Category Archives: food

How to boil eggs

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Boiling is a cooking method that has been around almost as long as the invention of deep cooking utensils. Eggs are some of the most commonly heated food items and they are used for a lot of recipes. Boiling eggs can be super easy to learn and here are simplest steps you can find.

Hard boiled eggs

  1. Put the raw eggs in the deep pan.
  2. Fill the pan with water until the eggs are completely submerged.
  3. Turn up the stove at low to medium heat.
  4. Set an alarm or timer to 7-10 minutes, depending on how firm you want the egg to be.
  5. Wait for the water to boil. Bubbles will form on the water’s surface that will indicate that the water is gently boiling.
  6. Once the water has boiled, turn off the heat and transfer the eggs to cold water for one minute to stop the cooking process and make them easier to peel.

Tip: Eggs should not be boiled for longer than 12 minutes because the egg yolks will crumble and the egg whites will get rubbery.

Soft boiled eggs 

The basic difference between soft boiled and hard boiled egg is the cooking time which results to a variation in the consistency of the yolk and egg white after boiling.

  1. In a pot or pan, gently bring water to a boil.
  2. Using a slotted ladle, carefully lower the eggs into the boiling water.
  3. Set the timer. For large eggs, the approximate time for soft boiling is about four minutes while for small or medium sized eggs it is about three minutes.
  4. Once the time is up, carefully take out the eggs and plunge them in cold water to prevent overcooking.

Boiled cracked eggs or poached eggs 

When thinking about boiled eggs, people often just remember soft boiled and hard boiled eggs. But poached eggs are cooking by boiling too. Poaching is basically boiling a cracked egg and it is considered a healthier substitute for fried sunny side up eggs. Poached eggs are commonly found in breakfast dishes, salads and prepared as eggs Benedict.

  1. Boil water in a pan or pot.
  2. Carefully crack one egg on a small bowl or soup ladle.
  3. Spin the water using a spoon or ladle
  4. Drop the egg and wait for 3-5 minutes for it to cook.
  5. Remove the egg from the water.

Tips:

  • Adding any kind of vinegar to the water before boiling helps the egg look better because it coagulates the egg white.
  • Using milk instead of water for boiling the crack eggs result in richer taste.

Additional Tips:

  • Making use of eggs from the fridge is not such a good idea. It is best to use room temperature eggs for boiling to avoid cracking and have a more predictable cooking time.
  • Remember that cooking rapidly with high heat makes the protein in eggs tough and rubbery so it is better to cook slowly at low temperature. 

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How to roast garlic

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Other than being very flavourful, roasted garlic also has a handful of health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, lowers blood sugar and acts as antioxidant.

What you’ll need:

  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • knife
  • teaspoon
  • kitchen foil
  • cutting board
  • baking pan or muffin pan

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400⁰F.
  2. Peel off the outer layer or paper-like skin of the garlic bulb but leave the skin on the cloves intact.
  3. Use the knife to cut ½ inch off the top of the cloves.
  4. Get the baking pan or muffin pan and place the garlic heads on it.
  5. Drizzle a few teaspoons of olive oil over every garlic head and make sure that each head is coated well. You may also use a brush instead.
  6. Cover the pan or each head with aluminium foil
  7. Bake for 30 minutes at 400⁰F. The garlic should be soft when it is done roasting.
  8. Let the garlic cool before touching it.
  9. Individual cloves should be easy to pop out using a fork when cooked properly.

Tips:

  • Roasted garlic can be eaten as is or mashed and used for bread, mixed with sour cream, used in pasta or sauces.
  • Others prefer to remove cloves individually before roasting but it takes more prep time.

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How to cook artichokes

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Artichokes are interesting to work with in recipes because they have ample flavour, are rich in potassium and vitamin C, and have lots of antioxidant properties. Unknown to most, artichoke is actually a kind of flower and it grows mostly in California and the Mediterranean. Learning how to cook artichokes can take a little bit of preparation and practice.

What you will need:

• Artichokes

• Bowl

• Lemons

• Knife

• Pot

• Steaming basket

• Grill

Procedure:

1. Prepare the artichokes.

• Fill the bowl with cold water and squeeze some lemons into the water.

