Kitchen Tips & Tricks

What little bits of kitchen/cooking wisdom have you gleaned (or learned the hard way?) Share your best hints here!


Here's a couple I have found:


1. Always cut your brownies with a plastic knife if you want clean cuts. Brownies stick to a metal knife so you'll wind up with all those brownie clumps if you try to cut with a metal knife. I'll sometimes start the cut at the edge with a sharp metal knife (to get through the harder part of the brownie) but cut through the center part with a disposable plastic knife. Perfect brownies every time!


2. If you have a recipe calling for a very small amount of a vegetable---like 2 tbs. chopped red pepper--instead of buying an ENTIRE pepper and having to either A) waste it or B) try to figure out what the heck to do with it... go to the salad bar! The grocery store salad bar has pre-chopped veggies and you can get just what you need without having tons leftover.

Posted on October 6, 2011 at 10:16 am
LadyHope
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(24) Comments

AuntTate
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AuntTate

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The salad bar tip is a great idea! I always end up throwing out portions of things because we dont end up using the whole thing.


A tip for making soups, if you find you have grease on the top of your soup put a lettuce leaf in and it will absorb the oil.  Then when you're ready to eat just pitch the leaf.  (I've never done this, but I heard it works.)


Also, the bread in the brown sugar totally works. haha

Posted on October 7, 2011 at 9:02 am
markande
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markande

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If you need to get rid of cig smoke (our garage smelled when we moved in) put orange peels in a bowl and let them sit over night. GONE in the morning


 


Brown sugar: when it gets hard open the bag put a damp paper towel in the microwave along with brown sugar and turn on for ten seconds (or until it softens)


 


 

Posted on October 7, 2011 at 9:19 am
Canooknic
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This isn't cooking related, but if you rub a small amount of shaving foam onto a bathroom mirror (and keep rubbing/wiping until it's gone) then they area you've covered won't steam up (for about 3-4 weeks) when you shower
Posted on October 8, 2011 at 11:51 am
winterbride2011
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winterbride2011

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Hmm, I might have to think on this one!


For now I can say, quality does make a difference!  I have Gold Touch pans galore from WS and they are the best thing I have ever used!  I've converted all the ladies at work to them ... one Saturday DH and I were at the mall and found a co-worker buying her Gold Touch muffin pans.


Oh, if small amounts of tomato paste are called for (like 2tbsp, for example), I just use ketchup!

Posted on October 12, 2011 at 8:34 am
LadyHope
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Ketchup! Huh! I wonder if that would work for my chicken tortilla soup recipe--it calls for a couple of Tbsp of tomato paste and I always feel like I am wasting it even though I buy the smallest can possible. The person I got it from said they usually buy "the kind in a tube" but I've never seen a tube of tomato paste...

Posted on October 12, 2011 at 8:48 am
winterbride2011
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I've never seen tomato paste in a tube either!  I used to buy the tiniest can until I started using ketchup and I've never noticed a difference.  Give it a try next time you make your soup, and let me know if you notice a difference!  :)

Posted on October 12, 2011 at 9:07 am
AuntTate
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Oh my gosh!  I did the same thing.  Made chicken tortilla soup and bougth the smallest can of tomato paste and threw the rest away because it's not something I use often.  Totally using ketchup next time.

Posted on October 12, 2011 at 9:12 am
LadyHope
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I did some googling and apparently some stores carry the tubed tomato paste in the produce section? It's also at whole foods, which we don't have here.


One of the best "secret weapons" I have in my kitchen is parchment paper. I use it for a lot of baking projects and in other instances where things stick to the pan (like when I make parmesan roasted potatoes.) No sticking, it's easy to flip stuff over and remove it, and you don't have to spend hours scrubbing stuck-on food off of your cookie sheets!

Posted on October 13, 2011 at 2:34 am
aklovesmc
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aklovesmc

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If you are making brownies and want to present them NOT in the tray, line the pan in foil with a few inches of overhang on the sides (may require a couple of pieces and sometimes I like to do it both ways).  If you press it really hard into the pan and then grease as normal, all you need to do is cool them and then lift them out of the pan before cutting.  Makes for pretty brownies every time and you don't have the edges stick to the pan.


Also- I ALWAYS make the cake-like brownies instead of the fudge-like brownies.  They come out so much prettier and nicer than the fudge like ones but still taste sinful!

