What Are Aji Dulces & How To Use Them

What Are Aji Dulces & How To Use Them

Ají dulce, ají cachucha, quechucha, ajicito, or ají gustoso as it is known throughout Latin America and the Caribbeans is a variety of sweet perennial peppers.

The pepper or chili is native to the Yucatan Peninsula of Central America and Caribbean islands.

It is most widely known in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominion Republic, and Venezuela, where it refers to a specific native variety of Capsicum chinense that is related to the habanero but with a much milder, smoky flavor.

Where English is spoken in the Caribbean, the sweet chili is known as seasoning pepper and is essential to a variety of traditional dishes.

In Puerto Rico, where the chili is called Ají dulce, is an essential chili as well. It is used as a condiment of Puerto Rican cuisine called “sofrito.” Sofrito is the base of many prepared dishes.

The Meaning Of Aji Dulce Throughout Latin American

Throughout Latin America, ají means “chili pepper” and dulce means “sweet.”

Cachucha is a Latin American word for cap, so ají cachucha means “cap chili pepper” and refers to its cap-like shape.

Gustoso means tasty, so ají gustoso translates to “tasty chili pepper”.

Ajicito is the diminutive of ají and translates to “little chili pepper.”

The bottom line is, it’s a sweet chili pepper.

What A Aji Dulce Looks Like

Ají Dulce peppers widely vary in appearance depending on the climate, soil, and region they are grown in.

The pods can be squat, wrinkled, and hat-like, or they can be oblong to round in shape, averaging from 2-4 inches long and 1/2 inches to 3 inches wide.

When the peppers are young they have hues of light to dark green and as it matures, it transforms to orange-yellow, and then red.

Underneath the skin, the flesh matches the exterior part, depending on maturity.

They contain seeds that are flat, round and cream-colored.

Ají Dulce chile peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in the summer through fall.

If you can not find them in the produce section of your local supermarket, check with your local Hispanic markets.

During the summer you should be able to find them in local farmers markets.


Read And Learn More About Cooking With Chilies


How To Use Aji Dulce

Ají Dulce chile peppers have mild heat and are aromatic with a sweet, fruity, and smoky flavor.

The chile pepper is used both in raw and cooked applications. Which includes sautéing, roasting, and stewing.

Roasted Aji Dulce – Image Credit Bizcochos y Sancochos

They are most commonly chopped and used in sofrito. It is a savory sauce base made up of bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and cilantro.

Sofrito – Image Credit: EATGORDAEAT

The peppers are also used to flavor sautéed vegetables, summer salads, meat dishes, stews, soups, rice, and bean dishes.

As they are a mild chili, they are used to flavor mild salsas, herbal vinegars, paprika, and sauces.

They pair well with potatoes, green lentils, olives, rice, beans and herbs such as cilantro, oregano, parsley, and rosemary.

Scramble Eggs With Aji Dulce Peppers
Scramble Eggs With Aji Dulce Peppers

Ají Dulce chile peppers can also elevate your scrambled eggs. The peppers scramble well with eggs, Smoked Gouda cheese, bacon, shallots, bell pepper, and Anaheim chilies.


Read More About The Different Ways To Cook Eggs


Where To Find Aji Dulces

Ají Dulce chile peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in summer and fall months.

If you can not find them in the produce section of your local supermarket, check with your local Hispanic markets.

During the summer you should be able to find them in local farmers markets.

Pickle Aji Dulces Using This Recipe – Pickled Mini Sweet Peppers

And if you are an avid vegetable gardener, seeds can be found on Etsy, eBay or Amazon.

They will keep up to one week after harvest when stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator.


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Know Your Herbs – Spices & How To Cook With Them

Know Your Herbs – Spices & How To Cook With Them

This article will cover the basics of knowing your herbs and spices and how to cook with them.

Herbs and spices are a treasure chest of zesty, sweet, savory and spicy flavors. These flavors fresh or dried impart flavor to any cooked dish or baked good they are used in.

