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Kosher Kitchen Secrets and Tips from KosherEye
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Cookie Tips

cookiestack

  1. To discourage overbrowned cookie bottoms (which can happen when an oven heats unevenly), insulate the baking sheet by placing it inside a second baking sheet of the same size. The thin layer of air between the sheets will  protect the top sheet form getting too hot.

  2. To revive crisp cookies that have softened, bake them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Let them cool completely before storing.

  3. To help soft cookies keep their texture, store them in an airtight container with a ceramic brown sugar softener, or with a piece of apple on a piece of aluminum foil, or soft bread (remove the apple after 24 hours).

from Tips Cook Love, Sur La Table, Rick Rodgers, Andrews McMeel Publishing

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Parchment Paper Tip

parchmentbakingpaper

Do you wonder how to make a piece of parchment paper lie flat on the baking sheet? Well, wonder no more!

Parchment paper is often sold in rolls, so when you want to use it, it remains in a curl. When you buy a roll, take a few minutes to cut it into lengths to fit your baking sheets. Put the stack of cut sheets between two baking sheets, then store them together to “iron” the parchment flat. If you have to use curly paper, butter the pan first to help the paper adhere.

from Tips Cooks Love, Rick Rodgers, Sur la Table

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Crème Fraîche

cremefaicheThis thick dairy product resembles sour cream, but its flavor is much less tangy and more buttery. Unlike sour cream, it has the advantage of not curdling when heated. It is available at specialty stores and many supermarkets, but it can be pricey. To make your own crème fraîche:

Whisk together 1 cup heavy cream (not ultrapasteurized) and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a saucepan. Heat over low heat just until the mixture is lukewarm. Transfer to a bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until it is about the consistency of heavy cream, 24 to 36 hours) the exact time depends on the room temperature). Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for 24 hours to thicken more. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to two week.

from Tips Cooks Love, Rick Rodgers, Sur la Table

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Cheese Tips:

cheesegraphicStoring Cheese:

  1. Always re-wrap cheese in fresh wrapping, preferably in waxed or parchment paper, after the cheese has been opened to avoid having the cheese dry out or pick up other flavors.  Thus, re-wrapping the cheese in paper and then in plastic wrap to create a micro-environment for the cheese is the preferred storage treatment.

  1. The recommended temperature range for storing cheese is between 35 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, at a high humidity level, preferably in the bottom vegetable/fruit bin.

  1. If cheeses other than fresh cheeses and blues have surpassed their expiration dates (imprinted on the packaging) or if the cheese develops a blue-green mold on the exterior, make a cut about a ½ inch below the mold to ensure that it has been entirely removed; the remaining cheese will be fine.

  1. In general, never freeze natural cheeses, as they may lose their texture, and in some cases their flavor profiles will be seriously altered.  If you must freeze cheese, allow the cheese to thaw slowly in the refrigerator and use it for cooking, as the texture will become crumbly and dry after it is defrosted.

  1. If stored and wrapped cheeses are overly dry, develop a slimy texture, exhibit ammoniated or any off odors, it’s best to discard them.

Cooking With Cheese:

  1. When preparing dishes using cheese, add the cheese at the end of the preparation, especially in sauces, classic risotto, and soups.  In casseroles and baked dishes, sprinkle the grated/shredded cheese over the dish the last ten minutes of baking.

  1. Grating cheese is easier when the cheese is cold.  Four ounces of ungrated cheese yields one cup when grated.  Adjustments may be made up or down according to the recipe and the amount of cheese needed.

  1. When cooking with cheese on the stovetop, cook cheese over low to medium heat, as cooking over high heat, or for long periods of time, will cause the cheese to separate.

  1. Remember that aged cheeses have more concentrated flavor than younger cheeses and often require less additional seasoning.

  1. Dishes prepared with cheese and cooked in a microwave oven should be cooked at lower power settings, to prevent the cheese from separating.

  1. Simple greens can be transformed into elegant salad courses by the addition of crumbled feta, blue, soft-ripened goat cheeses, or grated hard cheeses, along with toasted nuts and sun-dried fruits, such as cranberries or cherries. A simple vinaigrette, with a trace of Dijon mustard is the classic dressing.

  1. Soups topped with cheese croutons are delicious, simple, and elegant.  You can use French bread slices, sprinkled with a bit of olive oil and crumbled chevre, cheddar, or semi-soft cheese.  Place under the broiler until the cheese has melted before adding to the soup.

