■ JUICE A LEMON WITH A MICROWAVE
Zap a lemon for ten seconds to break down cells and make the juice flow faster. This is good to remember when trying to squeeze out as much juice as possible for a vinaigrette.
(LAURENT TOURONDEL, chef and partner at Arlington Club in New York City)
■ ROLL DOUGH WITH A WINE BOTTLE
If you don’t have a rolling pin, remove the label from an empty, clean wine or liquor bottle and fill the bottle with cold water. Try this with dough for biscuits, piecrusts, and tarts.
(DAMIAN SANSONETTI, chef and owner of Piccolo in Portland, Maine)
■ GREASE PANS WITH A SANDWICH BAG
Keep your hand clean by putting it inside a plastic sandwich bag and then scooping up butter. After greasing a pan, just invert the plastic bag and toss.
(PAMELA GIUSTO-SORRELLS, founder and CEO of Pamela’s Products)
■ TENDERIZE MEAT WITH A SKILLET
Wrap meat in plastic wrap and pound it with a skillet. (Goodbye, stress!)
(KENAN HILL, chef with peachdish.com)
■ EMPLOY A BOX GRATER TO PUREE TOMATOES
Place a plate under a box grater. With the stem end of a tomato in your palm, grate against the widest holes, rotating the fruit in a circular motion. The puree falls on the plate, while the skin and tomato belly button stay in your hand.
(ANDREW ZIMMERN, chef and host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods America)
■ MAKE FLUFFY COUSCOUS IN A BAKING DISH
Add a thin layer of couscous to the bottom of a large baking dish, pour in boiling water, and leave the dish on the countertop, covered, for five minutes. The pasta won’t get weighed down like it does in a pot, so it will come out perfectly soft.
(NADIA GIOSIA, host of Cooking Channel’s Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen)
■ BEFRIEND KITCHEN TONGS AS BOTTLE OPENERS
Quickly twist open a bottle of beer by clamping tongs around a stubborn cap.
(MATT LAMBERT, executive chef and owner of the Musket Room in New York City)
■ MINCE GARLIC WITH A CAN
If you don’t have a garlic press, wrap peeled garlic cloves (and other spices, if desired) in tinfoil, and smash them with a can from the pantry.
(CALVIN HARRIS, chef and curator of Self Healthy Kitchen)
■ BAKE OMELETS IN A MUFFIN TIN
Coat the tin with cooking spray. Fill each cup with one beaten egg, top with desired ingredients, and bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes. This is a great way to make personalized omelets for big groups or a batch of reheatable to-go breakfasts.
(ADRIANE AND CLAUDIA KISS (aka the Kissters), contributors to celebrations.com)
■ DRAIN WITH A BAKING RACK
No strainer? Use a wire rack with a grid-like pattern. Empty pots and pans through the rack for perfectly strained veggies, potatoes, and pastas.
(TOM COSTELLO, executive chef at Thyme Restaurant in Yorktown Heights, New York)
■ PIT CHERRIES WITH A BENT FORK
Use pliers to bend forward the two outer prongs of a four-prong fork and to slightly bend forward the center prongs. Pierce the cherry with the center prongs and press down to extract the pit.
(DOMINIQUE ANSEL, chef at Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City)
■ SHRED BUTTER FOR BETTER BAKING
A cheese grater makes quick work of piecrusts and biscuits. Instead of cutting the butter into the flour, simply grate a stick of frozen butter, and then toss the shreds with flour until a crumbly mixture forms.
(BETH MONCEL, creator of budgetbytes.com)
■ USE FREEZER BAGS FOR MESS-FREE BREADING
Put flour in one bag, beaten eggs in a second, and bread crumbs in a third. Dip foods like shrimp and chicken into each bag—then toss into a fourth bag, close, and shake.
(CHEF JOHNNY PREP, creator of johnnyprep.net)
■ GRILL WITH A PIE TIN
To create a makeshift smoker, place damp wood chips in a pie tin, and set it over hot coals.
(ELLIOT LOPEZ, executive chef of NYY Steak’s stadium and New York City locations)
By Perri O. Blumberg in "Readders Digest", vol. 183, no. 1100. June 2014, USA, excerpts pp. 42-43. Digitized, adapted and illustrated to be posted by Leopoldo Costa.