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    2017 US Pastry Championships- Winners

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    2017 US Pastry Championships- Winning Chocolate Sculpture

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    2017 US Pastry Championships- Judges Meeting

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    2017 US Pastry Championships- Winning Mini Pastry Display

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    2017 US Pastry Championships- Finalists at Medal Ceremony

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    2017 US Pastry Championships- Mini Pastry Display

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    2017 US Pastry Championships- Judges with Winning Entry

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    2017 US Pastry Championships- Mini Pasteries

Tips For Cooking Pasta, Rice And Potatoes

Preparing culinary delights is something everyone with a flair for cooking loves to do. Did ever wonder how some of the world's greatest chefs accomplish what they do with some of your favorite foods? Well, you're about to be let in on some very "insider" secrets in this special excerpt from "Tips And Tricks On Cooking Like A Chef". You will be given top level advice on what to do with pasta, rice and potatoes.

When pasta is fresh it tends to require less water than dried pasta. You need to have a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water ready—just about enough boiling water for the pasta to cook in. To prevent the pasta from sticking together, a little oil should be added to the water. Next, you add the pasta to the pan, seeing to it that the water stays boiling and stirring slowly for ten seconds to separate the pasta. Depending on the type of pasta you're using, boil for two to four minutes.

Spaghetti should be untangled before serving. Sometimes, when you allow spaghetti to cool for too long, it becomes tangled. If this happens, toss it back into the hot water and stir with a large spoon. Right after that, drain and rinse the pasta in cold water. Some olive oil may be added if you see it fit.

Al dente pasta is a special type of pasta. Al dente, an Italian phrase, means "to the tooth". Cooked pasta should be soft but still firm when you bite it. It is said that the easiest way to determine whether pasta is "al dente" is removing a piece from the saucepan and testing it between your teeth. The ideal "al dente" pasta will have some texture when bitten, but it should not be dry and hard in the middle.

Pasta is also cooked dried. There is a common mistake (when cooking dried pasta) of not having enough boiling water. Prepare a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water. Add a little oil and pasta to the pan. To separate the pasta, stir for twenty seconds. Depending on the shape of the pasta and the flour used, boiling should be for ten to fourteen minutes. To serve hot, drain and eat immediately without any extra oil or butter. To serve cold, rinse pasta under warm water, and then rinse under cold water.

If you want perfect pasta, do not boil the noodles! Instead, boil the water and add pasta after turning off the fire. Cover the pasta, removing cover only to stir the pasta every five minutes for twenty minutes. This way, you will never have overcooked pasta, but perfect pasta every time.

Let's now move on to rice. Here are some tips for making fluffier rice. Before adding rice, add one teaspoon of lemon juice to the water. This will not change the flavor but will plump up the grains to give you perfect rice.

Here are some tips for adding flavor to rice. Substitute plain water for chicken stock, beef stock, or tomato juice when boiling flavored rice. It may be served "as is" or more flavor may be added by sautéing some vegetables in olive oil and garlic and then adding them. This will give you a delicious and healthy side dish.

Here are some tips for reducing the stickiness of pasta and rice. Because of the starch in pasta and rice, they tend to stick together. This may be avoided by adding a splash of vinegar when boiling them. This gives you perfect, stick-free pasta and rice every time.

Here are some tips for making the fluffiest possible baked potatoes. You need to choose a potato with high starch content. Examples of good choices are Russets and Idahos. To aid steam in escaping during baking, pierce the potatoes several times with a knife before placing them in the oven. Wrapping your potatoes will cause them to steam rather than bake, so do not do this. When serving your baked potatoes, before adding toppings, cut a slit in the top and squeeze the sides of the potato.

If you like to eat the skin along with your baked potatoes, here are some wonderful tips for you. Before placing them into a hot oven, rub the outside of your potatoes with some vegetable oil. This will make it soft and delicious. A little added butter and sour cream, or even shredded cheese gives you a perfect side dish!

Smothered in butter or drowned in gravy...however you like them...mashed potatoes are a wonderful accompaniment to a variety of meals. To copy a page off the professional's book, start making your mashed potatoes by putting several whole garlic cloves in the water with the boiling potatoes. The garlic, being cooked, will give the potatoes a wonderful flavor when they are mashed. Add buttermilk, cream cheese, sour cream butter, or a combination of these while mashing potatoes. You may want to experiment until you find what you like best.

If you need baked potatoes in a flash, here are some excellent tips from the experts. Potatoes may be microwaved, but are always nicer in the oven. Slicing your potatoes in half (lengthwise) and baking them with the flat part facing down, will facilitate speed in baking. Remember to grease the baking sheet, then simply place potatoes into a 375-degrees oven for approximately thirty minutes.

---------------------------------------------------- Patrick Carpen, the author of this article, is the writer and developer of the website: http://www.platinumrecipescollection.com . The Platinum Recipes Collection is the internet's most comprehensive recipes collection.