Serving Cheese:

  1. When putting together a cheese board, to be served before or after dinner, remember to limit your selection to no more than five different cheeses.  Serve cheeses of different sizes, shapes, and flavor or texture profiles to create diversity and add interest to your cheese board.  Strong, pungent cheeses shouldn’t be placed next to delicately flavored cheeses, and try to have individual knives for each cheese.

  1. Even modest cheese trays can be elegant when attention is given to the presentation.  Try serving cheeses on a wooden board, marble slab, straw mat, or flat wicker basket.  Do not to overcrowd the serving tray, as your guests will need room to slice the cheeses.  Serve bread and/or plain crackers on a separate plate, or in a wicker basket.

  1. Apples, pears, grapes, strawberries, fresh figs and melon add variety to a cheese board, especially if cheese is being served with cocktails.  Additional accompaniments can include nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, figs, and any manner of condiments, such as floral honeys.

  1. When designing a menu, consider when you want to serve cheese. Serving cheese after the main course, prior to or in place of dessert, adds an elegant touch to casual dinners.  If served with cocktails, before dinner, remember that cheeses can be filling.  Serve in limited quantities and variety.

Adapted from CheeseSociety.org:

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Ingredient Exchanges at a Glance

The exchange charts below are a useful tool in coverting ingredients in recipes - Dairy, Parve, Meat, and non-Kosher.

Exchanges for Kosher Foods

For Dairy Dishes

For Pareve Dishes

For Meat Dishes

Butter

Almond oil
Canola oil + salt
Coconut oil
Grapeseed oil
Hazelnut oil
Margarine (preferably
soy oil)

In Order of Preference
Grapeseed oil
Canola oil
Olive oil
Duck fat
Chicken fat
Margarine

Cheese



Grated Parmesan

Non-dairy cheeses are
not recommended

Toasted ground pine nuts + breadcrumbs + salt*

Non-dairy cheeses are
not recommended

Toasted ground pine nuts + breadcrumbs + salt*

Cream

Coconut milk
MimicCreme
MimicCreme Healthy Top

Velouté sauce (stock + roux)
MimicCreme
MimicCreme Healthy Top

Milk

Almond milk
Coconut milk
Hazelnut milk
Rice milk
Soy milk
Vegetable stock

Almond milk
Coconut milk
Hazelnut milk
Rice milk
Soy milk
Vegetable stock
Chicken stock

Stocks

Vegetable stock

G. Washington’s Golden
Seasoning Broth

Fish stock

 

Vegetable stock

G. Washington’s Golden
Seasoning Broth

Fish stock

 

Chicken stock

Beef stock


Veal stock

 

For Non-Kosher Foods
Meat and Shellfish

Bacon

Duck Prosciutto or duck pastrami, sliced and fried

Crab

Surimi crab**

Ground pork

Ground veal or ground turkey

Ham

Smoked dark meat turkey

Lobster, mussels, scallops

Any firm, fatty fish, such as Chilean sea bass, or salmon

Pork chops

Veal chops

Shrimp


Surimi shrimp**

*Parve Parmesan
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon grapeseed or canola oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the breadcrumbs on a cookie sheet, bake until golden, about 5 minutes and transfer to a mini food processor or blender. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the Nuts and toast, stirring, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the processor and pulse to chop. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, add the salt and stir well.

**Surimi: Dyna–Sea brand; contains fish

from Kosher Revolution by Geila Hocherman & Arthur Boehm
(Kyle Books)

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cheesecaketips

Time, effort, and expense go into making a cheesecake and most of us do not make this delectable dessert on a regular basis. We are sharing some tips to insure that your cheesecake baking venture is a success.

  • Springform pans are normally used when making cheesecake as it allows easy removable of the cake. There are recipes that call for  muffin tins, cake pans and even mini cheesecake pans (they have removable bottoms). Just remember, if you use a plain cake pan, grease it well and line the bottom with parchment paper.

  • Grease the bottom and sides of the springform pan as it helps prevent the filling from cracking when the cheesecake cools. During the cooling stage, the cheesecake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Mix the cream cheese until perfectly smooth prior to adding the other ingredients, unless otherwise specified.

  • Always soften the cream cheese at room temperature before mixing. This will avoid lumps in the batter.. For a smooth texture, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator at least 1 1/2 hours ahead

  • Overbeating puts too much air into the mixture and will cause air bubbles on the surface of the cake.  Use medium speed to avoid beating in too much air.  Also avoid overbeating when adding the other ingredients because the cheesecake will puff during baking, then collapse and split when cooled.

  • Unless specified, do not substitute reduced–fat or fat–free cream cheese or sour cream. They contain fillers that might prevent the cheesecake from setting properly. Never substitute whipped cream cheese for the solid block.

