Cooking Tips

Cooking Pasta Al Dente: The literal translation of the Italian “al dente” is “to the tooth”. Cooking pasta al dente means the pasta is firm but not hard. Since pasta continues to cook as you mix it with your favorite sauce, you should drain the pasta early. Pasta goes from al dente to overcooked very quickly. Begin checking the pasta before the suggested cooking time. Taking a bite of the pasta is a good way to test the doneness.

Boiling Pasta: Pasta should be cooked in plenty of boiling water. About 4 or more quarts per 1 pound of pasta is good. You want to make sure all of the pasta is submerged, and the water keeps boiling. Add about 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons (per 4 qts of water) of salt to the boiling water, not oil. Doing this brings out the flavor and seasons the pasta.

Separating egg yolks and whites – use fresh eggs because the membrane surrounding the yolk disintegrates with age and is far more likely to spill yolk into the white. If eggs are old, chill them before separating as the lower temperature will toughen the yolk’s membrane.

Hard Boiling Eggs – Use slightly older eggs – it is often difficult to remove shells from very fresh hard-boiled eggs. Once you have taken hard boiled eggs off the stove, place the saucepan under a running tap until the water is cold. This stops the eggs from cooking in their own heat and prevents a grayish green ring from appearing around the yolks.

When cooked, the whites of eggs straight from the fridge will toughen far more than they would if they had been at room temperature. Remove them from the fridge an hour before cooking.

When thickening a hot liquid with eggs or egg yolks, add the liquid to the eggs in a bowl away from the stove to avoid separation or curdling. If you do have to add eggs to something being heated, do not stir raw eggs in to boiling liquid as the egg will cook and harden before you can whisk it in. Let it cool slightly (to below 150 degrees F, as that’s the temperature at which eggs coagulate) first.

Do not cook, fry, or scramble eggs on a very high heat, this causes egg whites to toughen.

Microwaving an Artichoke is the fastest way to cook an Artichoke!
Place Artichoke “stem up” in a deep, microwave-safe bowl.
Add 1-2 inches of water. Cover bowl with microwavable plate or with plastic wrap.
Jumbo sized Artichoke: Cook on high for 12-15 minutes.

Medium sized Artichoke: Cook on high for 7-10 minutes.Depending on the size and quantity of Artichokes you are cooking, it may be necessary to heat an additional 1-5 minutes to obtain complete tenderness throughout the Artichoke, as microwave oven cooking times may vary. Keep covered and let the Artichoke stand for 5 minutes prior to serving.

Steaming an Artichoke is the ideal cooking method for maintaining the high-nutrient content for which an Artichoke is known. Arrange Artichokes in a steamer insert, basket, or a special Artichoke holder in a pot deep enough to keep Artichokes above water. Cover and steam over rapid-boiling water (making sure to maintain the water level), until Artichokes are tender. Depending on size and quantity of Artichokes, steaming time can range from 30 to 50 minutes; lift out carefully and drain.

Roasting brings out the nutty flavor of Artichokes and requires the Artichokes to be pre-cooked before roasting Use any preferred method to cook, but reduce the cooking time by amount 10 minutes.

Drain well. Brush generously with olive oil or other oil of your choice, including flavored oils.

You can be creative! Arrange in roasting pan and roast in 425°F oven until tender and browned, about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size.