I hope this great cooking hacks can save you time and drama in the kitchen.
Run out of cheesecloth? A brand new, nude, knee high stocking will do the trick. Wash with hot, slightly soapy water first time out then use as needed. It can be washed well and reused again. Just make sure to dry it completely and place in a zip lock bag until it’s next use. Cheaper and far more flexible for fitting over the top of a glass, quart containers and measuring cups.
Roasted birds stay moister and cook more evenly when their cavities are full. Stuff your bird with whole shallots, apple halves, whole tangerines and/or fennel bulb for extra flavour. Your pan drippings and resulting gravy will thank you for it.
Run out of twine for the roast or turkey? Dental floss will do you in a pinch.
Want to make a powdered sugar or cocoa powder design on a cake but don’t have a stencil? The bottom of a plastic berry container can work in a pinch to give you a light lattice pattern. Cut the bottom of the container off and use it as often as needed. A slight turn and a second dusting of sugar will turn your squares into diamonds.
Broken candy thermometer? To detect the perfect softball stage of a cooking syrup place any firm, looped, metal item (like the end of a small whisk or other kitchen item that hangs) into your syrup, collect a litle in the loop and try to blow a bubble through the hole. If your syrup has reached softball stage you should be able to blow a stable bubble that expands well before it pops.
A fast and effective way to sanitize your kitchen sponges or prep towels? After giving then a quick wash in the sink microwave them on high for 1 minute. Works better than bleach and won’t deteriorate your sponges.
Don’t want to add dairy fat to a vegetarian dish but still want creaminess? Raw, Soaked and pureed almonds, cashews and/or Brazil nuts add incredible richness to any dish and are often used to mimic creamy dairy products in vegan cooking and baking. Nutritious and delicious their fats are beneficial and guilt-free. Just make sure to let visiting guests and family know there are nuts in your dishes in case of any allergies.
Want to make a powdered sugar design on a cake but don’t have a stencil? The bottom of a plastic berry container can work in a pinch to give you a light lattice pattern. Cut the bottom of the container off and use it as often as needed. A slight turn and a second dusting of sugar will turn your squares into diamonds.
Flattened coffee filters make for great splatter protectors that allow steam out and keep scalding sauces and gravy in.
Pureed avocado/guacamole adds creamy, vegan yuminess to mashed potatoes without the use butter or refined fats.