• Rinse the artichokes under cold running water to clear away dirt or sand.

• Take a few inches off the stem using a knife. Keep some parts of the stem because it has lots of flavour.

• Take off the small leaves near the stem of the artichokes.

• Slice off 1 ½ inches off the top of the artichokes.

• Put the artichokes in the bowl with lemon water to prevent them from getting discoloured.

2. Cook the artichokes with any of the following methods:

• Boiling: Put the artichokes in a large pot with water and boil them for 30-45 minutes.

• Steaming: Put a steaming basket on top of a pot with 4cm of water. Put the artichokes on the steaming basket once the water boils and steam for 20 minutes.

• Grilling: Cut the artichokes in lengthwise and discard the choke (hair-like inedible part). Drizzle with olive oil and put the artichokes on the grill.

Tips:

• Fresh artichokes have very closed leaves and are deep green in color.

• The freshest artichokes are available during spring.

• Artichokes can be eaten hot or cold.

• They are often served with a dip of mayo, balsamic vinegar or melted butter.

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How to cut a pineapple

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Pineapples are delicious tropical fruits that are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are used in a lot of drinks, desserts and they are even useful in main dishes too. As with most fruits, pineapples are also best eaten fresh compared to its can or jar counterparts. Most people prefer prepared pineapples though, because not everyone knows how to cut a pineapple.

What you will need:

  • Pineapple
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board

Here are the steps:

1. Prepare the pineapple

  • Turn the pineapple on its side, on the cutting board.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut off both ends of the pineapple (called the crown and stem).

2. Peel the pineapple

  • Make the pineapple stand on one end.
  • From the top to bottom, carefully slice the skin off the sides as thinly as possible.
  • Follow the shape of the fruit in slicing off the skin so you will not lose the good and sweet flesh.
  • Do not remove the dark spots or “eyes” while peeling the skin off.

3. Remove the eye spots.

  • Cut a groove in the shape of a v along the diagonal line where the eyes are found.
  • You will lose a little bit of pineapple flesh but this is easier than removing the eyes one by one.

4. Cut the pineapple

Circles or rings:

  • Lay the pineapple on its side and cut ¾ inch thick slices.
  • What you will have are pineapple circles with some ridges.
  • The tough core is edible but you may cut it out using a cookie cutter to have rings.

Strips or chunks

  • Have the pineapple stand on one end.
  • Cut from top to bottom into quarters then into strips.
  •  Lay the strips down and cut them smaller into cubes or chunks.

Tips:

  • When selecting a pineapple, smell it from the bottom. The freshest are the ones that smell sweet. Sour odor suggests fermentation which you do not want in a pineapple fruit.
  • Fresh pineapples should not have bruising and the color at the bottom should be golden. The sides can have a little green but majority should be golden in color.
  • Overripe pineapples are mushy and soft which you should avoid.

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How to french braid

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There are a handful of hairstyles that women refer to as their must-learns. One of these classic hairstyles is the French braid. This kind of braid appears sophisticated and chic but it is actually simple to do.

What you will need:

  • Hair that falls below the shoulders (all braids look better with longer hair)
  • Hair brush
  • Elastics
  • Bobby pins

Here’s how:

1. Prepare your hair.

  • Brush to carefully remove the tangles.
  • Dry your hair if you do not want to end up with waves after removing the braid.

2. Part your hair into sections.

Use your fingers to get 3-4 inch hair sections from the sides of your temples or just above your ears. Bring them to the center back of your head.

3. Create 3 strands out of the joined sections.

Make sure that all 3 strands are similar and even.

4. Begin the braiding.

  • Take two strands with one hand and the third strand on your opposite hand.
  • Braid a few rows (about three to four) of regular braids by alternately crossing the three strands.
  • As you continue down , incorporate the all of your hair strands into the braid.

5. Secure the braid with a durable elastic.

When you have all your hair in a braid, tie it with an elastic before accessorizing with a ribbon or any colourful hair tie of your choice.

