Holiday Kitchen Help

Happy Holidays!

This time of year we’re often spending more time in the kitchen and as a result more questions come up.  Here is a couple I’ve received recently that I thought I’d share with you.

What to Do If You’ve Added Too Much Salt to the Soup or Stew

OK . . . here’s the scenario: The recipe called for a teaspoon of salt but you misread it and added a whole

Photo from Nate Steiner

tablespoon.  What do you do??  Don’t despair – - you don’t have to throw the whole thing out.  To rescue an over-salted soup or stew here’s what I do:  I take a raw potato, wash it then quarter it and drop it into the soup or stew.  I don’t know exactly what goes on – - ya’ know the chemistry of it?  But somehow the potato actually
tempers the salt and makes it much less apparent.  It seems to actually absorb some of the brininess.  Be sure then to discard the potato before serving.

A couple of other things that seems to help when you’ve added too much salt are adding a bit of sugar, also adding a bit of tomato paste and finally adding a bit of fresh citrus juice like orange or lemon can all help gently reduce the salt in an overly salted soup or stew.  The first choice for me however is to grab a potato!

Buying and Storing Cheese

Photo from cwbuecheler

Storing cheese seems to be a universal problem for all of us.  Here are a few pointers:

Store cheese away from the fan.  The vegetable drawer is ideal.  Don’t use the “cheese compartment” that is built into the door of many refrigerators.  The constant temperature change that comes from opening and closing the door isn’t good for cheese.

Don’t wrap young, soft cheeses like Jack or soft ripening (bloomy rind) cheeses like Brie in plastic.  Plastic literally suffocates them.  Instead use parchment, waxed or butcher paper.

Hard cheeses like Parmesan, Cheddar, Swiss, which got that way because they have less moisture, should also be wrapped in breathable materials.  If however they are as dry as you like them then plastic wrap is recommended to prevent further drying.  However, remember that plastic can change flavor, so re-wrap in fresh plastic every couple of days if you have it around that long.

Fresh cheeses like Ricotta, Crème Fraiche, fresh goat cheeses and those packed in water like Mozzarella or Feta should be packed in a sealed plastic or glass containers.

Finally, don’t freeze cheese.  The results are almost always disappointing.

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