Daily Dish

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Category: Test Kitchen Video Tips

Test Kitchen video tip: Choosing a bread wash

Bread recipes often call for some sort of "wash"  or glaze before baking, sometimes egg, sometimes milk. Even butter. Different washes are used to achieve different results:

  • Brushing with beaten whole eggs will give both color and sheen to a bread. Egg yolk provides rich color, browning easily in the oven. Egg white provides a nice sheen.
  • Brushing with milk will help to color the crust, the sugars in the milk helping to brown the crust.
  • Water is often sprayed or brushed onto bread before it is placed in a very hot oven, and during baking, to give the bread an extra-crisp crust. Water added to an egg wash helps to thin the wash so it brushes more easily.
  • Butter will give the bread a softer crust and richer flavor.
  • Sweeteners--honey, syrup, etc.--will give bread a sweeter, softer crust.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an e-mail at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

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Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

Video credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

Test Kitchen video tips: Measuring butter without a wrapper

You have a recipe that calls for 4 tablespoons of butter, but you're out of those nice sticks with the measure on the wrapper, and have only unmarked ends in the back of the fridge. What do you do?

Not to worry! Fill a measuring cup part-way with cold water, and drop in your butter bits until the measure reaches whatever you need. For 1/2 cup, or 8 tablespoons of butter, fill a measuring cup with, say, one cup of water. Add butter until it reaches 1 1/2 cups, and there you have it.

This trick will even work with butter that has been left out at room temperature; just make sure the water is very cold so the butter doesn't melt as it's added and measured.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

— Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Video credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

Test Kitchen video tip: Butcher's slip knot and tying a roast

Whether you're tying a roast or trussing a chicken, knowing how to tie a good knot can save you time and stress when you're preparing a big meal. This knot, often called a butcher's knot, is simple and sturdy, always good to know in the kitchen.

And while most butchers can truss a roast for you, you never know when you might need the skills in your own kitchen. Watch the video above for a quick demonstration.

For a quick demo on how it's done, click here.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

— Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Video credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times.

Test Kitchen video tips: Skimming fat with a paper towel

If you need to remove a small amount of fat from the surface of a soup, stock or other hot liquid, skim the fat using a paper towel. Gently lay a flat paper towel over the surface of the liquid, and pull it across the surface to absorb the fat. Continue until the fat is gone, using new paper towels as needed. This won't work for large amounts of fat (best to break out the ladle for that one), but is a great tip when you want to catch that last little bit on the surface of your soup.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

What's hot: Recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
Twitter/noellecarter

Video credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

Test Kitchen video tip: Cleaning tamarind pulp

I love the tart, bright flavors of tamarind. It's a perfect ingredient when you want to add a fresh "zing" to a dish. The photo above is from a recipe for salmon skewers with tamarind sauce, adapted from a recipe by Marcus Samuelsson and a favorite go-to dish when I'm grilling on a summer evening.

The flavor is magical, but tamarind can come across as a difficult ingredient if you've never used it. While seedless pulp is available at many markets, it's commonly found packaged in blocks — the pulp (or paste) is often packed with bits of seed and solids, which need to be strained before the pulp can be used.

But the method is simple:

Take a block of tamarind (14 ounces), place it in a large bowl and soak it in about 2 cups of really hot water. The hot water helps to loosen the block. Set it aside for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the block is softened and the water is cool enough to handle. Work the block with your fingers, breaking up the block and massaging the pulp to dislodge the solids. Run the pulp through a strainer, discard the solids, then cover and refrigerate the pulp until needed. This makes a generous cup of seedless pulp (amounts can vary by brand and amount of solids packed with the block), which should keep for a good week in the refrigerator.

You can increase or decrease the amount of water for soaking depending on how strong you want the finished product.

Depending on the recipe, you might also want to make tamarind liquid. We ran a recipe, along with a great story on the many uses for tamarind, a few years ago.

Enjoy!

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

What's hot: Recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
Twitter/noellecarter

Video credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

Continue reading »

Test Kitchen video tips: Brown butter for flavor

To give your dishes extra depth and richness, consider adding browned butter to the recipe.

