Use a Wok to Make Soup (and Other Non-Stir Fried Foods)

Have you ever used your wok to boil pasta? Chef Ming Tsai, author of Simply Ming One-Pot Meals, says you should try it.

Source: From stir-frying to making soup, 6 ways to use a wok

Q: Will a wok fit in the dishwasher?

A: Don’t wash the wok, nor anything cast-iron for that matter.

Quick rinse in hot water (even water heated in the wok on the stove!) and a stiff brushing is all they should ever get, ever. Woks and cast-iron skillets will be almost nonstick due to this treatment.

Brine Shrimp Before Cooking to Keep Them Firm and Juicy

…perfectly cooked shrimp are another thing entirely. They’re sweet and juicy, with a tender, plump body and a slightly crisp bite. So wouldn’t it be nice if there was a foolproof way to guarantee excellent shrimp every single time?

Oh wait, there is.

Source: Easy Techniques to Improve Any Shrimp Recipe

Be aware that “brine” is a noun and a verb.

Avoid Slimy Okra by Boiling Before You Chop

Okra’s inherent stickiness is great for gumbo, but less-than-appetizing just about everywhere else.

Source: No Slime Time

Fried is awesome, but the best way I’ve found to cook it is on the grill (or stir fry). Wash them, then add a little olive oil, some salt & pepper in a bowl, coat the okra with it & stick it on the grill. Leave it on just long enough to singe the hair (which is about the time the okra gets soft—between 5 – 10 minutes), then take it off & eat it. For even more added goodness, throw some cherry tomatoes in the same mix, then grill them too. But be careful, while the tomatoes also taste amazing, they are full of molten lava for a while.

In case you’re wondering, okra is high in vitamin K.  Salted or unsalted:

  • 1 ounce/28 grams of okra contains 11.2 mcg of vitamin K – 14% Daily Value (DV)
  • 0.5 cup/80 grams of okra contains 32 mcg of vitamin K – 40% DV

Five Useful Cooking Techniques No One Teaches You

Most of us learn to cook through trial and error, the Food Network, or being forced to feed ourselves when no one else will do it. So naturally, no one’s born knowing how to sauté chicken, or blanch vegetables. Here are some basic (but useful) cooking techniques chefs use every day, but the rest of us rarely pick up.

Source: Five Useful Cooking Techniques No One Teaches You

#6: Sous vide 101.  How much did you know already?  Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” is a good show – last I heard, most was available on Netflix.

Freeze Tofu for a Firmer, Chewier Texture

One easy step will remedy most of your tofu-related tribulations: As soon as you get home from the grocery store, drain your tofu and stick it in the freezer. (You can slice the tofu before freezing if you want it to thaw faster.) Freezing changes the texture of tofu drastically and almost magically: When ice crystals form, they create small holes in the tofu, making it far spongier, firmer, and chewier than it was before. No amount of draining, patting dry, or pressing tofu can minimize sogginess as much as freezing does.

Source: You’re Doing It Wrong: Tofu

This doesn’t quite work with the creamy Japanese style tofu in the shelf-stable packaging; it has to be the water packaged, coarser tofu. once you’ve thawed out frozen tofu, you can squeeze more water out of it without losing its structure. you can take coarsely chopped pieces of this transformed tofu and pulse it in a food processor for a great “crumble” similar to the texture of cooked ground meat, and in this state it absorbs flavor like a sponge.

I’ve seen recipes that recommend this method for kabobs. I used it in a stir fry recipe, and you can pretty much use it in any tofu meal in which you’re going for a drier, firmer texture.