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January 30, 2013

DadCentric Cooks: D.I.Y. Kitchen Tips

Swedish-chefThe key to success in the kitchen is maximizing your time—and your ingredients. So DadCentric has decided to provide budding gourmands with a few time-saving tips on how to stretch out food in your fridge and cupboards.

1. Pickling: The easiest way to make the most out of in-season vegetables or fruit is to pickle them. The cucumber—by far—is the most popular pickled item. But you can pickle anything: green tomatoes (with jalapenos), Brussels sprouts, apples, red onions, asparagus and hard-boiled eggs. You name it. You are only limited by your own imagination. Simply cut them up, add some vinegar (salt, pepper, sugar or any other spices) into a saucepan, and let it sit until the desired taste and then… Viola! It is ready to be canned. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6b_pickle.html

2. Infused Butter: Has this ever happened to you? You buy a bunch of basil, oregano or cilantro for a dinner recipe only to use a few sprigs and then have them go bad in the back of the fridge? One way to utilize these herbs is to chop them up and add them to a stick of melted butter. You can pour infused melted butter into ice cubes trays for individual portions to be used in sauces or let it solidify and have it as a spread for a slice of toast or loaf of oven-warmed bread. http://www.thedabblist.com/herb-infused-butter/

3. Deglaze a Pan: While often used to create a sauce, I have found deglazing to also be an awesome way to expedite clean up in the kitchen. After you've pan-fried your meat, poultry or fish and you are left with that crunchy brown crust stuck to your skillet, simply pour some cheap wine, cheap beer or even stock into the hot skillet and watch as the crusty crunch scrapes away with little effort. If the sauce isn’t appropriate for that meal, pour it into a container and save it for another day. http://reluctantgourmet.com/cooking-techniques/more-specific-techniques/item/1114-deglazing-what-it-is-and-why-do-it

4. Open a Can (without a can opener): So you suddenly found yourself without electricity and therefore unable to use your can opener. Or your manual one has long been lost in the back of a kitchen drawer somewhere. What do you do? One way to open a can is by using the heel of a chef’s knife and slowly work it, cutting holes in a counterclockwise fashion around the can until the top of the can is freed. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUsmiSC60Gs) If you are completely tool-less, you can rub the top of the can vigorously on cement. It should come open in less than a minute. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc7QEaPIfJQ)

5. Flavored Salt: Like pickling, flavoring your salt is an easy way to spice up any kitchen recipe. Start with coarse sea or rock salt and then turn to herbs, spices, nuts or zest from fruit to flavor your salt.  And once you master adding any of those to your salt, you can try your hand at making smoked salt (a great way to impart smoky flavors to your dishes). http://rosas-yummy-yums.blogspot.com/2012/06/spice-up-your-dishes-with-flavored.html



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