One of the best qualities of herbs and spices is the variety of flavors you can add to foods without adding salt.

Some of these flavors include turmeric (a blend of spices), cayenne pepper, ginger, paprika, garlic, lemon juice or zest, black pepper, dill, Rosemary, coriander, cilantro, Sage, tarragon, and cinnamon.

Examples of fresh or dried herbs used in recipes include among others: basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, sage and dill weed.

Note that for each of these plants, the herb is the green leafy part.

Herbs Used To Flavor Food

As for spices they include any other part of the plant, but not including the leaf.

Spices include dried bark (cinnamon), seeds (cardamom), flower buds (cloves), the roots (ginger), dried berries (allspice) and twigs or just about any part of the plant, but again, not including the leaf.

Take note that spices are used in dried form while herbs can be used either fresh or dried.

How To Cook With Herbs & Spices

When a recipe calls for a type of herb, be sure to use it in the form it is called for. Either fresh or dried.

Dried herbs and spices which are particularly resistant to heat and prolonged cooking are typically used in roasting and baking.

Dried herbs are typically add at the beginning of the cooking process so as to impart flavor while cooking.

On the other hand, when herbs are fresh, they are typically added just as the cooking has been completed.

Fresh herbs are more vulnerable to heat. To much exposure to heat will kill the flavors.

Fresh herbs bring brightness and fresh flavor to a recipe. They are used more typically were no cooking or use of heat is involved.

Fresh herbs can be used in salads, to make sauces, like pesto sauce, and dressings or vinaigrette’s.

Melon Berry Fruit Salad with a Mint-Lime Dressing
Melon Berry Fruit Salad with a Mint-Lime Dressing

The most common dried herbs used include: oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, cumin, bay leaf, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg among others.

Cinnamon is a common spice used in both cooked and baked dishes.

Like these recipes.


Read More Here About – Cooking With Cinnamon


Where as the most common fresh herbs used are: basil, mint, cilantro, parsley and dill weed.

Garnishing With Herbs & Spices

Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice 
Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice

Other recipes may ask for a teaspoon or two of chopped parsley, cilantro, mint or basil to be sprinkled over the food at the end of cooking to bring some fresh flavor to the dish.

Dried spices can also be used as a garnish such as cinnamon, nutmeg and paprika.

This information is basic, but the idea is herbs and spices (dried or fresh) will significantly elevate the flavor of your dish.

Read more here about How To Spice Things Up When Cooking.


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What To Know When Baking Cookies

What To Know When Baking Cookies

Cookies are often one of the first desserts we’re taught to make as children, and they’re always the first to disappear at a picnic, brunch or bake sale.

Cookies are very popular and easy to make. They are also a great treat to enjoy with family and friends.

Surprisingly, the cookie has a very long history and is loved by millions. The word cookie is Dutch in origin and is related to the word cake.

Cookies though are not of Dutch origin. The exact origins of cookies can be traced to Persia in the 7th century who were cultivators of sugar.

The cultivation of sugar led to the creation of pastries, cakes, and cookies of all sorts, which Persia quickly became known for.

At that time, Muslims had conquered parts of Europe, bringing cookies with them. This staple dessert spread all across Europe.

Cookies could even be found both with street vendors and royal cuisine in 14th century Europe as they were very common and popular.

Sizes & Shapes Of Cookies

Cookies are broadly classified according to how they are formed or made, including at least these categories:

Bar Cookies

The bar cookie is batter that is poured into a single pan and cut into cookie-sized pieces after baking.

Examples of bar cookies include fudgey and cakey brownies, lemon bars, blondies, oatmeal bars, fruit bars, nut bars, and date bars.

Bar cookie recipes tend to be moister, as there are extra eggs or shortening added that are lacking in traditional cookie recipes.

Pecan Praline Bar Cookies

Bar cookies can bear similarity to tarts and pastries, featuring layers for different textures.

Many of these start with a shortbread base, like the Pecan Praline Bar Cookies featured above (follow link in image to find recipe).

