How to Remove Common Food and Drink Stains

  • For chocolate, scrub the stained area immediately with ammonia, then wash as  you normally would.
  • For egg stains, scrape off the excess with a dull knife, then soak the stain in cold water. Launder as you usually would. If the article requires dry cleaning, sponge the stain with cold water and take it to the dry cleaner right away.
  • Fresh coffee and tea called for the “hot waterfall” approach. First, stretch the stained part of the fabric over a bowl, as if you were putting a head on a drum, and secure it with a rubber band. Then pour boiling water over the stain from a height of two to three feet. Be careful not to burn yourself! Wash the article as you normally would, using a small amount of bleach if the fabric can tolerate it. The “hot waterfall” also works to loosen fruit and berry stains. It works with red wine if you first sprinkle a little salt on the stain.
  • After a wine spill, blot up as much of the wine as you can, then rinse with cool water or club soda. Sprinkle a little salt on the stain, and create a paste of salt and water. Then, if the fabric will stand it, pour boiling water through the stain with the cloth stretched over a bowl or bathtub. For tough stains, try blotting the stains with one of the following: 1/3 cup vinegar in 2/3 cup water; 2 tablespoons ammonia in 1 cup water; or alcohol, either straight or mixed with an equal amount of water. Rinse well and then launder as usual. In some cases, you may have to use an enzyme detergent to remove wine stains.
  • If spilled beer has dried onto clothing or tablecloths, mix a solution of equal parts vinegar and dish washing liquid, then sponge it onto the stain. Rinse with warm water and launder as usual.  Tips from the “The Old Farmer’s Almanac
  • Good House Keeping Has tips on how to remove spaghetti sauce stains based on the what kind of material whether tablecloth or rug.
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France: How to Make a Roux

roux

Roux ( /ˈruː/) is a cooking mixture of wheat flour and fat (traditionally butter). It is the thickening agent of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: béchamel sauce, velouté sauce and espagnole sauce. Clarified butter, vegetable oils, or lard are commonly used fats. It is used as a thickener for gravy, other sauces, soups and stews. It is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight. When used in Italian food, roux is traditionally equal parts of butter and flour. In Cajun cuisine, roux is almost always made with oil instead of butter and dark brown in color, which lends much richness of flavor, albeit less thickening power. Hungarian cuisine uses lard (in its rendered form) or—more recently—vegetable oil instead of butter for the preparation of roux (which is called rántás in Hungarian).

 

The fat is heated in a pot or pan, melting it if necessary. Then the flour is added. The mixture is stirred until the flour mixing rouxis incorporated and then cooked until at least the point where a raw flour taste is no longer apparent and the desired color has been reached. The final color can range from nearly white to nearly black, depending on the length of time it is over the heat and its intended use. The end result is a thickening and flavoring agent.

 
Roux is most often made with butter as the fat base, but it may be made with any edible fat. In the case of meat gravies, fat rendered from meat is often used. In regional American cuisine, bacon is sometimes rendered to produce fat to use in the roux. If clarified butter is not available, vegetable oil is often used when producing dark roux, as it does not burn at high temperatures, as whole butter does.

 
When combining roux with water-based liquids, such as broth or milk, it is important that these liquids are not excessively hot. It is preferable to add room temperature, or warm, roux into a moderately hot or warm liquid, or vice versa. To ensure the desired viscosity, they should be added in small quantities while stirring, briefly bringing the temperature up to boiling. Otherwise, the mixture will contain lumps.

 

Watch 45 Sec Lesson on How to Make a Roux

Setting The Table: How to Leave No Fingerprints on Tableware

I was watching a friend set the table when I noticed she was using gloves.   You know, the type ladies would wear back in the day at tea IMGA0001parties and elsewhere.  If you have grandma’s gloves, discover a new use for them.    In our germ-a-phobic society the idea of using gloves to handle your plates, glasses and silverware when will be a big hit.  Meanwhile there will be no fingerprints.  -Crystal Johnson, Multiculturalcookingnetwork.com Editor

6 Household Safety Tips Regarding Electricity From Midlothian Electric

Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Appliances in today’s modern kitchens can do more for cooks and preparers than ever before. These appliances, like other electrical devices in your home, need to be operated safely and respectfully in accordance with manufacturers’ guidelines. As more and more electrical appliances in our homes become necessities, our home’s power circuits will grow more overloaded. This puts you and your family at risk for a service call from your friendly neighborhood electrician, or you heroic fire department. To ensure you don’t have a potential safety hazard brewing in your kitchen, Midlothian Electric Company suggests you follow these important safety tips:

1. Unplug kitchen appliances, like toasters and coffeemakers, when you’re not using them, and never allow appliances like a stove or microwave to remain running when you leave home.
2. Never use a fork, knife, or other metal object that conducts electricity to clean debris from “live” kitchen appliances such as toasters and toaster ovens. For routine cleaning, make sure these appliances are unplugged before you clean their internal parts.
3. Avoid using electricity near water and other liquids. Clean up all spills in or around an electrical appliance after making sure the power supply has been disconnected. Never submerge an appliance or its electrical cord or plug in water or any other liquid.
4. Install a sufficient number of GFCIs in your kitchen. GFCIs are designed to prevent shock hazards by interrupting power if electrical current leaks from a damaged cord or appliance or comes in contact with water.
5. Always check your kitchen appliances for damaged cords or plugs before you use them. Contact with a faulty or frayed power cord or a broken appliance can cause electric shock. If an appliance malfunctions or appears to be damaged in any way, disconnect it from the power outlet and have it repaired or replaced right away.
6. Never let power cords or plugs dangle over the edge of counters or come in contact with hot surfaces. Dangling cords are a danger to small children who might pull them. Kitchen appliances should never be placed near a hot gas or electric burner.

