Categories
Sweet Stuff

Chocolate: The gift from the gods

Milk ChocolateChocolate – whether dark or light, bitter or sweet – is a treat considered to have come to Earth from the heaven as a gift from the gods. And indeed it is one of the most popular gift items the world over, at every occasion.

I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t drool over chocolate and most people are ready to cheat on their diet for a chance to bite into this delicious delight. Some days ago, I found that a chocolate decoration workshop was taking place. So the moment I found out that there’s a demonstration of chocolate decorations for cakes and desserts, I picked up the phone and made my reservations.

I can make some decent tasting and looking cakes but the picture-perfect stuff that culinary experts come up with are beyond my capabilities. A pastry chef’s trade secrets had to be learnt.

Armed with a notebook and pen, I arrived at the hotel where the Executive Chef, Guido Scarpellino, and his team were ready to show us how culinary masterpieces are created. Initially, the Chef traced the history of chocolate, and discussed some of its characteristics and properties. Then came the part when the first chocolate leaf was made and we were asked if any of us would like to try doing it for ourselves.

The demonstration included the making of chocolate leaves, cups, various cut out shapes, chocolate curls, flakes and different icing designs using both chocolate and butter icing. The chef also showed us how floral and other shapes can be created from chocolate.

Guido is not only an expert at his craft, but he is also a great teacher who gave us many helpful hints about how to handle chocolate and repeated the demonstrations as many times as we asked him to.

Like its true of a lot of other things, practice is what one needs to be able to work well with chocolate and get the desired result.

The quality of cooking chocolate also plays an important part in it so one has to make sure one buys a well-reputed brand, otherwise a lesser quality cooking chocolate will just mess things up. The choice of a dark, light or white chocolate for use totally depends on individual preferences. To be able to have your cake decked up lavishly with pretty chocolate decorations, there is just one thing that you need to take care of – your urge just to devour the chocolate yourself!!

Here are some tips for working with chocolate:

– Do not substitute cocoa for chocolate if a recipe demands you to use chocolate. – Do not melt chocolate directly over heat as it burns very quickly. Break the chocolate up and place the pieces in a small bowl, or on a plate, set over a pan filled with gently simmering water so that the chocolate does not get too hot. Leave it to melt without stirring. Use as directed in the recipes. – To cool any chocolate decorations that you are making, avoid putting it in the freezer as the chocolate is likely to ‘sweat’. It is better to cool it in the fridge or outside.

Here are techniques for making Simple Chocolate Curls and Chocolate Leaves

Chocolate Curls

To make simple curls, the chocolate should be at room temperature. Shave off long silvers using a vegetable peeler or a knife.

For a more professional look, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water. Let it cool for one minute. Then pour it on to a slightly oiled work top and spread it out thinly with a spatula to 3mm. Leave to cool and when it is on the point of setting, hold a long sharp knife upright, with a hand at either end, and pull it towards

you with a gentle sawing action. Let the curls on a baking sheet to harden. Store between sheets of grease-proof paper in an air-tight tin.

Chocolate Leaves

You can use small leaves of any shape that you desire to make chocolate leaves.

Wash the leaves and dry them. In a bowl of steaming, NOT boiling water, melt the chocolate. Coat one side of the leave either by using a brush or by dragging each leaf over the chocolate. Place on a plate to cool, in the refrigerator if you like, with the coated side up. After an interval of 10-15 minutes, coat the leaves once or twice more with chocolate, allowing it to cool each time. Multiple layers of chocolate make the leaves harder and easier to work with.

After the chocolate is hard again, gently peel off the leaf, starting from the stem end of it. There you will have lovely chocolate leaves, complete with veins. Use it to decorate the cake in any way you please.


About the Author:
Rosie Shaw runs herCooking and Free Recipes website Cook It All .com. She also writesFree Cooking and Food Articles.

 

Categories
Healthy Eating

20 Easy Ways To Make What You Eat Healthier

Three Bean SaladHealthy dieting doesn’t mean that you or your family must stop eating favourite dishes.