Sandwich Cookies

A sandwich cookie is made from two thin cookies of small to large is circular size with a filling between them.

Many types of fillings are used and can include, cream, ganache, buttercream, chocolate, cream cheese, jam, peanut butter, lemon curd, and even ice cream.

Drop Cookies

Drop cookies are made from a relatively soft dough that is dropped by spoonfuls (typically 1-2 ounces of cookie dough) onto the baking sheet. During baking, the mounds of dough spread and flatten.

Drop Cookies Made With Pecans & Chocolate Toffee Bits

Drop cookies include chocolate chip, peanut butter or oatmeal cookies among many others.

The Cookie Scoop

To make cookies is to mix, scoop, bake and serve. But are all your cookies evenly sized? If not, then you may need a cookie scoop.

A cookie scoop is a handheld kitchen tool that is spring-loaded. It scoops uniform sizes of dough that helps maintain size consistency and even baking of cookies.

How To Scoop The Perfect Cookie

All cookie dough recipes are not the same, as each recipe has its own ingredient ratio.

Some cookie dough recipes have a higher butter content and lower flour content, which makes the dough spread out more.

Where as a recipe with lower butter content and higher flour content, the dough doesn’t spread out as far.

So it’s a good idea to remember not to treat your cookie scoop sizes the same for every recipe.

First bake a practice round of cookies, just two scoops of dough dropped onto a cookie sheet and baked to see how much they spread and if you like the size of the finished cookies.

Cookie Scoops

Depending on the size cookie you want will determine what size scoop to use.

As an example. If you are making cookies for ice cream sandwiches, then you will need a large cookie scoop. A large scoop holds about 4 – 5 tablespoons of dough or about 2-3 ounces.

Top Right Cookies Used A Large Scoop To Make Ice Cream Sandwiches – Bottom Right Cookies Used A Small Scoop For Average Size Drop Cookies

If you want to make drop cookies than a small (1.5 tbsp.) or medium (2.8 tbsp.) scoop will work. These two sizes make the typical size or average size cookie.

Using a cookie scoop will give you a uniformed size cookie that you want every time.

Cookie Baking Tips

Here are a few tips to follow when baking cookies.

  1. Use only the freshest ingredients whenever possible.
  2. Unless the recipe specifies, large eggs are the standard eggs to use in a cookie recipe.
  3. It’s best not to use substitute fats. If the recipe calls for butter, then use butter.
  4. Make sure you measure your ingredients properly.
  5. Keep the dough chilled in between baking batches of cookies.
  6. Use parchment paper to prevent your cookie baking pan from becoming greasy between batches.

More cookie information.


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Different Ways To Cook Eggs

Different Ways To Cook Eggs

If you were to eat a three-egg omelet every morning, you would have eaten roughly 1,095 eggs in a year.

The average American eats 250 eggs per year, which translates to a total annual consumption of 76.5 billion eggs.

Eggs are packed with protein and are a truly versatile food that can be cooked in many ways.

Here are just a few of the most popular methods with recipes included. So let’s crack into it.

Shirred Eggs

Shirred eggs, also referred to as baked eggs, are eggs that have been baked in a flat-bottomed dish.

The name “shirrrd eggs,” originates from the cooking vessel in which the eggs were traditionally baked. The vessel or dish was called a shirrer.

Shirred eggs are considered a simple and reliable dish as it is very versatile. The recipe is easily varied and expanded upon.

An alternative way of cooking shirred eggs is in individual ramekins, cook in a water bath, creating the French dish eggs en cocotte.

Instant Pot Eggs en Cocotte – French Baked Eggs
Instant Pot Eggs en Cocotte – French Baked Eggs

Sunny-Side Up

The first known use of the phrase sunny-side up was used in 1887.

A sunny-side up in culinary terms is an egg cooked on one side.

In other words, it is an egg, fried in a pan with butter or oil on one side so that the yolk remains runny on the top.

After the egg is cooked, the round yellow yolk gives a sun-like appearance, hence the name.

Usually it takes about 2 to 3 minutes to a cook a sunny-side in a skillet on medium low heat.

