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Essential Cooking Tools Tips

Read these 15 Essential Cooking Tools Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cooking tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Flu Fighting Foods

Winter doesn't have to mean the misery of colds, flu and other viral infections if you feed your body what it needs to fight them off.

A run-down body that is out of balance internally and externally provides an inviting environment for viruses to come in and stay for a while. While it is difficult to live in a society and not come into contact with the multitude of germs that are literally everywhere during the winter months, you can reduce your own susceptibility and strengthen your immune system by simply choosing the right foods to put on your plate.

Eat leafy greens every day. Kale, spinach, seaweed and algae are excellent sources of vitamin D, the immunity-booster we usually get from sunshine in the summertime. Along with contributing to a stronger defense against coughing colleagues, recent studies indicate that higher vitamin D levels can benefit ailments as diverse as osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis.

Include kiwis, grapefruit or orange juice in your daily routine. All are great sources of vitamin C, the antioxidant we've known for decades to be powerful in fighting colds and flu. It's also found in cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, cayenne pepper and broccoli.

Snack on almonds and sunflower seeds. Not only do they supply vitamin E, an antioxidant that fights off free radicals and keeps skin soft and young-looking, but they are a great source of essential fatty acids to keep body systems running smoothly.

Enjoy your garlic! The stinky bulb was once worn in a garland to ward off disease, a superstition that actually has scientific basis as eating garlic can provide a variety of health benefits, including a boost to the immune system that can help ward off nasty bugs. Besides, eating garlic usually ensures that people keep a bit of distance – always a desirable action for avoiding contagion with a flu virus!

Spike it with ginger. Ginger, long used as a folk remedy, can open nasal passages, soothe nausea and help the immune system work.

Finally, don‘t overlook the power of complex carbohydrates from whole grains, sweet potatoes and beans. Our bodies need complex carbs for energy, and when not enough are present it begins cannibalizing other tissues for the power needed to function. This creates a deficit somewhere else in the body, weakening the defenses along the line and opening a toehold for invading germs.

Try this easy, immunity-boosting one-pot meal full of cold- and flu-fighting foods. Eat it in good health!

Cajun Fish with Spinach
Serves 4.

Ingredients
2 med. sweet potatoes
1/2 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2-3/4 lb. white fish (catfish, sole, cod, halibut, tilapia...)
Creole or Cajun seasoning
3-5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
4 cups spinach or kale leaves, chopped roughly
8 small Roma tomatoes, washed & quartered

Instructions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray inside of 4-quart cast iron Dutch oven and underside of lid with olive oil or canola oil spray.

Scrub sweet potato well and cut out any bad spots or eyes. Slice into 1/2" rounds.

Line base of pot with onions. Wash fish and pat dry with paper towels. Lay the fish over the onions in the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle the top side liberally with Cajun seasoning mix according to taste. Layer potatoes, garlic, onions, and tomatoes, interspersing sprinkles of spices as desired. Top with spinach. Pack in as many vegetables as possible without compromising the seal when the lid is closed.

Cover and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until fish flakes easily. You should smell the aroma wafting from the oven that tells you everything is done. Wait 3 minutes until it is more of a full-bodied, finished meal aroma. Serve immediately.

Elizabeth Yarnell is a Certified Nutritional Consultant, MS patient, inventor and author of the award-winning cookbook, Glorious One-Pot Meals: A new quick & healthy approach to Dutch oven cooking. Her recipes are protected by US patent 6,846,504. Visit Elizabeth online and subscribe

   

Flu Fighting Foods

Winter doesn't have to mean the misery of colds, flu and other viral infections if you feed your body what it needs to fight them off.

A run-down body that is out of balance internally and externally provides an inviting environment for viruses to come in and stay for a while. While it is difficult to live in a society and not come into contact with the multitude of germs that are literally everywhere during the winter months, you can reduce your own susceptibility and strengthen your immune system by simply choosing the right foods to put on your plate.

Eat leafy greens every day. Kale, spinach, seaweed and algae are excellent sources of vitamin D, the immunity-booster we usually get from sunshine in the summertime. Along with contributing to a stronger defense against coughing colleagues, recent studies indicate that higher vitamin D levels can benefit ailments as diverse as osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis.

Include kiwis, grapefruit or orange juice in your daily routine. All are great sources of vitamin C, the antioxidant we've known for decades to be powerful in fighting colds and flu. It's also found in cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, cayenne pepper and broccoli.

Snack on almonds and sunflower seeds. Not only do they supply vitamin E, an antioxidant that fights off free radicals and keeps skin soft and young-looking, but they are a great source of essential fatty acids to keep body systems running smoothly.

Enjoy your garlic! The stinky bulb was once worn in a garland to ward off disease, a superstition that actually has scientific basis as eating garlic can provide a variety of health benefits, including a boost to the immune system that can help ward off nasty bugs. Besides, eating garlic usually ensures that people keep a bit of distance – always a desirable action for avoiding contagion with a flu virus!

