Kitchen Hints and Tips - Sauce, Gravy and Syrup
To prepare satiny smooth sauces, including gravies, use a wire whisk.
Stir often and don't forget the corners. Stir vigorously, if necessary,
to remove lumps as the sauce or gravy cooks.
To give gravy great color and flavor, add a few teaspoons of soy sauce.
Freeze leftover gravy in an ice cube tray. Wrap solid frozen gravy cubes in freezer wrap. Then, when you need some gravy, reheat a cube or two.
Put some flour into a custard cup and place beside meat in the oven. When the meat is done the flour will be nice and brown, ready to make a rich, brown gravy.
If gravy is burned, add a teaspoon of peanut butter to hide the burnt flavor.
If it is quite greasy, add a small amount of baking soda.
Never add cornstarch to hot liquid because it will lump. Dilute cornstarch in twice as much cold liquid and stir until smooth. Then stir the cornstarch mixture into the hot mixture.
For no-lump gravy, use flour that has been browned. Brown flour by putting a little in a heatproof dish when you're using the oven and leave it there until the flour has turned a nice brown color.
When gravy is too salty, put in a few pieces of toasted bread for two or three minutes. The bread will absorb much of the salt.
Use 2 or 3 tablespoons of coffee to give gravy a rich brown color. The gravy won't taste like coffee.
To give gravy a nice color, brown the flour well before adding the liquid. This also helps prevent lumpy gravy.
To make gravy smooth, keep a jar with a mixture of equal parts of flour and cornstarch. Put 3 or 4 tablespoons of this mixture in another jar and add some water. Shake, and in a few minutes you will have a smooth paste for gravy.
For instant white sauce, blend a cup each of softened butter and flour and spread it evenly in an ice cub tray. Freeze, then cut into 16 cubes and store in a plastic bag until you want to make a sauce. Then heat 1 cup milk and 1 cube, stirring until the cube is melted and the liquid is warm.
A teaspoon or so of vanilla extract in Italian tomato sauces helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes!
To keep cream sauces from separating, shake the pan in a back and forth motion, and add just a tiny bit more cream at the very end. This will keep your sauce from having an oily texture. This method works better than the continual motion of a wire whisk.
To prepare white sauce at the right consistency, remember 1-2-3. For each cup of milk use 1 tablespoon of flour for a thin sauce, 2 tablespoons of flour for a medium sauce and 3 tablespoons of flour for a thick sauce. Use 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine for any thickness.
When a sauce curdles, remove pan from heat and plunge into a pan of cold water to stop the cooking process. Beat sauce vigorously, or pour it into a blender and blend until smooth.
To serve piping hot pancake syrup, remove the syrup cap, place the bottle in a microwave, and heat on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
Make fruit syrup by adding 2 cups sugar to 1/2 cup of any kind fruit juice and cooking until it boils.
If syrup crystallizes, set the bottle in a pan of cold water. Heat gently and crystals will disappear.
A pinch of salt added to boiling syrup prevents crystallization.