Quick Tricks for the Kitchen

Nine ingeniously simple solutions to common kitchen conundrums.

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Photo: Channeling Contessa

Photo: Channeling Contessa

As much as we enjoy cooking, we’re also all for anything that makes the process of getting dinner on the table a little easier. 

Which is why, ever since we stumbled on the book The Best Kitchen Quick Tips, by the editors of Cooks Illustrated magazine years ago, it’s held a perennial place on our counter top. The book is so full of ingeniously simple, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that fixes to common cooking and cleaning quandaries that by the time we were done reading it the first time, we had so many tricks up our sleeves we felt like kitchen superheros.

To supplement a big weekend of kitchen events on launching on Joss & Main (The Organized Kitchen on Saturday, February 1, and The Heart of the Home and The French Kitchen, both on Sunday, February 2), we thought we’d share a few of our favorite tips from the book. Prepare to be amazed.

kitchen-tips--contessa1

Photo: Channeling Contessa

1_circleTo create extra counter space: Open a drawer, and rest a large cutting board on top. Voila!

2_circleTo clean copper cookware: Use ketchup. The acidity in the tomatoes removes tarnish. Just smear ketchup on, let sit for five minutes, and wipe clean.

3_circleTo neatly store pot lids in a cabinet: Set an adjustable V-rack (used for roasting) to the widest setting, and stand lids between the wires of the rack.

4_circleTo neatly store pot lids when hanging: Before hanging, slide the handle of the lid onto the handle of the matching pot or pan.

5_circleTo dry wine glasses faster: Set up square-sided chopsticks parallel to each other, about one-and-a-half to two inches apart. Rest wine glasses upside down on the chopsticks. This allows air to circulate into the glasses, drying them quicker. (Just make sure to set the chopsticks up on a safe spot on the counter!)

6_circleTo peel garlic: Use a rubber jar opener. Simply place the garlic cloves in the center, fold the jar opener over and roll cloves around to peel off the skin.

7_circleTo peel a potato: To give you a place to grip while you peel, insert a corkscrew into one end of the potato.

8_circleTo cut a pizza: Use kitchen shears. They easily cut through pizza crust without dragging the melted cheese (like cutting with a knife can do) or denting the the pan underneath (like a pizza wheel can do).

9_circleTo secure a bowl while using a hand mixer: Twist a damp towel to form a circle slightly larger than the bottom of the bowl. Then, place the bowl in the center of the circle. This will prevent the bowl from moving, so you can mix with one hand, and add ingredients with the other. sign_off

*All ideas used with permission from The Best Kitchen Quick Tips: 834 Tricks, Techniques and Shortcuts for the Curious Cook, by the editors of Cooks Illustrated.

-Kaitlin Madden