Kitchen Hints and Tips

Layered Cheesecake Help

Here are a few useful tips to help you make a successful cheesecake. Although a cheesecake is quite simple to make, the right techniques can help make it a success every time.

If you are making a multilayer cheesecake, make sure that you bake the first layer for the entire time allowed in the recipe.

If the first layer is not cooked enough, when you add the second layer you may not have a crisp defining line separating the two and the cheesecake may not cook thoroughly to be able to support a second layer.

When you add the second layer, use a large spoon or a ladle to apply the second layer. This way you won’t have the pressure of all of the batter pushing at your existing layer when it is poured in.

If you are making a layered chocolate cheesecake, or a cheesecake with 2 different colors, make sure that you put the heavier, darker layer on the bottom.

Great Grappa!

You are making a recipe and it calls for Grappa. You are not even sure where to begin with on this one.

Grappa is made from the leftover grapes and skins that are used when making wine.

The crushed grapes are distilled and made into an alcohol similar to brandy with a very high alcohol content of 40-50% by volume.

You can find Grappa in most wine stores and sometimes in larger grocery stores.

It is a bit pricier than regular wine, but remember that a little goes a long way!

Selecting Spatula’s

Setting up a first time kitchen can be quite a task. You don’t know exactly what you need and when you do look, there are a billion choices. For a bare bones kitchen here is an item that you will want to have on hand. Please remember when you are making your purchases, don’t skimp on the quality. If you spend a little bit more now, you will save a lot of money down the road.

A good silicone spatula is a cook’s friend.

Find one that is firm enough that you could use to turn food in a skillet, yet soft enough to use as a scraper for removing food from bowls and dishes.

For super easy clean up, just toss in the dishwasher.

Freezer Burned

You had put some meat in the freezer a few months ago and you are now pulling it out to cook it up for dinner. As you look at it, and it has some really weird looking gray spots on it and it looks kinda dried up.

What happened to it? Welcome to the world of freezer burn. Freezer burn occurs when the surface of frozen food becomes exposed to air. Once the food that has been burned is thawed, cut away the portions that have been burned.

If you cook the burned portions you may not experience the results from your recipe that you are accustomed to. If the item smells off or odd, toss it and use a new package. Better not to take the chance to ruin the whole dinner.

To prevent food from becoming freezer burned, make sure that it is tightly sealed in plastic wrap or a freezer bag with all of the air removed.

If you are going to be storing for more than a month, wrap it once in freezer paper with the name of the item written on the packaging along with the date that it was frozen.

Cutting Board Selection

Setting up a first time kitchen can be quite a task. You don’t know exactly what you need and when you do look, there are a billion choices.

For a bare bones kitchen here is an item that you will want to have on hand. Please remember when you are making your purchases, don’t skimp on the quality. If you spend a little bit more now, you will save a lot of money down the road.

A large cutting board is a must have. Try to select one that is at least 12”x18”.

If you select one that is plastic, it will be easier to wash and with proper cleaning you will have less chance of bacteria buildup.

Try to select one that is at least ¾ inch thick so that it will have less chance of warping.

Along with your usual cleaning, try to drop it in the dishwasher at least every 3rd or 4th use. The heat will help sterilize it better.

Fancy Cake Writing

If you really want to impress your family or friends the next time that you are asked to make a birthday cake, try this neat decorating trick.

In your word processing program, type out the message for your cake. Change the font to something fancy and increase the size so that it will fit comfortably on your cake. Print out your text in black and white.

Hold the paper over the pan that you are going to bake your cake in to make sure that the lettering will fit. Go back to your computer and place an extra space or two between each letter, then print again.

Tape your piece of paper to a flat cookie sheet or the bottom of a cake pan. Cover the paper with a large piece of waxed paper and tape down also.

Melt some chocolate and place into a disposable plastic bag. Using a pair of scissors cut off a very small corner of the bag.

Gently squeeze the chocolate out of the hole that you just made onto the wax paper covering the letters that you printed from the computer. Make sure that chocolate is thickly covering all of the letters.

Once you have made all of the letters if you have any chocolate left, make some squiggles and shapes with the remaining chocolate. Transfer the pan to the freezer for about 20-30 minutes until the chocolate is set.

Remove from the freezer and gently peel your letters and decorations from the wax paper and place on your frosted cake.

You may find that you can use a small knife or spatula to help you move them from the paper to your cake.

If you misplace a letter, just gently lift off, smooth the frosting and replace the letter in the appropriate position.

Letters and shapes don’t need to just be laid flat either, have some fun by standing some up on end or making crazy stacks!

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