But there is a faster way.

Place the skillet over a medium-high heat. Add butter and melt.

Lid Removed After One Minute

Next, crack egg over butter. Add 1 tablespoon of water and place a small lid over egg for 1 minute.

Sunny-side Eggs Served With Different Dishes

When egg is done, remove from heat and slide onto a plate.

What video here on How To Make The Perfect Egg In One Minute.

Sunny-side up eggs make great Eggs Rancheros

Poached Eggs

A poached egg is an egg that has been cooked, outside the shell, by poaching, as opposed to simmering or boiling.

This method of preparation can yield more delicately cooked eggs than cooking at higher temperatures such as with boiling water.

How To Poach Eggs

This is the traditional way to make poached eggs on the stovetop.

1. Use Fresh Eggs

Egg whites turn runny with age, so the fresher the egg, the firmer the whites. Make sure to check the date on the carton before you buy.

2. Use A Ramekin

Crack each egg into a using a small ramekin to crack one egg into, will be easier to see and remove any bits of egg shell.

Also if the yolk ends up cracking you can dispose of the egg without dirtying your poaching water.

The bowl also makes it easier to slip the egg into the water gently, so it stays in one piece.

3. Add A Splash Of Vinegar

Adding vinegar to the water helps keep the whites together. It also firms up the proteins on the outer surface of the egg, making the egg rounder and the white less wispy.

No need to season the egg. Just add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart of water and a splash of white vinegar (about 1/8 teaspoon).

Alternatively, you can use a small skillet to poach eggs in. Add 3 cups of water, boil, then lower heat to simmer. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a splash of white vinegar.

4. Do Not Drop The Egg Into The Boiling Water

Dropping a raw egg into boiling water is the recipe for scrambled egg soup.

Get the water hot by bringing it to a boil over high heat. Next, lower the heat until the water is just barely simmering. Gently simmering water keeps your eggs together.

5. Set Timer

Poached eggs cook fast. egg. About 2-3 minutes for soft poached and about 4 minutes for medium to firm yolks.

For hard poached eggs, bump the cook time up to 5 minutes.

6. Dry Before Serving

Remove the eggs from the poaching water with a slotted spoon so the water can drain off.

Then, blot the bottom of the spoon with a clean kitchen towel to remove any remaining water.

Poached eggs are great for making Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce.

Read more here for Tips For Working With Eggs In The Kitchen.


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What’s To Know About The Rice You Plate

What’s To Know About The Rice You Plate

Rice is a cereal grain, and is the most widely consumed food source to over half of the world’s population. Especially in the Asian and African continents.

There are at least 120,000 varieties of rice worldwide. With so many varieties, it lends itself to an endless number of recipes.

Origins Of Rice & How It’s Cultivated

Rice originates in tropical lowlands, though today it is cultivated in many different regions across the world.

These regions include, many parts of Asia, northern India, Pakistan, the foothills of the Himalayas, the Middle East, Australia, North America and Spain.

Growing rice requires a long, warm growing season. The grain is usually grown in paddies or rice fields, which are flooded with water to keep the roots of the rice moist.

Most rice is sold white though at harvest it is brown.

White rice has been milled to remove the bran and germ, then polished.

Brown rice sold on the market contains all of its parts the bran, germ, and endosperm.

The following are the most common rice varieties found at the supplement or Asian markets.

Arborio

Arborio is a medium-grain white rice that’s the most common variety used for risotto. Its grains are quite plump, which is why you’ll sometimes see it referred to as short-grain rice.

Because of its tendency to be creamy, Arborio isn’t typically served on its own as a side dish, but rather used for dishes where its texture is welcomed, such as risotto or this Mango Coconut Rice Pudding.

Pumpkin Pecan Risotto With Dried Cranberries & Goat Cheese

Cooked risotto (made with Arborio rice) will lastin the refrigerator for up to five days. If the risotto contains meat, it will keep for up to three days. We don’t advise freezing risotto because the texture could become grainy.

