How To . . .

Nov 5, 2016

How to Keep Tortillas Soft

If your flour tortillas are too hard and won’t bend, it could be from not rolling them thin enough, the pan not being hot enough (cast iron is best), or not storing them properly. I store mine in a zip top plastic bag (put them in while they are still warm) and then close it up and remove all the air. Mine are always soft and every time I remove one, I close it back up, air removed each time.

Best Way To Keep Tortillas Soft

Sep 17, 2016

How To Measure (& Aerate) Flour

Flour must be aerated before measuring because it often settles in the bag or container making it heavy  and compact. (Aerating basically means fluffing it up) If you dip into flour without aerating, you will be getting too much flour and your dough will be too dry. To aerate flour you simply stir it around with a spoon before measuring. To measure, be sure to use a flat-topped dry measuring cup. You can see how I aerate flour in my Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake video: http://www.jennycancook.com/recipes/easy-one-bowl-chocolate-cake/

After aerating, there are two ways to measure the flour: 1) Scoop & Level – Gently scoop the flour up with a spoon and sprinkle it into your measuring cup until it’s mounded above the rim. Do not tap the cup or the container of flour. Finally, level off the excess flour with the back of a knife. 2) Dip & Level – Gently dip your measuring cup into the flour until it’s mounded above the rim and level off the excess flour with the back of a knife. A properly measured cup of flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces.

How To Aerate Flour

Jul 17, 2016

How To Toast Nuts

Place raw nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds) on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Cool completely before using. Toasting greatly enhances the flavor of nuts. Always toast nuts before chopping.

Toast Walnuts in the Oven

May 10, 2016

How To Store Celery

I got tired to throwing away half of my celery when it went bad so I found a way to keep it twice as long. Here’s how:

Separate and wash the celery.
Pat it to remove excess water.
Lay down a large sheet (about 18 by 18 inches) of heavy duty extra wide aluminum foil.
Wrap the still damp celery in 2-3 paper towels and place in the center of the foil.

Best WayTo Store Celery5. Wrap the celery in the paper towels and then the foil, starting with the long side and then fold in the ends.

How To Make Celery Last Longer6. It’s easy to open and re-close the celery packet when you use heavy duty foil. The paper towels continue to keep moisture away from the celery, allowing it to stay fresh much longer. The worst thing to wrap celery, or any other high-moisture vegetables in, is plastic.

Mar 9, 2016

How To Freeze Pesto

Drop some pesto in each compartment of an ice cube tray but not all the way to the top. Then cover each one with a little olive oil, just enough to cover the top completely. This will keep the pesto from turning brown. Freeze the tray and once the cubes are frozen, remove from the tray and store in zip top freezer bags.
Freeze Pesto In Ice Cube Tray

Jan 5, 2016

How To Keep Brown Sugar Soft

Brown sugar gets hard when its moisture escapes. The best way to keep brown sugar soft is to use a small clay disc and it works really well. Here’s an example below…  It costs less than $5 and you just soak the disc in water for 15 minutes and then put it into a fresh bag of brown sugar. Seal up the bag tightly and you’re done.  Mine stays soft until I finish the bag. You can even use a piece of broken clay from a pot as long as it’s unglazed.

Brown Sugar Clay Disc

Dec 20, 2015

How to Rise Dough

Where To Rise Dough

Most doughs rise faster in a warm  and humid environment. Here are some ideas on warm places to let your dough rise:

1. Oven –  a) Turn on the oven for about one minute and turn it off. Place dough in the warm oven. b) Place a pot of boiling hot water in a cold oven. Place the dough inside with the hot water. These will only work until you need to preheat the oven to bake. If you have a second oven, you can keep the dough in there longer.

2. Heating Pad – Set the dough on top of a heating pad and set the pad to low or medium temperature.

3. Lamp – Turn on a reading lamp and set the dough under the bulb.

4. On Top of Fridge – Your refrigerator generates heat so it’s usually warm on top of the fridge so you can place the dough there.

5. Microwave – Bring a cup of water to boil in the microwave. After it boils, put the dough in the microwave with the cup of hot water and close the door right away. This creates heat and humidity.

6. Neck Wrap – If you have a neck wrap that you heat in the microwave, you can heat it up and wrap it around the container that holds the dough.

7. Bowl of hot water – Fill a bowl with very hot water and put a flat top on it like a plate or pizza pan. Place the dough on the plate and drape a towel over the dough and bowl to keep the heat in.

8. Window – If the sun is coming through a window in winter, place the dough next to the window in the sun.

9. Hot Car – If your car is parked in the hot sun, put the dough in the car.

Did I miss any? If anyone has other suggestions, please post them below.

Dec 15, 2015

How To Line a Square Pan with Parchment Paper

Parchment1000_1685

When making granola bars or bar cookies, lining the pan with parchment paper is not easy because it won’t always stay in place, but I found an easier way to do it… with binder clips. You can get them at a stationery store and since they’re metal, they can go right in the oven. Cut two parchment paper pieces a little bit wider than your 9-inch pan and lay them in, criss-crossing each other, clipping the ends down as you go. It will keep the paper in place and you won’t have to wash the pan.  To save money, since parchment paper costs more than aluminum foil, here is another way:

Line the pan with foil first. Then cut a strip of parchment paper the same width as your pan, either 8 or 9 inches, and lay it on top of the foil, clipping in place. This way is easier, parchment paper releases food well, and you’ll save money! – Jenny Jones

Dec 27, 2014

How To Store Parsley

I’ve had this parsley for over a month! If you’re tired of throwing away wilted parsley, you will love this easy way to store fresh parsley. Just put it in a glass of water and cover it loosely with a plastic produce bag. I use the bag I brought it home in from the store.
IMG_0418Fresh parsley is great to use in cooking but I only use a little at a time. I used to keep it in the vegetable drawer in a plastic bag but I always had to throw it away before I could use it all up. There had to be a better way. So I tried putting it in a glass of water in the fridge and it kept a little longer but after a few days it was drying out.

The solution to drying out had to be plastic so I tried putting a light weight plastic produce bag loosely over the parsley and glass and I could not believe how long it lasted. I put it away on November 23rd. That was five weeks ago! And look at it today…

IMG_0695I’ll be using this parsley until 2015! I’ll let you know when it finally runs its course – probably six or seven weeks. I just had to share!

Dec 8, 2014

How To Freeze Pecan Balls

Guess what? There is no difference between frozen and freshly made pecan balls. I tested them myself and asked two other people to do a blind taste test and no one could tell the difference. This is good news because anything you can make ahead for the holidays is helpful. I’m sure there is more than one way to freeze these delicate Christmas snowball cookies but here is how I did mine:

  1. Once they were completely cool and after the second roll in powdered sugar I gently placed them in a freezer bag so they were not touching.
  2. I removed as much air as possible from the bag and placed them gently in the freezer.
  3. To thaw I let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then brought them to room temperature.
  4. Then I gently rolled them in powdered sugar again to freshen them up.

So there it is. This is how you can freeze your homemade pecan balls and have extra time for…. making more! Click here for the recipe.  – Jenny Jones

Page 1 of 212