Help Around the Kitchen
Ideas for August
Celebrate summer by keeping fresh produce on hand for dinner and keep cool with frozen treats.
Use a paper towel to brush away loose wisps of silk from shucked ears of corn. For stubborn strands, a clean toothbrush will do the trick.
Guy's Chili Lime Corn on the Cob
It’s National Ice Cream Sandwich Day! Make homemade versions that look like the real deal. Transfer softened ice cream to a resealable plastic bag and press to lay flat. Freeze again, then peel away the bag and cut out rounds using a cookie cutter. Sandwich the rounds between cookies.
Use Strawberry Ice Cream in Sandra’s Cookies
National Watermelon Day deserves a good, ripe watermelon. Tap on a green and cream-striped melon (avoid white spots!) with your knuckles — it should sound hollow, rather than muffled.
For foods that take a long time to grill (new potatoes, eggplant, onions), partially cook them in the microwave before grilling to cut back on time.
Bobby's Hoisin-Glazed Eggplant
Celebrate National Farmers Market Week by preparing meals using local summer produce, such as summer squash, stone fruit or bell peppers. Check in with the farmers or an information desk to find out what’s good.
Baby Bell Peppers With Feta
Keep a bag of crunchy fresh summer green beans on hand for a quick healthy snack. Rinse, trim the stem ends, then store in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator — this prevents the beans from drying out.
Rachael’s Green Bean Salad
Never put bristle brushes in the dishwasher, where the high heat can break down the glue keeping the bristles intact. Maintain by washing with a drop of dishwashing detergent and air-drying.
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Remove that last bit of moisture when spinning dry greens by adding a paper towel during the final spin. Dry greens are the secret to the dressing coating each leaf.
Mix a few grains of rice into the salt before storing in a saltshaker. This stops the salt from clumping in the humidity.
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Use a melon baller to scoop orbs of melon flesh and freeze on a rimmed baking sheet. Store in a freezer bag and use as ice cubes in summery cocktails.
Make Guy's Melon Cocktail
Reuse the perforated plastic bags used for grapes to store washed greens — the holes allow air to circulate and prevent moisture from collecting. Greens will stay fresh for about 3 days.
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Just because it's a Monday, doesn't mean you can't have a summer cocktail. Fix a refreshing caipirinha to toast the beginning of a new week.
Bake stuffed peppers in a well-greased muffin tin — they’ll stay upright for better presentation.
Spanish Stuffed Bell Peppers
Save in-season tomatoes to make sauce during the colder months: No need to blanch them to remove their skins before you freeze them. Freeze, then thaw the tomatoes — the skins will come right off.
Cavatelli With Tomato Sauce
Unless using basil as a fresh garnish, blanch it for a few seconds before use. This stops the leaves from turning black once cooked.
Giada's Spaghetti With Asparagus, Smoked Mozzarella and Prosciutto
Tone down the aftermath of a too-spicy meal by drinking milk or eating yogurt. Or whip up an Indian lassi: Blend together yogurt, a rich fruit like mango and a pinch of salt.
Mango-Agave Granola With Greek Yogurt
Remove corn kernels by standing corn cobs upright inside a large, shallow bowl using one hand; hold them by the stems and snap those off afterward. Slice the kernels off in a vertical strip using a knife in the other hand.
Crab Cakes With Grilled Corn Relish
Toss on extra vegetables when grilling — they quickly bulk up salads, scrambled eggs or pasta. Leftovers will keep for about 3 days.
Grilled Potato and Pepper Salad
Try leftover grilled veggies on a split ciabatta loaf spread with goat cheese in honor of National Panini Month. Add deli-thin slices of salami to satisfy the meat lovers in your family.
Tyler's Cobb Salad Panini
Soften hardened brown sugar by adding a piece of bread or apple slice and sealing the bag overnight — place it all in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container if the seal is broken.
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The white ribs found on the insides of chile peppers contain much of the heat found in a pepper, so scrape them away along with any seeds for less of a kick.
Rachael's Arroz Con Pollo
Don’t trash the seeds and ribs from chile peppers. Freeze so you can add them to dishes that need an extra kick.
Add Heat to Guy's Pork Tacos
In honor of National Sponge Cake Day, give this light treat the summer special by grilling slices and topping with a quick raspberry compote (cook raspberries in a saucepan with some lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar).
Or Make Paula's Golden Sponge Cake
It’s National Waffle Day! If the nonstick coating on your waffle iron is starting to go, heat a sheet of wax paper between the plates for a minute. The wax will transfer to the plates, making them temporarily nonstick.
Brown Butter Waffles
Keep a clean spray bottle on hand to fill with iced water if your pie dough is too dry and crumbly when rolled out. A quick misting will moisten the dough enough as you pinch bits back together.
Chocolate Walnut Pie
Determine if an avocado is ripe by dislodging the stem nub. If it comes loose easily, the avocado’s ready to go.
How to Choose, Store and Ripen Avocados
Slice watermelon on a cutting board set in a rimmed baking sheet to contain the mess. Pour any juice into a glass or stretch it with seltzer for a refreshing beverage.
Watermelon Lime Spritzer
When serving butter with corn on the cob, use a cold stick left in its wrapper. Peel back a bit of the wrapper, holding the butter by the wrapped end, and rub the butter directly onto the corn.
Corn With Chile Lime Butter
Spray a box grater with cooking spray before grating a block of cheese to prevent sticking.
Parmesan and Candied Walnut Salad
Let meat sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. This helps the meat cook evenly.
Pork Tenderloin With Orange Salad
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