Thursday, May 1, 2008

A to Z of Kitchen Tips: H is for...

Hot Peppers

  • By all means, wear gloves when working with hot peppers! There's nothing worse than getting those fiery oils into a cut or in your eyes... believe me, I know. An hour after working with fresh jalapeno peppers, I blew my nose and wiped my eyes and in moments I was in a panic trying to figure out what to do to remove the burn! Sadly, I found no remedy... other than wearing gloves in the future. I even now have a special pair of goggles I wear when working with spicy peppers.

Herbs

  • When a recipe calls for dried herbs, substitute 3x the amount of fresh; when a recipe calls for fresh herbs, you can substitute 1/3 the amount of dried.

  • Plant a windowsill herb garden today for fresh herbs anytime!

  • Don't let leftover fresh herbs go to waste! Chop them up (tender stems, too!) and distribute into ice cube trays (about 2T portions), fill with water and freeze. Add to recipes as desired. The water will evaporate away, leaving all the fresh herb's flavor intact. I especially like to do this with parsley and basil--the stalks have a great deal of flavor, and are perfectly fine in soups, stews and italian sauces.

  • When adding dried herbs to a recipe, measure into your palm and rub your palms together over your bowl or saucepan--it helps to release the oils. You'll really smell that herb when you do that!

  • Another dried herb trick: add to sauteeing aromatics for the last 30 seconds--ie, when onion has become transparent. It really brings out the flavor and removes that 'dried' taste. Then add liquids or other ingredients. Not using aromatics? Gently toast dried herbs in a dry skillet over a very low flame.
I hope you'll add your H tips in the comments--I'm always looking for new and useful ideas!

Want to read more A to Z of Kitchen Tips?

A is for...
B is for...
C is for...
D is for...
E is for...
F is for...
G is for...

7 comments:

Caramella Mou said...

Hi Mrs W!

What a great idea to do. I'd never thought that if you rub dried herbs in your hands while adding to a dish would release the aromas. I know my Mum does it, but I always thought it was to reduce the size of the pieces and so I often don't bother with that. Will do now.

On freezing herbs, whenever there's cheap curly parsley and cilantro, I buy loads and whizz in my food processor, then just fill an old ice cream box each and freeze, no need for water at all. But then I do use a lot of both in my Indian dishes. Flat leaf parsley needs to be cut though, or it'll go soggy in the food processor.

Right, back to your blog to catch up n all the letters I've missed.

Thanks,

Caramella

Michele said...

On wearing gloves with chilis:

Once I trailed at a restaurant where they wanted me to julienne an entire crate of little red thai chilis.

I went straight from the restaurant to a bar where I asked for two glasses of ice water and put each hand in one of them.

It burned for THREE DAYS. -And- I didn't get the job.

Amanda said...

Caramella--that's a brilliant idea (putting the herbs in an ice cream container)!

Michele--YIKES! Three days? That's amazing... those oils are SO potent. I can't imagine having that burn for 3 days--a few hours is quite enough for me! And to not hire you after all that--the fiends!

Sam said...

I love the A-Z idea, I'll be looking out for the next one they're great!

Amanda said...

Thanks, Sam!

Johanna said...

great tips - I agree about using rubber gloves for chillis - I have had the terrible experiences of wiping your eye with chilli fingers and it is not pleasant

Amanda said...

You are so right, Johanna. Those oils stay on the skin for hours after you wash up!

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