The first question was about using parchment paper and what to substitute if you don't have any. So to answer that I thought I'd share some insights on the various forms of wrappings/coverings out there and what they are best used for.
Parchment Paper = treated paper that can be used in the oven.
- It will not burn (although it did take me a long time to get up the courage to try it out. After all, intuitively we know that paper burns);
- It's great to line cookie sheets and cake tins so food doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan;
It makes cleanup a breeze;
- You can make them into pouches and steam bake dishes. Fish fillets do exceptionally well this way. Just add some herbs and spices, seal the pouch and bake. You can even add rice to it to create an all-in-one meal. The French call it en papillotte. In the comments, someone asked where they can find unbleached parchment paper. So for the environmentally friendly folks, you can buy it at Whole Foods or on line at Amazon - click here - unbleached parchment
- Substitutions - tin foil/aluminum foil
Do not use waxed paper or plastic wrap – they will melt! Although waxed paper can be used to line cake tins as long as all the waxed paper is covered. In other words, fine for cake batter, not fine for cookies.
- It’s a great substitute for parchment paper as a liner for cookie sheets (I wouldn’t use it to line cake pans though); this makes it so easy to quickly swap pans for large amounts of cookie making.
- Works quite well to wrap things like meat loaf, lasagna leftovers…solid foods like ribs, chicken, etc. It will even do well in the freezer, although I favor zip lock baggies myself.
- I love this particularly for keeping homemade pesto fresh and green and ice cream free from frost for long periods of time. All you have to do is make sure the wrap is touching the surface of the food. It seals out all excess moisture that’s usually trapped in the air between the food and the lid.
- I also have used this to create a form for David’s favorite meat loaf, for example, that has three layers. You line the loaf pan with plastic wrap, because it’s so flexible and molds to the shape so easily. Pour in half the meat loaf filling, then a layer of cooked spinach and top with another layer of meat loaf. Then flip the whole thing over onto a tin foil lined cookie sheet with a lipped edge. Once you carefully unmold the the meatloaf onto the cookie sheet you gently remove the plastic wrap BEFORE baking. Coat the meatloaf with your favorite steak sauce or mustard and bake. The meat loaf will keep its shape and get brown and crispy all over.
- I personally only use this to cover vegetables that I want to steam in the microwave. It’s amazing. Just put your veggies in a dish, add about 1 tbsp water, loosely cover with waxed paper and heat on high for a few minutes. You’ll have perfectly steamed vegetables every time.
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