7 Kitchen Hacks & Simple Solutions
When it comes to cooking, daily hacks and simple solutions are amazing because they make our lives easier, save time, and minimize effort. These simple ideas and tips will make your cooking time a little bit more pleasant!
1. Shaving chocolate
If chocolate is too hard, it can be difficult to pull off thick shavings to decorate a cake or pudding. Even if you do cut off nice shavings, warmth from your fingers can cause the pieces to melt as you try to place them on the dessert. Here’s how to avoid both problems: warm a block of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate by sweeping a hair dryer over it, taking care not to melt the chocolate. Holding a paring knife at a 45-degree angle against the chocolate, scrape toward you, anchoring the block with your other hand. Pick up the shavings with a toothpick and place them on the dessert.
2. Draining wood chips outdoors
Soaking wood chips or chunks in water prevents them from burning too quickly on the hot coals. Rather than making a trip into the kitchen for a colander to drain soaked chips, use a clean, perforated flowerpot that you can store outside with your grilling tools. Dump the soaked chips into the flowerpot, allowing the water to drain out the bottom.
3. Chimney starter plate
Many barbecue recipes require fresh, hot coals added midway through cooking to maintain the grill’s temperature. However, that means finding a safe place for firing up coals in a chimney when the grill is already occupied. Here’s an unusual solution: an unglazed terra-cotta flowerpot saucer. (Just make sure the saucer doesn’t have a drainage hole.) The porous clay withstands the chimney’s heat, and the saucer’s lip catches ashes. (always place the saucer on a concrete or stone surface away from flammable materials.)
4. Let there be light!
Early- or late-season grillers (and diehards who grill through the winter months) often find themselves grilling the evening meal in the dark. In the absence of a well-placed outdoor light, try a camping headlamp (also known as a spelunker’s or miner’s light). This contraption not only allows you to point the light directly where you’re looking but also keeps your hands free for cooking purposes.
5. Berry dryer
Instead of waiting around for strawberries or other fruits to dry before dipping them in melted chocolate, lay the just-washed berries on paper towels and blast them with a hair dryer turned to the “no heat” setting.
6. Salon treatment for your salmon
Use a hair dryer to remove moisture from the skin of fish before frying it. That way, when you put the fish in the pan, the oil doesn’t pop and splatter onto the stovetop, and you don’t have to worry about getting burned.
7. Styling cakes
Professionally decorated cakes seem to have a molten, silky look. To get that same appearance at home, frost as usual and then use a hair dryer to “blow-dry” the frosted surface of the cake. The slight melting of the frosting gives it that smooth, lustrous appearance.