Is It OK to Wash Fresh Mushrooms?

YES. This is acceptable when done correctly. The key is to make sure that they are whole, and only wash right before cooking. Never let them sit wet for more than 10 minutes. If they don’t soak or sit, then they won’t get slimy. Quickly rinse, slice and cook and you’ll be good to go.

Cooking is all about speed and efficiency.  Individually wiping each mushroom is not worth the extra time or effort.  Especially, for little to no noticeable difference.  This is most true when working with common supermarket types at home.

– Question Corner Crew

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Can I Defrost Frozen Bread on the Counter?

NO. This practice can make it go stale. While warming, crystalline regions form which absorb the moisture and cause it to dry out. Smaller pieces are best defrosted for 20 seconds in the microwave. Uncovered on high power. This helps break down the crystals and adds a little steam for softer bread. 

Larger chunks of bread and loaves are better reheated in the oven at 325°F for ~20 minutes.  Tightly wrap with aluminum foil for best results.  Of course, this is bread we are talking about, so nothing is going to make frozen pieces taste perfect. However, doing it the right way will save you from the heartache and frustration of biting into a brick.

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Can I Leave Salt out of My Recipe?

NO. Salt is necessary for enhancing both flavors and textures as well as masking less agreeable tastes. Especially, in baking. It’s also vital for drawing moisture out of meats and vegetables. Lastly, salt tends to affect protein bonds in a way that results in more tender eggs and steaks.

Even a small amount makes a big difference in the ultimate taste of your finished product.  The proportion added to most home cooking is negligible, and won’t remove much sodium from your diet.  If you’re really concerned about high sodium intake, then cut back on processed foods like frozen entrees, condiments and canned goods instead.

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If Ground Meat Browns in the Package, Is It Bad?

NO. This is a cosmetic color change, which means that the freshness or flavor should not be negatively affected. Myoglobin, a muscle protein, will change color depending on how much oxygen it is exposed to. For best practice, consume, cook or freeze meat within 1-2 days of the “sell by” date.

Bad meat is no fun for anyone.  However, there’s no need to necessarily overlook discounted meat on appearance alone.  Just pay attention to the date on the package and how long it’s been in your fridge.

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What’s the Difference Between a Cook and a Chef?

If you have received professional training or work in a commercial setting then you are usually considered a Chef. If you cook at home or are just starting out in your culinary career then Cook is more appropriate. Home cooks can level up to chefs by acquiring cooking specific knowledge and skills.

So there you have it.  You don’t necessarily have to go to culinary school to call yourself a chef.  However, most amateurs and enthusiasts will fall into the cook classification.  Through hard work, determination and the honing of specific skills (like knife work, prepping, planning, cooking and presenting food) you too can reach the coveted rank of chef.

– Question Corner Crew

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