WRAP YOUR CELERY IN ALUMINUM FOIL!! Remove your celery from the plastic bag , wrap it tightly in aluminum foil, keep it in the refrigerator, and it literally will stay crisp and fresh for weeks and weeks! My dear friend Diane F. taught me this trick ages ago and it works like a charm! I bet many of you know this trick, but I just wanted to include it in case you missed it. FYI…. here is the FOOD SCIENCE behind this method: Ethylene is a natural, plant ripening hormone released in the form of gas. It triggers the cells of the plant to degrade. The aluminum foil allows ethylene to escape. A plastic bag traps the ethylene gas causing a quick loss of moisture, leading to quick spoilage. So remove all fruit and vegetables from plastic bags immediately to keep them from spoiling too quickly! However, the reverse is true… if you want to speed the ripening, (like hard peaches or kiwi, for example) then go ahead, put them in plastic bags for a few days!
INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS OF STRUFOLI (HONEY BALLS). Serve small amounts of Strufoli in cupcake liners, especially when serving to a large group. I think it is a lot easier to just pick up a small amount in a cupcake liner than to remove a sticky spoonful from a mound on a plate! 🙂
MILE-HIGH MUFFINS AND CUPCAKES!! Here is a great hint for baking really high muffins, any flavor, any recipe! Preheat your oven to 400º or 425º. Bake your muffins at this high heat for 8 minutes, then lower the heat to whatever temperature your recipe says. Do this for every muffin recipe you have and you will get nice looking, high-top muffins! The extra high temperature at the beginning causes the top part of the muffin batter to rise first. This hint is tried and true by me and it really does work!
INDENT! INDENT! To prevent or at least minimize cracking on the top of sweet loaf breads, make an indent across the batter so that the sides are higher than the middle before baking. I have been using this hint for banana breads and all my loaf breads for years, and it really does work! 🙂
NO SOGGY SANDWICHES! To make sandwiches the day before serving without the bread getting soggy try this trick. Place the sandwiches in a container. Sprinkle a few drops of water onto paper towels. Put the paper towels over the sandwiches. Then put waxed paper over the paper towels and cover the container. Put in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 🙂
SAUTE, FRY, OR STIR-FRY? HUH ? For years, the only way I have understood the difference is that sauteing uses very little oil on the bottom of the pan and is done quickly while pushing the food around with a utensil, whereas frying uses more oil, about 1/4″ on the bottom of the pan, and the food is cooked undisturbed for a few minutes. And stir-frying is just sauteing using a wok pan, which is deep enough to move the cooked food up the sides of the pan to add other raw ingredients to the bottom of the pan. I need my cousin, Master Chef David Squillante, to help me out here!