The secret to transforming your favorite soft cheese into a salad dressing is your blender. You can use a regular blender, a fancy high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, or a handheld immersion blender. All three get the job done, so the choice is yours.
Reducing a sauce or any other liquid seems like such a matter-of-fact, unambiguous step in a recipe. But I admit that I often feel a knot of anxiety grow larger the longer I hover over the pan of simmering, steaming liquid. Does it look like a cup now? Is that about half? Should I keep going?
Today, let’s relieve some anxieties. Here are some things you should know about reducing sauces, soups, and other liquids, and three ways to tell when they are ready.
Egg-based sauces, like hollandaise, are ones that everyone should know how to make. Next time you have one you want to add to a hot dish (like pasta), take the pan off the heat or else you’ll end up with a clumpy, scrambled mess.
When you cook meat or fish, you should never reuse “raw” marinade. With tofu, though, the marinade doesn’t have the same health risks. Re-add the marinade to your tofu dish at the end of cooking for more of the recipe’s flavor.
You should not store a marinade that’s been used for raw meat. If you use a raw-meat marinade in a sauce, you should cook it (and anything that touches it) immediately, and thoroughly.
If you are cooking the marinade in the sauce, it is no longer “raw” – this can be reused.
Weight loss isn’t easy (if it were, we wouldn’t have a billion different diet plans and products to waste our money on). But even the smallest weight loss tricks or mind hacks can make a big difference when it comes to sticking to your diet or weight loss plan. Here are 10 such tricks you can easily incorporate today.
Like ketchup, you can see that the dose can ramp up quickly if you aren’t careful about the volume you eat. Be aware that BBQ sauce does have vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, riboflavin, naicin, folate… However it is high in sodium and sugar.
Sodium citrate may sound unfamiliar and possibly suspect, but it’s basically just a form of salt that works as an emulsifier. More plainly stated, it’s an agent that reduces the cheese’s acidity, makes the proteins in the cheese more soluble, and prevents it from separating into a greasy mess; instead creating a smooth, creamy texture that will never “break.” You probably won’t find it at a normal grocery store, but it’s available in specialty food stores and online. It looks like salt and tastes slightly sour (and of course salty), and you’ve probably tasted it before in club soda. Just the tiniest sprinkle of it will transform an entire block of cheese into a submissive puddle of its former self, so there’s little need to be concerned that it’ll increase the sodium level of your cheese sauce. (And if you’re that concerned about your sodium intake, you’re unlikely to eat a heaping plate full of delicious nachos anyway.)
A Mornay sauce is a classic French cheese sauce based on Bechamel. The butter (emulsifier) and flour (binding agent) react with the cheese in order to work within a certain range of temperature to get that creamy goodness. It is a great sauce but even under the most watchful eye, it can “break” (meaning when the oil separates) – rendering the sauce useless.
Cheeses have different melting temperatures, and overheating cheese leads to the “breaking”. So the key is to heat cheese to its melting point, without going too far. To make a sauce out of a cheese that is difficult to work with (harder cheeses, like Parmesan or Romano)? Add a little sodium citrate (E331) and a little liquid (water, beer if you want to add flavour) chemically emulsifies the cheese into a sauce that does not break. It’s a foolproof way to nail cheese sauce, without resorting to Cheeze Whiz/etc.
You have a robotic cooking machine, and you may not even know it. Dust off your bread machine, or go buy a bread maker from the second hand shop for a few dollars. They can be used for a lot more than just bread. Main courses, desserts, appetizers and drinks can all be made with this versatile, under-utilized machine.
You can use a bread machine for so much more than the obvious stuff: bread or pizza dough. Pretty much anything you need to stir and heat is fair game. My favorite idea is using it for soup (just toss in the ingredients and go), but hit up the site for suggestions on casseroles, sauces, breakfast, and snacks.
Dinner nirvana is what happens when you walk in the door, all tired from work, and just a few minutes later you’re snuggled up at the dinner table with a hot, saucy plate of pasta and a glass of red wine. With a little foresight and the help of your freezer, this weeknight heaven can be enjoyed any time you like.
All it takes is a double batch of pasta sauce, next time you cook one up. Eat half now and freeze the other half for later. Here are 10 recipes for delicious, freezable pasta sauces to help you achieve this weeknight heaven in a bowl.