Make a heart-healthy snack in a jiffy

shutterstock_123723322October 27 — Have a hankering for a salty treat? Forget the chips and pop up some popcorn — the old-fashioned way. Not only does plain popcorn provides whole grains, fiber and antioxidants — the germ contains healthy oils, vitamin E, protein, many B vitamins and minerals.

Here’s how: Add 3 Tablespoons of oil and 3 kernels of popcorn to a 3-quart covered saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until all 3 kernels pop. Carefully remove the kernels — and add in 1/3 cup more kernels. Cover and let pop! Remove the pot from heat and count for 30 seconds. Next, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a big bowl. (If you are under 12, be sure to have a grown-up help with the popping part.)

For more fun and flavor: While a sprinkle of sea salt is always delicious, experiment topping with your popcorn with different flavors — such as taco seasoning, Parmesan cheese, or Ann Butler’s favorite — drizzled honey with a dash of cinnamon and a handful of cranberries.

Did you know: Dietitians agree that while plain, natural popcorn is full of health benefits, microwave popcorn is usually packed with unhealthy oils, other additives and more calories. Kettle corn and caramel corn provide hefty doses of sugars. Source: healthyeating

 

Shake, shake, shake and make whipped cream tonight

shutterstock_88956760October 26 — Want to top your bowl of fresh berries with a little whipped cream tonight? “Making whipped cream is easier than you think, and you don’t need any fancy equipment to make it,” says Edible Education’s Chef Whitney.

Here’s how: Grab a mason jar, pour in a container of heavy whipping cream, and shake, shake, shake until creamy. For extra flavor, add a teaspoon of vanilla. Want butter? Keep shaking!

Here’s why: Mixing cream containing 30% or more butterfat with air roughly doubles the volume of the original cream because the air bubbles are captured into the cream’s network of fat droplets. Over-whipping causes the fat droplets to stick together destroying the colloid — and creates butter. Lower-fat cream (or milk) does not whip well, but higher-fat cream produces a more stable foam. Source: wikipedia

Did you really just add that much salt to your stew?

shutterstock_224409574October 25 — “It happens to all of us,” insists Edible Education founder, Chef Ann Butler. “That salt shaker just has a mind of its own, and yes — you just did dump 1 Tablespoon (or more) of salt into the pot instead of 1 teaspoon.” But all is not lost. “If you over salt your stew or soup, simply throw a potato in and it will soak up the extra salt.”

Why? Osmosis, explains Ann. “Technically speaking, osmosis is a chemical process where molecules of a solvent (the salty water) pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one (the potato).”

T0 try the experiment for yourself — without risking ruining supper — click here.

 

If you like your scrambled eggs extra-fluffy, try this tip!

shutterstock_55048798October 24 — For maximum fluffiness in your scrambled eggs: Add a teaspoon of water to the eggs instead of milk, whisk with a metal whisk in a metal mixing bowl. The more bubbles the fluffier the eggs!

Why? According to sodahead.com: Water makes eggs fluffier because the water evaporates leaving air bubbles in the egg. Milk binds to the proteins in the egg making the egg tougher, but more flavorful.”

Experiment for yourself: Try each method (water only, milk only) and then try a combination of the two to give your scrambled eggs a little fluff, a little creaminess, and extra flavor.

Make perfect poached eggs — fast

shutterstock_300260663October 23 — If you love poached eggs, but tend to over-cook or under-cook this tasty dish, here’s a quick and easy solution: Poach a dozen eggs at once by in a muffin tin.

Here’s how: In your favorite muffin or cupcake tin, place a table spoon of water in each well. Crack an egg into each well. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 6-10 minutes, depending on how well-done you like the middle. Gently remove with a slotted spoon. Voila!

If you don’t have baking soda or baking powder on hand — but need to make your baked goods rise, try this!

shutterstock_220256785October 22 — Are you the best baker in the house? Then you know that baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, which means they are added to baked goods before cooking to produce carbon dioxide and cause them to ‘rise’. Baking powder contains baking soda, but the two substances are used under different conditions.

