Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Handy Kitchen Trick: Zipper Bags

Zipper bags are useful for all sorts of things--freezing fruits, veggies, leftovers, even sauces and broths. But one of my favorite uses for a zipper bag is restaurant left-overs.
I thought everyone knew this little fact, but I was recently informed otherwise by an avid restaurant diner. So, here is my gift to you this week: An average-sized to-go box will fit perfectly in a gallon-sized zipper storage or freezer bag. No more stinky Chinese fridge. No more ice that tastes like the remnants of your last visit to Olive Garden. And no more having to dump all your restaurant leftovers into a plastic or glass lidded container. Just slip the to-go box into the zipper bag, seal it, and stick it in the fridge. Voila!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baking Tip of the Week: The Freezer is Your Friend

When making a custom cake that requires carving the layers, freeze them first.
Wrap them well in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer until they're frozen solid. Cake layers are much easier to carve when frozen. Plus, freezing shrinks the crumb, so your cake doesn't crumble when you slice it up and serve it to your guests.
No, freezing the layers in this manner does not dry out your cake if you wrap it well. You get a dried-out cake when the grocery store bakery freezes cakes already decorated.
Just don't leave the layers in your freezer for months on end and then expect them to still be good. I'd say two weeks, at most. Usually, I bake and freeze the day before I decorate.