What to Smell for to Check if Your Oil Is Rancid

“Rancid.” Even the word sounds gross. Or at the very least, like a super-angry punk band. Either way, it’s definitely not how you’d want anyone to describe the food you’re eating. The first step to side-stepping rancidity? Know your enemy.

Source: How to Tell If Your Food Is Rancid (Ew)

Don’t start putting your olive oil in the fridge – it will solidify, and then you can’t use it. Just keep it away from direct heat, keep it sealed, and away from light. As long as you go through it at a reasonable rate, you should be okay.

Deep-Frying Vegetables Can Actually Add Nutritional Value

You’ve probably heard that deep-frying is the absolute worst way to prepare anything ever, but a study published in Food Chemistry has found that it can actually add nutritional value to some vegetables.

Source: Deep-Frying Vegetables Can Actually Add Nutritional Value

Concerned about the amount of heat olive oil can tolerate (~400F)?  Just fry below the smoking point. In Spain, they use pure olive oil for fries instead of extra virgin because you can crank it higher.  When you fry at high temps, food absorbs less oil.  But I have no problem getting my fries nearly confitted with olive oil. Might be a bit soggy, but make them homefries!

Keep Super Sticky Dough from Binding to Your Hands With a Little Oil

…during the holiday season, no matter how vigilant you are about following these commandments, sometimes you still need a little help, some extra assurance, a few aces up your sleeve.

So we gathered 52 of our smartest tips—the tricks and techniques picked up from years of experience and experiments but that don’t necessarily fall under the Great Baking Laws—and put them in one place.

Source: Our 52 Favorite Tips for Smarter Holiday Baking

I had a similar problem with a recipe not too long ago, incredibly sticky. Instead of wasting a ton of dough into the kitchen sink I thought I’d try nitrile gloves, clean hands to do clean stuff and doughy hands to do doughy stuff. Turns out… the dough won’t stick to nitrile gloves!

Infused Oils are a Very Fancy, Very Lazy DIY Gift

Step into any specialty food shop and you’ll encounter shelves of fancy vinegars and flavored oils. While the sleek packaging (such pretty bottles!) and infinite flavor combinations make them tempting purchases, it’s far less expensive to make your own—and almost as easy as plunking down a credit card. Not only do they make excellent host/hostess gifts, we’re seeing them in fine dining settings, too—AL’s Place in San Francisco infuses oil with kuri squash peels and kale stems, and at a recent pop-up dinner in anticipation of his new restaurant, chef Bo Bech served an oil infused with pine needles taken from a tree in the lobby of the NoMad Hotel—that’s right, Christmas tree oil. Here’s how to make your own.

Source: Even Lazy People Can Make This Fancy Edible Gift

Be careful about botulism when you’re using fresh herbs. Use within a week. I believe you can put your fresh herbs in a food dehydrator to remove the water content.

Soak Pasta Instead of Boiling It for Easier Baked Pasta Dishes

Here’s something I’ve always wondered: when baking pasta, as in, say, lasagna or baked ziti, why do you always cook the pasta first? Aren’t you inviting trouble by cooking it once, then proceeding to put it in a casserole and cooking it again? Well, there’s the obvious first part of the answer to this question: pasta needs to absorb water as it cooks—a lot of water, around 80 percent of its own weight when perfectly al dente. So, add raw pasta directly to a baked pasta dish, and it will soften all right—it’ll also suck up all of the moisture from the sauce, leaving it dry or broken.

Source: The Food Lab: For Easier Baked Ziti, Soak, Don’t Boil Your Pasta

I thought the pasta drew moisture from the sauce.  It does… resulting in dry sauce. I’ve always wondered about those pastas marketed as not needing to be boiled first—how are they different from regular pasta or is this just some marketing ploy? Anyway, traditionally recipes recommend boiling the pasta first.