A few small changes in the preparation and cooking of vegetables can prevent vitamins and nutrients from being leached out and washed down the sink. Wash fresh vegetables quickly under a running tap instead of soaking, and use the minimal amount of water necessary for cooking. To maintain nutrients and colour use a steamer, pressure cooker, or microwave for faster cooking time. A rapid boil is better than simmering for a long time. Vegetable water can be used as stock for soups and gravies.

Copper saucepans destroy vitamin C.

Start meals with soup. Soup is nutritious as well as filling, and you can make large quantities and store in a freezer. Once cooked, serve vegetables as soon as possible. Keeping them warm will destroy vitamin C.

Choose lean meat or trim off fat. You need low fat ingredients if you want a low fat meal. Fish and seafood are low in fat.

Most people consume more meat than the amount recommended to maintain a healthy diet. Nutritionists recommend 125grams of meat or fish a day.

Cook casseroles a day ahead and refrigerate. Any unwanted fats can be removed before reheating. The flavour will also be richer.

Use herbs to add flavour to your meal, they’re also rich in vitamins, potassium and phosphorus.

Herbs can be preserved by freezing in ice cubes. Just drop the ice cube containing the particular herb/s you want, into the soup or dish being prepared.

To keep quantities of parsley, chop first and then place in a plastic bag in the freezer.

When you juice lemons, try wrapping and freezing the left over skins. Later when a recipe requires only the lemon peel you won’t have to use a whole fresh lemon.

Peeled bananas will not change colour if you coat with lemon juice.

Store peeled potatoes by covering with cold water and adding 3 drops of vinegar. Place in a refrigerator where they keep well for 4 days.

Serve toasted bread wedges or triangles with dips and pates. It’s a lot cheaper than buying biscuits, and a lot lower in fat and salt.

Cheese is a valuable source of vitaminB2, protein, and calcium.

Cook rice, buckwheat and barley by the absorption method to prevent vitamin B from being lost.

Wholemeal or wholegrain bread, rice and pasta, add extra fibre to your diet.

You can maintain a diet and still enjoy ‘something sweet’. An occasional portion of chocolate or ice cream with topping is unlikely to have much effect on a well balanced diet. Better still, choose baked custards, crème caramels, gelato or fresh fruit.

Most recipes can easily be changed to use less fat, sugar, or salt, without any loss in flavour, allowing you to continue cooking your family favourites knowing they’re a lot healthier.


About the Author:
Margarete Abel is a Health Educationalist, formerly with the Health Education Unit, Perth, Western Australia. Sites include:http://www.ozebizz.com http://www.goldongold.com

 

Categories
Healthy Eating

Healthy Meals, 12 Sneaky Ways to Eat More Vegetables

Stuffed PeppersEat more vegetables when you want to lose weight. You’ve heard it before and you know the benefits:

  • Hard to overeat. You can eat potato chips all day and night, but you quickly feel stuffed on carrot and celery sticks.
  • Feel fuller faster.
  • Decrease meat content by adding more vegetables.

But eating more vegetables is often easier said than done. Try these painless ways to sneak more vegetables into your diet:

  1. Precut vegetables into serving size portions and place in the refrigerator for easy access. Make your vegetables as convenient to eat as any other snack food and you will eat more of them.
  2. Serve your vegetables on a beautiful plate or bowl. Break out the china or treat yourself to a funky new serving platter.
  3. Serve vegetables in fancy shapes. Use cookie cutters or learn how to make roses, palm trees, birds, and other creations with vegetables. You have fun decorating cakes and cookies, why not vegetables? There are simple courses on the market teaching vegetable garnishing. Check the internet for instructions, too.
  4. Create a salad bar with healthy dips and those vegetable decorations you learned to make. Dips include low fat salad dressing, peanut butter, cottage cheese, and salsa.
  5. Slice vegetables thin and layer them in sandwiches.
  6. Got a shredder? Choose a variety of vegetables you don’t normally eat: asparagus, parsnips, beets, whatever strikes your fancy. Shred them together and top with your favorite dressing.
  7. When serving hamburgers, sloppy joes, pizza or any other kid pleasing fare, toss in some shredded carrots or broccoli. Just a small amount will blend right into a red sauce and boost the nutritional value of any dish. While you’ve got the shredder out, shred more vegetables and package them in ziplock bags or air tight containers for the next meal.
  8. In beef stew, cut the meat in half and double the vegetables. Try adding another vegetable along with the traditional carrots and potatoes. You’ll still have the meaty taste, but with lower fat and calorie content.
  9. Traditional nori seaweed wraps form the outer casing of sushi. You can buy nori made from vegetables or fruits and use it in place of tortillas or sandwich bread. Asian grocers or health food stores carry this product, or you can order on line.
  10. Hide vegetables in chocolate cake. Add tomato juice or pureed spinach to the batter. You won’t be able to taste the veggies after the cake is baked.
  11. Learn to cook spaghetti squash. A 4 ounce serving has less than 40 calories. Spaghetti squash can be boiled, baked, slow cooked, or microwaved. Once tender, pull a fork through squash to tear out spaghetti like shreds. Ladle on tomato sauce perked up with shredded carrots, mushrooms, and sliced broccoli. Nutritious and delicious.
  12. Try grilled kabobs. Cut bite size pieces of vegetables and grill them on skewers or alternate with chunks of meat. Add a tasty marinade.

About the Author:
Kathy Ferneau has created an excellent resource for information on diets, healthy eating, and exercise. Get a free smoothie recipe e-book just for visiting!www.lose-weight-diets.com

Categories
Drinks

How to Make a Great Tasting Cup of Coffee

CoffeeThere is good coffee and absolutely abysmal coffee. Both may start with the same elements, but one cup can taste completely different to another. Freshness is the key to great tasting coffee. Here is the play by play smackdown of how to create a fantastic tasting cup of coffee.

  1. Use good beans. Go to a local coffee roaster and buy only enough coffee beans to last you a week. Buying fresh beans is one key to good taste. When you buy beans make sure the beans are all relatively the same size and same color for even grinding and flavor. If you buy beans from the supermarket at minimum, check to see if the beans are Arabica.
  2. Use filtered water. Even if your coffee maker has a charcoal filter it is best to start off with filtered water to ensure there are no impurities like chlorine or minerals to alter the real taste. Use cold water.
  3. For the best tasting coffee ensure you have a coffee maker which can brew up to 95 to 98 degrees Celsius, just off the boil. This temperature is the optimal temperature to get the best flavor out of the bean.
  4. The grind. Only grind as much coffee as you are going to need for that moment. The finer you grind, the more flavor you will receive. The grind has to be even to ensure even taste. If you are using a cheap coffee maker you should only use a medium grind to avoid the over-extraction. However, grind to your equipment’s recommendations.
  5. Use two level tablespoons of coffee per cup. If you are making more than 10-cups of coffee you should use the strength meter on its highest position possible to allow more water to penetrate the grounds evenly.
  6. Use unbleached coffee filters or ensure your permanent filter is free from all coffee sludge. When it comes to coffee, cleanliness is next to Godliness.
  7. Stir the pot. Once the coffee is brewed, stir the pot to infuse the taste.

At bare minimum, these steps should always be used when making coffee. Think about the farmer’s in the field, if you skip a step are you doing their hard work justice? On a selfish note, missing one of those steps will affect the taste of your coffee, even slightly. Other things to make a great cup of coffee are:

  1. Always ensure your equipment is clean. Old coffee sludge can really change the taste of coffee. Polident can clean your equipment to almost new.
  2. NEVER reuse coffee grinds.
  3. NEVER grind beans just taken out of the freezer. Let them thaw first.
  4. Always store coffee in air-tight containers away from direct sunlight.
  5. NEVER leave the coffee on a heater for longer than ½ an hour. It gets a burnt taste and smell.
  6. Always warm your cup and never reheat coffee.

The best coffee starts with fresh beans, clean equipment and clean water. Adhering to at least those three guidelines will give you great tasting coffee. Everything else is just gravy.


Kate Simpson is a freelance writer who contributes for the Coffee Bean Queen –http://www.coffeebeanqueen.com/– a website offering information on everything fromcoffeetocoffee makingandcapressocoffee and more.

