Monday, January 19, 2009

I've changed my (kitchen) ways

Parchment paper
I grew up "greasing" cookie pans. It worked but was messy. Parchment paper is easy to use, easy to clean and works well. I recently tried "Baker's Joy" oil and flour spray and didn't like it except for those tiny muffin tins that are impossible to grease and flour as well as pans with ridges.

Chef's knife
I used a Chef knife for the last 15 years of my 40 or so years of adult cooking. Whap, whap, whap and I'm done slicing and dicing. I remember Mom dicing a whole onion with a paring knife while holding it in her hand.

Joy of Cooking
I started with a Betty Crocker cookbook. Sure, there are serviceable recipes in it and I still use a few of them. I changed my ways about 1985 with the purchase of Joy. It gives me so much background and variations that I often I just create my own recipes. I am now migrating to the internet, researching recipe variations and then creating my own.

In the olden days, I used the smallest side of a grater to zest lemons and oranges. Then I upgraded to a Pampered Chef zester. It was easier but still resulted in chunky zest. The microplaner is perfect. I use it for nutmeg and hard cheese also.

Potato Masher
For years I whipped out the mixer to whip potatoes. I now scrub the potato, cut them into small chunks, skin on, and then use the oh-so-quiet potato masher. We like little chunks in the potatoes, especially with lots of butter (and cream cheese or sour cream or whatever else I feel like adding.)

Pyrex small bowls with lids
I bought eight 2-cup glass bowls to bake and serve individual berry puff puddings at a dinner party. I used them so much afterward that I bought four 1-cup bowls and lids and then another eight bowls. I use these bowls instead of plastic storage containers or freezer bags for most items. Cook, freeze, microwave, serve--all in the same bowl. I use the refrigerator freezer to store prepared food in these containers and all we have to do is pop the lid and microwave. Right now, you could serve yourself potato soup, cuban black bean soup, turkey and noodles, chili soup, teriyaki pork or meatballs from these bowls, all neatly stacked in my small freezer.


jessica said...

Thanks for the tips, particularly the last one about Pyrex with small lids. I always hesitate every time I dump leftovers in tupperware to stick in the freezer, but then I'm not quite sure what else I can do so in it goes as my brain begins the rationalizing process. Now I know what to do!

Kylee said...

I love lumps in mashed potatoes, too!! I use a hand mixer, which leaves lumps. Hubby doesn't like the lumps, but that's his problem. LOLOL

The Country Experience said...

I too love the Pyrex bowls. Recently I purchased a set of 4 in graduated sizes with lids and I love them. In the cabinet they nest so compactly, but they are there in all their handy usefulness when you need them.

The chef's knife sounds like something I need to look into. Thanks!