Don’t have either on hand? Edible Education chefs have a solution. “In a pinch, use 1 part apple cider vinegar to replace 2 parts lemon juice to help your baked goods rise,” says Chef Whitney.

Keep your baked goods from getting dry

shutterstock_92970787October 21 — Who want to eat dry cookies, muffins, or cupcakes? To avoid making you baked goods dry, Edible Education’s chefs advise carefully leveling off the flour on your measuring cup with the back of your knife.

Chef Whitney says: The key is to avoid over-packing the flour.

According to foodworks-intl, here’s why: “Flour provides the structure in baked goods, and wheat flour contains proteins that interact with each other when mixed with water, forming gluten. It is this elastic gluten framework which stretches to contain the expanding leavening gases during rising. The protein content of a flour affects the strength of a dough. The different wheat flour types contain varying amounts of the gluten forming proteins. Hard wheat, mainly grown in the mid west of the U.S. has a high protein content. Soft wheat, grown in southern U.S. has less protein. In yeast breads, a strong gluten framework is desirable, but in cakes, quick breads and pastries, a high protein flour makes a tough product.

Make powdered sugar at home

shutterstock_133571576October 20 — Here’s another easy-peasy cooking tip from Edible Education’s chefs: You can put granulated sugar in the blender to make powdered sugar.

Here’s how: Use any granulated sugar you have in your cabinets. Blend 1 cup until it is a fine, fluffy powdered sugar. The more refined, whiter sugars make the fluffiest powderedsugars. Use powdered sugar immediately or save it for later.

Did you know: “Powdered sugar (known as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar) has a bad reputation because it’s usually made out of super refined sugar and mixed with corn starch to prevent caking,” explains Israeli Chef Kate, of CookieandKate.com. “So don’t add corn starch when you make it at home.”

Understand the beauty of buttermilk

shutterstock_289278605October 19 — Want to make buttermilk in a pinch today? It’s easier than you think: Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line. Let stand for five minutes. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

What are the benefits of buttermilk? According to food.com: Cultured buttermilk is probably the easiest and most fool proof fermented milk product to make nothing more than the tart liquid left after the butter is churned.

  • Buttermilk is low in fat.
  • It’s sometimes tolerated by people with lactose intolerance since some of the lactose is fermented by bacteria.
  • The acidity of buttermilk also explains its long refrigerator shelf life.
  • Slightly sour in taste, it is popular as a coolant in India and a variant called lassi is sold commercially.
  • If you don’t want to whip it up at home, buttermilk can be found in supermarkets, in the dairy section, and is known as cultured buttermilk, which is made by adding a bacterial culture to low-fat or nonfat milk.
  • For more authentic and tasty, though, there is churned buttermilk, which is the liquid that remains after milk is churned into butter.
  • Buttermilk is used in many recipes to give it a creamy taste or texture. And when used to make fried chicken, it keeps the chicken moist.

Be sponge savvy

shutterstock_219774331October 18 — Back in 1605, a smart man named Sir Francis Bacon wrote: “Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.”

From an Edible Education point of view: We simply advise everyone to keep their kitchens as clean as possible — starting with being smart about keeping your sponges clean.

Here’s why: Those helpful sponges can suck up harmful foodborne pathogens from your countertops. So try these safety tips from eatright.org:

  • Researchers at the USDA found that over 99 percent of bacteria, yeasts and molds were killed by microwave heating damp sponges for one minute or dishwashing with a drying cycle.
  • Sponges may also be disinfected with a solution of one-quarter to one-half of a teaspoon of concentrated bleach per quart of warm water. Soak the sponge for one minute.
  • Replace them frequently. Even after two or three uses, your sponge may be teeming with bacteria.
  • Store in a dry location. Letting your sponge lay wet on a countertop takes longer for it to dry and allows harmful bacteria to multiply quickly as well as increases the opportunity for bacteria growth. And avoid leaving any damp sponges in an enclosed area such as a bucket or under the sink.