Article Source:http://www.goarticles.com/

Categories
Drinks

How To Clean A Coffee Maker

LamingtonsEver wonder how to clean a coffee maker the right way? Drip coffee makers need to be cleaned at least once a month to keep your coffee tasting good.

Cleaning your coffee maker takes away hard water deposits, old oils from previously brewed pots and other impurities that can make your coffee taste bad.

A mixture of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water is the best way to clean a drip coffee maker. Mix a full pot of the vinegar and water mixture, pour it in your water reservoir and turn the coffee maker on.

Once the mixture has run completely through, turn the drip coffee maker off and let it cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

Pour the vinegar and water mixture down the drain. If you are cleaning a coffee maker that hasn’t been cleaned regularly, repeat this step again with a fresh vinegar and water mixture.

Next, rinse the pot out thoroughly with warm, plain water. Then, fill the water reservoir again with clean water and turn the coffee maker on to start the rinsing process.

To make sure all of the vinegar and water solution is completely gone repeat the rinsing process one more time after letting the pot cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

This is how to clean a coffee maker the right way. Cleaning your drip coffee maker on a monthly basis will make it last longer and keep your coffee tasting the best it can possibly be.

Copyright © 2005 Perfect Coffees.com. All Rights Reserved.


This article is supplied byhttp://www.perfectcoffees.comwhere you can purchase quality coffee online, tea, cups, mugs, coffee makers, delicious desserts and sugar free desserts online. For a free monthly coffee newsletter with articles like these go to:http://www.perfectcoffees.com/newsletter.html

Article Source:http://www.goarticles.com/

Categories
Drinks

Learn about Chardonnay

wineThe Chardonnay grape variety is a classic white wine grape grown all around the world. It is at the top, as probably the world’s favorite white grape variety.

Where It Grows
The Chardonnay grape grows everywhere. The exact origin of Chardonnay is hard to trace, but its reputation was established in the Burgundy region of France. Winemakers love Chardonnay because the vines are easy to grow, and have a high yield. Chardonnay is one of the few grapes in the world that does not require blending. However, it is also blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to produce Champagne.

Wine Characteristics
It is widely known for producing excellent full-bodied wines. The cooler zoned climate Chardonnay grapes produce an abundance of fruit flavors. You can pick up apple, pineapple, or the hint of peach. The warmer climate Chardonnays may have less of the fruits but develop wonderful honey, vanilla, and roasted flavors that really fill the mouth.

Descriptive Flavors

  • Apple
  • Pineapple
  • Coconut
  • Pear
  • Peach
  • Honey
  • Yeast
  • Vanilla
  • Butter
  • Toast
  • Roasted almond or hazelnut

Keep It or Drink It
Chardonnay is ready to serve when it is sold. Many of the top Chardonnays from California, France, and Australia will continue to improve for up to five years from the time it is bottled. Check the label or the producer’s web site for specific recommendations.

Food Combinations
The beauty of Chardonnay is that its high acids and full-bodied nature provide it great food matching versatility. It will go very well with most any recipies you serve. It is wonderful with fish, especially salmon.


About the Author:
Stuart Glasure, A wine enthusiast and publishing member of the Wine Learning Center at http://www.WineDefinitions.com.

Categories
Cooking Equipment Cooking Technique

How to Sharpen a Knife

Chicken StirfryAll chefs who go to a western-style catering college, and most butcher’s apprentices, are taught to sharpen their knives by swiping the cutting edge several times on a steel towards the hand that is holding that implement. I used to do it that way as well, many years ago.

I also used to teach others the same method until the day I saw someone lay his hand open with a cut needing fourteen stitches. That gives you pause for thought.

There are two problems with this way of doing things in my view. In the first place it requires a certain amount of skill and dexterity to make the required contact with the steel; it’s an awkward movement until you are used to it. Few domestic cooks will perform the action enough times in a week, let alone a day, to become at ease with it. The second problem is that most domestic steels are not only very small, they lack a proper guard for the holding hand. The same is true of some steels I’ve seen in professional kitchens.

