Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cooking Hacks

It happens to the best of us - you realize you don't have a "necessary" ingredient for a recipe you're about to prepare. Maybe you thought you had eggs or butter and didn't add them to your grocery list, only to figure it out as you get out your necessary ingredients. If you're like me, there's no chance you're going back out to the store to get the forgotten item. Here are a few of my favorite "cooking hacks" which can help in a pinch.

Buttermilk
If a recipe calls for a cup of buttermilk and you only have regular milk, you can use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to make "buttermilk." Just fill you measuring instrument a little bit under a cup, add the vinegar, and wait about 5 minutes before continuing with your recipe.

Whole Milk
We drink 1% milk in our house, so when a recipe calls for Whole Milk, I don't really want to buy a separate container. You can add a small amount of cream or even half & half to "up" the percentage of your milk, below is a trusty conversion chart I found on Chowhound. Since I'm usually using 1% milk, I tend to use about 1 tablespoon less than the chart below calls for. It's worth noting that you should add the cream or half & half to your measuring cup first and then add your milk the rest of the way, it's not in addition to the milk the recipe calls for - wouldn't want anyone to end up with too much liquid.

1.5t heavy cream= 1% milk
1T heavy cream= 2% milk
2T heavy cream= whole milk
5T 1t heavy cream= half-&-half
9T heavy cream= light cream
1T light cream= 1% milk
1T 2t light cream= 2% milk
3T light cream= whole milk
5 oz light cream= half-&-half
2T half & half= 1% milk
3T half & half= 2% milk
4T half & half= whole milk


Butter
I often substitute mashed bananas or unsweetened applesauce in baked goods - just replace the butter with an equal amount of banana or applesauce.

Eggs
You can also use mashed banana or applesauce for eggs, or vegetable oil if you think you'll miss the fat. 1/4 cup of any of them replaces one egg.

Do you have a favorite cooking hack or substitution you use in a pinch?

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