Common Cooking Measurements and Equivalents Guide

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Published on: December 21, 2013
1/2 teaspoon

=  30 drops

1 teaspoon

=  1/3 tablespoon or 60 drops

3 teaspoons

=  1 tablespoon or 1/2 fluid ounce

1/2 tablespoon

=  1 1/2 teaspoons

1 tablespoon

=  3 teaspoons or 1/2 fluid ounce

2 tablespoons

=  1/8 cup or 1 fluid ounce

3 tablespoons

=  1 1/2 fluid ounce or 1 jigger

4 tablespoons

=  1/4 cup or 2 fluid ounces

5 1/3 tablespoons

=  1/3 cup or 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon

8 tablespoons

=  1/2 cup or 4 fluid ounces

10 2/3 tablespoons

=  2/3 cup or 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons

12 tablespoons

=  3/4 cup or 6 fluid ounces

16 tablespoons

=  1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 1/2 pint

1/8 cup

=  2 tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce

1/4 cup

=  4 tablespoons or 2 fluid ounces

1/3 cup

=  5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon

3/8 cup

=  1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons

1/2 cup

=  8 tablespoons or 4 fluid ounces

2/3 cup

=  10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons

5/8 cup

=  1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons

3/4 cup

=  12 tablespoons or 6 fluid ounces

7/8 cup

=  3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons

1 cup

=  16 tablespoons or 1/2 pint or 8 fluid ounces

2 cups

=  1 pint or 16 fluid ounces

1 pint

=  2 cups or 16 fluid ounces

1 quart

=  2 pints or 4 cups or 32 fluid ounces

1 gallon

=  4 quarts or 8 pints or 16 cups or 128 fluid ounces

How to Peel Tomatoes

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Published on: October 22, 2013

If you like using fresh ingredients in your dishes, you’ve probably had the opportunity to use fresh tomatoes in stews, soups, and other recipes.

While there are a few different ways to peel tomatoes, I’m going to show you my favorite method because it’s fool-proof and appropriate for anywhere from 2 to 2 dozen or more tomatoes at a time.

Place a pot of water on the stove and let it come to a rolling boil. Place your bowl of ice water next to the stove so it is easily accessible. Rinse your tomatoes clean and remove any stems that are still attached.

Using a sharp knife, slice a shallow X into the bottom of the tomato (opposite the stem side).

How to peel tomatoes

Gently place the tomatoes into the boiling water. If you have several tomatoes, boil them in batches of 3-4 at a time.

How to peel tomatoes, step 2

Boil the tomatoes till you see the X begin to split open wider, or for 25 seconds, whichever comes first. Do not boil them for longer than 25-30 seconds or they will begin to soften and cook.

Remove the tomatoes immediately from the boiling water using a slotted spoon.

How to peel tomatoes, step 3

Place the tomatoes directly into the bowl of ice water and let them cool off. This will help to stop any “cooking” that has started.

How to peel tomatoes, step 4

Remove the tomatoes from the ice water. Begin peeling the skin at the X, pulling the skin back gently.

How to peel tomatoes, step 5.

Not much tomato flesh should come off with the skin– if the flesh comes off or the tomato seems soft/mushy, you’ve cooked it a bit too long. Try cooking it for a shorter time on the next round.

Discard the skin and proceed with your recipe.

How to peel tomatoes, step 6.

How to pan fry a burger

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Published on: February 2, 2013
Pan frying a burger is a quick and easy way to make a meal when the weather does not permit outdoor grilling. When you are pan frying a burger, you want to use thin patties. Each burger should be approximately ¼ inch thick. Bigger burgers are more appropriate for cooking on the grill.

Step 1

If frozen, defrost ground beef in the refrigerator overnight before frying. This decreases cooking time and prevents oil splatter. Form ground beef into patties prior to frying.

Step 2

Choose a heart-healthy oil for frying. According to “Whole Living” magazine, the best oils for high heat cooking are canola oil and light olive oil. These oils are high in monounsaturated fats, which are healthy fats. Partially hydrogenated oil and blended vegetable oils are high in saturated and trans fats, which are unhealthy fats. You can also avoid oil completely by coating the skillet with cooking spray.

Step 3

Pour your oil into the skillet. Heat the oil to approximately 350 degrees F over medium heat.

Step 4

Place your burger gently into the pan. Cook each side 3 to 5 minutes until the pattie is well-browned to reach medium doneness. Burgers larger than 1/4 inch thick may take additional time to cook. You may need to decrease or increase cooking times depending on how well done you desire your burger. Flip the burger halfway through cooking with a spatula.

Step 5

Insert a meat thermometer into your burger to check for doneness. Your burger should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees F before you remove it from the pan, according to the USDA.

Step 6

Put the burger on a toasted bun. Dress with desired condiments and toppings, such as lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, red onions or salad dressing. But then, is there anything that can’t be put on a burger?

Sour Cream Substitute(s)

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Published on: February 1, 2013

sour-cream-pours-into-the-bowl-slowly

Sour cream is used, not only for texture, but for the tang it has. It’s used in a lot of chocolate cake recipes. Sour milk can be a replacement, which is also a buttermilk replacement in baking recipes – milk with vinegar or lemon juice.

To make 1 cup use 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar with enough milk to make 1 cup. Otherwise sour cream and plain yogurt are interchangeable in a recipe. So however much sour cream, use that same amount of plain yogurt. To do the sour milk trick, or even buttermilk, you’ll be affecting the texture or crumb of the cake, and will also need to cut out some liquid from the recipe.

Your first choice should be to see if you have the same amount of plain yogurt. Even flavored yogurt will do in a pinch and, in fact, can enhance the flavor of some cakes.

