Help Around the Kitchen
Ideas for May
Say hello to summer and start thinking about taking your kitchen activities outdoors.
Serve up a healthy dinner by preparing it en papillote, which translates to “in parchment.” Bundling ingredients like fish and vegetables that cook in similar amounts of time allows for them to be cooked in their own juices with very little, if any, fat. For a less fussy alternative, use foil instead.
How to Cook in Parchment
Remove burnt remnants from a pot by filling it with a few inches of water, adding a few tablespoons each white vinegar and baking soda and simmering for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely before cleaning the pot as usual. Repeat as necessary.
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Wipe down freezer walls with a cotton ball soaked in pure vanilla, almond or lemon extract to remove odors. Go over any streaks with another clean cotton ball to spread the extract.
The Basics of Freezing Food
Make dried breadcrumbs using fresh bread: Process torn pieces of fresh bread in a food processor or blender, then microwave them in a single layer on a heat-proof plate until just golden as they’ll continue to cook a bit afterwards.
Easy Chicken Schnitzel With Mustard Sauce
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Here are 3 tips to prevent guacamole from browning: 1) Drizzle lemon juice on top. 2) Submerge an avocado pit halfway in the dip. 3) Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface.
Southwest Corn Guacamole
Make a home-cooked breakfast of creamy, fluffy scrambled eggs — the secret is to cook them slowly while stirring over low heat.
How to Scramble Eggs
When buttering a baking dish, wear a plastic sandwich bag like a glove while holding a stick of butter. Once done, return the butter to its wrapping and dispose of the plastic bag for zero mess.
Never pour frying oil down the drain — instead, let it cool completely, then pour it into a layered bag using 3 to 4 plastic grocery bags. Tie the handles together individually, then toss out with the trash.
How to Deep-Fry Fish
Use the bottom of a heavy pot to crack whole seeds like peppercorns, fennel or coriander against a hard work surface. Place the seeds in a plastic bag first, as this will keep the crushed bits contained.
When making a pot of rice, double the batch for leftovers. The secret to making fried rice is to use day-old rice.
How to Make Perfect Rice
Air-dry the grated peel of citrus fruit to make a citrus powder. Let it sit out overnight, folded in a sheet of parchment paper. Press the parchment folder flat the next day to crush the zest into a powder. Use the powder in rubs or stirred into batter or yogurt.
Use It in Fresh Cream Cheesecake
Surprise Mom with pancakes on Mother’s Day. Don’t over-mix the batter — you’ll end up with dense, heavy pancakes. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just incorporated, leaving behind some streaks or clumps of dry ingredients.
Gina Neely’s Strawberry Pancakes
Place a rimmed baking sheet underneath a countertop dish rack to catch drips.
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Use wet hands when working with ground meat for foods like burger patties, meatballs or meatloaf — this will keep your hands from getting sticky and prevent overhandling the meat, which leads to toughness.
Make Meatloaf With Ina
Throw together a baked potato bar for dinner in about 10 minutes: Prick russet potatoes allover with a fork, then microwave for about 2 minutes. Turn over the potato, then cook for about 2 minutes more or until tender.
50 Variations for Your Spud
Writing on a cake with frosting can require equal parts luck and skill. Go for a sure thing by frosting the message onto a sheet of wax paper instead and then freezing it. Gently pry the message from the wax paper by slipping an offset spatula or chef’s knife underneath, and transfer it onto the cake.
Decorate Tyler's Chocolate Cake
Be patient when searing or sautéing ingredients: Add food to hot oil in a heated pan, then leave it alone to develop the tasty golden-brown exterior. It will release easily when ready to be flipped; if it sticks, it's not ready to be turned. This applies to most foods like chicken breasts, sliced mushrooms and steaks.
How to Saute Meat and Fish
A food processor is all you need to grind your own meat at home. Cut the beef into small pieces that will fit into a food processor and freeze for about 15 minutes before processing.
Grind Your Own Beef for a Burger
Let baked goods cool completely before storing. Otherwise, the condensation will make them soggy.
Make Homemade Cookies
Unused eggs whites may be frozen individually in ice cube trays before being stored in a freezer bag. They’ll keep for up to 3 months, and defrost within two hours once placed in the refrigerator.
Make Baked Alaska
Use wadded-up aluminum foil to scrub away any stuck bits on cast-iron pans.
Cast-Iron Skillet Potato Cake
Line taco shells with lettuce leaves to create a barrier between the wet filling and crunchy shell.
Dinner Tonight: Shrimp Tacos
Keep baking sheets, cheese boards and cutting boards organized by stacking them on their side using a desktop file holder.
Kitchen Storage Tips
Don’t toss out the stems from parsley and cilantro: Both are edible and as flavorful as their leaves. Parsley stems are also great for flavoring soups and stocks — just fish them out before serving.
Use Cilantro in a Pesto
Set raw meat or poultry on a foil-lined platter with the sides folded inward to keep any juices from leaking out. Once the meat or poultry is tossed onto the grill, crumple and discard the foil, leaving the clean platter surface for finished grilled goods.
Manchego Stuffed Pork Burgers
Don’t wash berries until just before serving. Otherwise, you’ll rinse off the natural bloom on their skin that prevents these fragile fruits from breaking down.
Serve Raspberry-Almond Pizza
The fastest way to core iceberg lettuce: Remove the outer leaves. Hold the head of lettuce with the core facing down, and then slam the core against a countertop. The core should break free immediately.
Chopped Iceberg Wedge
Chill a bottle of white wine in 5 minutes: Place the wine in an ice bucket and fill with ice. Sprinkle a handful of salt over the ice and the wine will be chilled in a few minutes.
Wine Tips From Mark Oldman
Store kitchen odds and ends like kitchen twine or a garlic press in an over-the-door shoe rack to keep things in plain sight.
Use Twine to Make Stuffed Beef Fillets
Use a butter knife to scrape away the bitter gills on the underside of a portobello mushroom. The gills also contain a lot of liquid, which ends up being released as a black liquid during cooking.
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