In my experience, streamlining tools is something cooks rarely do. Bring on the gadgets — zester, lemon squeezer, cheese grater — and I’m in kitchen heaven. But small kitchens need tools that multitask. This article reveals some insights and tips from Celebrity Chefs like Andrew Zimmern, Curtis Stone and Ellie Krieger on how to get the most out of the gadgets you already own.
- Bagged and stuffed. Use Ziploc bags for buttering a baking pan to not mess up your hands; to bread vegetables or meats for pan or deep frying; or use as a pastry bag for filling deviled eggs, frosting or decorating a cake.
- Crush it. Use a rolling pin to crush nuts or graham crackers. Place in a plastic bag first. No rolling pin? Use a wine bottle.
- Freeze it. Use ice cube trays to freeze pesto, leftover canned chipotle sauce or small amounts of stock. Once they’re frozen, store in an airtight freezer bag.
- Use a Microplane grater to zest citrus as well as grate spices like nutmeg.
- Want to bake but only have frozen butter? Grate with a cheese grater to thaw it quickly. Great for making pie crusts too.
- Multitask. Use kitchen shears/scissors like these I own to snip not just herbs, but asparagus stems, kale and other vegetables.
- Purée tomatoes using a box grater. It keeps the skins on the outside of the grater and the pureed tomatoes on the inside. Says Chef Andrew Zimmern: “Using the wide hole side, hold a large tomato against the grater, with the stem end in your hand (have a plate or bowl underneath to catch the purée). Start pushing and turning the tomato, rotating in a circular motion as you grind the tomato through the grater. Your purée will fall on the plate while the skin and tomato belly button will end up in your hand to discard.”
- Double trouble. Use (clean) paint scrapers as spatulas to clean pans (not non-stick) or to get the last bits of chopped herbs off a cutting board.
- Get more juice from your lemons or limes by placing them (whole) in the microwave for 10 seconds before juicing. It breaks down the cell walls to release more liquid.
- Use a carving fork to serve pasta — delivers a beautiful nest of pasta to the bowl.
Some insights from a Reader’s Digest article.