Trucchi – hints and tricks in the kitchen

Red onions can be livened by marinating in citrus juice. They become less astringent and develop a sweet and sour taste. Place sliced red onions in lime, lemon or orange juice and let sit one hour. Use for salads, sandwiches or as an accompaniment to other dishes.

For more mellow garlic flavors, place the whole garlic cloves in a pot and cover with olive oil. Simmer on a low flame until tender. The garlic will become sweet, and can be used in vinaigrettes, mashed potatoes, or to finish pasta.

To remove labels off glassware, etc. rub with OO.

To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

If you accidentally over salt a dish while it is still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt.

Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

Place an apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it.

To determine if an egg is fresh, immerse it in a bowl of water. If it sinks it’s fresh, but if it rises to the surface, throw it away.

If you are sure that you are not going to use that leftover wine, freeze it into ice cubes for future use in sauces.

When grating citrus rinds, put a piece of parchment on the grater. As you grate the rind the citrus remains on the paper, instead of in the grater holes, making it easy to remove.

If a cork falls into your wine bottle, just insert the handle of a wooden spoon to keep the cork from blocking the flow of wine out of the neck of the bottle.

If you are cooking octopus or a stew/braise of not so tender cut of meat, add a couple of real wine corks to the casserole. The cork will tenderize the meat and cut down on your cooking time. Don’t forget to remove the corks before serving.

The remove the skin from nuts –- spray them with a bit of water and bake in a 350°F oven for 5 min. The steam formed by the water will loosen the skin and make it fall off the nuts.

For a richer risotto, place the rinds of Parmigiano Reggiano in the broth being used to cook the risotto. The result is a more intense cheese flavor in the dish.

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