Whether it’s sharing what we’ve learned, what you should have at-the-ready in your pantry or what to do if you’re out of buttermilk, we’ll do our best to give you ideas and ways to make cooking less stressful.
Buttermilk is great to have on hand for baking. It is actually good past the “sell by” date. If you don’t have any on hand you can make a easy substitute. For each cup of buttermilk needed, take one cup of regular milk and add either 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir to mix well and let rest for five minutes.
Toast nuts before adding to a recipe. Simplest way is to spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet, place in a preheated 350 degree oven for eight minutes. If you begin to smell their fragrance check them. Once they start to brown they can burn quickly. You’ll be amazed at the difference in their flavor.
To add volume to pancakes or waffles, separate the eggs, add the yolks to the batter with the other wet ingredients. Then beat the egg whites until stiff but still glossy. Gently fold the egg whites into the pancake batter then cook per recipe directions.
Check the dates on baking powder and baking soda. If you don’t use them frequently and go out of date, they will lose their effectiveness and provide less-than-stellar results.
Oils, especially nut-based oils, can turn rancid and translate to your food. Smell them – you’ll know right away if they’ve gone bad.
Don’t throw out overripe bananas. Instead, peel them and place them in a plastic storage bag, then freeze. They’re great for banana bread, smoothies, etc. and will give you more sweetness and “banana” flavor than those that are less ripe.
When cooking dry beans or legumes, wait to add salt once they become tender. Adding salt too soon will prevent them from ever softening at all.
Be careful not to over mix quick bread, muffin, pancake or waffle batter, which can make them tough.
When it comes to pancakes and waffle batters, once the ingredients are combined, step away from the bowl – a few lumps are fine. Then let the batter rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before cooking for better volume.
Ice cream scoops are perfect tools for scooping out batter whether you’re filling muffin tins, loaf pans or measuring out pancake batter. They come in three sizes, all are great to have on hand.