Blotting Pizza with a Napkin Actually Cuts Significant Calories

I’m going to invent a paint-roller type contraption for blotting whole pizzas. Save time by just rolling it back and fourth on the entire pie. 🙂

Benign and universally beloved as it seems, pizza is a food that’s rife with controversy. The New York/Chicago rivalry over whose pizza is “best” will never be resolved, and politicians have been mocked for taking fork and knife to a slice. Perhaps even more contentious than these is the question of pizza-blotting—is it a culinary crime to dab at the grease atop a pizza with a napkin? Either way, there’s some good news for blotters: blotting the oil off the top of pizza does make it measurably healthier.

Source: Blotting Pizza With a Napkin Really Does Cut Down on Calories

I think the optimal time to blot is as soon as the cheese is cooled enough not to stick to the napkin. Clearly more experimentation is needed. Delicious, delicious experimentation.

Remove Odors from Your Entire Home by Simmering Vinegar

Some of our favorite tips in the kitchen are for getting it sparkling clean; these are their stories.

Source: 7 Kitchen Cleaning Tricks That Really Work

The fruit fly one is interesting.  …Not that I have a need for it… 😉

How/why does this work? What does the vinegar do?

Vinegar is about 90% water, and about 5-10% acetic acid.  Most scented molecules contain a functional group like an amine (putrescine, for example, one of the rotting smells), a thiol (ethanethiol, i.e. skunk smell), or other non-carbon molecules. Acetic acid can bind these to form molecules that your nose can not detect, thus eliminating the odor. Even if it’s not forming an actual chemical bond, it can still coordinate (i.e. form hydrogen bonds, which are pretty strong themselves. It’s analogous to dissolving.) thus removing the scented molecules from the air, woodwork, carpet, etc.

Prevent Soggy or Burnt French Toast by Frying in Oil Instead of Butter

A plate of perfect French toast—crispy round the edges, custardy in the center, and capped off with an amber kiss of maple syrup—is a thing of breakfast time beauty. On the other hand, slices that turn out soggy and squishy, charred in some spots and undercooked in others… well, there’s nothing sadder. What could go wrong? We’ve identified five common French toast mistakes and how to fix them.

Source: You’ve Been Making French Toast All Wrong (Here’s How to Do It Right)

To get the best of both worlds – the smoke point of butter is lower, but yields more flavour and colours the food more quickly, often burning.  So heat a little oil, then add some butter…  You get the benefits of more colour and flavour from the butter, and get a slightly higher smoke point than if using just butter which is more likely to avoid burning yet still allowing for crispy non soggy toast. This method works well for many things, particularly fish.

Turn Vegetable Peels Into a Crunchy Snack Instead of Trashing Them

Warning: You may wish you had a time machine after reading this post. Because what you’ll discover is that, for years, you’ve been missing out on a ridiculously tasty treat — baked vegetable peels.

When prepping potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and other root vegetables, it’s common practice to first wash and then remove the outer layer of skin. But the next time you ready these ingredients for a recipe, throw out old habits instead of the scraps. And then set those peels aside to bake into a crunchy, chip-like snack to enjoy between meals or while making the meal.

Source: Why You’ll Never Again Throw Away Vegetable Peels

This doesn’t work for me – I don’t peel vegetables.  I just wash, prepare/cook, and consume.  There’s nutritional value in the outer skin of vegetables, and it’s more effort to peel (besides mess)…

Remedies for Hot Pepper Hands

Has this ever happened to you?  (youtube, 0:52 minutes)

I love spicy food as much as the next person, but working with spicy peppers? Not so fun. There have been many times where I’ve diced up serranos or habaneros for salsa or tiny little Thai chiles for a curry or stir-fry and suffer from stinging, burning fingers when they come in contact with the oils in the chile peppers. And don’t even get me started on the time I accidentally rubbed my eyes!

Here are some easy remedies to soothe those stinging hands after they’ve encountered the effects of chili oil!

Source: The Best Remedies for Hot Pepper Hands