Cleaning A Pizza Stone

Cleaning A Pizza Stone

Last night my husband, being the great cook that he is, baked a pizza on a pizza stone that we have.  We’ve had this stone for a while, but I have to admit that I’ve never been sure of the best way of cleaning a pizza stone.  Now that I am faced with having to clean ours, I decided to look up the proper method for cleaning a baking stone. After watching the above video, I realize I’ve been cleaning my stone incorrectly.  To properly clean your own baking stone, you will need the following items: Wooden spatula Soft nylon brush Hot water First, don’t wait for your stone to cool down (this is an error I’ve been making).  Use the wooden spatula to scrape any excess food off the stone while it is still warm.  The scraped off food will reveal darker colors in the stone.  Don’t worry about this.  The stains won’t be removed, and are completely normal. Next, turn on the hot water and run it over the stone.  Take your nylon brush and use it to scrub the stone while the water is running over it. Do NOT use soap or any type of cleaning product on your stone.  This is important because any cleaning products you use will be absorbed into the stone because it is very porous.  The next time you bake with your stone, it could release the soap or chemicals and your food will taste like soap or cleaners. Rinse your stone, then dry it completely with a dry towel. You can give your stone a good deep clean by placing...
The Best Fire Extinguisher For Your Kitchen

The Best Fire Extinguisher For Your Kitchen

This might seem like a strange post to add to a cooking site, but it actually makes sense.  I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, and I sincerely hope that you do, too. A very good friend of mine actually had a kitchen fire that destroyed her kitchen in a matter of minutes.  Her fire started when she was heating up grease in a pan for cooking.  She stepped away for just a moment, and returned to see flames.  She did not have a fire extinguisher to put it out (luckily, no one was hurt). Finding the right fire extinguisher for your kitchen is not easy. You need an extinguisher you can use for kitchen fires and small household fires, which is easy to use and move around.  You don’t want it too big because you need to fit it out of the way where it is easily accessible. Tests were done on fire extinguishers designed for small home fires.  These were tested in a fire practice area with cement floors and metals walls. Small extinguishers are often more effective and they are easier to handle.  Bear in mind that you only have a short period of time to stop a fire once from when it starts, after that you must call 911 and evacuate the area. Some of the common kitchen fire starters are grease and kitchen towels catching alight.  Being able to grab your extinguisher, read the instructions and get the fire under control within a short period of time is what determines the best fire extinguisher for the home. Some extinguishers that were tested made...
Cut Like a Professional Chef

Cut Like a Professional Chef

You can cut like a professional chef using a knife to slice herbs, dice onions or cut meat.  The best part is that is not at all difficult. Use this new technique to make mince herbs or dice onions in front of friends when cooking, making you look like a pro. There are two main grips when using a knife.  The first is the handle grip where your thumb and forefinger are on the handle of the knife.  The second is the blade grip where the thumb and forefinger hold the top of the blade of the knife; this grip also gives more control over the tip of your blade and is easier if you have large hands. Using your non knife hand is essential to direct your knife when cutting, enabling you to make even slices.  You make this hand into a bear like claw and tuck your thumb behind your fingers and away from the blade. For this example we are going to pretend you are cutting an onion.  Cut the onion in half and then place the flat side down on a chopping board, use your bear like non knife hand to stabilize the onion on the board.  Place the flat side of the blade against your knuckles and push down and forwards, making a perfect even slice. When slicing the whole onion, use the curve of the blade to guide you, as you push the blade down and forwards in a nice fluid motion.  As you slice ensure that you keep the blade of the knife against your knuckles and slowly move your knuckles back...
Cooking Pasta

Cooking Pasta

Cooking pasta is one of the easiest things you can cook, and can be eaten at any family meal or dinner with friends.  Adding exotic herbs and spices to your sauce can give a wild taste of flavors from hot chilli to traditional bolognaise whichever suits your fancy pasta always goes down a treat. If you are cooking for four to six people you will need at least a six quart sized pot, if not bigger.  Add four quarts of water to avoid the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When your delicious sauce is almost ready, bring your water to the boil.  Add your pasta along with a tablespoon of salt to add some taste.  Pasta is very bland in taste so a little salt will add that zap of flavor. Stir immediately after putting in your pasta to prevent it from sticking to the pot.  Now here is the interesting part, adding oil to your pasta water is a normal to prevent it from sticking, but did you know that oil prevents the sauce from adhering to the pasta? So whatever you do, do not add oil to your pot. Cover the pot until it is boiling again and keep stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Check it regularly for texture.  Most people prefer their pasta al dente, which means it still has a little bit of a bite to it. Once your pasta is cooked al dente, take a little bit of pasta water out of the pot and put it into a separate jug.  Pour your al dente pasta into a colander and...
Salt Storage

Salt Storage

One of the things I do is buy food in bulk.  Yep, I love Sam’s Club!  But, this also causes problems with how to properly store excess amounts of food.  Some time ago I bought a large box of salt, but did not know about proper salt storage. Now, so much time later, I have a box of salt that has clumped together an no longer wants to pour out of the box.  When I went to use my salt last week, and it didn’t pour out, I realized it was time for me to figure out the best way to store large amounts of salt. What I learned was actually basic, common sense.  Some of you are probably going to roll your eyes at what I found, and wonder why it took me so long to figure this out.  Yep, it’s that simple. To put it bluntly, salt should be stored in an airtight container.  That’s it. The reason why makes sense, now that I have researched this matter.  Salt is a mineral that is water soluble.  Moisture in the air will cause salt to stick together.  I live in a very humid climate, which is why my salt turned into a rock and stopped pouring.  The container that the salt came in is nothing more than a cardboard box.  It has the little mettle pour spout that pulls out for use, and pushes in when done.  This is certainly not airtight. Another thing I learned has to do with salt that has been seasoned with herbs.  Exposure to air will cause the herbs to diminish in flavor,...
When Should I Cover The Pot?

When Should I Cover The Pot?

Since I am a struggling cook, there are many things I do not know.  One of those things is, when should I cover the pot with a lid?  I hate to admit this, but I’m not even sure why I would want to do that, let alone when. I’ve done a bit of research on this topic, and I found out that there are times when I should, and times when I shouldn’t, use the lid on my pots.  The use of a lid seems to depend on what is being cooked, and how long it is being cooked. For example, if I am steaming green vegetables, and they will be steamed for more than five minutes, then I should not use the lid.  Why?  Because the green veggies will release volatile acids that need to be released into the air.  Using a lid traps the acids in with the veggies, and this causes the veggies to turn grey (yuck!). If I am boiling water to cook pasta, which requires a large amount of water, a lid is good to use at first.  This will help retain the heat and cause the water to boil quicker.  But, I need to remove it once the water starts to boil and I add the pasta. Also, if a recipe calls for using a lid, use it.  If not, ditch the lid.  Using a lid when one isn’t called for can cause excess moisture to collect inside the pot or pan.  This can result in soggy food, or meat that hasn’t browned properly, or gotten crispy. So, now I have a much...

Pin It on Pinterest