Monday, October 29, 2012

Kitchen tips

I will preface this post by saying I'm not a professionally trained chef, but I have learned my way around the kitchen. Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way that have helped me reduce prep time while also keeping a clean, healthy kitchen.

Grate garlic cloves, don't mince. I use a zester, but a cheese grater works well too. It's quick and the pieces of garlic are consistently sized and cook more evenly.

Use non-stick cookware. You can use less oil or butter in recipes.

Keep flour in the freezer. I didn't used to do this, but you only need one person to tell you about bugs in flour to make you change your ways. Enough said.

Rinse meat and pat dry with paper towels before seasoning. It's also great if you remember to take meat out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. It will cook more consistently.

Use fresh herbs when you can. There are certain herbs and spices that don't taste the same dried or ground. Nutmeg is a great example. I buy nutmeg whole and zest it into recipes. Thyme is an example of an herb that tastes different dried. I try to use fresh when I have it on hand. Substitute one tablespoon fresh herbs for one teaspoon dried.

Don't buy special pans, tools or equipment for one recipe. You will end up with a kitchen full of stuff you never use! This weekend I had a recipe for baked donuts, but didn't have a donut pan, so I made donut holes using a mini-muffin pan. There were just as good!

I'm sure there are so many other great tips out there. What things help you in the kitchen?

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