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What makes a good cook?

Practice and great recipes? Imagination and creativity?
Instinct and enthusiasm? All of the above?  Knowledge too..

I hope to collect some great tips,  things no one told you,
ideas we take for granted in our own kitchens.

If you have a great tip to share, please send it in

Anne

Burnt pans - esp Revere Ware
Fill the pan, about half way, with water
Add eough baking soda to cover the bottom of the pan
Boil and simmer for a few hours
Poof, the burn and the soda breaks out of the pan

Diluted soft drinks
Make ice cubes out of your favorite soda. Mark the tray with an X.

Food warmer
When a pan full of food gets done before everything else does, leave it on a low burner
BUT, place an iron skillet under it. 

Knives - don't skimp here! I learned at a very
young age that a good knife is worth it's weight in gold.
DO NOT put them in the dishwasher
DO wash and dry them immediately
DO sharpen them regularly
DO NOT let those who do not appreciate them use them

Matches are gone
Use a stick of spaghetti!

Oil Disposal
At cleanup, add flour to a pan with a large amount of messy oil and stir well.
Scoop out the mess.

Salad Spinners
We all have owned them, and thrown them away.
Get another at a garage sale! 
They are great for drying just cut and washed herbs 
or removing seeds from tomatoes.

Sausage Skins
Remove these easily - slit the skin lengthwise
Run under cold water for 15-20 seconds
Peel the sausage easily

Soup fat
Place a piece of cheesecloth over the soup, allowing it to sink below the surface
while the edges hang over the outside of the pot. 
Refrigerate for a day, and gently pull off the cloth, and all the fat.

Spices
Unless your recipe calls for a particular spice flavour to be strong, putting JUST enough of any spice is best.
You should have a hard time identifying the flavour unless you are my honey who can pick out anything.
If your recipe calls for a teaspoon of a dried herb and you have fresh, double to triple the amount used.

Splashing
Minimize splashing of food, whether it be from one container to another, or left overs down the disposal
by holding a wooden spatula (or other flat, long utensil) at an angle in its path. 
The food slides downt he spatula with no mess.

Stuck cups
Add ice cubes to the top cup, put the bottom cup in hot water. Give it a minute or two and easily separate.

      

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