I began to experiment by reversing the blade. In other words, using the same action but sweeping the edge away from me, as if slicing pieces off the steel. This, too, I found was difficult for most people to master, particularly on the “undercut”, so I went back to the theorists to see what they had to say. Not much, was the answer. A lot of talk about “angles” and “burrs” and “realignment”, none of which did much to help.

Then it occurred to me that in everything I had read and seen, it was the knife blade that did the work while the steel remained erect but dormant. What happens, I wondered, if you move the steel instead? Not very much was the answer, it was just as difficult to do and without any satisfactory result.

Then the light came on. I reasoned that if I moved the knife and steel together, but in opposite directions, I could recreate the original idea but in perfect safety. In reality, the knife blade moves in one direction and the steel in another, creating a perfect edge. It’s achieved by placing the handle end of the cutting edge against the guard of the steel, which is held in front of you like a sword. Draw the knife blade across the steel and at the same time draw the steel towards you. The two implements will be crossing each other at an angle of 90 degrees. Do this on either side of the blade around six times, no more.

Now, the purists will continue to scream this doesn’t work, it’s bad for the blade and all kinds of other received nonsense. They will also tell you this is not “sharpening” the blade, this is “honing” it. Well, I have knives that I have used for over 25 years, all sharpened with this method. As for the second point, this is what Chambers dictionary has to say about that: “Hone: v.t. – to sharpen as on a hone” – But what do they know?

The method I give is simple, safe, easy to learn and will keep a fine edge on your knife for as long as you care to use it. Try it and see what you think.


Michael Sheridan – The Cool Cook – is a former head chef and an acknowledged authority and published writer on cooking matters. His website atAll About Cooking, contains a wealth of information, hints, tips and recipes for busy home cooks, including video based how-to guides.

Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Sheridan

 

Categories
Cooking Equipment

Rice Cookers – Perfect Rice Every Time

Confetti RiceLove fluffy cooked rice but dislike the preparation time and clean up? Then rice cookers maybe just what you need. Today’s rice cooker is a thrifty time saving device for anyone’s kitchen. Also eating rice weekly has many health benefits. With so many rice cookers to choose from how does one decide? Let’s take a look at the many features and sizes of a rice cooker and determine which is right for you and your family.

Size – How much rice will you cook at one time? Also consider how much space you have for storing the unit. Rice cookers very in the amount of uncooked rice they hold, between 5 to 10 cups. If one’s family is large or rice is used when having a dinner party then a higher capacity rice cooker will do a nice job. On the other hand cooking for one or two people makes a smaller model a wise choice.

More desirable features – Rice cookers with a glass lid is a “must have” to watch the cooking process. It is also a great idea if the lid has vent holes for steam to escape. This feature makes cleaning up the cooker less messy. Look for a rice cooker with a removable cord as this makes storage easier. Non-stick pans are a must and many models now come with a water measuring line inside the pan wall.

The top rice cookers today are what is called “fuzzy logic cookers”. They are programmed to read the different kinds of rice and adjust the settings according. This would be ideal for folks who love to eat many varieties of rice. This cooker is on the high side of the price scale though.

The internet is a great place to find the perfect rice cooker for you. Browsing thru online stores is an easy way to compare different models. Most manufacturers also have great detailed pictures to help one decide. Rice cookers can have many features so be sure to check them all out.


Curtis Miller is a successful author and publisher ofKitchens 4u. Your source for quality items for your kitchen.

Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/

 

Categories
Cooking Equipment

Choosing the Right Kitchen Knife

Roast BeefKitchen knives come in all sizes and shapes. Each small variation results in a different use. There are long ones, short ones, wide ones, narrow ones, curved ones, angled ones and the list goes on and on. They are made from carbon steel, stainless steel, stamped steel ceramic or even plastic. The better knives are balanced so as they are being used they do not feel awkward. By awkward I mean they feel heavy or light at the pointed end. Proper balance eases the strain on the user. Grips or handles have made great advances further easing the strain on the user. Sharpness is also a key factor in easing the strain on the user. The type of edge used for a particular cutting or slicing project is very important.

