Archive for the ‘Cooking Tips’ Category
From my friend, Carol Smith, who knows:
Before you can cook a recipe that uses pasta as the base, you need to be able to cook the pasta properly. If not prepared properly, your final dish won’t be as successful.
1 pound spaghetti noodles
5-6 quarts of cold water (about 1 quart per 4 ounces of dry pasta)
1. Place the water in a large pot. Remember this is going to boil and you dont want it to boil over. Also, pasta should have room to move around while boiling. This helps prevent sticking.
2. Bring water to a rapid boil (bubbles rising rapidly to top of water.)
3. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt per pound of pasta. This does not increase the sodium level but helps to prevent sticking. Salted water is slower to heat than unsalted so be sure to put it in right before the spaghetti.
4. Add the pasta all at one time. Return the water back to a boil as quickly as possible. Stir the pasta gently so the pasta doesn’t stick together. Continue to stir occasionally for the first couple of minutes.
5. When pasta is “al dente” (to the tooth – food that has a slight resistance, chewy not soft, overdone, or hard in the center), removve from heat and drain thoroughly.
6. Rinse with water only if making pasta salad or a cold noodle dish. The other types of of pasta need to be somewhat sticky so that the sauce will stick to the noodle.
Puff pastry comes packaged as long sheets of layered pastry and you can find it in the refrigerator section of your grocery store. Don’t be afraid, it’s really very easy to work with and you can make some really cool recipes with it!
Puff pastry tips -
* Work with one sheet at a time and keep the rest in the fridge.
* Try to handle it as little as possible as you want it to ”lift” and look light and flakey after it’s baked.
* If it gets soft before you’re done working with it, put it back in the fridge for a bit.
* Cut it with a pizza cutter or cookie cutters.
* To add a glaze, beat 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water together. Brush on lightly.
There are all sorts of delicious things you can make with puff pastry -
* Cut out big squares and scoop some canned pie filling into the middle. Bring up the four corners to the middle and pinch them together. Glaze with your egg yolk mixture and sprinkle a little sugar over the top.
* Mini pizzas – cut the pastry into any shape you want and top with your favorite pizza toppings.
* Use funny cookie cutter shapes to cut the pastry. Glaze lightly, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
* Make a pie that doesn’t need a pie shell – just use a cookie sheet. Lay down one sheet of pastry and add canned stew or chili (not too much of the liquid though). Top with another sheet, glaze the edges and pinch all edges together.
There are tons of ways to use the puff pastry, just use your imagination! If you get stuck, there are websites totally dedicated to puff pastry recipes that you can take a look at.