One of the reasons I love cooking is because it provides me with an endless opportunity to learn. Even cooks who live to be 100 years old can still be amazed by kitchen hints they’ve never heard before. I’ve been writing about food for six years and I probably only know about 5 percent of what there is to know about the topic. Or less.
That’s the beauty of books that offer lots of kitchen tips and tricks. One such book is “How to Squeeze a Lemon” by Fine Cooking magazine, which promises “1,023 kitchen tips, food fixes, and handy techniques” between its covers. I’ve been holding onto this book for long time with the intention of sharing some of its best hints with you. So here goes:
* Protect your nonstick cookware by placing sheets of bubble wrap between them in the cupboard (that is, if you can keep yourself from obsessively popping all the bubbles first).
* To clean broiler pans, lay heavy-duty paper towels on the dirty surface of the pan and wet them with hot water. Let sit for a while. A lot of the gunk will supposedly stick to the paper towels. I haven’t tried this, but if it works it’ll be magnificent.
* To clean a blender without taking it apart, fill 1/3 full with warm water and add a squirt of dish soap. Put on the lid and turn it on for a few seconds, then pour out water, sponge off any remaining residue and rinse.
* Save cereal box liners and use them as wax paper. Or cut off one end and slide meat inside before pounding it.
* When filling a liquid soap dispenser, use a straw. The air escapes through the straw and keeps the soap from bubbling up.
* You can freeze citrus zest in a sealed container for up to 3 months!
* Use the tough core of a fresh pineapple in marinades.
* If you wrap celery in tin foil, it will last for up to a month.
* Store corn cob holders where you can find them easily and not stab your fingers by sticking each pair in the ends of a wine cork.
* Tenderize kale by washing it, stuffing it in a freezer bag and freezing it for a few hours or up to a month. Cook it right out of the freezer.
* Cilantro stems can be used just like the leaves, so long as they aren’t old and limp.
* Rehydrate dried mushrooms with wine instead of water.
* After working with spicy peppers, rub a little vegetable oil on your hands before washing with soap and water. This removes the capsaicin. (My note on this is that oil also works beautifully to remove sticky substances such as pine sap or bubble gum).
* To get the meat out of lobster legs, remove the leg and run a rolling pin over it, from the foot up.
* If you forget to remove the butter from the fridge in time to soften it up for things like toast or muffins, use a cheese plane to cut off thin slices, which melt quickly.
* When melting a small amount of butter in the microwave, use a paper muffin cup instead of dirtying a dish.
I could go on and on, but I won’t transcribe the entire book here on the blog. But aren’t these some great tips? Even though this book is a couple of years old, it would still make a fantastic gift for the cook on your list. I guarantee you there are a bunch of ideas in it that even a 100-year-old cook has never considered.
Were you aware of any of these tips? Got any tips you’d put in the book if you were the author?