  • Cheesecake performs well when baked in a water bath. This method bakes the cake very gently, so it won't darken, curdle, or crack. It insures that the outer edge of your cheesecake won't bake faster than the center, which can cause it to puff–up, sink, and crack.

  • Springform pans should seal tightly and not allow the fat in the batter to seep out or water to seep into the pan. If not certain that your pan seals tightly, wrap heavy-duty foil around the outside of the pan, covering the bottom and halfway up the sides.

  • Do not open the oven door during baking as the draft can cause the top to crack.

  • Do not overbake the cheesecake - this can be a problem. It is normal for the center to be a little wobbly. Do not worry, as the cake continues to cook during the cooling time.

  • Cool the cheesecake on a rack, away from drafts until completely cool. Some bakers turn off the oven and leave the cheese in the oven with the door closed to cool for an additional hour to ensure it's completely set.

  • After a cheesecake is completely cooled, gently loosen the entire side of the cheesecake from the pan with the tip of a knife while slowly  releasing the spring form pan clamp. Carefully remove the side of the pan.

  • If the sides of your cheesecake are not smooth, just use a hot, wet knife and smooth them.

  • When chilling the cheesecake in the refrigerator, allow it to cool completely at room temperature,  then cover the pan (not the cake) with a paper towel and an inverted plate. The paper will absorb any moisture that forms as the cheesecake chills and avoids condensation on the surface of the cheesecake.

  • If your cheesecake does have a crack on the top, do not worry – cover it with either whipped cream or sliced fresh fruit.
  • When slicing the cheesecake, dipping  a knife in hot water and then wiping it dry before cutting will give you nice, neat slices.

  • Baked cheesecake freezes well. After the  cake is completely cooled, wrap it in heavy-duty foil. Thaw overnight in refrigerator without toppings. Toppings such as whipped cream and fruit should be added just before serving.

Trouble Shooting

  • If the cheesecakes top is cracked and golden, it was overbaked or the oven was too hot. 

  • If there are clumps on the surface, the filling wasn't mixed enough or the cream cheese was too cold to blend well.

 

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Butter to Olive Oil Conversion Chart

 

butter_olive_oil-001

 Compliments of Pompeian Olive Oil


 

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An Apple Guide

applechart

A very useful guide to apples that will help you make your choice of variety easier and help you gage exactly how many apples you’ll need to create your culinary masterpieces.

Apple Quantities:
  1 lb. = about 4 small apples
  1 lb. = about 3 medium apples
  1 lb. = about 2 large apples
  1 lb. sliced = about 2 cups
  1 lb. diced = about 3 cups
  2 medium grated = 1 cup

Best Apple Tip: When you slice an apple it has a tendency to brown quickly if you don’t use it right away. The best way to prevent this and not use lemon juice (which tends to change the flavor of the apple is to mix a quarter cup of apple juice with a cup of water and pour over the sliced apples. Drain and use when needed.

When you choose your apple look for FIRM and brightly colored apples. Apples do not ripen after being taken off the tree, so the color you see is the color you get. If they are waxed, wash them well.

Types of Apples and What To Do With Them:
•  Braeburn Apples: These are usually is orange/red on a yellow color. Delicious raw and great in salads. Also good in pies, sauces and baking.

  Cortland: Sweet/semi tart red apple on green/yellow color. Delicious raw and great in salads. Ok but not great in pies, sauces and baking.

•  Empire: A green and red apple that has a sweet/tart taste. Delicious raw and, pretty good for pies, sauces and baking.

  Fuji: A sweet, red/pink apple. Delicious raw and great in pies, sauces and baking. Short shelf life. Use immediately

  Gala: Has pink stripes on a yellow background. A very sweet apple. Delicious raw and salads. Also great for pies and baking but I don’t care for it in sauces.

•  Golden Delicious: A sweet, yellow apple that is wonderful for just about everything you want to make.

•  Granny Smith: This is a very tart green apple. Terrific for anything you want to make and it’s available year around.

  Honeycrisp: This apple is best raw and ok baking and sauces but not for pies, it breaks down too much when cooked.

  Jonagold: A cross between the Jonathan and the Golden Delicious apple. Sweet and tart combined. Good for most just about anything you want to make.

•  Jonathan: A tart red/green apple. Good for most just about anything you want to make.

  McIntosh: This is a green/ red apple that’s mostly sweet with just a hint of tart. Best raw or in sauces.

  Red Delicious: Sweet and popular and available year around. Best raw terrible for baking.

  Rome Beauty: One of my favorite baking apples. Not too sweet and can be used for just about anything.