Styles

The size and shape of the knife determines its primary use. The cook’s or chef’s knife is used for the heavy duty cutting needed in the kitchen. It is normally a longer, heavy constructed knife that will handle the abuse of the overzealous cook. Slicing, dicing, and chopping are some of the primary uses of the cook’s knife. The slicing knife is for use in slicing food such as ham or large cuts of meat. The Bread knife normally has a thin serrated blade. The serrated blade allows it to easily slice through a loaf of bread or a tomato without crushing or tearing. The steak knife is normally a smaller version of the slicing knife, designed for individual use. The knife used most often by any cook is the paring knife. It is a small knife that is easy to handle and can be used for cutting, peeling and dicing fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, etc.

Construction

The way knives are constructed determines several things. There are several types of material used in the manufacturing of the blade material.

Carbon Steel blades are made from iron with about 2% carbon. This blade is easily sharpened and holds its edge well. The down side of this is they tend rust if they are not dried immediately after washing. Over time they obtain a dark color considered to be the sign of a quality knife. The higher the percentage of carbon to iron, the better the blade. Stainless Steel blades are made from an alloy of iron with 10-15 % chromium, maybe some nickel and molybdenum with only a very small amount of carbon. This type of material cannot be sharpened as sharp as the carbon steel blade, but it is very resistant to staining and discoloration. Some people think the discoloration imparts a flavor into the food.

High Carbon Stainless Steel blades combine the best of both worlds. They do not discolor like the carbon blades, but they can be sharpened to a keen edge that is long lasting. They do not impart any flavor into your food.

Titanium alloy blades are lighter and more flexible than steel blades. The carbon in the alloy allows them to be heat treated so they will hold an edge well. They do not impart any flavor into your food, either.

Ceramic blades are made from ceramic. They are extremely hard and will hold their edge for a long time. They will cut the glaze on a dinner plate and should only be used on a cutting board. The down side is that they must be professionally sharpened.

Plastic blades are not very sharp and are specialized in the use in the kitchen. They are used to cut vegetables so they don’t turn dark.

Laminate blades are made by layering different materials together. The number of possibilities is endless. The only way to decide if you want one of these types is to buy and try.

Steel blades are either forged or stamped.

Forged blades are made in a detailed process that takes a lot of time and is accomplished by skilled craftsman. I will not go into detail here, but this type of blade is more often than not preferred by chefs.

Stamped blades are designed to be made in mass. The quality of the metal used is such that it can be worked quickly into a finished product. This type of knife is less expensive than the forged one, but it must be replaced on a regular basis.

The Business Edge

The type and design of the knife edge determines how it should be used.

Flat ground blades are tapered from the backbone to the edge. This blade is very strong but is heavy.

Hollow ground blades look a lot like the flat ground except starting about halfway up the blade it is ground into a concave shape. It is weaker than the flat ground blade but has the advantage of being lighter.

The Serrated blade looks like a saw. It is ideal for cutting things that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside. It actually tears the food rather than cutting, so it should not be used for all kinds of food.

Handle

The handle of your knife can be made from an array of different materials. The basic handles are wood, plastic, composite and Stainless Steel.

Wood handles are made from hardwoods. Wooden handles are the most attractive and do not become slick when wet. Some individuals claim the porosity of the wood retains bacteria and refuse to use them. This is up to the individual as whether this factor is included in the decision process.

Plastic handles can be molded into almost any shape you can imagine. The modern plastic handle has evolved into ergonomically designed units designed by a computer. They fit your hand nicely, but a lot of pole people complain about the “one-size-fits-all” concept. Also, plastic handles can be slippery when wet.

Composite handles incorporate the best of the wood and plastic materials. They are easy to care for and some chefs will use nothing else.

Stainless Steel handles are by far the most durable. They are the most sanitary but can be tricky to handle when wet. Manufacturers form them with bumps and finger grooves to help eliminate this problem.

Conclusion

This information is not by any means everything there is to know. It should give you the basic information you need to make a qualified decision. There are many variations to the ones listed. Choosing your knife will be determined by several factors. How often will you use a particular knife, what will it will be used for, and how much are you willing to spend are just a few of the things you should look at. Hopefully the information given will give you a basic understanding and an idea of what you might look for when purchasing your kitchen cutlery.

