Dried Beans: Brine ‘Em! Forget Conventional Wisdom Warning against salting beans before they're cooked. Our testing revealed that adding salt to the overnight soaking liquid (2 tsps of salt per quart of water)- in effect "brining" the beans- yields better-seasoned and more evenly cooked results.
Keeping Salads Cold To keep salads cool and fresh on a buffet table, use this method. Fill 1 or 2 large zipper-lock bags wit ice cubes and a few tablespoons of salt. (The salt helps to keep the ice cold longer.) Place the sealed bags in the bottom of a large serving bowl and cover them with lettuce leaves. Spoon the salad onto the lettuce leaves. The salad will stay cool for at least 1 hour.
Easier Steaming Many vegetable steamer baskets have short legs that allow only a small amount of water to be added beneath its base. For vegetables that take longer to cook through, place three small crumpled up balls of aluminum foil in the pot and place the steamer basket on top of the foil. The foil elevates the steamer basket, creating room for extra water.
Turning White Sugar to Brown White sugar combined with molasses is an excellent substitute for brown sugar. Pulse the 2 in a food processor or simple add the proper amount of molasses along with the other wet ingredients.For light brown sugar, use 1 cup of granulates sugar to 1 tablespoon molasses. For dark brown sugar use 1 cup of granulated sugar to 2 tablespoons molasses.
Mashed Potatoes at the Ready This is a great tip for using left over mashed potatoes by freezing them so they are quickly available for a single meal. Using a large ice cream scoop or measuring cup, place 1-cup portions of mashed potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the mashed potato portions to a large zipper-lock bag and return to the freezer. To reheat, place a portion in a microwave at 50 percent power for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.