Basmati

Because of its fragrant aroma and fluffy texture, basmati is one of the more popular long-grain rices.

The grains are long and slender, and has a fluffy texture with very little stickiness.

It’s ideal for eating with Asian fried rice dishes or as a base for saucy dishes, like curries or beans and rice. Like this Chorizo & Rice with Garbanzo Beans.

Asian Style Broccoli & Pork Fried Rice

Jasmine

Jasmine is a long-grain rice and is a favorite multi-purpose rice. You’ll find jasmine in stir-fries, congee, and rice puddings.

Brown Rice

Brown rice contains all parts of the seed — the bran, germ, and endosperm.

There are long, medium and short-grain variations of brown rice, with the long-grain variety typically sold more often.

You can also find brown basmati and brown jasmine rice.

Give these dishes a try that are accompanied with brown rice.

Wild rice

Wild rice isn’t rice at all, but a rather delicious seed native to North America.

Wild rice grows in lakes, tidal rivers, and bays and has been growing in this continent for millennia. The Great Lakes region, Minnesota, and Idaho are some of the areas you’ll find this annual plant grown and harvested.

Although it cooks like rice, it takes a little longer, has a stronger flavor, and can cost a little more at the grocery store.

close up of Shrimp and Snap Pea Str-Fry
Try This Dish Served Over Wild Rice & Red Barley – Shrimp and Snap Pea Stir-Fry

Parboiled Rice

Some may question, if par-boiled rice isn’t a variety? Typically, no.

Parboiling rice is a cooking method rather than a variety of rice.

Parboiled rice is rice that has been partially boiled in its inedible outer husk.

This process improves the texture of the rice, cuts down on cooking time, and saves some of the original vitamins and minerals found in the rice.

Cooking With The Right Rice

Another question is if it matters what size rice you cook with? Great question and yes if matters.

The grain size affects the texture of the rice, therefore long grain, medium grain, and short grain rice are all used for different cooking applications.

Long Grain Rice

Long grain white rice is most common rice used in traditional American recipes, and it’s also popular in Asian and Mexican cuisine.

Long grain is commonly used to make Asian rice bowls, pilafs, casseroles, and stir-fries.

It has a mild flavor and a lighter, fluffy texture that separates when cooked.

Medium Grain Rice

Medium grain rice is chewy, tender, and had a slightly sticky texture when cooked.

Medium grain is commonly used to make paella, side dishes and this Bacon and Spring Pea Risotto.

Short Grain Rice

Short grain rice is soft, tender, and has a sticky texture when cooked.

Short grain rice is commonly used to make sushi, poke bowls, and rice balls.


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What Is Arugula & How To Use It

What Is Arugula & How To Use It

Arugula is a leafy green vegetable that is associated with cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and mustard greens.

The leafy green has a pretty distinct appearance. It’s comparable to the spiky leaves at the base of dandelion plants.

The leaves in an arugula plant have several bumps on either side.

Raw arugula is similar to spinach in texture, but it has longer stalks and more delicate leaves.

What Is Arugula & How To Use It
Left To Right Is Baby Arugula & Mature Arugula

Most arugula purchased at market are small, soft leaves, about 2 inches long (referred to as Baby Arugula).

Harvested mature leaves can be as big as 4 – 6 inches and have a more peppery taste.

Scientifically arugula is considered a cruciferous vegetable. There little leaves are noted for their spicy, peppery flavor that adds a boost to any dish.

Because of its peppery flavor, arugula is generally mixed with other salad greens like spinach or a spring mix.

But you can do so much more with it than just a typical side salad.

How To Use Arugula

Arugula is most commonly served raw in salads alongside other greens. But that’s not all.

It can also be used with pesto, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas and even on a Avocado & Egg Toast.

It also pairs deliciously with fish. Like this Cast Iron Seared & Broiled Salmon With A Fruit Herb Salsa.
It’s peppery flavor makes an excellent pairing with tart citrus, like this Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad.

How To Store Arugula

Wrap bunched or loose arugula in paper towels and store in a plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator.

