Thursday, July 5, 2012

How do I????

How do I make fruit Ice Cubes?

When you have great-looking extra berries, grab a few and create special ice cubes with them. If you have some tiny fresh mint leaves, you will want to use them, too. The berries will stand out more if they have a little green friend with them.

Wash your berries. Allow them to drain slightly on a bed of paper towels. Just plunk a clean berry or two (depending upon size) into each cube slot, followed by a little mint leaf.

You will find that some of the berries are floaters. I learned from my experience that with my floaters (which happened to be raspberries this time), it would have worked best for me to put the raspberries in and fill the slot just halway with water. Then, when the raspberry was frozen in place, mid-slot, add the mint leaf and the remaining water.

How to Make a White Bechamel Sauce

The 'mother of all sauces

See this creamy goop? This is a piece of culinary magic that holds casseroles together, forms the base of soufflés, and can even be turned into a pasta sauce with a few extra ingredients. This is a white sauce — a very, very helpful thing to know in the kitchen. Just in case you've never made one before, or want a refresher, here's a quick photo tutorial!
A béchamel or white sauce is one of the classic French "mother sauces" that form the basis of much French cuisine. The original recipe for béchamel may be this one from Auguste Escoffier: "White roux moistened with milk, salt, onion stuck with clove [aka onion pique], cook for 18 minutes". A white sauce is perhaps the most commonly-used mother sauce for home cooks.
It's really very simple: A roux (a mix of equal weights butter and flour) is cooked together into a clumpy paste, then cooked with milk until smooth and creamy. The butter and flour swell as they are cooked in order to thicken the milk.
This relatively low-fat sauce is a good base for creamy sauces; it's often used in gratins like mac 'n' cheese, and with baked vegetables. It forms the base of the classic cheese soufflé, and it can be dressed up into a pasta sauce with a little extra liquid and some herbs. Knowing how to make a white sauce is a great technique for any cook; it's so easy and quick to make, and you know that you'll end up with a creamy, well-thickened sauce.

What You Need

50 grams (about 6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
50 grams (3 1/2 tablespoons) flour
2 cups (about 480 grams) milk
Wooden spoon
Heavy-duty whisk


1. Measure out the butter, flour, and milk. (Note: There is quite a lot of room for adjustment in the quantity of milk. For a very thick, sticky béchamel use about 1 1/2 cups. For a much looser, more liquid sauce, use 2 1/2 cups or even more, to get the consistency you want. Also, the more fat in the milk, the thicker the sauce will be.)
Warm the milk in a separate saucepan or in the microwave and set aside.
2. Place the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and melt it completely, but do not let it brown.
3. Dump in the flour and stir it quickly into the butter.
4. As you can see in the photo, the butter and flour will be a mixture of wet scrambled eggs at first.
5. Cook and stir the flour-butter mixture over medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes. The butter and flour will dry out slightly, and turn just a bit darker to a more golden color. Do not let it brown or darken; we are creating a "blond" or golden roux, where the flour has just been cooked.
6. Pour in just a few tablespoons of the hot milk, just enough to moisten the flour and butter mixture. Stir thoroughly to loosen up the thick flour mixture.
7. Now grab the whisk and gradually add the rest of the milk to the loosened flour mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk vigorously!
8. You will be left with a thick, warm, creamy mix of flour, butter, and milk. From here you can add cheese, salt, and pepper to create a sauce for mac 'n' cheese, or the base for a soufflé.

Figuring out how many bottles of wine you need for a small dinner party might be easy, but what about planning for a large event like a wedding reception or a family reunion? Here are some guidelines for calculating how much wine, beer, and liquor you'll need for a party, no matter the size.
First, figure out how many drinks you'll need for the duration of the party. As a general rule, assume guests will have two drinks during the first hour of the party, and one drink every hour after that.
Number of guests x Estimated number of drinks per guest = Total number of drinks
Next, figure out how you want to divide those drinks among wine, beer and liquor, depending on the crowd you're serving. Or to make it simple, just allocate a third of the total number of drinks to each type.
Wine: A 750-ml bottle of wine contains about 5 servings, so divide the number of wine drinks by 5 to come up with the number of bottles you'll need. (If you don't need to take into account other types of alcohol, an even easier way to estimate wine needs for a sit-down dinner is to assume half a bottle of wine per person.)
For Champagne or sparkling wine, a bottle will fill about 6 flutes.
Beer: For large parties, a keg often makes the most sense. Unfortunately, keg sizes are not standardized, but in general U.S. half-barrel kegs are 15.5 gallons and quarter-barrels contain 7.75 gallons which, if you are using 10-ounce cups, equals about 200 servings and 100 servings of beer, respectively. Take a look at these charts on Wikipedia for more U.S. keg size specifications and European keg size specifications.
Liquor: Mixed drinks have a 1.5-ounce (45 ml) serving of liquor per drink, so a 750-ml bottle will make about 16 drinks. To figure out how many bottles you need, just divide the number of liquor drinks needed by 16.
To estimate the amount of mixers needed, figure about 1 quart (1 liter) of tonic water, soda water, or juice for every 3 guests.
And don't forget to round up and, if possible, buy a little more than you think you'll need. Check with the vendor you buy from; some will give refunds for unopened bottles.
Do you have any tips for calculating how much alcohol to buy for parties?

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