some folks, however, once cooked it peels away very easily.

How to Cut Vegetables to Cook Faster:

You have probably asked yourself over, and over how Asian Restaurants can cook their carrots, celery, and peppers so fast? Do they cheat, not exactly they just use centuries of knowledge and a little science? Many of you may know that cutting carrots diagonally helps them cook faster. The reason for that is science, cutting on the diagonal exposes more surface to the cooking medium; more surface exposed, faster cooking. Well, I am here to tell you that you can do even better cut your carrots, potatoes, celery and more on the bias. Huh, how do you do that; simply hold the knife blade at a slight angle while cutting the vegetable. I have personally found that you can cook them even faster by cutting them diagonally, and on the bias at the same time. That exposes a lot more surface to the cooking medium.

Healthy Mashed Potatoes?

Is that even possible? Maybe, well at least healthier ones are, and they are simple to make. Wash the potatoes, and then cut into approximately one-inch cubes; then put into a pot of cold water, or Chicken or Vegetable Stock, with a dash of salt (Sea Salt preferred). Omit the salt if using broth. Cook until the potatoes pierce easily with a fork and begin to crumble. Wait a minute author you missed a step; nope I didn’t. There is no peeling in this recipe. We want to keep those nutrients; we are cooking healthier remember. Some of you may have seen a similar recipe called Dirty Mashed Potatoes, yup these be them. The name is a bit of a misnomer, as it refers to the pieces of skin in the finished product. Once the potatoes are cooked to your preferred doneness level remove the potatoes from the heat and then drain them into a colander or a mesh strainer, over a container large enough to collect all of the cooking liquid. Trust me, it will come in handy. Once drained transfer the potatoes back into the pan or into a glass or ceramic mixing bowl. Now if you want to be old fashioned, or macho then grab your old school potato masher and go to work. Personally, I prefer using a ‘Boat Motor’ aka Hand Blender, or Immersion Blender. Mash the potatoes, until the desired smoothness, to keep with the healthier aspect of this dish; instead of adding butter, 1/2 & 1/2, or Sour Cream, use some of the reserved cooking liquid to help mash/whip the potatoes. You can also use Non-Fat Yoghurt as well.

Clean & Deodorize Your Microwave Without Chemicals:

  1. Remove the glass tray and turntable from the microwave.
  2. Wipe out the interior of the Microwave with a damp cloth.
  3. Replace the turntable and glass tray, wiping tray down before replacing it.
  4. Fill a microwaveable bowl or container level about an inch of space.
    1. Add Lemon or Lime slices to the water.
    2. Oranges work, but not as well, Grapefruit will do the trick as well.
  5. Place bowl into Microwave, close door now Microwave for four to Five Minutes on High.
    1. Just until the water begins to boil.
  6. Leave the door closed for five to ten minutes.
    1. Then with Hot Pads or Ove’ Glove carefully remove the bowl.
    2. Do not empty bowl yet.
  7. Repeat steps One and Two
  8. If clean wipe dry with a clean Dish Towel or Paper Towel.
  9. If not clean repeat steps Five and Six.
  • Clean glass tray in the sink, dry and then replace.

Mom can be reached at mom@storylover.us, for any Tips, Trick, Life Hacks, or Recipes you would like to share.

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