More Kitchen helps :)

Yes, Yes, I know! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything but Creation did not happen in a day, neither does my creativity.  That said, I’ve discovered a few more tips to help folks out with various items.

First off, one of my favorite gadgets:

Strainer

The Mini-strainer.  If you don’t have one, get one! This comes in handy for all sorts of duties. I like to sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, paprika or any other powdery item with a lot more control than my fingers. It also stands in well for scooping out whatever from soups, etc. when you can’t find your slotted spoon. Think of it as a small sifter. Of course, this you need to find and, since it’s not quite popular amongst the general population, allow me to move on to items that are already in your kitchen

For instance:

PastaConsidering I’m married into an Italian family, having pasta around is a “given.” Considering there are a million places on the web on how to cook or prepare noodles, I will save you from the umpteen recipes but, fear not! Aside from adding to your waist-line, this stuff also comes in handy for all sorts of jobs.

I use long pasta a lot for testing bake goods but, this last December, I came up with another idea. Trying to light Luminaries is a lot easier (and CHEAPER) if you light up a piece of Spaghetti.  Takes a few tries but it works just as well as those gadgets they sell to help you light funky candles in tall containers.

FoilAnd, last but not least, Foil. This one gets credit from Cook’s Magazine but I thought I’d share it with the rest of you.  One of the things I always have stocked in my refrigerator is Celery.  It goes well with a myriad of dishes and every kind of protein you can imagine. Base on that, I’m always in need for it at one time or another.  Problem is, after a week, that which WAS Celery has become mushy, brown and just plain funky.  To solve that problem, Cooks came up with the nearly-perfect answer to preserving the stuff without sticking it in an old mayonnaise jar filled with water.

When you get home from the grocery store, take it out of the plastic sleeve, run it under some cold water then wrap it up snugly in foil—make sure you just enough foil to wrap it closely, Then, two weeks down the road, Voila! You will still have fresh, crunchy, worthy of any dish, Celery.  I have found that it lasts for up to 1 1/2 months using this method.

Well, that’s it for now.  If you’d like to share your ideas, please do! Since the Economy is still in flux and we’re all trying to manage with less, any frugal, cheap or fun ideas are always welcome 🙂

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Alittle help in the Kitchen

I have spent years in the kitchen cooking, creating and cleaning all sorts of stuff.  Along with that, I’ve picked up some unusual hints and helps from a myriad of sources. All of them are helpful, in one way or another, and they are all CHEAP and easy to do.

First up, my favorite vegetable, although I have some family members who actually avoid all food that contains them (genetic anomaly…).

Onion

Onions have long been sobbed over, and you can bet, any time I hear how to avoid smearing my mascara, I write it down.  For Onions, put them in the Freezer for 15 minutes prior to cutting—preheating the oven? finding other ingredients? trying to remember where that recipe book is? put the onion in FIRST.  Of course, if you can, I feel it best to just keep them in the refrigerator so I don’t have to remember the freezer.

Continuing on with vegetable hints, the next one is another one of those items that sits in your produce draw until you get a new definition of YUCK.

celery

Fear not though, Cooks magazine (umpteen issues ago…) did a lot of tests and figured out that if you wrap your celery (removing the plastic wrapping) in aluminum foil, it will last much longer.  I also cut off the top to encourage longevity but I don’t know if that helps or hinders.

And, now the last but my favorite of all veggies, Fungi.

mushrooms

Before I begin though, I wonder, does anyone know how to decide whether a mushroom is past it’s prime? I admit, I’ve fed my family some pretty funky mushrooms (no mold, but…) and I figure, if I cook them they should be ok.  I guess it depends on your fortitude.  That said, Cook’s magazine help again, save them in a paper bag in the frig. They last just a little bit longer and don’t turn into mushy, yucky, unrecognizable messes.

And, now, shall we move on to stuff you cook with? Utensils

First here, I have a collection of 15 different sizes, shapes and duties in my two knife blocks.  I also have a steel to sharpen them with.  The Can opener should be saved for JUST CAN’S and those hand-held gadgets don’t last too long.  Spend the $15 – $30 and you’ll never regret it.  Of course, small hint here.

Chef Knife

Never, Never, NEVER put your knives in the Dishwasher! They don’t link extremely hot water (Martha Stewart told me that back in the 1980’s). This is the one time you should use dish soap and your kitchen sink.  When you’re done with your knife, rinse it off and set it aside. Then, when you’re waiting for the meal to finish on the stove or in the oven, quick run over to the sink and get the knives washed.  You’ll both appreciate it. Besides that, wooden handles hate the dish washer too. The next item has to do with meal-prep but it’s more my opinion than anything else.

Spatulas

Spatulas! I have 4 different kinds and love them all. A lot of people have various wooden spoons, and all sorts of whisks, as do I, but the Spatula is what I use 98% of the time.  You can mix with it and scrap the bowl. You can spread things, cook things (as long as they’re heat resistant) and do all sorts of stuff much easier.

Ok, that’s it for now folks. If you have any hints you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment ’cause we’re all in this together…