“A reader called with this question? ‘What can you use to tenderize meat besides Adolph's meat tenderizer?’ I suggested using a marinade. Here, from ‘The Kitchen Answer Book’ by Hank Rubin, are what different marinade ingredients do to soften meat.
‘Yogurt breaks down the flesh of meat and fish,’ Rubin writes. ‘Lemon softens meat and gives a tangy flavor. Green papaya digests protein. Tamarind tenderizes and seasons. (Vinegar's) acetic acid acts as a softener.’”
"Q: How do you avoid lumpy gravy?
A: Add the flour to the liquid gradually and stir constantly using a whisk. "The Kitchen Answer Book" by Hank Rubin (Capital Books, $22.95) recommends adding a pinch of salt to the flour before mixing it with the liquid. If the gravy still becomes lumpy, put it in a blender or food processor to whip it together or strain it through a sieve and discard the lumps."
"Here's another kitchen answer 'bible' which also excels in an organization lending to speedy referencing: 'The Kitchen Answer Book: Answers To All Of Your Kitchen And Cooking Questions.' Hank Rubin has several decades of experience as an executive chef, restaurant owner and food writer: it's these years of experience which lend to basic answers to common cook's problems; from how to tell if a melon is ripe to what kinds of woods are good for smoking meats, and how to quickly thaw a chicken. An organization by type of food - eggs, dairy, seafood, poultry - makes these answers easy to uncover in a crisis."
"Cabbage doesn't require a lengthy cooking time, especially if it's shredded. If you overcook cabbage, according to ‘The Kitchen Answer Book’ by Hank Rubin (Capital Books, $22.95), ‘it will give off an unwelcome odor.’"
"Eggplants take to many cooking methods, from broiling to frying to grilling and more. But be aware that they are like sponges and will soak up any oil you use on them.
‘Because they have inner air pockets, they can absorb several times their weight in oil, even when breaded,’ says Hand Rubin in ‘The Kitchen Answer Book’ (Capital Books, $22.95). ‘This increases fat and breaks down texture.’"
"Q: Even though I rinse and drain them first, when I add frozen and thawed blueberries to batter, the juice from the berries discolors the mixture making my cake look unappetizing. Is there a way to prevent this?
A: Sure. Just add the berries in their frozen state, says Hank Rubin in ‘The Kitchen Answer Book.’"
"Q: What's the difference between spring water, mineral water and artesian water?
A: According to Hank Rubin in ‘The Kitchen Answer Book’ (Capital, 2002), artesian water is bottled from a well that has a water-bearing layer with a rock basis, mineral water has at least 200 parts per million of total dissolved solids without the addition of any minerals, and spring water is collected at the source of an underground water formation and has all the physical properties as when it came to the surface."