There is an increasing choice among dairy products, and many of the new items offer a wide range of flavors and low-fat alternatives for good health.
Some low-fat products are not stable if cooked, so heat them gently.
Versatile and nutritious, eggs are the basis of countless sweet and savory dishes. Whole eggs are used for a range of cooked dishes, whites are used for adding volume and binding, and yolks are used for glazing and enriching. Extra yolks or whites can be stored.
Using the eggshell: Crack the shell gently on the edge of a bowl, and carefully pull the two halves apart. Let the white run into the bowl, and pour the yolk several times from one half of the shell to the other.
Using Whole Eggs
• Glazing: To make a golden brown glaze for pastry, bread, or muffins, beat an egg with a pinch of salt, and brush over the food before baking.
• Extending an egg glaze: Make eggs go further for glazing by beating 1 tbsp (15 nil) oil with each whole egg.
• Making omelets: When mixing, beat in 1 tbsp (15 ml) of water to every two eggs for lighter results. Alternatively, separate the white and whip until stiff, then fold into the yolks for a soufflé omelet.
• Scrambling eggs: Beat in a little milk with the eggs to make creamy scrambled éggs.
Removing Yolk Traces
Using a half shell: If you get even a trace of yolk in the white after separating an egg, remove it before whipping the white. The best way to do this is by scooping out the yolk with the edge of a halved eggshell.
• Whipping egg whites: Whip egg whites in a copper bowl if you have one; it will produce the greatest volume.
• Using at room temperature: Remove egg whites from the refrigerator about an hour before needed; they whip best at room temperature.
• Keeping whites: Egg whites whipped with sugar will keep their shape for several hours; plain whipped whiles must be used directly after whipping.
• Saving overwhipped whites To rescue overbeaten egg whites, beat another white separately until frothy, then stir il into the mixture. Whip again to regain the bulk.
Using Egg Whites
Removing traces of grease
Before whipping egg whites, make sure that your bowl is free of grease by wiping it with the cut surface of a fresh lemon. Alternatively, wipe with a paper towel moistened with vinegar.
Using Spare Yolks
• Chilling egg yolks: Place left¬over egg yolks in a small cup. Cover with cold water, and refrigerate for up to two days. O Freezing egg yolks Beat spare yolks with either a pinch of salt for use in savory dishes or a pinch of sugar for use in sweet dishes, then label and freeze for up to six months.
• Enriching dishes: Spare egg yolks are useful for enriching many dishes. For invalids, add an extra yolk when making omelets, pancake batters, and custards to add nutrition.
• Improving texture: Beat an egg’s yolk into a hot chocolate sauce or savory cream sauce for a smooth, glossy texture.
Butter and Cheese
Butter and cheese are rich sources of fat, so are best used in moderation, but both can bring richness and flavor to many dishes.
Margarine can be substituted for butter where the flavor is not critical, but low-fat spreads are most suitable for spreading, not cooking.
• Softening: Use a microwave to soften butter that has been refrigerated. Put the butter in a microwave-safe dish and cook on Defrost for about 30 seconds for each stick (100 g).
• Clarifying: To make a really clear glaze for pâtés or vegetables, clarify butter by melting it with an equal quantity of water. Let set, then lift off the cleared butter, leaving the salts and other solids in the water.
• Making perfect butter curls: Use firm, chilled butter, and dip the butter curler into warm water. Drop the curls into a bowl of iced water, and store in the refrigerator.
Shaving Hard Cheeses
Shave thin curls of Parmesan, pecorino, or other hard cheeses straight from the block with a vegetable peeler. Scatter the curls of cheese over hot pasta dishes, salads, or bruschetta.
Making Light Pastry
To make light shortcrust pastry without cutting in the butter, chill butter until hard, and grate it into the flour using a medium grater. Mix evenly with a fork before adding water to bind.
Cream and Yogurt
These foods enrich all kinds of sweet and savory dishes, and the lighter substitutes for cream make it possible to use dairy produce in almost any diet. Lower-fat forms of cream must be stabilized with cornstarch before cooking so that they can be heated without curdling.
• Checking fat content To maximize volume when whipping, use cream with a fat content of about 40 percent.
• Increasing volume Before whipping, chili the whisk and bowl as well as the cream.
• Adding sugar Whip 1 tsp (5 m!) confectioners’ sugar into each V, cup (150 ml) of cream for a fluffy result that will hold its shape well.
• Adding flavor To produce an even texture, always add flavorings such as brandy to the cream before whipping.
• Whisking by hand Use a balloon or spiral hand whisk, which will allow you to feel texture changes and to avoid overwhipping the cream.
• Lightening a topping Mix half plain yogurt with half whipped cream for a light, flavorful dessert topping.
• Stabilizing To keep plain yogurt from curdling in hot dishes, mix 1 tsp (5 ml) cornstarch into every M cup (150 ml) yogurt before heating. Alternatively, add after cooking, without, boiling.
• Making crème fraîche Mix together equal quantities of sour cream and heavy cream. Cover, and let the mixture stand at room temperature for two hours or until it thickens.
• Whipped cream accents Freeze dollops of whipped cream on a baking sheet, then use to top off Irish coffee.
Making yogurt at home: Heat Ta cups (600 ml) pasteurized milk to 110°F (43°Q. Stir in 1 tbsp (15 ml) plain yogurt and X cup (50 g) powdered skim milk. Pour into a thermos and let stand for seven hours, then chill in a bowl until thickened.