6. Use bobby pins for the wispy sides around your nape or next to your ear if you want a sleeker look.

 Tips:

  • Braid your hair as tightly as you can because it will loosen up as you move throughout the day.
  • Using hairspray or similar products will keep every strand in place.
  • When you French braid your hair wet it will eventually dry and you will have curls when you remove them.
  • French braids work well for formal events when the strands are accessorized with jewels or tied in a bun at the bottom.

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How to do a sock bun

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Whether it is the hot summer day or a hot date that pushes you to want the perfect bun, the secret is a simple everyday item you probably did not think was for the hair—a clean sock. Knowing how to do a sock bun is a must for young ladies and women who a polished look with minimum effort.

The perfect sock bun in 5 steps:

1. Choose a sock to use.

Pick a sock that is clean but is not useful to you anymore like one that does not have a pair or a style that you don’t like anymore. The sock’s length should be ankle or mid-shin length. Socks that are too long usually bunch up while too short socks just don’t hold.

2. Cut off the toes.

Using a pair of scissors, follow the seams and cut the bottom part of the sock. Clean the edge and hem if needed.

3. Roll and scrunch the sock until it looks like a donut.

4. Make a ponytail.

You can make it as high as you want to.

5. Slide the sock onto the hair until it reaches the crown area of the head.

6. Cover the sock with hair. Make sure that no part of the sock can be seen.

7. Slide a scrunchie or elastic to secure the hair.

8.  Secure any loose hair with bobby pins.

Tips:

  • Thicker socks make for better sock buns.
  • Multiple thin socks can be used to create one rolled sock.

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How to cut a mango

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Mango is a delicious tropical fruit. Most variants of mangoes are yellow and sweet when ripe, green and sour or tangy when unripe. How to cut a mango is simple and quick.

Ripe mangoes:

  1. Wash the mangoes.
  2. Set the mangoes on a cutting board.
  3. Turn a mango upwards, the bottom would be the nub (or a small circle where the fruit’s branch used to be before harvesting) and the tip is the pointed end. The mango you are holding should be like a triangle in this position.
  4. Hold the mango from one side and using smooth movements, slice through the other side. You will feel the core as you cut, avoid that hard part.
  5. Turn to the uncut side and do the same.
  6. Now you have three pieces, two fleshy mango “cheeks” and one hard core. The fleshy parts can be further scooped depending on what you need the mango flesh for:
  • Immediate eating:  spoon out and eat
  • Decorating, baking or serving to guests: use a melon baller to scoop or slide the flesh away from the peel using the edge of a thin glass (this creates a smooth solid flesh that may be cut in cubes or strips)

Green Mangoes

  1. Wash mangoes.
  2. Peel mangoes using a peeler or a knife.
  3. Slice the sides in your desired size until the core or seed is reached.

Additional tip:

  • Expect that green mango is a little firm while ripe and overripe mangoes tend to be soft, squishy and slippery so adjust your grip and knife movement with this in mind.
  • Avoid using a blunt knife or a bread knife because these may not cut through the fruit’s peel right away and make cutting difficult.

Knowing how to cut a mango properly will help in completing recipes faster and eating much more pleasant with the right size of fruit pieces.

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How to cook quinoa

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Quinoa is more commonly known as the little rice of Peru. It used to be available in health stores before it became so popular. Quinoa is now thought of as a healthier substitute for rice and pasta. It has a delicate texture, is high in protein content and is quite easy to prepare which makes it a favourite especially of vegetarians.

Here is the step by step guide on how to cook quinoa that is fluffy and delicious:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of water or broth
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Utensils:

  • Saucepan (with lid)
  • Strainer
  • spoon

Procedure:

Procedure:

1. Rinse the quinoa grains in water.

Place the grains in a strainer and use running water to rinse for 2 minutes.

If you bought quinoa that comes in a box, you may skip this step.

Rinsing is done to remove the saponins which give a bitter flavour to quinoa if it is not removed

2. Toast the quinoa.

Use a drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat to toast the dried quinoa. Stir for about 1 minute.

