*Tips and Tricks

I’m sure this page will grow exponentially.  Suffice to say it’s going to be a list of tips and tricks I pick up along the way.

  1. This is my new favorite kitchen trick!  When a recipe calls for “minced garlic” I simply grate it with my micro plane/zester.  WATCH YOUR FINGERS!  This little trick saves me from those sticky garlic hands as I try to keep it off the blade so it will mince evenly.  I am NOT a fan of raw garlic so grating it also gives me nice small chunks that are even and therefore cook down at the same pace.  (yes, I’m aware improving my knife skills would help with this issue as well)
  2. Dicing Celery can be a lot easier than you think!
    1. wash and remove ends from celery
    2. slice 3-4 strips down the stalk, leaving the end connected
    3. flatten the “strips” and chop as you would anything else
    4. enjoy perfectly diced celery without the hassle of a messy pile from slicing it!
  3. Buy (or steal from hotels) those cheapie plastic shower caps.  They make for a great bowl cover when proofing breads (like the Crusty Bread I’ve shared the recipe for), or a warm marinade, etc.  Especially nice during spring and fall when those flies get into the house no matter what you do.
  4. Thicken sauces with cornstarch.  Any sauce that seems a little too runny, I just add a bit of cornstarch.  Add cornstarch to a small amount of COLD water, mix it up so there are no lumps, then dump it into your pot or pan to thicken your sauce.  Do a little at a time, you can always add more.  But you don’t wanna have to water down your sauce to thin it out again.  ALWAYS add cornstarch to a COLD liquid.  Hot liquids will cause instant clumping!
  5. Bountiful Baskets has been hitting us up with a LOT of lettuce lately.  I had to look up a better way to store it cause it was wilting WAY too fast for us to keep up with.  Here’s the trick: Separate the leaves, rinse in cold water, remove and promptly dry in the salad spinner, then wrap in 2-3 paper towels (just need enough to go around) and store the wrapped bundle in a ziploc bag.  This worked great!  I can’t be sure but I think this method actually (somewhat) un-wilted one of the head of Romaine we had.  It’s actually just past two weeks (from our 10/6 basket..today is 10/24…so 18 days.  On about the 8th, I was debating just throwing it out cause it was wilting so fast.  We just had it for salad last night and it was great!  Crispy, crunchy, yummy!
  6. BAKE your breakfast sausage (and bacon for that matter).  For sausage, preheat oven to 350.  Toss in however many links you wish to cook.  Let them go for 12-18 minutes (I generally check at 12 and add more time as needed).  They’ll come out perfectly cooked and won’t be waterlogged or burnt from being on the stovetop! For Bacon, 400° for about 20 minutes in a “grill pan” or over some sort of rack (so the fat drains off).  I’m sure you could cook it on a flat surface as well.  I’ve just never tried that method.