Baking Tips 101

Baking requires a ton of patience and a lot of knowledge to make quality desserts that every one will enjoy and eat before you even get a chance to taste it.

Before anyone gets started with their baking, they should be aware of the initial steps needed to be taken before starting. Here are some cooking tips for the beginning baker:

Tip #1 – When you start out, you should read the recipe entirely before beginning to mix the ingredients. This is the most important tip because many times ingredients are divided and you need to know this ahead of time. Then, pre-heat the oven to the required temperature before placing any ingredients in it.

Tip #2 – With baking, it is very important to follow the instructions carefully. Ensure that you have adjusted the baking racks in the oven according to the instructions, set the proper temperature, using the proper baking sheets and baking containers. Then you must measure the ingredients properly according to the recipe. Dry ingredients must be leveled off in the measuring cup. The last step is to place the ingredients in the oven.

Tip #3 – It is important to understand that there are many different kinds of flour that are used in baking. Yeast bread is made from wheat flour. This is commonly known as brown bread. Then there is bread flour which is used in yeast loaves. If this is put in yeast bread it will come out as a very heavy cake. Flour used to make cake is very fine and all-purpose flour is used for almost any kind of baking. Then there are bleached and unbleached flours that can be used interchangeably. Baking flour should be stored in airtight containers in a place that is cool and dry, but never ore than 6 months.

Tip #4 – Apart from flour you will have to get used to using baking powder. Baking powder will help your cakes and other desserts rise.

Good luck baking! With each dessert you bake, you will improve your baking skills.

Try this delicious and easy pumpkin pie recipe.

Corn Chowder Versus Clam Chowder

I absolutely love corn chowder…even more than clam chowder. When I think of chowder, I think of corn chowder, not clam chowder. Nothing beats a really great corn chowder. Although, clam chowder in Boston is pretty darn good. I really love the subtle sweet taste of corn and when you add it to a creamy soup, it’s absolutely delicious. If you disagree with me, try this corn chowder recipe out.

Ingredients: 6 Potatoes – Red, 2 (11 oz) Cans of Corn, 1/2 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper, 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion, 1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes, Salt, to taste, 2 Cups Vegetable Broth, 1 (12 oz) Package Tofu.

Cooking Directions:

1. Place the red potatoes in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until the red potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes; drain.

2. To the potatoes add corn, bell pepper, onion, red pepper flakes and vegetable broth. Boil for about 15 minutes; remove from heat.

3. In a food processor or blender puree all but 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable and broth mixture with the tofu. Process in batches if necessary. Combine the pureed mixture with the remaining 1 1/2 cups vegetable and broth mixture, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes; do not boil. Season with salt to taste.

This recipe is super simple and once you make it for your family, they’ll be begging you to make it again. Just be sure not to tell them how easy it is.

Here is my number 1 tip for making chowders: Always start out with a slice or two of salt-pork. Render it in the soup pot by adding a little water and then browning slowly. When you add your onion and celery with some stock it will deglaze and add tremendous flavor. Keep it in the pot throughout the cooking and remove before serving. It is a MUST, and keeping your remaining salt pork in the freezer will put it at your fingertips throughout the soup season.

Try this delicious corn chowder recipe and eat it with this great chicken marsala recipe.

Four Foods On Friday

Ok, so I have really slacked on the Four Foods On Friday meme.  However, I am back for this week.  Here are my answers, but feel free to play along also.

#1. Are your Kitchen utensils nylon, silicone, wood or other?

Honestly, I have some of all of them.

#2. Do you prefer dishes washed in a dishwasher or by hand?

Dishwasher.  I cannot stand washing dishes by hand.

#3. How many sets of dishes do you have?

2.  I have an extra set in the attic for when we have parties with everybody.
#4. Share a recipe that calls for only one pot or pan.

Ravioli Bake

1 jar (16 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (10 oz) beef broth
1/4 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
24 oz of frozen ravioli (you can use fresh also)
1 cup Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Combine spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, broth, and dressing in a 13×9 baking dish. Add ravioli and toss to coat. Cover with foil.

Bake 50 minutes or until ravioli is tender.

Remove foil and stir. Sprinkle with cheese and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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