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What's for Dinner?

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      Tips for Baking and Using the Oven

      • A light, quick touch with your finger will help you determine whether meat or biscuits are brown. Touch can also tell you when pie crust or pizza dough is smooth, or if cake frosting covers the entire cake. You can also tell when a bowl is scraped clean.
      • To safely get hot pans in and out of a hot oven use mitt potholders and  follow the sides of the oven until you find the oven rack. Pull the rack out slightly and locate the pan using the oven mitt.
      • To test for doneness, use a spatula or wooden spoon to locate the food in the pan. Slide your hand down the utensil until you reach the food. A cookie that is done will feel firm around the edges, a cake will spring back when touched in the center, and a fork will slide easily in and out of meat that is done.
      • Setting the oven temperature can be easily accomplished by marking the oven dial. Please refer to the information on marking and measuring.

      Using the Stove Top

      • When working on the stovetop, it is helpful to place your pan on the burner before the heat is turned on to center it. When the pan is hot, use a metal spatula to find the burner and center the pan.
      • Similar to working in the oven, use a spatula to locate the food. When meat is brown, it feels firm and passes the fork test. Scalded milk leaves a film on the pan that can be felt when stirring with a wooden spoon. When boiling liquids listen for bubbling sounds or feel for vibrations on the handle.

      Miscellaneous Tips for the Kitchen

      • You can separate an egg by breaking the egg into your hand and draining off the white through your fingers. It is also possible to buy a special tool for separating eggs.
      • With practice, it is relatively easy to learn to judge the fullness of a container by sound and weight. You can also determine when a glass or cup is full by placing your finger over the lip, or by using a liquid level indicator. With very thick mixtures such as cake batter, check that the level is even all across the pan. When filling an angel-food cake pan, cover the hole in the middle with a small plastic bag or a tiny jelly tin.

      Try these techniques and create your own. Bon Appetite!