Five Quick Kitchen Tricks

October 30, 2016
First of all, to improve your diction, say "Quick Kitchen Tricks" ten times, fast.
Now on to the tricks.
1. To make ambrosial orange juice from a can of frozen concentrate, dump the concentrate into the blender, add the required amount of water (or just a tad less than they call for) and blend it at high speed until it is a creamy froth. Drink it right away. It will eventually separate out and settle into just plain reconstituted orange juice. But until it does, you have something really special.* Children love it.
2. To peel garlic easily, lay the clove on a cutting board and cover it with the flat of a chef's knife (a paring knife will do, but the wider blade of a chef's knife is probably safer). Now, holding the knife in place with one hand, whack the daylights out of the garlic with your other fist. The papery skin will split and peel off easily.**
3. When using frozen stock (your own or store-bought), you don't need to defrost it before using. Run warm water over the container to loosen the block of stock, then drop that into your soup pot  right on top of the onions, carrots and celery that have been cooking gently in a bit of oil.
4. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper to facilitate cleaning. I do this whether baking cookies, roasting cauliflower florets, or baking chicken wings. The time you save on cleaning up makes parchment paper a good investment.
5. Clean up as you cook. This means not only putting the egg carton back into the refrigerator after you've removed what you need, but also washing the odd pan as soon as you've emptied its contents. You might not always have time to do this, but it makes the post-cooking clean-up less of a chore.
*We all know, of course, that drinking juice--any juice--is like drinking pure sugar. Eating the whole fruit is better for you than drinking juice. Mother Nature has arranged it so that fruit has fiber--juice has none. However, on those rare occasions when you absolutely must serve orange juice, this blenderized version is terrific.
**It's recommended that you nip off the little hard nub at the non-pointy end of the clove of garlic.


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