                                       By Eileen Goltz, author, kosher food writer, Cuisine by Eileen

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Cake Mix Doctor Baking Tip

Add some extra crunch to a Bundt cake recipe – any recipe. Grease and flour a Bundt pan, then sprinkle finely chopped pecans—about 1/4 cup—in the bottom of the pan, then pour in the batter. The pecans bake into a crunchy crown once the cake is inverted onto a serving platter.

from Anne Byrn, author, The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook series

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Cake Pan Size Conversions

cake_pans_rec_square2

Trying to fit a square cake into a round pan? Find out how much batter you'll need. If you have an unusual pan size and would like to figure out its capacity, measure the amount of water it takes to fill the pan.

  • Compare that measurement to the volumes in our chart (or the cake pan size listed in your recipe) to determine how much batter you'll need.
  • To ensure a cake rises evenly, you should only fill your pans to the half-way mark.
  • The baking time may change as well, so it is imperative that you keep a watchful eye on your cake, and check for doneness using your preferred method.
  • It's always better to have a little extra batter, rather than not enough. Once you've filled the pans half-full, use any remaining batter to bake a few cupcakes.

 


Recipe Calls For

Volume

Use Instead

1 (8-inch) round cake pan

4 cups

1 (8 x 4)-inch loaf pan, or

1 (9-inch) round cake pan, or

1 (9-inch) pie plate

2 (8-inch) round cake pans

8 cups

2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans

1 (9-inch) tube pan

2 (9-inch) round cake pans

1 (10-inch) Bundt pan

1 (11 x 7-inch) baking dish

1 (10-inch) springform pan

1 (9-inch) round cake pan

6 cups

1 (8-inch) round cake pan

1 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pan

1 (11 x 7-inch) baking dish

2 (9-inch) round cake pans

12 cups

2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans

1 (9-inch) tube pan

2 (8-inch) round cake pans

1 (10-inch) Bundt pan

2 (11 x 7-inch) baking dishes

1 (10-inch) springform pan

1 (10-inch) round cake pan

11 cups

2 (8-inch) round cake pans

1 (9-inch) tube pan

1 (10-inch) springform pan

2 (10-inch) round cake pans

22 cups

5 (8-inch) round cake pans

3 or 4 (9-inch) round cake pans

2 (10-inch) springform pans

9-inch tube pan

12 cups

2 (9-inch) round cake pans

2 (8-inch) round cake pans

1 (10-inch) Bundt pan

10-inch tube pan

16 cups

3 (9-inch) round cake pans

2 (10-inch) pie plates

2 (9-inch) deep dish pie plates

4 (8-inch) pie plates

2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans

2 (8-inch) square baking dishes

2 (9-inch) square baking dishes

10-inch Bundt pan

12 cups

1 (9x13-inch) baking dish

2 (9-inch) round cake pans

2 (8-inch) round cake pans

1 (9-inch) tube pan

2 (11x7-inch) baking dishes

1 (10-inch) springform pan

11 x 7 x 2-inch baking dish

6 cups

1 (8-inch) square baking dish

1 (9-inch) square baking dish

1 (9-inch) round cake pan

9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish

15 cups

1 (10-inch) Bundt cake pan

2 (9-inch) round cake pans

3 (8-inch) round cake pans

1 (10 x 15-inch) jellyroll pan

10 x 15 x 1-inch jellyroll pan

15 cups

1 (10-inch) Bundt pan

2 (9-inch) round cake pans

2 (8-inch) round cake pans

1 (9 x 13-inch) baking dish

9 x 5-inch loaf pan

8 cups

1 (9 x 2-inch) deep dish pie plate

1 (10-inch) pie plate

1 (8-inch) square baking dish

1 (9-inch) square baking dish

8 x 4-inch loaf pan

6 cups

1 (8-inch) round cake pan

1 (11 x 7-inch) baking dish

9-inch springform pan

10 cups

1 (10-inch) round cake pan

1 (10-inch) springform pan

2 (8-inch) round cake pans

2 (9-inch) round cake pans

10-inch springform pan

12 cups

2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans

1 (9-inch) tube pan

2 (9-inch) round cake pans

1 (10-inch) Bundt pan

2 (11 x 7-inch) baking dishes

2 (8-inch) round cake pans

8-inch square baking dish

8 cups

1 (9 x 2-inch) deep dish pie plate

1 (9 x 5-inch) loaf pan

2 (8-inch) pie plates

9-inch square baking dish

8 cups

1 (11 x 7-inch) baking dish

1 (9 x 2-inch) deep dish pie plate

1 (9 x 5-inch) loaf pan

2 (8-inch) pie plates

from allrecipe.com

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