Small talk seems the perfect category for this. I'll start with something I discovered recently. It's a quick and easy shortcut to preparing corn on the cob.

A Shortcut:

Assuming you've prepared the ear by peeling back the husk and removing the silk (best done under moving water from the tap), wrap the corn in a wet paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes (might vary with the power of your microwave oven, mine is 1000 watts). Two ears? Three minutes.

When done, remove the paper carefully because it'll be boiling hot, and serve it as you would if cooked by boiling or grilling. 

Boiling is probably the worst way to cook corn on the cob, unless you are preparing it on a. Grilling is just as good as microwaving, but is a bit more trouble, especially if you're setting up the grill just to cook the corn.

A Tip (or two):

If you're one of the people who still boils potatoes rather than using some sort of instant potato mix and also likes to make homemade bread, save the potato water for making bread. One of my fondest memories was grandma's potato bread. Potato bread stays moist longer than ordinary bread and is just a bit more delicious than regular bread. Recipes for bread from potato water are abundant online if you just google on "potato water bread."

If you don't make bread with it, let it cool and feed it to your plants instead of tap water. 

A Secret:

Don't store bread in the refrigerator. Yes, while it will postpone the formation of mold, refrigeration dehydrates bread. Instead, divide the loaf into halves or thirds, keep one and wrap the other half or thirds in clear wrap, put them in freezer bags, and freeze them. And, yes, the double-wrapping is important. When you start to run out of unfrozen bread, remove some bread from the freezer for use next time. You'll hardly ever have moldy or dried out bread.

Tags: and, cheats, kitchen, secrets, shortcuts, tips

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Any vegetables that I used to boil, now I put them in the microwave in a covered basin.  Saves £££ on electricity.  Tastes nicer too, easier to wash up, better in every way. 

Or grilling them. I love to grill zucchini, summer squash, onions, and carrots. Oh, and corn on the cob grills well also. There are various ways of doing it.

How does a loaf of bread placed inside a ziplock/plastic bag stored in a frig dehydrate?

Mine will last a couple of weeks if I'm lucky. 

Just google on "refrigeration deydrates bread" and you'll find widespread agreement. Bread goes stale 6 times faster when refrigerated.

I don't know why it happens, but that it does is pretty well established. Googling on "refrigeration deydrates bread myth" comes up pretty empty-handed. 

Anyway, I discovered this independently decades ago. Long before Google.

I honestly can say I have not experienced this phenomena. Anything left in a frig without a good seal/barrier will suffer. Place a cucumber in there with the end chopped off and see what happens. I still say a good quality sealed container will prevent dehydration.

If I freeze sliced bread, I freeze it four slices per ziplock bag.  Never had a problem.

The problem is called "freezer burn," and it happens when moisture slowly leaches out of bread over time. If you have no problem with freezer burn, you are probably not leaving your bread in the freezer very long. It does not happen all at once as the bread is freezing.

Two actions you can take will reduce the chance of freezer burn. One is what I have already suggested: double wrapping. First, a tight layer of clear wrap (like Saran Wrap) followed by putting the bread in a freezer bag, removing as much air from the freezer bag as possible. For shorter periods of time, sealing the bread in a zip-seal baggie with as much air as possible pressed or sucked out. 

You can actually suck air out of a zip seal bag by zipping it up mostly and using the remaining unzipped part to suck air out of the bag, then quickly sealing it.

One thing is without doubt: you can keep bread fresher longer in the freezer than in the fridge.

Tip to restore stale cookies.

I learned of a way and it helps make too crispy cookies less crunchy. In an air-tight container (even just a zip-lock bag) place the cookies and a slice of bread. Leave it sealed for a day. The bread will become dried out and the cookies will no longer be stale (or too crunchy). As you might have guessed, the less air tight the container, the worse this works.

 

Regarding bread/buns in the refrigerator: I have found that the moisture will collect IIRC on the upper part of the inside of the bag making the top soggy and the bottom dry (or vice versa). I don't know if this was due to the temperature or what. If you are just experiencing a drying out of the bread/buns, I'm wondering if either you have the bread sitting in the frig waaaay too long or if the bag isn't air tight enough and the moisture is escaping.

TIP:

When hard-boiling eggs, the older the egg, the easier to take off the shell. Peel shells off under boiling water]

SECRET:

Raw eggs can last a surprisingly long time without refrigeration. Not so for cooked eggs. When I was married to a German girl and we visited her parents in Germany, her mom would leave the eggs she bought on Saturday in a bowl in the kitchen. The eggs still tasted fresh on Friday. Don't try that with hard-boiled eggs, though!

TIP:

When cutting onions, you will almost always end up in tears if you cut the root end off first. It's always better to cut the top end off before the root end. I'm not saying you'll never tear up by doing it this way, but you'll almost always tear up if you do it the wrong way. I haven't tried it, but I have heard that chewing gum while cutting onions will prevent tears.

TRICK:

Want to store bagels? An empty CD or DVD spindle and cover seems almost specifically designed for the purpose.

Yummy! I would microwave them first, though.

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Posted by Quincy Maxwell on July 20, 2014 at 9:37pm 25 Comments

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