The greens will keep for 2 – 3 days. Don’t wash until just before using.

Bagged arugula will often keep, unopened, for up to five days. But once opened, use the greens within a few of days.

Cooked arugula will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator. Freezing arugula is not recommended.


More Favorite Arugula Recipes


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Cooking & Baking With Honey

Cooking & Baking With Honey

Honey can be challenging to cook with for several reasons. So many people may not cook with it because they don’t know how.

But once you know how to use honey in your favorite kitchen creations, it’s not hard at all to use.

Over Coming The Challenges Of Cooking With Honey

The first challenge that honey presents is that it burns easier than sugar does.

This problem is usually eliminated by doing your cooking or baking at a slightly lower heat.

To prevent burning lower the temperature 25 degrees than what the recipe calls for.

The main hurdle to cooking with honey is that it is a liquid. Though it is thick, it is still a liquid.


Read More And Learn The Alternative Cooking Methods to Frying Food – with recipes


Replacing Sugar With Honey

Replacing sugar with honey will ruin some recipes if you don’t make an allowance for the extra liquid that honey adds.

Reduce other liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup for every 1 cup of honey used.

Also when replacing sugar with honey, it will be equal amounts. That is, 1 cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar.

With most muffins, simple quick breads, and yeast breads, you can make the substitution without any adjustment to the other ingredients.

With cakes and cookie recipes, you should decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe to account for the honey.

Honey is also very easy to use in pies. Since they are already somewhat liquid, you can replace the sugar with honey.

If the pie filling seems too runny, just add a little extra thickener before you pour it in your pie shell.

Flavor Profile & Sweetness Of Honey

The flavor of honey can sometimes be an issue. All flowers that are pollenated by honey bees have different flavor profiles.

Examples of differing flavors are clover, orange, raspberry or lavender blossoms among others.

Depending on how sweet you want your recipe to be try one of the following :

1. Darker honey for a sweeter, more potent flavor.

Differing Colors Of Honey

2. Lighter-colored honey for a more subtle flavor.

Acidity Of Honey

To cut the acidity of honey you can mix in 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for every one cup of honey if baking soda is not already included in the recipe.

According to The HoneyBee Hobbyist, honey is acidic and has a pH range as low as 3.4 and as high as 6.1 on the pH scale.

The pH of honey, on average, is 3.9. What determines the acidity of honey is the floral source from which the bees collect the nectar.

How To Measure & Store Honey

To prevent the honey sticking to the measuring spoon or cups, lubricate the spoons and cups with water, oil or egg white. This will facilitate easy and accurate measurements of honey.

When shopping for honey just remember that a 12-ounce jar of honey is equivalent to an 8-ounce cup for liquid measurements.

Store your honey in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing any moisture outside the container and from crystalizing.

Accordingly bee keepers, the temperature you store honey at can affect the pace of this process. Temperatures around 57 degrees Fahrenheit makes honey crystallize faster.

It will also help keep the honey indefinitely. Keep the honey at room temperature to facilitate use in cooking and baking, as refrigerated honey can thicken.


Type – Honey – in the search box below for recipes.


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Cooking A Savory Stir-Fry – with recipes

Cooking A Savory Stir-Fry

Looking for a fast and easy meals to make – a stir-fry is that meal.

Stir-fries are quick, easy, and very versatile. All you need to do is learn the basics of putting together a great stir-fry.

A delicious stir-fry is typically prepared with four important ingredients. These include one pound of protein, two pounds of vegetables and a basic stir-fry sauce.

You can add spices and herbs to change the flavor profile of the dish as well.

Some stir-fries can include rice noodles, wheat noodles or spiraled vegetable noodles – like these dishes.

Stir-Frying With A Wok

A stir-fry is typically made in a Wok. Using a wok is a great cooking method as it cooks food without having to add a lot of oil.

Different Types Of Woks

A wok is built to heat up in such a way that food cooks fast, meats get a nice sear and vegetables cook quickly so they are not overcooked and retain their flavor.