Spike it with ginger. Ginger, long used as a folk remedy, can open nasal passages, soothe nausea and help the immune system work.

Finally, don‘t overlook the power of complex carbohydrates from whole grains, sweet potatoes and beans. Our bodies need complex carbs for energy, and when not enough are present it begins cannibalizing other tissues for the power needed to function. This creates a deficit somewhere else in the body, weakening the defenses along the line and opening a toehold for invading germs.

Try this easy, immunity-boosting one-pot meal full of cold- and flu-fighting foods. Eat it in good health!

Cajun Fish with Spinach
Serves 4.

Ingredients
2 med. sweet potatoes
1/2 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2-3/4 lb. white fish (catfish, sole, cod, halibut, tilapia...)
Creole or Cajun seasoning
3-5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
4 cups spinach or kale leaves, chopped roughly
8 small Roma tomatoes, washed & quartered

Instructions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray inside of 4-quart cast iron Dutch oven and underside of lid with olive oil or canola oil spray.

Scrub sweet potato well and cut out any bad spots or eyes. Slice into 1/2" rounds.

Line base of pot with onions. Wash fish and pat dry with paper towels. Lay the fish over the onions in the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle the top side liberally with Cajun seasoning mix according to taste. Layer potatoes, garlic, onions, and tomatoes, interspersing sprinkles of spices as desired. Top with spinach. Pack in as many vegetables as possible without compromising the seal when the lid is closed.

Cover and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until fish flakes easily. You should smell the aroma wafting from the oven that tells you everything is done. Wait 3 minutes until it is more of a full-bodied, finished meal aroma. Serve immediately.

Elizabeth Yarnell is a Certified Nutritional Consultant, MS patient, inventor and author of the award-winning cookbook, Glorious One-Pot Meals: A new quick & healthy approach to Dutch oven cooking. Her recipes are protected by US patent 6,846,504. Visit Elizabeth online and subscribe

   
How Important Is Temperature Control In Food Storage?

Temperature Control Is Important In Food Storage

Controlling the temperature of food is one of the most important aspects of cooking. Bacteria and other microorganisms can grow inside of your food, causing illness and other disease. Not only is it important to cook your food to the proper temperature, but it is also important that your food is stored at correct temperatures. For example, pathogenic microorganisms grow very slowly when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, multiply and grow rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit and are destroyed at temperatures higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This highlights the significance of appliances with thermometers that give accurate temperature readings. For the most proper readings, appliance thermometers should be liquid-filled or bimetallic-coil. Liquid-filled are the oldest type of appliance thermometer. As the temperature increases, the colored liquid inside rises to the temperature on the scale. Bimetallic-coil thermometers are made of two different kinds of metals. Each has a different rate of expansion. The bimetal portion coils with a pointer stem at the other end. When there is an increase in temperature, the pointer rotates by the coiled element to indicate the temperature. Each of these gauges is effective in measuring the temperature in your appliances.

   
Recently, I tried to brush cooking juices on a chicken I was roasting when the bristles on my basting brush melted! Is there such a thing as a basting brush with bristles that can stand up to high temperatures?

Brushing Up on Basting

If you’ve ever had the rather disconcerting experience of having the bristles melt or fall out of your basting brush while basting, then silicone will change your life! Bristles made from silicone won’t fall out and can resist heat up to 450 degrees F, (some will go even higher!). Not only that, the bristles remain odor free, nor will they stain or lose their shape. As if that weren’t enough, silicone brushes are dishwasher safe so you’ll never have to struggle again with removing a stubborn oily marinade or sticky glaze.

   
What Is Better --- Plastic or Wood --- For A Chopping Board?

Invest In Wood Chopping Boards

Chopping boards can be purchased in either wood or plastic variations. There are advantages and disadvantages to each --- however, most people prefer wood chopping boards because are aesthetically pleasing. However, the germs that remain on the wood can be a disadvantage, which is why it is so important to clean wood chopping boards properly after each time you use them. Wood chopping boards are better for your knives and contain a natural bacteria-killing property, which makes them safer and cleaner than their plastic counterparts.

   
What Is A Reactive Pan?

Beware Of Reactive Pans

Another difference in cookware comes in pans. Some pans are reactive and some are non-reactive. Reactive pans are made with chemicals that react with other foods. For example, cookware made with aluminum and copper, both of which are good conductors of heat, are common reactive materials. Aluminum reacts with acidic food, giving them a slight metallic taste. Aluminum can also cause a slight discoloration in soups. Copper cookware is lined with tin to prevent a reaction. However, tin is soft, so when it is scratched, the food is then exposed to the copper beneath it.

   
What Is The Advantage Of Using A Whisk?