My second choice is always mayonnaise with a tablespoon of white vinegar per cup. But if you use mayonnaise  use mayonnaise. Don’t use salad dressing (Miracle Whip) packaged to resemble mayonnaise. DO NOT use any kind salad dressing at all! Use mayonnaise with a tablespoon of white vinegar per cup. After all, it’s all about chemistry when you are baking.

Third choice would be the sour milk trick, or buttermilk if it’s on hand – Same difference.

Fourth choice should be, “Do I really need to bake this right now?”

Fahrenheit / Celsuis Cooking Conversions

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Published on: January 19, 2013

Making sense of recipes so they fit the measurements you use is often distracting and sometimes confusing.

Shown for gas oven usage, this Celsuis/Fahrenheit conversion-at-glance chart should show you just what you need.

Cooking Instructions Fahrenheit Metric: (Celsuis, Centigrade) Gas Mark
Very Hot 475 245 9
Very Hot 450 230 8
Hot 425 220 7
Quick/Fairly Hot 400 205 6
Moderately Hot 375 190 5
Moderate/Medium 350 175 4
Warm 325 165 3
Slow/Low 300 150 2
Very Slow/Very Low 275 135 1
Very Slow/Very Low 250 120 1/2
Very Slow/Very Cool 225 110 1/4

 

Egg Cooking Terms

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Published on: November 28, 2012

Egg Cooking Terms – What They Mean

Some recipes forget that we all don’t know all the terms. So when they say things like, “temper the eggs”, we’re left with — “What?!?”.

So following are some common terms when it comes to recipes with egg as an ingredient.

Eggs At Room Temperature
This is necessary only when eggs are to be combined with a fat and a sugar. Cold eggs could harden the fat in the recipe, causing the batter to curdle and affecting the texture of the finished product. To bring eggs to room temperature, remove them from the refrigerator about an hour before baking or put them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes while assembling other ingredients.

Separated
Yolks and whites are often separated, and beaten separately, particularly when aerating the whites is important. Egg yolks contain fat that will inhibit the foaming of the whites and prevent them from reaching their fullest possible volume. The yolks and whites must be separated very cleanly, avoiding getting any yolk in the white. Bowls and beaters must be very clean and grease-free. Eggs will separate more easily if cold, but the whites will absorb more air, and beat faster and to a greater volume and stiffness if at room temperature.

Slightly Beaten
Beat with a fork or a whisk just until blended.

Well Beaten
Beat with a whisk or electric mixer until light, frothy and evenly coloured.

Beat Yolks Until Thick and Lemon-Coloured
Beat yolks with a mixer for few minutes until they become a pastel yellow colour and fall in ribbons when the beater is lifted or they are dropped from a spoon.

Beat Whites Until Soft Peaks Form
Use an electric mixer or whisk to beat whites until rounded peaks form. The whites will droop when the beater or whisk is removed.

Beat Whites Until Stiff Peaks Form
Use an electric mixer or whisk to beat whites until upright, pointed peaks form when the beater or whisk is removed. The peaks should be moist and glossy-looking and should not flow from the beater when the bowl is tipped or inverted. If the whites are under beaten, the finished product will be heavier and less puffy than desired. If the whites are over-beaten, they may form clumps that are difficult to blend with other foods in the mixture and finished product may be dry.

Add Sugar Gradually
Sugar is often beaten with egg whites, a tablespoon at a time, when making meringues and some cakes. This helps to stabilize the egg white foam. Since sugar can actually slow or prevent the foaming or the whites, it must be slowly added so the final volume is not diminished.

Add Cream of Tartar
Beaten egg whites are easily deflated if not stabilized. Adding cream of tartar (or lemon juice) helps to stabilize beaten whites.

Temper Eggs
To prevent eggs from coagulating or cooking when combined with a hot mixture, the eggs must first be warmed or tempered. Stir a little of the hot mixture into beaten eggs, then stir the warmed beaten egg mixture into the remaining hot mixture.

Cook Until the Mixture Coats the Back of A Spoon
Custard mixtures are cooked to proper doneness when a thin film adheres to a spoon dipped into the custard. The custard should be slightly thickened but not set.

Gravy from drippings

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Published on: November 21, 2012

Gravy from drippings
 
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A common question I’m asked when it comes to cooking is, “How do you make gravy?”. It’s a reasonable question. For if you never learn, you never know. I make gravy the way I stumbled onto so many years ago. I don’t remember what I was doing when I stumbled, but I’m happy it happened. It’s the easiest, full-proof method I know. And, believe me, I’ve tried a lot of methods! With that said, here’s my magic recipe for gravy. I refer to this process as creating stock-mix to add to your drippings.
Ingredients
  • All the drippings from whatever you're cooking.
  • A jar with a screw-on lid.
  • Cornstarch.
Instructions
  1. Since all recipes vary in size and stature, here’s the tricky bit – figuring out how much base you’ll need.
  2. What you’re going to do is place some cornstarch in the jar. How much depends on how much gravy you’re making. But you’ll never want more than ¼ of the jar. ¼ jar will make a TON. But sometimes we need a ton. And since it doesn’t cost to make too much stock-mix, it’s OK to make too much stock-mix.
  3. Add clear, clean water on top of the cornstarch to fill the jar ¾ to 9/10 full. Screw the lid on. And shake-shake-shake! Shake it up quick and well, then give it another shake. You want to make sure the cornstarch is completely mixed. Now you’re ready for gravy time!
  4. Place your drippings in a pot or pan and heat on high heat until boiling.
  5. Start adding your stock-mix, stirring constantly. Don’t add it all. Add just enough so that the entire mixture begins to have the consistency of heavy syrup.
  6. Serve hot.
  7. See the informal entry here.

 

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