If you don’t have a Wok, no problem. You can add some oil to a cast iron, hard anodized or ceramic coated skillet. Just make sure the skillet you choose is really hot before adding your ingredients.

Using The Right Oil

A stir-fry needs a cooking oil that has a high smoking point because of the high temperature of frying.


– Read More Here About The Smoke Point of Oils


Asian cooks typically use soybean oil, vegetable oil or peanut oil, all of which have a high smoke point.

Peanut oil usually has a pleasant nutty flavor and is suitable not only for stir-frying but also for deep-frying. Peanut oil can be heated to 450 F/232 C without burning.

Canola oil, which has a high smoke point to 400 F/204 C, and has a neutral flavor. If you burn this oil, it does have a rancid flavor.

Other types of oil you can use are refined coconut oil (450 F/232 C) or avocado oil (500 F/260 C). Both when refined for high heat cooking have a neutral flavor.

Oils to avoid include extra-virgin olive, or sesame oil, as both have a low smoke point.

Also avoid using butter or shortening.


You Can Also Use Your Neutral Flavor Avocado Oil To Make Homemade Mayonnaise


Making A Stir-Fry

A stir-fry cooks fast and uses high heat. Therefore, it is very important to cut your ingredients into thin small pieces.

Sweet & Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

Also have everything prepared before heating the oil. Once the oil is hot, you’ll want to stir-fry quickly at high heat.

If you are adding meat, either beef or poultry, cook it first and then set it aside. You will add it back to the wok or skillet once the vegetables are cooked and the sauce is added.

Simple and Easy Beef Stir-Fry with Coconut Milk

Add ingredients based on the amount of time they need to cook. Broccoli or carrots for example, should go into the wok or skillet before the scallions.

Keep your stir-fry moving. If you allow it to sit, you’ll end up with something closer to a stew.

Pork & Green Bean Stir-Fry With Sweet Potato Fried Rice

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How To Use Avocados In Your Culinary Adventures

How To Use Avocados In Your Culinary Adventures

Avocados are a popular vegetable, though their actually a fruit. They can enrich just about any dish, as avocados are a versatile food.

Avocados have several descriptive words to explain its flavor. Such as a creamy, buttery, and smooth fruit, with distinctive colors like bright yellow and green.

Their aroma can be described as floral, green, grassy, freshness, and earthy. The texture of the fruit is a butter rich melt in your mouth taste and feeling.

California (USA) takes the lead as the producer of domestic avocados and home to about 90% of the nation’s crop.

San Diego Avocado Groves

Most avocados are harvested on about 50,000 acres. Which includes avocado farms from Monterey through San Diego by nearly 3,000 growers. Both Ventura and San Diego are at the top of the list for producing the larger harvests.

Chicken Avocado and Watercress Salad

A single avocado tree can produce up to 200 pounds of fresh fruit each year. That’s about 500 pieces fruit, although most average around 60 pounds or 150 pieces of fruit.

How To Pit An Avocado

Pitting an avocado is not hard at all. As a matter of fact you can become a pro in no time once you know the technique.

Place the avocado on a work surface. Make a lengthwise cut, slicing until the blade hits the pit. Hold the knife steady and rotate the avocado, cutting around the pit.

Pick up the fruit and give it a twist. The two halves should come right apart.

Removing An Avocado Put

Hold the avocado half with the pit in it. Carefully whack the knife into the pit, then twist and lift it out. Pop off the pit by scraping the edge of the knife on the trash can or sink.

If you do not trust your knife skills just jet, no problem.

Place the avocado on a work surface. Make a lengthwise cut, slicing until the blade hits the pit. Hold the knife steady and rotate the avocado, cutting around the pit.

Pick up the fruit and twist. Pop out the pit using a tablespoon.

How To Use Avocados

Avocados can be added to many recipes to give your meals a nutritional boost. 

Just 1 ounce (28 grams) provides good amounts of healthy fats, fiber, and protein.