Whisks Are Versatile Cooking Tools

The whisk is one of the most versatile cooking tools found in most kitchens. Whisks come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are used to prepare just about any dish. A whisk is made of thin, wire loops that attach to a handle and is used to whip food, usually in a large bowl or pot. Traditional whisks are made of wire; however, modern whisks can also be made of nylon. Common designs and uses include:

Nylon flat whisk: Used for gravies and delicate sauces.

Triangle whisks: Eggs, gravy, good for edging bowls and pans.

Traditional balloon whisk: Using for meringues, whipped cream, and other delicate pie fillings. If the balloon head is large, the air mixes into the sauces.

   
How Effective Are Cast-Iron Skillets?

Cast-Iron Skillets Ideal For Non-Stick Cooking

Cast-iron skillets are one of the most durable pieces of cookware available. As long as it is without cracks or nicks, cast-iron skillets can last for years and years. There are several reasons why cast-iron skillets are ideal: -They are an ideal conductor of heat, distributing heat evenly and consistently -They are inexpensive and last a lifetime -Cast-iron pans are generally stick resistant and do not require oil --- a similar characteristic of the popular Teflon pans.

   
What Is The Advantage Of Using A Baker's Scale?

Use Baker's Scales For Baking

A baker's scale is a necessity for those who bake frequently. Bakers who have to correctly measure ingredients use Baker's scales. These scales measure ingredients by their weight, and not simply their volume. They are easy to use and can help you to achieve better results when you are putting together your culinary creations.

   
Recently, I tried to brush cooking juices on a chicken I was roasting when the bristles on my basting brush melted! Is there such a thing as a basting brush with bristles that can stand up to high temperatures?

Brushing Up on Basting

If you've ever had the rather disconcerting experience of having the bristles melt or fall out of your basting brush while basting, then silicone will change your life! Bristles made from silicone won't fall out and can resist heat up to 450 degrees F, (some will go even higher!). Not only that, the bristles remain odor free, nor will they stain or lose their shape. As if that weren't enough, silicone brushes are dishwasher safe so you'll never have to struggle again with removing a stubborn oily marinade or sticky glaze.

   
What Should I Use To Clean A Wooden Salad Bowl?

Clean Wooden Salad Bowls With Lemon Juice

Wooden salad bowls are also popular for their aesthetic value. They can be difficult to clean, however. There is a process to properly cleaning a wooden salad bowl. Use a scrub pad, preferably a non-abrasive brand. Scrub with lemon juice and pumice dust to scrub off excess oil that has built up on the bowl. Use this concoction to effectively remove any germs and bacteria.

   
How Effective Is A Slow Cooker?

Slow Cooker Effective Kitchen Appliance

A slow cooker is an effective kitchen appliance for cooking foods slowly to lock in flavor and moisture. A slow cooker usually cooks food between 170 and 280 degrees Fahrenheit. The slow cooking process, combined with the increased heat, destroys bacteria more effectively and make the cooking process safer overall. The slow cooker also assists the leaner, less expensive cuts of meat to become tender.

   
What Are The Advantage of Using Rotisseries?

Rotisseries Popular For Roasting Chicken

Rotisseries have become one of the most popular appliances used to roast chicken. There are some factors to consider, however, on care and maintenance: Rotisseries require a large amount of storage space on your counter top area. They can only operate on a stable space, away from overhead cabinets. This is because they let off a huge amount of heat during the cooking process. Cleaning the rotisserie works best if done directly after using it. Cover the reflector panel of the rotisserie and the drip tray with foil. Check the manual to confirm which parts of the rotisserie are safe for dishwasher use.

   
What Is A Non-Reactive Pan?

Non-Reactive Pans Ideal For Cooking

A non-reactive pan is one made of clay, copper, enamel, glass, plastic or stainless steel. Stainless steel pans are the most common of the non-reactive pans. It is durable and although it does not conduct heat well, it usually has aluminum or copper on the bottom to assist with that process. Glass cookware is another common form of cookware, which retains heat very well, but conducts it poorly.

   
What is a good multi-purpose kitchen tool?

Strong Metal Tongs Have a Variety of Uses

Every kitchen should have a pair of strong metal tongs. Professional kitchens are never without them. The reasons for this are many. Weaker tongs are useless for picking up heavier foods like pasta or meat. A good pair of metal tongs can withstand the same heat that a pan can handle. Furthermore, a weak pair of tongs is not only difficult to work with, but it is potentially dangerous. If they break while handling hot food, a cook can be severely burned.

While cooking just about any meal, tongs can replace a number of tools. They can be used to pull light hot items from the oven. They can be used as salad or pasta tongs. They can be used in lieu of a spatula for turning or spoon for stirring. Of course, they can also be used for their traditional purpose of flipping meats as well. They are a third hand that does not burn.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Alicia Bodine