Flour can be a nuisance, especially if you need just a little bit. Way back when I was cooking in a commercial kitchen, we had large flour shakers to easily coat counter surfaces, or as a thickener. I borrowed that commercial tool for my personal kitchen. My shaker holds about … Read more…
Canned tuna is a great time saver, and a quick healthy protein in a sandwich. However, a can of tuna provides two servings. I am a princess when it comes to leftovers, and don’t like day-old tuna salad. So … I simply divide the tuna in half, placing half in … Read more…
What’s a Grr! Factor? When preparing a meal, something happens that is not bad enough to warrant a launch into your best expletives, but definitely reduces any pleasure you are having with your work … that’s the Grr! factor.
The first one up is garlic skin. When you cook real food, your hands are often wet, or sticky, and your work surface is cluttered. Introducing a garlic head into this scene can cause Grr! to occur. Garlic skin sticks to everything. It flakes, it flies. Trying to pick a garlic skin out of the chopped garlic with fingers that have garlic skin sticking to them … well, need I say more?
If you need the grated rind of a whole lemon, it is worth using a grater. However, when you are cooking small amounts, you will often require ½ tsp of grated lemon rind. I don’t like having to wash a grater for that small amount. You can easily accomplish the … Read more…
I’ve mentioned before that I have a small kitchen. One of the secrets to happy work in a tiny space is keeping countertops clear, so I choose to store small appliances that I use occasionally in a cupboard. However, I hated fighting with cords when moving them in and out.
The solution turned out to be a simple elastic band.
Recently I wrote about my dislike of following recipes. That doesn’t mean I am always running on my memory. That is one of my more unreliable talents, so I have learned to document what I am unlikely to remember.
First, when I do use a successful recipe, I save it. Recipes arrive in my kitchen scrawled on a scrap of paper, if from a friend or other source of inspiration, or printed on a page from the Web. I keep a folder in my cupboard to harbor these treasures (only if they work for me, of course). I have tried almost every recipe system available, and nothing has kept my important information in place better than a simple folder. I spend a little extra time finding what I need, because there is no order to my file, but the important thing is that it is easy to put the paper away, no matter what form it takes. When I am cleaning my kitchen, I am moving fast and on autopilot — no time for creative thinking. Any form of information storage that required intricate folding or cutting to fit, would never work.
The second tool I could not do without is my notebook.
If you are trying to eat local strawberries year round (see why you should), you will be preparing a lot of berries at one time. Fresh locally-grown strawberries have a VERY short shelf, so you should plan to buy only what you can prepare immediately. Preparation is really quite simple, with removing the hull the only time-consuming part of the process.
I’ve tried a few special tools for hulling strawberries, but I always come back to a simple steak knife. If you have a really good paring knife, try that. Aside: for as much cooking as I do, and as much as I cherish my good chef’s knife, I have never owned a decent paring knife.