kitchen tips and shortcuts that really work? Want to know a few recipe
substitutions to use in a pinch? Over the past few months I have been
collecting ideas and came up with this list.
A crumpled ball
of foil can be used to polish a stainless steel sink. Scrub the sink with the
foil and water and the oxidation comes off. Finish by washing with soapy water.
A sheet of
aluminum foil with very hot water and a tablespoon (15 mL) of baking soda
cleans silver cutlery in a snap. Place a sheet of foil in the bottom of the
sink. Fill with very hot water and mix in the baking soda. Lay cutlery on the
foil without touching each other. Remove and rinse when the tarnish disappears.
This is much faster than polishing with paste.
time may need adjustment. Deeper pans may need longer baking time.
A 10-inch x 3
1/2-inch (25 cm x 9 cm) Bundt pan = two 8-inch x 2-inch (20 cm x 5 cm) rounds
12-cup muffin tin = one 8 1/2-inch x 4 1/2-inch (21.5 cm x 11.5 cm) loaf or one
9-inch x 1 1/2-inch (23 cm x 4 cm) round or one 8-inch (20 cm) square pan
One 10-inch x
2-inch (25 cm x 5 cm) round = one 9-inch (23 cm) square pan
One 9-inch x
2-inch (23 cm x 5 cm) round = two 8-inch x 1 1/2-inch (20 cm x 4 cm) rounds or
one 10-inch x 15-inch (25 cm x 38 cm) jelly roll or one 8-inch (20 cm) square
Make your own
by adding one tablespoon (15 mL) of molasses to one cup (250 mL) of white
sugar. Use an electric mixer on low speed or a food processor to incorporate.
Adjust the shade of the sugar by adding more or less molasses.
brown sugar by mixing half dark brown sugar with half white sugar. Using dark
brown when the recipe calls for light brown sugar will give too much molasses
sugar by placing in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with several layers of damp
paper towel. Microwave for 45 seconds on medium-low heat. Break up lumps with a
fork. Flip and repeat as many times as necessary.
Clarify a stock
The easiest way
to produce a crystal clear chicken or beef stock is to first freeze it. Then
place the block of frozen stock in a fine sieve lined with two layers of
cheesecloth. Place over a bowl and thaw in the refrigerator. A gelatinous blob
will remain after all the liquid has melted into the bowl. This blob will catch
all the impurities and discard it.
coconut is dry? Lay it on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 F (175 C) oven for
added flavour. Use to garnish iced cakes or in baking.
Select a can of
coconut milk by shaking it. You do not want one with a lot of watery liquid.
Choose one that is more solid.
You don’t have
a double boiler and need one. Place a metal or glass mixing bowl over a
saucepan containing water. Heat to a gentle simmer. Use the bowl as the upper
Use a cut
corner from an envelope as a funnel to fill salt and pepper shakers. Snip the
tip so it fits the shaker opening.
A cut corner of
envelope is also a handy page marker for a cookbook.
For a cake
flour substitute place two level tablespoons (30 mL) of cornstarch in a one-cup
(250 mL) dry measure. Fill with all purpose flour. Sift or whisk to blend
flour can be made by placing one and a half teaspoons (8 mL) of baking powder
and a half teaspoon (3 mL) of salt in a one-cup (250 mL) dry measure. Fill with
all purpose flour. Whisk to blend evenly.
softened butter and all the butter is cold and hard? Grate it and it will
easier to grate if it is frozen first.
Use a fine
grater rather than painstakingly mincing garlic and ginger. Grate it directly
into the salad or dish.
How many cups
in a pound (450 g)
flour = 4 cups (1 L)
Cake flour = 4
3/4 cups (1100 mL)
sugar = 2 1/4 cups (530 mL)
Icing sugar = 3
1/2 cups (820 mL)
Honey = 1 1/3
cups (315 mL)
Cheese = 4 cups
grated or shredded (1L)
Potatoes = 2
1/2 cups cooked or 3-4 potatoes (625 mL)
beans = 2 1/3 cups uncooked, 8 cooked (550 mL)
beans = 2 2/3 cups uncooked, 7 cooked (630 mL)
Lentils = 2 1/3
cups uncooked, 8 cooked (550 mL)
Corn meal = 3
cups (750 mL)
Rice = 2 1/8
cups (50 mL)
Jar with lid
mixing up cornstarch or flour with cold water to use as a sauce or gravy
ingredients for salad dressing into jar and shake to mix.
An empty and
clean large plastic ketchup bottle works well as a pancake dispenser. If you
don’t use all the batter at one time it can be stored in the same container.
squeezing warm the lemons or oranges to room temperature and roll under your
palm on the countertop. If necessary, microwave the fruit for 10 seconds before
juicing. Warming the fruit and breaking the inner membranes will bring out more
juice from the fruit.
microwave easily by placing a dish of lemon juice in it. Microwave for two to
three minutes and it will clean easily.
lemons by cutting in wedges and placing in a sealed freezer bag. Take out as
Take out the
extra rack from your oven before preheating. It can be used as a cooling rack
on your countertop.
like quinoa or barley in a dry pan before cooking to bring out their nutty
Toast whole or
ground spices in a dry pan before using to intensify their flavours. This works
especially well if spices are old.
Fresh ginger is
easily peeled by rubbing with the edge of a spoon.
Use a spoon to
get under the shell when peeling hard boiled eggs.
Peel a kiwi
fruit by cutting off both ends. Then carefully slide a spoon under the skin and
push it around the fruit while holding it in your hand. The kiwi should slide
Add a raw
potato to a soup or stew to absorb excess salt. Discard potato.
For butter use
margarine, olive oil or any vegetable oil
Whole eggs in
baking can be substituted in chewy baked goods like brownies with one ripe
banana for every egg in the recipe. One tablespoon (15 mL) of applesauce can
replace an egg in most recipes.
buttermilk with soymilk soured with a teaspoon (5 mL) of apple cider vinegar or
condensed milk is best substituted with coconut milk.