3. Cook the quinoa.

4. Add the water or broth and the salt and let it boil.

5. Lower the heat and let it cook for 15 minutes. Cover the pan.

6. Take the quinoa away from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes.
7. Uncover, fluff and serve.

Tips:

  • Cooked quinoa should look fluffy, with the germ (tiny spirals) separating from the seeds.
  • Cooked quinoa is also used for salads, porridges, curry and pilafs.
  • 1 cup of dry quinoa = 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup dry quinoa = 2 cups of liquid
  • The total cooking time for 1 cup of quinoa is about 20 minutes
  • Cooking quinoa in a rice cooker is basically the same as cooking rice as long as the 1(quinoa):2 (liquid)  proportion is followed.

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How to cook corn on the cob

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Corn on the cob makes wonderful food items. They can be eaten for snacks or as side dishes and most people love them piping hot and slathered with butter. There are several ways on how to cook corn on the cob:

1. Boiling

This is the most popular method of cooking corn on the cob.

  • Fill a tall pot with water (enough to cover all the corn) and bring to a boil.
  • Take the silk and outer husk from the corn.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of salt into the water.
  • Add the corn.
  • Boil for 3-8 minutes.

Microwave cooking

This procedure is not suggested if you are cooking a large batch of corn.

  • Leave the corn complete with husk and silk and pop them in the microwave two at a time.
  • Set the microwave for 3-6 minutes.
  • Let them cool and shuck off the husks and silk.

Over the grill

Popular during summer cookouts, grilled corn on the cob has a distinct smoky flavour that is loved by many.

  • Peel the husks off the ears of corn but leave them on the stem.
  • Take off the all the silk.
  • Brush the corn with olive oil or butter.
  • Put the husks back up to cover the corn.
  • Secure the corn cob shut by tying with a string or using aluminium foil.
  • Using a medium-hot grill, roast the corn for 15 minutes or until the outer husks are toasted.
  • Let the corn get cool enough to be held (but not to turn cold).
  • Take off the husks.
  • Slather with butter.

Tips:

  • Cooked corn on the cob is usually served with butter and salt but others also like adding sugar or other spices.
  • Other corn variants such as sweet corn take less time to cook and have a softer texture when done.

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How to bake a potato

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Baked potatoes make for excellent dinners and they are pretty easy to make. There are different ways on how to bake a potato but each has just a handful of steps.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Seasoning (sour cream, chives, cheese or anything you like)

Basic steps:

  1. Wash the potatoes well and scrub them until cold tap water.
  2. Dry the potatoes using a clean towel.
  3. Cut the bruised spots, bad spots and take out the eyes.
  4. Prick the potatoes using a fork once on each side.

Baking potatoes in the conventional oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rub the potatoes with olive oil or butter.
  3. Sprinkle seasoning (salt and pepper).
  4. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet or directly onto the oven rack.
  5. Bake for about 40-60 minutes depending on the sizes of the potatoes. You will know it is done when the skin is crispy and the potatoes can be pricked without resistance.
  6. Garnish as needed.

Baking potatoes wrapped in foil:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 of baking in a conventional oven.
  2. Wrap the potatoes in aluminium foil.
  3. Pop them in the oven for 40-60 minutes. The skin will be soft and not crispy and have a creamier center.
  4. Garnish as you please.

Baking potatoes in the microwave:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 of baking in a conventional oven.
  2. Put the potatoes in a microwave-safe dish.
  3. Microwave at full power for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn the potatoes over and microwave the other side for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  5. Prick up to the middle to check if it is done.
  6. Use 1-minute intervals until fully cooked.
  7. Garnish as needed.

Baking potatoes in the slow cooker:

  1. Clean the potatoes but do not dry them.
  2. Place in the slow cooker and cook for 5 to 8 hours at low heat to minimize risks of overcooking.

Tips:

  • Baking at lower heat means more cooking time but it also means other dishes can be baked alongside the potatoes such as meat loaves or pastas.
  • Bacon bits, chives, cheese, sour cream and butter are the most popular garnish for baked potatoes.
  • Baked potatoes also work well with steaks and chilli dishes.

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