Saturday, March 2, 2013

10 Tips for a Happy Kitchen

The kitchen can be a scary/frustrating/annoying/confusing place. And there are some tasks that make the kitchen even more daunting. Here are some tips that just might help make your kitchen experience more palatable. :)

1. Got a piece of eggshell in that egg you just cracked open? Don't go fishing for it with dry fingers. The oils in your skin push the proteins in the egg and force the shell away from your finger. Try wetting your finger and then picking out the shell. The water allows the proteins to move apart, allowing you to get to the shell right away.

2. Need to thaw meat fast? Try putting it in an unheated aluminum or stainless steel pan. The metal will work as a conductor, lowering the temperature. Flip the meat after about 30 minutes to let the other side get some surface contact.

3.  Commercially made peanut butters contain additional oils and preservatives. Save up to 100 calories by making your own. Put nuts in a food processor and process until smooth. That's it!

4. You may not know it, but most cookbook measurements are based on spooning, not scooping the flour. When you scoop the flour gets packed into parts of the measuring cup and you'll end up with more flour than you need.

5. You know why chefs look like they've got it together in the kitchen? They prep. It's called mise en place, which translates to "everything in place". You'll save time and feel more confident as you move through your recipe.

6. Salt does more than just make things taste salty. Salting at the right time will enhance the flavor of every dish. For tips on salting, click here.

7. Asparagus can have a tough skin. Peel it off just below the tips before cooking and your asparagus will be nice and tender.

8. Reserve some of the water used to cook your pasta. The starch in the water will thicken your sauce and add a creaminess to the texture.

9. Sanitize your wood cutting boards by covering them in salt and scrubbing with a lemon. As an added bonus, the salt enhances the smell of lemon. Your kitchen will smell amazing!

10. Use unflavored, waxed dental floss to gently slice delicate pastry doughs. Your rolls will keep their shape and you'll keep your sanity.

Got a tip you want to share? How do you make cooking easier?


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