Everyone likes to have a few tricks up their sleeve while in the kitchen. Here are a few of mine:
Coffee on the Rocks: Coffee is a favorite beverage in most homes. When you make too much, just freeze the leftovers in an ice cube tray.Use the frozen cubes in your iced coffee – unlike ice cubes made from water, they won’t dilute it. Or, for a nice pick me up when it’s hot out, use the coffee cubes to make frozen frappes and other coffee drinks.
Steam Roll: One night when I was boiling hot dogs for dinner, I figured out a neat way to steam the buns. I put a grid-type cooling rack on top of the pot and arranged the open hot dog buns on it. The buns steamed beautifully as the hot dogs boiled. If I’m making just one hot dog, I get the same result by placing closed grill tongs over the pot and draping the bun over them.
Keeping Marshmallows Fresh: Count this among the small annoyances of life: Marshmallows turn crusty and dry once the package is opened. They’re not much of a treat in that condition (ask any child). I recently discovered you can make them soft again by storing them in a closed container or aipper-lock bag with a slice of bread. Who knew?
Foiled Again: To scrub baked on food off glass pans or oven racks, I use a ball of foil in place of a steel-wool soap pad. It’s a great way to recycle those clean but used pieces of foil I’d otherwise throw out.
Mess Free Melon: Whenever I used to slice or chop watermelon, I created a big, wet mess of sticky watermelon juice on my kitchen counter – and sometimes the floor. One day, in an effort to contain the puddles, I got the idea to put a cutting board on a rimmed baking sheet and slice up the fruit on top of my rig. The juices neatly drained into the baking sheet, and I easily poured them down the sink.
Order By Numbers: I have a lot of plastic storage containers, and many of them are about the same size. I was perpetually having trouble matching the containers up with the proper, tight fitting lids. But then I got the idea to write corresponding numbers on the lids and containers with a sharpie marker. This simple trick has saved me a lot of time, trouble, and irritation.
Herb Holder: Whenever I buy fresh berries, I save the hinged plastic containers they are packed in. Then I use them to store fresh herbs. After I’ve washed the herbs, I wrap them in a damp paper towel and place them in the empty berry box. The openings in the containers let air circulate, which helps keep the herbs fresh, and the box’s structure prevents the herbs from getting crushed.
Parchment Paper Positioning: It used to annoy me that whenever I lined baking sheets with parchment paper, the end of the parchment would curl under, making it tricky to keep in place. Now, I clip it into place with wooden clothespins or metallic “chip” clips. Once I’ve secured the parchment, I place the cookie dough (or whatever I’m baking) on the sheet. The weight of the cookies holds the paper in place, and I remove the clips before I put the sheets in the oven.