A pureed avocado can help to meld flavors and smooth out sauces, while at the same time adding nutrients to your meal. Pureed avocados work well to make creamy salad dressings, or even desserts as a mousse or pudding.

From spicy to savory creations, mashed avocado is a terrific topper for toast – like this Avocado & Egg Toast.

Not only is it a toast topper, mashed avocados make amazing always appetizing Authentic Guacamole.

The simplest way to enjoy avocados is by sprinkling them with a pinch of salt and pepper.

You can also try other seasonings like paprika, cayenne pepper, balsamic vinegar, or citrus juice, like lime or lemon.

A quick way to season an avocado is to cut it into chunks and drizzle it with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, and salt.

You can also stuff each half of the avocado with ingredients like tuna, chicken, vegetables and fruits.

And add toppings like crumbled, cooked bacon, fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, and cayenne pepper.

South Of The Border Chicken Tortilla Soup – Topped With Abocado Chunks Among Other Toppings

Slice and cut the avocado into chunks to use as a topping for soups or to use in salads.

Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad

As note at the start, avocados are versatile as they are very easy to incorporate into recipes. As they can contribute both texture and color.

Try making this Homemade Mayonnaise with Avocado Oil.


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How To Cook Dried Beans – with recipes

Pulses are a versatile food that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

They can be a main dish, a side dish or a healthy ingredient in baked goods, snacks and even beverages.

They come in many shapes, sizes and colors, but the most common ones are lentils, chickpeas, beans and peas.

Beans or pulses, when dried, are nutrient-dense, low in fat, high in fiber and packed with protein.

For dried beans to be edible, the moisture lost in the process of drying them must be restored.

This is done simply by soaking them in water. But soaking beans before cooking them is just half the battle.

Water alone can effect the texture of the pulse, making them mushy and bland.

The following is a guideline on how to prepare your beans before cooking them, when to and not to add flavor and how long to cook them.


Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

How To Prepare Dried Beans For Cooking

Clean and Rinse Beans

It’s a good idea to rinse and pick over the beans. Because there could be dirt and pebbles from the field and dust from the silo and who knows what else from the markets bulk bin.

Therefore, giving dried pulses a quick rinse with cold water and then a quick look for any bits of rock or other debris hidden in with the beans can prevent ingesting anything that could make you sick.

Soak Your Beans

Soaking pulses before hand can reduce cooking time, by up to 30 minutes.

For the creamiest, most flavorful beans, season your bean-soaking water with one tablespoon of Himalayan salt per quart of water.

Adding some salt to the water will not only help with flavor, but also can stop pulses from becoming waterlogged and mushy.

It is best to use a non-metallic bowl to avoid any metallic taste from migrating to the beans

According to the authors of “Science of Cooking” – soaking pulses in water only, increases the size by 120%, making for mushy beans. But adding salt increases the beans size by only 80%.

As the salt penetrates the bean, it helps to destabilize the tough pectin like glue that holds the cells together. This destabilizing process helps to cook them quicker and more evenly.

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Brining isn’t just for meat says Cook’s Illustrated. When you soak dried beans in salted water, they cook up with softer skins.

According to Cook’s Illustrated, when unsalted beans cook, their interiors can end up swelling faster than their skins can keep up with, resulting in skins that rupture instead of enlarging along with the rest of the bean.

Read More About What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt

Salted beans on the other hand, will grow proportionally, resulting in tender, creamy, intact beans that are well seasoned throughout.

For most varieties, you need to soak them for 8 hours and then cook them for 30-60 minutes.

After you soak them, rinse the beans with fresh water before cooking, then add a pinch of salt to the cooking water as well.

The Real Breakfast Burrito

When To Add Flavor

Dried herbs and spices may be added at the start. But it is recommended when adding fresh herbs do so towards the end of cooking to reduce flavor loss.

Add acidic foods, like citrus juice, vinegar, tomatoes, and wine, among others, after beans are cooked. As these foods can prevent beans from becoming tender.

Traditional Mexican Sopes

How Long To Cook Beans

This chart shows the length of time to cook a pulse and if you should soak it or not.


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