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.

Freeze Whole Tomatoes Now to Preserve Their Flavor for Winter Sauces

Got tomatoes? Want to save them for winter sauces and stews — but without the hassle of canning? If you have the freezer space, preserve tomatoes with literally no work: Just freeze ’em!

Source: The Easiest Way to Preserve Tomatoes: Freeze Them!

I don’t have the freezer space 😦

You Will Never Love Ketchup as Much as This Woman

While most of us like a splosh of the red stuff with our chips, one ketchup obsessive is planning to drown her Christmas dinner in tomato sauce.

Samantha Archer, from Harrow, London, has been obsessed with ketchup since she was five years old, and gets through more than a whopping 36 litres of the condiment a year.

Ms Archer’s two-bottle-a-week habit sees her consuming 700 g every fortnight, spending more than £200 a year on various brands.

Source: Is this Britain’s biggest ketchup fan?

I think I just threw up a little…  Put ketchup anywhere near my steak, and know that no jury would convict me 😉

This for That: Cooking & Baking Substitutes

Direct link to infographic.

Some stuff seems OK – it breaks out the component ingredients for things that are frequently bought as a combination, like poultry seasoning. The rest, though? They are not even close and would produce an entirely different thing in a lot of cases.  But then, that’s typically the challenge when trying to “veganize” and/or make a recipe gluten free for example.

…or you could just buy the actual ingredients 😉