Never Give Up, Never Surrenderhttp://www.rfunstuff.comhttp://www.rfunstuff.com/category_browse.em?category_id=154284


About the Author: Johnny Shaw
Born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma. He married in 1971 and then joined the Air Force in 1977. After traveling the world, he retired in 1997 after 20 years of service and has recently moved back to Oklahoma. He has started and online store to supplement his retirement income. His rule to live by “Never give up, Never surrender”http://www.rfunstuff.com/

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Categories
Baking Articles

Baking Flexibility

Silicon Sheets and Silicon Bakeware sets: Baking Flexibility

Chocolate BiscuitsEverywhere you look, there is a lot of emphasis on cutting the fat out of our daily diets, but who wants to cut out the fat if it means cutting out the flavor? When it comes to baking, there is a way to cut down on your fat intake without changing the ingredients in your favorite recipes. If you switch to nonstick silicone bakeware, you can cut down on your fat intake with minimal effort. Because the bakeware is nonstick, you never have to use butter, shortening, or grease on your pans or sheets to ensure easy food removal.

The first silicone items made exclusively for baking were small silicone mats that fit nicely on your cookie sheet and allowed you to bake cookies with out greasing the cookie sheet or worrying about the bottoms getting burned. These little mats were a huge success and stores were hard pressed to keep them in stock.

As the popularity of these mats grew, manufacturers decide to explore the idea of making more bakeware from silicone. They began making spoons, spatulas, and whisks that could withstand high heats and could be used with nonstick cookware with no fear of ruining the coating. Silicone utensils were the perfect choice for candy making or any other project that required a boiling and sticky liquid to be stirred.

Kitchen supply manufacturers also introduced silicone potholders and oven gloves. Because they can withstand heats up to 500 degrees, they are the perfect insurance that you won’t get burned when you pull a hot dish from your oven. They don’t conduct heat the way that a cloth potholder does and they are much sturdier and easy to keep clean than traditional potholders. Home canners fell in love with silicone baker’s mitts because they could actually reach into a pot of boiling water to remove a hot jar of food once it was done processing. As an added bonus these durable potholders do double duty as lid grippers making opening jars a snap.

Once silicone hit kitchens in the form of baking mats, utensils, and pot holders, kitchen experts began to see the potential of this material in everyday baking. Suddenly almost any type of bakeware that could traditionally be found in stainless steel, aluminum, glass, or stoneware was being offered in brightly colored silicone. Stores began selling muffin tins, bread loaf pans, cake pans, and pie pans. The most popular pieces tend to be the specialty designed cake pans that allow you to make cakes shaped like everything from roses to pumpkins. They even have mini cake pans that make individual, fancy shaped cakes.

The popularity of silicone bakeware skyrocketed as cooks began to see the benefits of using this material in their kitchens. Foods pop out of silicone pans with amazing ease. You never need to grease, flour, or even use cooking spray on a silicone pan and that adds up to lots of calories and fat grams saved with each meal. Because silicone is very flexible, it is easy to bend and twist it so that cakes and breads pop out easily. You never have to force baked goods out of the pan, so they retain there shape and you don’t see a lot of split and broken cakes.

Silicone is a bakers dream when it comes to making evenly cooked delicacies. The material distributes heat evenly, so you never end up with a cake that is burned around the edges and still not cooked in the middle. It also cools down quickly ensuring that your foods will not continue cooking and possibly drying out once you remove them from the oven.

Because silicone is nonstick, cleanup is a breeze. A little soap and water and any crumb left on your bakeware disappears. It is nonporous, so it never retains any odors from the foods you cook. Completely versatile it goes from oven to table to freezer and can even be thrown in the dishwasher. Once you are done cleaning it, storage is a snap. With its flexibility, you can twist it, bend it, fold it or mash it up so it can fit in the smallest of drawers or cupboards.

If you haven’t tried silicone bakeware, add a piece or two to your kitchen. You will be surprised at its quality and flexibility.


About the Author: Daniel Smith writes aboutCookware & CouponsandCookware, kitchenware and houseware products

Source:www.isnare.com

An example of silicon bakeware are the Smartware baking sets As seen on TV

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