Lessons Learned: Tips from the Fall Seasonal Cooking Class Series

Well I must admit that it has taken quite some time to put this list together. Oh the other hand, I have been putting these tips to good use in my own kitchen!

TOP FIVE TIPS

#1. The RIGHT way to boil an egg (who knew there was a right way?!): Using an appropriate size pot (according to the number of eggs you are boiling), add eggs and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil. When the water reaches a boil, turn off the burner and put a lid on the pot. Leave the pot covered for 3 minutes if you like a soft egg, 5 minutes if you like a medium egg, and 7 minutes if you like a hard boiled egg. Ta da! The perfect boiled egg!

#2. The standard food prep order: Begin by preparing dessert. Dessert often needs to bake, set or cool before serving. Next, tackle the entrée. Finally, prep your appetizer. Most appetizers are designed to be made and served immediately.

#3. To boil or not to boil: When boiling vegetable on the stovetop, remember that all root vegetables can be added to your pot from the start – meaning you don’t have to wait for your water to boil before adding the vegetables. On the other hand, green veggies should be added to a pot of boiling water.

#4. The many challenges of a pie crust: While pastry tends to cause trouble for even seasoned foodies, this tip is foolproof. Once you have made your dough and rolled it out, it’s time to place it gently into the pie plate – NOT as easy as it sounds. Well, place two pieces of wax paper on your counter surface and roll out your pastry between them. Remove the top piece of wax paper and lift your pastry by placing one hand under the bottom piece of wax paper. Gently flip the pastry over and lay it into the pie plate. Finally, remove the second piece of wax paper which is now on top of the pastry. This tip has completely changed my opinion on pie!

#5. A few tricks for peeling beets: (First, accept and embrace that your hands will soon be purple!) Boil your beets with the skins on – no need to scrub but do trim the top and bottom of the beet slightly. [As noted above (tip #3), bring your water to a boil with the beets already in the pot.] Once your beets are cooked (approx. 40 minutes), drain off the water. Now submerge your beets in cold water. Rub your fingers over the skin of the beets and the peel will simply fall off. Easy!

Okay, I know I said five but I have one more useful tip to share!

#6. Cutting techniques: This tip is not easy to share in text format but it is a good one so I’ll try my best to explain. When slicing your vegetables – especially when slicing things into small pieces—use your knuckles to guide your knife and protect your fingers. Take a look:

There are a number of local food workshops coming up. Check out the Ecology Action Centre website (www.ecologyaction.ca) for information on upcoming classes, including a Valentine’s Day class and a pizza and bread making workshop.

Yours in food, Keltie

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