Archive for the ‘Tuesday’s Tip’ Category

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Blooming Spices

Boost up the flavors of your spices by ‘blooming’ them first to help them release their maximum flavor!

When using spices we often just add them in at the end of a dish or right at the beginning. While both methods will give you spice flavor you’re probably not realizing that by not blooming them first, you’re not helping them reach their maximum spice level. You see the key to great success in any dish with spices (albeit hot or just flavorful) is about timing. Granted you’ll get more flavor out of a dish if you add the spices when you first start cooking it like you would with chili rather than adding everything at the end. But timing is just half of the key; the other half is blooming the spices.

Okay, okay, okay ‘explain what blooming is Lori!’. I hear you guys loud and clear.

When I thinking ‘blooming I think of a Bloomin’ onion! lol

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Getting rid of air bubbles in cake batter

You make the perfect cake batter. It tastes like pure heaven. You bake it and when you turn it out you find that it’s full of air holes and pockets. Find out today how to stop this from happening!

I was asked over the weekend “How do get your cakes to not have those funky hole-y type textures and holes all through out it?”. It was from that discussion that I found that they really didn’t understand some cake baking simple concepts – room temperature ingredients, creaming butters, sifting dry ingredients, prepping the cake pans to air pockets in the batters.  Stuff that, honestly, I tend to take for granted as I’ve been baking for decades that I just assumed people knew the basics. Shame on me. So today, let’s cover one of the basics – air bubbles in your batter.

The type of flour you use is important. When I make cakes most of the time I use cake flour as it doesn’t have as high of a protein count as AP flour. The higher the protein, the more gluten. Like you would never use bread or pizza flour to make a cake. Well you could if you wanted a chewy cake. But even if you use cake flour, if you over mix it you can cause gluten to form. Thus leading to holes in your cakes.

Just bang the pan!

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Freezing Avocados

When avocados are in season, they are pretty cheap but when they are out of season the price is ridiculous. Find out today how to freeze them for later use!

Living in Pittsburgh we really don’t have an avocado season as they aren’t grown here but in the warmer months they tend to be less expensive in the stores. Typically I can buy a bag of 6 large ones for $5. But now, in late October you’re lucky if you can get away with not spending $2 each! It’s ridiculous to say the least!  What I found out is that you can actually freeze avocados! Genius, right?! It’s pretty simple to say the least but there is a catch. So avocados are soft and one of those veggies that turn brownish when air hits it. This happens as result of exposure to oxygen in the air, as well as the presence of phenolic compounds in the avocado itself. It’s the same principle as why apples brown. When you freeze them they don’t really brown but the texture is altered slightly.

When you freeze an avocado, slices or halves, and then thaw it out to use, the texture becomes even more softer. What this means is that you really can’t use it as slices on a sandwich or for presentation. It still tastes perfectly amazing but because it gets really soft, it’s best used for items like guac or chopped up in salads. But again, it’s not a big deal as they taste amazing still.

Freezing avocados are definitely a great way to have delicious avocados all year round!

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Difference between dark and light baking pans

You’re about to bake a cake and the instructions give 2 different times depending on the type of pan you use. Find out today the difference between light and dark baking pans.

At some point in all of our lives we’ve bought a boxed baking mix and somewhere in the directions it said “dark coated pans bake 25 minutes at 325 F and light coated pans bake 30 minutes at 350F” or similar. But do you know why this is the case? And do you know that there actually is a difference on when you should use each type?  Well today I’m sharing you the skinny on all of this stuff.

The differences:

Dark Pans – Pretty simple really, dark pans are made out of dark materials; think cast iron for example. Because they are dark they tend to absorb and retain the heat. But the downfall of these items is that they take longer to heat up.

Get your Pan 101 knowledge on!

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Difference between yeasts

On today’s Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer find out the difference between Active Dry yeast and Instant Rapid-Rise yeast when it comes to bread and dough. Does it make a difference?  Find out today!

So when I first started this blog I was kind of shocked that many had a fear of making bread or doughs; like it didn’t make sense. I thought “didn’t everyone grow up making homemade bread like I did?” but I was mistaken (my apologies). I totally understand that fear as while making dough is only a few simple ingredients – flour, water, salt, yeast, the process itself can be intimidating. But even before that the type of flour and yeast makes a difference. If you want a chewier type bread, that has pull/tug when you bite it – you use bread flour. When you want a softer type bread with not as much chew, you use all purpose. That’s the easy part.

But what about yeast? When you go to the store you have a few options: Active Dry, Instant/Rapid-Rise and Cake yeast (we won’t get into that as not many use the cake yeast that much or only in certain applications). I, personally, use cake yeast but it’s in certain types of pizza doughs or nut rolls.  But today let’s just dish about active dry and instant yeast.

Are they interchangeable? Does it really matter?

Well…sort of.

To keep your yeast fresher longer, store it in the fridge or freezer!

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