Posted on October 13, 2011 at 8:48 am
LadyHope
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Has anyone seen the commercials for that new product that's foil on one side and parchment paper on the other? I want to try it out! My biggest problem with parchment paper is trying to get it to stay in place, so if it had foil you could shape it to make it stay!

Posted on October 17, 2011 at 6:23 am
winterbride2011
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winterbride2011

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I definitely agree that parchment is great!


Lady, I'll have to try a plastic knife next time with brownies!  I def know what you're talking about with metal knives :)


On the parchment/foil topic, I've never heard of that!  Products usually start in the US, and then sometimes comes to Canada.  If I hear it's good I might have to try to find some the next time I'm south of the border.

Posted on October 17, 2011 at 6:47 am
LadyHope
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Ooh found it! Reynolds Wrap Pan Lining Paper.


http://www.reynoldspkg.com/reynoldskitchens/en/plp/default.asp


They suggest using it for things like lasagna.

Posted on October 17, 2011 at 6:56 am
adamsapple
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Some really great tips here!


Let me get this right, you don't get tomato paste in a tube?  seriously?  We get TONS over here and it's amazing!


Some really great tips photo 3184814-1

Posted on October 18, 2011 at 2:01 am
adamsapple
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Not great kitchen advice as such but something that will kill the smell of fresh paint in a day is by leaving a bowl of milk out...

Posted on October 18, 2011 at 2:02 am
Canooknic
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It's true adamsapple - I looked for ages for tubes of tomato puree when we moved here, and it's just in cans (and called paste not puree just to confuse me even more!)
And I can't find pork stock cubes ANYWHERE - but that's a whole other dilemma!!
Posted on October 20, 2011 at 5:52 am
carolinawedding
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Canook- I've never thought about it... but I've never seen pork stock here at all! Weird.


I have a request for information. Is there a way to scrub the hell out of your baking pans so they won't look like.. well, like your SO cooks stuff like hotdogs, chicken tenders, and fries on it then just leaves it on the stovetop for a day or so? I've suggested foil but he insists it's normal for a pan to start going to crap; may be true, but we just got then for the wedding 7 months ago. They should not be rusting.


And the tube thing is amazing! I get so annoyed with having to throw out the can!

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 9:09 am
G8R.Girl
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Carolina, Bar Keepers Friend is awesome. It won't always get rid of all the stains but it's pretty amazing and if a regular cloth with it isn't doing the trick use steel wool.

another trick, I guess, is to peel garlic using the back/side of your knife. If you lay the largest surface area of your knife on a clove and then smash down on it with your hand it breaks the clove open and it peels really easily.


If your hands are stinky from chopping garlic (or whatever) rub them on your stainless steel sink before you wash them and that should do the trick. They sell a stainless steel item in the shape of soap for this but just use your sink. It's cheaper!

I use lemons and limes a lot when I cook and never seem to be able to get all the juice out on my own so before I slice into it I roll it around on the counter while pressing on it with my weight to make it softer/juicier. I get waaaaay more juice out that way.

When I fry things (I try not to eat too many fried foods) I put my wooden spoon in the oil and if bubbles show up around the edge of the spoon then I know it's ready. The food sucks up less oil if you make sure it is hot enough before putting anything in it.

I also agree with the parchment paper. I go through a roll every 2-3 months and would use more if I was home more often to cook. It's like a kitchen miracle!


hth! :)

Posted on October 20, 2011 at 9:47 am
Canooknic
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Carolina - my mom swears by 1/2 a lemon and sea salt, kind of like exfoliating the tin?? Never tried it because I'm lazy (and use foil like some clever lady suggested to her FI!!)

If anyone suffers from garlic-breath the day after, apparently it is only the little green bit in a clove that makes the smell linger - I don't know if that's true, but I always take it out before I crush it and never stink!!
Posted on October 20, 2011 at 10:17 am
LadyHope
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I just found this out from some coworkers--did you know you can buy pre-minced garlic? It comes in a little jar--I found it in the produce section near the actual garlic. I have been buying these heads of garlic just for one or two cloves and I could never use it all up before it went bad! With the jarred stuff, it tells you on the jar how much is equivalent to a clove (I think about 1 tsp= 1 clove), so if you just need a little bit of minced garlic it's a great way to reduce waste! (Of course, if you need to do something other than mince the garlic, you should probably buy the whole thing.)

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 3:51 am
jackieg
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We use the minced garlic in the jar all the time (Italian hubby)
Posted on October 21, 2011 at 5:12 am
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