Browned, or brown, butter (known in French as beurre noisette) works wonderfully in both sweet and savory recipes, whether you drizzle it over sauteed vegetables or fish, or fold it into cake batters or fudge. It can give a dish added complexity with its rich nuttiness when you're looking to enhance mashed potatoes, and is a perfect finishing touch for sauces, such as when you want to add some dimension to a sweet doughnut or cake glaze (as with the maple brown butter glaze recipe given below).

To brown butter, melt unsalted butter in a wide, shallow pan over medium heat, and cook until the water evaporates and the butter solids  turn a rich golden-brown (they will sink to the bottom of the pan). Whisk or stir the butter freqeuntly as it cooks so it browns evenly. Use immediately, or cool and chill until needed.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Video: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

Continue reading »

Test Kitchen video tips: Quinoa 101

Quinoa is a South American grain-like crop that is increasingly becoming popular in North American cuisine. While the leaves of the quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) plant can be cooked as a potherb, the seeds, or "grains" (while quinoa is not a true cereal, its seeds resemble and are similarly used like grains), of the plant are probably most commonly found (grains can be found at most major grocery stores), and can be cooked like rice, added to soups and stews, even popped.

Before cooking with quinoa, be sure to rinse the grains under running water; they are coated with sapopins (defensive compounds) that can give a finished dish a bitter taste if the seeds aren't rinsed before using.

For extra depth of flavor, try toasting the quinoa before cooking it. After rinsing the grains, dry them in a towel, then toast them briefly in a dry skillet until they color slightly and have a nutty aroma.

If you've never cooked quinoa before, the grains can be added to a variety of dishes, are easy to use and cook up quickly. Place the rinsed grains in boiling water (1 part seeds to 2 parts water) and cook until the quinoa is translucent and tender and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, 12 to 15 minutes (be careful not to overcook). Add the drained quinoa to salads, or flavor and serve as a side dish.

For some recipe ideas, continue reading after the jump.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
You can find me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Video: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

Continue reading »

Test Kitchen video tips: Fixing broken mayonnaise

There's something decidedly noble about making your own stuff in the kitchen, whatever it is -- spice blends, bread, cured meat. Or your own basic sauces, like mayonnaise. Try a little dab of homemade mayonnaise once -- bright with a light tang from a squeeze of fresh lemon, this custardy marvel is richer and more velvety than anything you'll find at the store -- and you may never want the jarred spread again.

And while it's not that hard to make -- combine one or two egg yolks, lemon juice, a touch of mustard, salt and then slowly whisk in a long drizzle of oil -- mayonnaise can be tricky if you don't take your time or give it the attention it deserves. Homemade mayonnaise takes some patience and care. Move too fast and your homemade mayonnaise can "break," its delicate emulsion coming undone and looking like a curdled mess.

If your mayonnaise breaks, don't worry (it's happened to all of us). It can be fixed. Grab a fresh egg yolk, and slowly beat your broken mayonnaise into the yolk. The fresh yolk will help to re-emulsify the sauce, bringing everything together and making for a smooth and happy sauce.

For a recipe for homemade mayonnaise and a quick step-by-step on how it's made, follow the jump.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
twitter.com/noellecarter

Video: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times (top); Photos: George Wilhelm / Los Angeles Times (step-by-step photos below)

Continue reading »

Test Kitchen video tips: Portion dough using an ice cream scoop

Next time you're making a batch of cookies or muffins, consider portioning the dough using an ice cream scoop. The scoop is perfect for getting consistent amounts and makes quick work of divvying up the dough.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter

twitter/noellecarter

Video: Myung Chun

Test Kitchen video tips: Cheesecloth substitutions

If you ever find out you're short on cheesecloth in the kitchen, a coffee filter or linen dish towel -- even a paper towel -- can work in a pinch. 

Line a strainer with a coffee filter or towel (linen or paper) to strain stocks and broth, and substitute a coffee filter for cheesecloth when you need a sachet. A linen dish towel (torchon) is perfect for poaching a rolled item when it needs to keep its shape.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

ALSO:

Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen

134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Noelle Carter
twitter/noellecarter

Video credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.