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Cooking Tips

What is the easiest way to roast peppers?

There are a number of ways to roast peppers; all are easy. I have used roasted red peppers in all of my books and here are the instructions include to help readers make them: If you have a gas stove, turn on one burner to a low flame for every four peppers you want…

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What is Farro and how do you cook it?

I’ve been getting questions about farro ever since we cooked it in Season 2, Episode 211. This delicious, nutty, crunchy grain is now appearing on restaurant menus all over the country and is finally pretty easy to find in supermarkets as well. Farro can be any of three ancient species…

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Here are some tips from my discussion with Florence Fabricant and Francine Segan at the 92 street Y last week.

When I was on a panel discussion with Florence Fabricant and Francine Segan at the 92 street Y last week, I learned a few new tips. We discussed dining out and dining in and I brought some of my favorite small kitchen tools for show and tell, including a giant…

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What is the best way to melt chocolate?

One of the most frequent questions that come in to the Kitchen Shrink is, “How can I melt chocolate without the risk of it scorching or suddenly getting firm.” Chocolate is very sensitive to heat and it is best to melt it slowly. I like to melt it in the…

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When frying breaded chicken, how do you keep the coating on the meat?

The Kitchenshrink recently got an e-mail from Sandi who asked for help making fried chicken. She said,”the crust either separates from the chicken or comes off in the pan.” Although she used the traditional three ingredient coating method, there are a few changes in technique that may help. First of all…

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Onions and Garlic: What does a medium onion or a medium garlic clove measure when chopped?

Linda recently e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink to ask, “when a recipe calls for a medium onion, chopped, or a clove of garlic, chopped, what do they measure in standard measuring cups and spoons?” What a good question! Not everyone’s idea of medium is the same. When I wrote my second…

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Rice: How do you cook rice?

I just got an e-mail from Brent asking, “How long do you cook rice?” I thought I would just send him a link to my recipe for cooking rice and discovered that although I recommend serving my Simple Boiled Rice with several entrees, the recipe wasn’t up on the site.…

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Shallots and Onions: Can they be interchanged?

Recently Patricia asked the Kitchen Shrink, “what is the difference in shallots or onions , etc. can they be interchanged?” There are many varieties of both shallots and onions within the species Allium cepa. They vary in appearance in that shallots grow in clusters attached at the bottom and each…

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Cranberry Sauce: How do you make homemade cranberry sauce?

I recently got an e-mail from Greg who said that he had recently had homemade fresh cranberry sauce at a holiday dinner and loved it. He added that he hadn’t known that it was something you could make at home and wondered how to do it. Homemade cranberry sauce is…

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Buttermilk: Can you freeze buttermilk?

Gloria recently e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink to ask if she could freeze leftover buttermilk, thaw and use some, and refreeze the remainder. While buttermilk producers suggest that you not freeze buttermilk for best flavor and texture, when wasting it is the only other option, I suggest that you go ahead…

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Wedding Cakes: Tips for making a wedding cake from a favorite recipe.

I recently got an e-mail from Joan saying, “Our family loves your gingerbread recipe. In fact, my daughter is getting married and I will be making your recipe as their cake.  There will be 150 people.  Any tips for making this quantity?” When I make this recipe for a crowd,…

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Chicken Soup: How can I get more flavor in my chicken soup?

I recently got an e-mail from David who said “I am making chicken soup for my picky eaters, and . . . . the soup has little chicken flavor and no yellow color. . . . how can I get more chicken flavor and a pleasing yellow color in my…

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Cookie Dough: Are all cookie doughs freezer friendly?

Liisa recently e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink to ask “are all cookie doughs freezer friendly?” What a good question. It is so convenient to have already prepared cookie dough in the freezer so you can have freshly baked cookies on the table at a moment’s notice. All butter cookie doughs freeze…

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Celery Root or Celeriac: What is celery root?

I just got an e-mail from Ron asking me what celery root is and how to prepare it. I love to use celery root, either cooked or raw and have used it in all my books. Here is what I said about it in my latest book, Sara Moulton’s Everyday…

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Chicken: How do you keep poached chicken moist?

One of the most frequent requests e-mailed to the Kitchen Shrink is, “Where can I find your method for poaching chicken breasts so they will be moist?”  I have been asked for that technique so often that I put it right up front in the “Head Starts” chapter of Sara…

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Chicken: How to remove the tendon from chicken breast tenderloin

I recently got an e-mail from Ruth saying, “Years ago I saw one of your TV shows and you were talking about a trick to get rid of that hard little “nub” on the end of a chicken tenderloin; well my mothering duties called and I never heard about it…

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Frosting: Why soda in caramel frosting?

I recently got an e-mail from Dean asking why some recipes for cooked Caramel Frosting (the kind without confectioners’ sugar, also called Caramel Fudge Frosting) call for baking soda and some don’t and wondering, “What is the reason for using baking soda and what is the difference in the outcome…

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Biscuits: How can you make your own biscuit mix?

Sharon e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink to find out how to make homemade biscuit mix. You will find a number of recipes on line for a homemade substitute for commercial biscuit mix but you can actually just use your favorite biscuit recipe, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in…

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Brussels Sprouts: What is the best way to cook Brussels Sprouts?

Theresa e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink that the Brussels sprouts in the market look especially good this year but she doesn’t know how to cook them so that her family will like them. Too many people have memories of Brussels sprouts that have been boiled until they are gray. There are…

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Cheese: Fresh or processed mozzarella?

I recently got a question from Frank who wanted to make fried mozzarella cubes that are light, smooth, and stretchy “like eating a toasted marshmallow” rather than heavy and chewy. I told him that the secret is in the mozzarella and he may have to try several kinds before he…

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High altitude baking: What can I do to bake successfully in high altitude?

I recently got an e-mail from Nancy asking, “Why are my cookies always flat?” It turns out that she lives in Calgary and the increased altitude is affecting her baking. Fortunately there is lots of help these days. A recent book by renowned baker, Susan G. Purdy, is devoted to…

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Artichokes: How do you cook artichokes?

Fred recently e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink to ask , “How do you cook artichokes?” I have been asked that so frequently that I included my favorite way in Sara Moulton Cooks at Home. I always steam whole artichokes rather than boil them. They lose some flavor and get watery when…

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Herbs: Substituting fresh for dried herbs

Callie e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink to ask, “I am growing my own herbs this Spring and want to use them in all my recipes! However, most recipes call for dried herbs. Is the measurement of dried herbs the same for fresh herbs or should I uses less since the herb…

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Caramel: Is there an easy, fool-proof way to make caramel?

Norma recently e-mailed the KitchenShrink to ask, “Is there an easy fool-proof way to make caramel?”  I had been asked this question so often over the years that I included my favorite way to make caramel in Sara Moulton Cooks at Home. You can find it on page 54 and…

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