Tips from the Kitchen Comfort Food | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Tips from the Kitchen: Comfort Food edition

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The Comfort Food Cookbook is filled not just with classic, delicious recipes—it also has great tips and time-savers to make your cooking experience even more enjoyable. Our secrets are all out … be sure to look for more of our tips located in the margins of our Comfort Food cookbook!

Tips from the Kitchen: Comfort Food edition

• Tuber Tips:
o When preparing potatoes, remove any eyes, sprouts, and green parts. (Sprouts emerge from the eyes.)
o If the tuber has a few sprouts but is still firm, cut off the sprouts and use the potato.
o If it has sprouts and has become soft, discard it.
o Discard green potatoes; they are bitter and mildly toxic. Green skin indicates that the potato has been exposed to sunlight.

• Mushrooms: Wiping is a generally accepted way to clean off mushrooms. Rinsing them usually just traps water in the gills and can make them sodden. Never rinse them unless they’re really dirty.

• Clams: Before cooking fresh clams, soak them in a bowl of cool, salted water for an hour or so; during this time, the clams will spit out sand. Then, lift out each clam from the sandy water and scrub its shell with a stiff brush under cold running water. Softshell types (such as steamers) tend to have more grit than hardshells (such as littlenecks).

• Garlic: If you have a lot of garlic cloves to peel, place them in a small bowl. Pour hot water onto them and let them stand for a minute. Discard the water, and the papery skins will come off easily by hand.

• When buying bell peppers, choose firm, richly colored ones that are the heaviest for their size.

• If celery stalks become wilted, separate them and place in a bowl of ice water for 10 to 15 minutes before use.

• Save the hard, thin, rind remnants of fresh Parmesan cheese that are too difficult to grate and toss them into simmering Italian-style soups like Kale, Sausage, and White Bean Soup, where they’ll add subtle flavor. Remove the cheese rinds before serving the soup.

For more cooking tips, as well as plenty of delicious recipes, purchase The Comfort Food Cookbook by clicking here