Friday, March 30, 2007

"Hello! Cooking Hotline......"

For English, press one. Para espanol, oprima el numero dos. You have reached the home office of the Cooking Hotline. How may I help you?

Apparently my passion for cooking & baking makes me a good target for cooking questions. I actually LIKE it when people call me asking how to make something or what to do now or for a recipe suggestion. Here are some real life examples of calls placed to my cooking Hotline:

How do I make chocolate curls to top a cheesecake?

Simple! With a Hershey bar & a vegetable peeler. Just run the peeler along the side of the bar. As the bar softens a bit in your hand, start running the peeler along the softened edge to make nicer looking curls.

How do I blanch a potato?

Blanching is just quickly cooking a {usually} vegetable in boiling water then putting it in ice water to stop the cooking process. Depending on the size of your potato chunks, they only need to be in the boiling water a minute or two.

I assembled {but did not bake} a ravioli casserole to deliver to a friend tonight, but she had to cancel. What should I do with it? Can it just be refrigerated? Freeze it?

{Apparently I have not talked enough to this friend about OAMC.....} I recommend putting the casserole in the fridge for delivery tomorrow. The raviolis are already cooked all the way through so freezing them in the sauce, dethawing & baking might lead to mushiness.

What should I make for dinner tonight?? I have chicken/ground beef/pork chops dethawed in the fridge.

This is actually one of the more exciting types of Hotline calls as it allows me to express my creativity. After asking the caller if they have other types of pantry staples on hand, I am usually able to come up with something quick & yummy. {Although if their freezer were stocked with meals.....}

Can I use stew meat for beef kabobs?

Um, no. Although it is cut into little chunks for you already {deceiving, eh?} stew meat is a tough cut of beef, meant to be tenderized during a long simmering time in a stew. For kabobs, use a cut such as top sirloin cut into chunks {recommended by several websites I polled}.

One repeat caller loves to call me while at the supermarket. She asked the kabob question & calls to tell me what she wants to make for dinner & asks the Hotline what ingredients she needs. Sometimes she asks other things such as, "Between a scallion & a scallop, which one is the seafood?" I believe it was she who wanted to make fortune cookies for her Valentine's Day dessert. I had to restrain myself from jumping through the Hotline phone & screaming "NOOOOO!" {It's important to know the callers' relative cooking skills & abilities here.} I've made fortune cookies before; it teaches you lots of patience & attempts to callous your fingers against high temperatures. Caller promptly crossed it off her list.

Thank you for calling the Cooking Hotline. I have enjoyed assisting you in your culinary endeavors. Please feel free to call again. Good-byeeee!


Anonymous said...

Hey I actually got on this time!! Just wanted to say Thanks, and I'm sure I'll be calling again!! :0)

Anonymous said...

Hahaha your post reminds of that slogan "You've got questions, we've got answers" (the company escapes me at the moment). You're a whiz kid, my friend!

Ok...scurrying to catch up on the posts I've missed...

Anonymous said...

When I'm making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, does it matter if the peanut butter or jelly goes on the top piece of bread?

Mon said...

I find this post helpful. Can you by chance post about the best way to cook a variety of meats? For example, my beef steaks come out tough. I don't know how long or what temperture to fry them.

Anonymous said...

help, please....i have a 7.7 lb pork loin to's a big best to cook it? maybe cut it in half?....don't want it to take forever, but egad it is big...any advice??

Rebecca said...


Cut that baby in half, or even three pieces. Season the outsides with a bit of olive oil {rub it all over}, some salt & pepper & your favorite other seasonings. Get a pan over medium heat with about 2 T. of olive oil smoking hot. Sear the loins on all sides. You might have to do one at a time. Then roast in the oven at 300 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145-150. Remove from oven & tent with foil. Let rest for about 20-30 minutes. Carve. Inside should be slightly rosy & roast will be moist throughout. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Rebecca...thanks for the advice...that was what i was kinda thinking...sounds good to me...have a great Christmas...