How to Make a Paper Cone for Piping

Paper cones ready to use

Paper cones ready to use

Knowing how to make a paper cone for decorating can save you a lot of headaches if you have some decorating of pastries to do.

The paper cones can be filled with melted chocolate, various glazes and thinned icing for writing on cakes or drizzling pastries or creating piped designs.

Best of all, no tip is needed and when you are done, simply throw the cone away.

It takes a few practice units to get it right, but after you do, it’s like learning to ride a bicycle, you don’t really forget how.

Here’s how:

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Lay out a piece of parchment paper.

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Fold it so it forms a square. There may be an extra piece to cut off at one end.

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Remove the piece you don’t need. I find cutting with a sharp knife works best.

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Fold the square into a triangle and cut to make two triangles.

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With the triangle, you have the top tip and two points along the long edge. Bring one of the bottom points up to meet the top tip as shown.

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Close up, bring both points on the long edge up to this top tip.

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With all three points together, adjust the cone so the pointy tip is closed. You can adjust the opening by moving the points. Play with this to see how it works. You will need to know how this works later when piping.

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Using the tips, you can move them to adjust the size of the opening.

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Fold the edges to secure. (NO TAPE!) Folding, if done correctly, is all you need to hold these together. Practice!

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A finished paper cone

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Moving the points on the long edge up to the tip on the top of the triangle allows you to control the size of the opening.

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Paper cones ready to use!

 

Snack Time!

When having fruit for a snack or any snack for that matter, be sure to present it nicely.

Apple Snack!

Apple Snack!

It makes such a difference!

This was just a half an apple, sliced and served with a small bit of vanilla Greek Yogurt.

Snack apples

Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes, Basil, and Broccoli

This Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes, Basil, and Broccoli is quick and refreshing.

Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes, Basil, and Broccoli

Whenever I cook pasta I always cook more than we need for 1 meal. This makes cooked pasta ready to go during summer months for refreshing and quick meals.

If you have cooked pasta on hand, it is only moments to put together a nice meal from what you might have in your refrigerator.

This dish came about because I was hungry and we had angel hair, cooked, steamed broccoli from last night, an amazing vine ripened tomato and a bushy basil plant that needed trimming.

To make this dish, you will need:

  • 1/4 pound cooked angel hair pasta; per person
  • 1 chopped fresh tomato; per person
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (ribbons)
  • 1/4 cup steamed broccoli; per person (optional)
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2-3 whole basil leaves for garnish

Method:

Combine everything but the pasta in a bowl, mix well.

Re-heat pasta in boiling water, drain well. Place the pasta in a bowl or on a plate.

Spoon the tomato mixture over the pasta, garnish with whole basil leaves.

Sprinkle with Asiago or Parmesan cheese if desired.

Enjoy this refreshing summer dish!

Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes, Basil, and Broccoli

What is a Colander? How do you choose one?

Colanders are those strainers you use to drain larger amounts of liquid from things.

Colanders stand alone, you do not need to hold them like you do a strainer.

Here are some different types: There are some funky ones, like cow and chicken colanders;

Colander

Colander (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Colorful ones

Stylish ones

They can be made from heavy-duty plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, aluminum, copper etc.

I bought one from an artist friend once. This colander was ceramic, hand painted and unique. It had three chicken legs styled out of clay; the bottom half of the bird was all there was, it was white and the handles were the birds wings. Chickens don’t have very big wings. I couldn’t resist the cow colander either.

I like funky kitchen stuff sometimes. If it makes me smile, it gets a place in common use. This colander made me laugh so I bought it. It earned an esteemed spot on the kitchen counter for a while.

Chicken and cow colanders

Finally time to use it. I place it carefully in the bottom of the sink and drained the pasta in the colander.

I was totally beside myself and wondered why it didn’t dawn on me before that exact moment how I expected it to look.

Well, what happened was not what I thought it would be.

The chicken looked as if it were peeing all over itself; peeing like a racehorse.

That’s just not right. That imagery was all wrong.