Original article written for Multiculturalcookingnetwork.com

Cookware: About Copper Molds, Pots and more

Molds (or moulds, as it is also spelled) were popular during theVictorian Era, when dishes such as savory chicken-and-ham raised pie,

sherry-infused calf’s-feet jelly, and sweet, palate-cleansing blancmange were all the rage. Copper molds were the preference of well-heeled cooks; tin molds in shapes with names like Solomon’s Temple were found in humbler kitchens.

For collectors, copper molds are perhaps the most appealing. When not in use, these handsome, stamped, and castellated containers make wonderful decorative objects for the kitchen, either on a high plate shelf or just hung on a wall. Copper molds in shapes ranging from fish to turtles to lions were often tinned on the inside and designed for everything from jellies to cakes. READ MORE

Advantage of using Copper cookware: 

It is an excellent heat conductor. You may need to reduce cooking time and temperature.

Disadvantages: 

  • Must be lined with tin, nickel, or stainless steel
  • Acidic foods cause copper to tarnish.
  • Copper is a very soft metal and is highly susceptible to scratches
  • Reacts to some food
  • Tin or nickel linings are not very durable, and must be professionally repaired

How to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce

I know the basic of making barbecue.  This recipe on Simply Scratch uses ketchup which many recipes call for; however, if you don’t have it use a  plain tomato sauce and up the brown sugar.   I couldn’t resist re-posting this article though because they have such a wonderful step by step illustration.  Click to see Recipe. – Crystal A. Johnson, MCCN Editor

Does salt make watermelon sweeter?

This question has come up about the combination Watermelon and salt began on our face book page when a fan shared a picture of a soda sold in Japan with a salty watermelon flavor.  Simultaneously there has been ongoing discussion about this combination in the linkedIn  Food Blogger group.  We found an article which asks the question” Does salt make watermelon sweeter?”  Then it answers it: http://bakingbites.com/2011/08/does-salt-make-watermelon-sweeter/

How and Why You Should Freeze Herbs

We recently posted an image on our facebook page about freezing herbs.  I first learned about it on Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa then reminded about this as I saw a post from the Different solutions FB page.    Upon researching on the web,  found some great descriptions abut the process on Simply Canning. 

This page will show 3 methods of freezing herbs.  Though all herbs can be frozen or dried, some herbs freeze better than dehydrating.

For herbs like basil, chives, lemon balm, mint or tarragon, freezing is an option that works well.

Click For Instructions

Visit multiculturalcookingnetwork.com for more great ideas.

Chef Michael Leviton’s 10 things every cook should know

I was searching the web for 10 things every cook should know and what do you know, I found this article in the Boston Globe written by Matt Barber.  There is a short video that accompanies this article. -Crystal A. Johnson

NEWTON — All chefs have their own way of doing things: cutting an onion, roasting potatoes, making a basic sauce. And all chefs will tell you their way is the right way.

It’s no wonder then, with so many celebrity chefs, cookbooks, and food personalities on TV, that home cooks are confused about even the most basic of kitchen tasks.

Enter Michael Leviton, chef and owner of Lumiere in Newton and chef and partner of Area Four in Cambridge. Leviton is no stranger to basic cooking instruction: He teaches in Boston University’s culinary arts program, and has worked with young chefs right out of school, so he’s aware what novices know and don’t know. As recent college graduates strike out on their own, and newlyweds settle into their own places, the time to start building a lifetime repertoire of cooking skills is now.

“You master things by doing them over and over,” says Leviton. But cheat where it makes sense. “Look, I’ve got two kids. I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when I’m at home.” Translation: Open a can of beans instead of soaking the dried variety, or buy biscuits instead of baking them. Leviton’s list of the 10 cooking essentials covers the basics for many meals.

1. Blanch vegetables

Leviton demonstrates how to blanch geen beans and shock them in cold water.

PHOTO BY JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

This is a method of quickly cooking something in boiling water, then plunging it into ice water to stop the cooking process and lock in vibrant color. Leviton uses lots of salty water — his ratio is 1 cup salt to 1 gallon of water. “You want it to taste like the North Atlantic,” he says.

To blanch 1 pound of green beans to serve 4, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. Working in small batches, add beans to the rapidly boiling water and cook 3½ minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the ice bath. Continue until all beans are cooked and cooled. Drain the beans, pat dry with paper towels, and saute briefly in a little butter or olive oil.

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