Archive for Kitchen Know How

Spice Blends – It’s All About the Flavors!

spice blendsSpice Blends- It’s all about the Flavors!

Why do I need spice blends, you are asking. My dear diy home goddesses! Ethnic cuisines have a specific flair to them. It’s not always based on the foods being made, it’s more to deal with the spices that go with it.

Yeah, people say Greek, and this diy home goddess instantly thinks of lamb and feta cheese. But, it’s also prevalent in Middle Eastern, Aussie, some French and Italian dishes. And it’s an alternative in America to ham at Easter.

A stew can host a lot of ethnic varieties, such as American, Hungarian, French, Spanish, German, Caribbean, Italian… you get the point.

Sometimes, flavor depends on the ingredients used. But the best way to bring ethnic flair to a meal is through spice blends. And it’s easy peasy to do that with staple spices you probably already have in your kitchen.

Many recipes have a list of spice ingredients. But let’s say you are a true diy home goddess, and are just throwing ingredients together to make up your own dish. Or let’s say you want rice or chicken or steak, and you want a kick instead of the same old boring, plain dish. Here’s where you can make your own spice blends and put them to good use.

If you want, you can buy packets of the spice blend or jars of it, ready to use. Or you can be a true diy home goddess and throw the combinations together with what you have in your spice rack. That way you can make the spice blend as needed. And it saves money!  Read more

Recipe Change and Substitutions

Recipe changeRecipe Change and Substitutions

My Story

Sometimes I have to do a recipe change up. Not for any specific reason other than because I want to.

I wanted a crumble, but I wanted strawberries, not apples. Could I do that?

There are times the mood strikes me to make something, and I get started. That’s when I find out I don’t have all the necessary ingredients. Half way through the preparation. It’s too late to go to the store then. So I punt and do a recipe change up.

Or the recipe has something in there I just don’t like. Or there was too much of something and not enough of something else. So I changed it.

Yes, my diy home goddesses, a recipe is not set in stone. At least for the most part. Baking, yeah, that’s a little harder to do, except for flavor profiles. But most recipes you can do what you want. Do a recipe change up!

Why Talk About Changing Recipes?

Well, let me give you the scoop. Read more

Herbs and The Herb Garden

HERB

The Herb Garden

My Story

HERB! What a wonderful thing to have. I have one of those Aero Garden things. I tried to grow herbs, but someone (I’m not saying who) over fed them, and they died rather quickly. The dill and the basil were being bullies and keeping the poor parsley herbfrom growing to its full potential, so I decided to give myself a break while I do some scientific research before I try again. This time, I will go with a custom blend of herbs, so I can control them, instead of them controlling me, and driving me mad. If you want to have a go at it yourself, here’s what I bought. I bought it at Sur La Table, but here’s the Aerogarden website if you want more options.

The best thing to start with is one or two small pots of your favorite herb. It will give your kitchen a wonderful smell, and with a set of kitchen shears I know you already have, you can add some nice depth of flavor to your meals.

Here’s a good article about using and storing fresh herbs in your kitchen, with a great infographic to put onto your pinterest account. You do have a pinterest account, don’t you?

Just remember, fresh herbs will usually last a week or two in the refrigerator. Dried will last you a good year. Keep them away from the stove and the sunlight. You can find a little more about herbs form my review on the Top Chef Lesson on Herbs here.

A Tidbit

Did you know herbs were once considered only for medicinal purposes? Are you coughing? Add rosemary. What about a stomach ache? Use mint. Basil is supposed to help you when you are feeling down. Here’s a handy chart with some basics. Luckily we have advanced, but it’s a little tidbit to file away for a party. Read more

Food Temperature – What is This All About?

Food Temperature

Food Temperatures – What is This All About?

The Story

Do you watch Hell’s Kitchen? I do, religiously. He’s always saying “It’s f*@$ing raw!” He yells at the chef contestants for attempting to serve undercooked chicken to pregnant women. He smashes fish fillets that are raw. “Touch it, it’s ice cold.” “I’m sorry, chef, it’s just a little underdone.” “Bloody hell, it’s ice cold!” It’s all about the food temperature!

It’s not for dramatic purposes. Okay, some of it is. And it does make for dramatic and entertaining television.

But, he also says this because we need to have a minimum food temperature (for any kind of protein) so it is safe for us to eat and not get sick. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to go to the hospital because of something I ate. Especially if I was the one who cooked it!

He also makes the chef contestants touch the steaks, and asks them what temperature it is. “I asked for it medium, not bloody overcooked!” he screams, as everyone in the restaurant looks on. That is because a chef learns how to know the temperature of the steak by the firmness of the meat when it is cooked (or not cooked). If it’s soft, it’s rare, but when it’s hard, it’s well done. This is sometimes done because chefs know what temperature is best for a steak, but it is also up to the customer. If they want it cremated, the chef should cook it until it is burned beyond recognition.

So learning about food temperatures is very important for cooking, for enjoyment, and for health. Read more