My fun time with the chicken colander was over.

I drained the pasta, washed and dried the colander.

It holds a place in the background of my TV show set.

Now, they hold butchers twine

It is no longer used actively. Last I checked, it held several balls of butchers twine. The holes in the body (the perforations for the colander) are perfect twine guides. Thread it through a hole, pull as you need. Only on the TV show though.

I can’t have peeing animals in my kitchen.

When it comes to kitchen tools, you get what you pay for.

If you buy artisan, you can also get a show.

Stainless Steel Colanders

Over the sink colander; the handles extend to fit your sink

Here are a few pointers for evaluating a colander for purchase:

  • English: A plastic colander in a stainless kit...

    English: A plastic colander in a stainless kitchen sink. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Take a look at all the different materials. Which do you prefer? Is the chosen material durable for my lifestyle? (Enamel chips)

  • Make sure there are lots of small holes. Small enough to retain peas. Any larger and you limit the colanders use.
  • Colander

    Colander (Photo credit: paukrus)

    Make sure the sides and bottom have holes, not just the bottom.

  • Make sure it has enough holes, a few will not strain your stuff fast or well enough
  • Will it fit in your sink? If not, where are you doing to use it?
  • Will it fit into the dishwasher?

You can store the colander with the nested stainless mixing bowls.

If you tire of your colander, you can always line it with sheet moss, fill it with dirt and plant herbs or flowers in it. Of course you will need a tray under it to catch any drips from watering.

No matter what, do not allow your friends to convince you a colander makes a good party hat. It does not and you will regret any resulting photos.

Colander

Colander (Photo credit: StefZ)

  • English: A colander, photographed by DO'Neil.

    English: A colander, photographed by DO’Neil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sharing the Bounty

I love when people share the bounty.

At work, one of my colleagues is an avid gardener. He often brings in what he has an abundance, this week it was lettuce!

BIG bowl of fresh lettuce and chive flowers

Romaine, green leaf and lambs ear and as I walked past the herb garden at school, I clipped a handful of chive flowers. The huge bowl of greens motivated us to set a salad station and have a big fresh salad with dinner last night.

Instead of using bread for lunch, we wrapped tuna salad in lettuce leaves and felt like Peter Rabbit as we crunched away.

We went to the farmers market and bought some amazing sweet strawberries, radishes, new Vidalia onions, fresh ripe tomatoes and okra and Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

For dinner we grilled chicken and corn on the cob, steamed broccoli and crunched through an amazing fresh salad. We dressed the salad with Chive Blossom Vinaigrette made with Chive Blossom Vinegar.

Prepping Dinner

Cooking Quickie: “What does it mean to ‘Butter the Casserole’?”

“Cooking Quickies” are simple cooking questions heard from readers, students and general people. Please send your “Quickie Questions” to spoonfeast@gmail.com

Cooking Quickie:

What does it mean to “butter the casserole?”

This refers to a vessel in which you are putting a mixture of ingredients where they are going cook for a period of time.
What they want you to do is take butter and smear it all over the inside food contact surface.

The purpose is to make the food easy to remove so it does not stick to the inside of your cooking vessel.
I say ‘cooking vessel’ because it can be a heat proof glass dish (aka. Pyrex), a clay dish, a porcelain ramekin, a stainless steel pan, loaf pan etc. There a lot of choices.

Instead of butter you can also spray the inside surface with an oil spray such as PAM. Fewer calories and just as effective.

When making cakes or souffles, you would also dust the butter with flour, sugar, Parmesan cheese as appropriate.

Some pan release sprays have both oil and flour in them, read the labels. These are commonly called ‘Bakers Spray’. Some pan sprays contain alcohol.  I prefer the ones that are 100% oil. The alcohol evaporates leaving a much thinner coat behind which could result in some sticking.

Be sure to look closely at the inside your casserole dish and make sure you got every little place coated with butter.

You can use hard or soft butter (it smears easier), salted or unsalted. You can even use margarine if you want.

Various casserole Dishes