Wednesday , 20 June 2018

Kyra’s Kitchen: 15 Great Cooking Tips in One Minute; One Great Meal in 15

1. BE PREPARED!  Before even putting on that apron – READ the recipe and PREP! Be sure you have all the ingredients IN THE HOUSE and measure them out. A cautionary tale…………   Did you hear the [true] story of the man who forgot the chili powder – dashed out to the supermarket leaving the dish to cook on the stove and came back to find his house burnt to the ground?
2. Slice meat AGAINST the grain – for a more tender result – unless of course you LIKE those strands in your teeth.
3. Do NOT make substitutions when baking.  Baking is like architecture – alter a measurement or ingredient and the result will surely fail.  You can experiment when cooking however – although as they tartly informed me at the Cordon Bleu, that will make it a different dish!
4. When beating or stirring in a mixing bowl,  set it  on a damp cloth to prevent it skidding all over the place.
5. Don’t overcrowd that pan when frying or sautéing. It will ‘throw’ liquid and you will get a soggy result.
6. When sautéing or frying – cook the good side first.
7. Your dish is only as good as your worst ingredient.
8. If you want to ‘squeeze’ more juice from a lemon – microwave for 15 seconds.
9. When cooking odiferous vegetables like cauliflower or cabbage – add a couple of bay leaves to the cooking water.
10. If you need to bake pastry ‘blind’ and want to weigh down with beans….  Place one lb. beans in 12” square of cheese cloth. Draw up corners and tie tightly. Then drop the ‘bag’ onto the pastry base and bake.  It is easily removed and can be reused.
11. Leave the root on an onion when slicing.  Cut off the top of the other end – remove the skin and use the root to hold the onion together while you slice and dice.
12. To clean a kettle – fill with water, add half a lemon and bring to the boil. Leave overnight and the next day the stains will be gone. Rinse well.
13. When roasting a chicken – set the bird on slices of onion – to give extra flavor.
14. A tip from Dean Fearing.… When cutting peppers, cut straight down the sides – leaving the centers – and the seeds.  Leaves behind much of the ‘heat’.
15. Taste!!! Taste!!! Taste!!!

A Great Meal in 15 Minutes

Shrimp sautéed with garlic and chili with Chili Mayonnaise Sauce
French bread
Green salad
Cheesecake Ice cream Cones

This meal is ready in 15 minutes…………. IF
You have defrosted the shrimp – and have the cream cheese at room temperature
And have the entire ingredients ready prepped [see Tip #1]

A] Prepare the dessert first – then while it is setting in the refrigerator –
B] Set out the green salad and bread
C] Cook the shrimp

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 lb shrimp with shell [no heads] defrosted

Pan juices
¼ cup dry white wine [or water] 1 tablespoon chili sauce
½ cup mayonnaise

1. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan – add the chili powder and garlic and sauté for one minute.
2. Toss in the shrimp and sauté, tossing frequently until they are all pink.
3. Remove to a serving plate and keep warm.
4. Add the wine to the frying pan and deglaze the pan [by scraping the bits off  with the wine].
5. Strain into a little bowl and stir in the chili sauce and mayonnaise.

Serve immediately with green salad [bought ready prepped] and a French baguette.
Serves 4. The recipe can be doubled.

Prepare these before cooking the shrimp and allow to set in the refrigerator while you eat you main course.

1 pkg. – [3oz] lemon Jello
½ cup boiling water
½ cup ice cubes
1 8oz. package SOFT cream cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
6 sugar cones
Whipped topping – and chocolate shavings

Dissolve the lemon Jello in the boiling water. Add the ice cubes and stir until melted. The Jello should be of egg white consistency.
Beat together the cream cheese, ricotta and yogurt and then whisk in the Jello.
Spoon into the cones [you will probably have some filling leftover].
Set upright in the refrigerator. [I use a foam block – with holes lined with saran – or you can use thin cups or champagne flutes.] Allow to set while you are eating the shrimp.
Serve with whipped topping and chocolate shavings….

And one more hint…
Be sure and have empty bowls on the table to receive the shrimp shells – and I always line the table with newspaper.
Makes it fun – and the clean up even ‘funner’!

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?

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