Friday, August 24, 2007

Kitchen Tips from Cooks Illustrated

Selected tips from the September 2007 issue of Cook's Illustrated that I found particularly useful.

Disposable Vegetable Scrubber:
  1. Fold an empty perforated onion or citrus bag to form a compact shape, then secure it with a rubber band.
  2. Use the scrubber to clean vegetables under cool running water, then discard the scrubber.
Frugal and clever, though would you really have to throw it away after one use? That seems wasteful.

Rejuvenating Celery:
  1. Trim and discard the bottom end of each celery stalk.
  2. Place the stalks cut-side down in a tall, narrow container with at least 2 inches of water. Refrigerate until the stalks are crisp and sprightly, 6-12 hours.
Per the herb vendor at my local farmer market, this technique is also great for bringing herbs back to life. Cut off a bit of the end of the stalk and place in water. I tend to keep my herbs refrigerated in water, which helps them last 1-2 weeks (except for mint, which might only last 1 week).

No More Soggy Cheesecake:

If stored in a springform pan, don't allow condensation to affect your refrigerated cheesecake. Arrange a layer of paper towels over it before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating.

You could do this with any food you cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. However, if you want to prevent skin from developing on the food (e.g., custard) or unpleasant browning (e.g., guacamole), I tend to put the plastic wrap directly on the food.