Photo by Donna

Photo by Donna

I have two copies of Ad Hoc, signed by Thomas Keller, to give away, courtesy of Artisan (thanks, Amy!)  This is an even more valuable offer than I thought it would be because I see that Amazon is sold out until February, as are many bookstores.  More than 100,000 copies of this book have been printed, with more on the way, making Ad Hoc one of the best selling books of the season.  There’s a reason for it: it’s a fantastic book, with everything from burgers to bread pudding with leeks to cheesecake, and great discussion of cooking issues and technique from Thomas himself (who would have imagined a chef could be so uncommonly articulate on the page?!).  A few namby pambies in the media have whined that some of the recipes actually ask you to cook when you use this book (there’s a broad range of recipes, appropriate to every skill level, some simple, some labor intensive, but none that compromise).  But it’s been chosen one of the best books of the year by others. (Here’s a great series of four videos by borders; watch the one of Thomas and Ad Hoc chef de cuisine Dave Cruz making the bread pudding.)

One of the things I love about this book is the design, by David Hughes of Level in the Napa Valley.  There’s an ease and comfort to the book that makes it a pleasure to peruse.  I also love the small asides and tips throughout.  This most excellent tip on slicing chives, for instance.  I used to lay them flat on a cutting board but would often end up kind of mashing them, and often not slicing all the way through, leaving me to pick big pieces out of my fine slices.  Keller suggests folding a damp paper towel into a wide strip and rolling the chives into a bundle.  This allows you to slice cleanly through the whole bunch, keeping all their delicious oniony fragrance in the chive, not on your cutting board.  It keeps them together neatly, and results in perfectly sliced chives.

So, you’re wondering: “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SHUT UP AND TELL ME HOW DO I ENTER THE DRAWING TO WIN MY SIGNED COPY OF AD HOC?!!!”

Simply leave a comment here with your favorite kitchen tip or trick.  Not technique, like, get your pan really hot before you put the meat in, but a tip like the one above.  I’ll pick randomly rather than judging them, so don’t worry if it’s not as good as others.  I’ll leave this post open and choose the winners Friday at noon eastern time via Twitter (follow me there and have a hand in the choosing).  With apologies, I can only offer these copies to addresses in the United States because of shipping costs and customs headaches.  Sorry!

I can however guarantee they’ll arrive before Xmas for two lucky people who share their kitchen tips here!  Good luck!

[Update: it should be needless to say, but only one entry per person, those who make multiple entries will be disqualified.]

[Update: the winners have been chosen!  They are Aaron Haley (http://blog.sektormedia.org/) and Jason Davies!  Will you two pls email me your mailing addresses?  Thanks everyone for all these fantastic kitchen tips!  I love them!]

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1,029 Wonderful responses to “Ad Hoc Cookbook Giveaway!”

  • Tracy

    If you want really thin slices of meat by using a chef’s knife (IE: shabu-shabu) partially freeze the beef or chicken and you can slice it so thin it is like tissue paper. I learned this in Tokyo from a japanese chef…

  • Kiran

    I trim my herbs (including chives) using a kitchen shear directly over a pot or a dish, whilst cooking 🙂

  • Jenny

    To peel large amounts of garlic, break the head up into its individual cloves and toss all of this in a small tupperware so the garlic is maybe filling up 1/5th of it. You then shake this tupperware for about three minutes like a maraca, and the garlic peels itself as it hits and rubs against the other garlic and the side of the box. This works best when you have a lot of garlic that you need to peel, as with small amounts there isn’t enough friction to make it work, and for the same reason a sturdy plastic works best for the tupperware. But when done right, you open up the box at the end and can just pluck out whole, peeled cloves of garlic for use!

  • Jan Polex

    When I have extra lettuce or greens from the Garden I wash and dry them and then roll in paper towels and store in the fridge . They last Much longer and stay crisp.

  • Adele

    One of myh favorite kitchen tools is Wax paper. I use it for so many things, such as when I measure out dry ingrediends and spices, I do it over a creased piece of wax paper. After I level off the measuring device, i use the wax paper to pour the excess back in the bag or container.
    When I harvest my herbs, I cut them with shears over wax paper and from there am able to pour it into a clean container to freexe. If I dry them, I take the leaves of the stems over the paper and am able to pour them easily into bottles, where I date them and store them in my pantry.
    When I make compound butter logs, I use the wax paper to roll into a log and chill down till firm, before rewrappimg to freeze for winter use.
    This inexpensive tool is so hand to use in so may ways.

  • Ekrem D

    When utilizing a pot of salted water, I always add a peppercorn after salting the pot… so as to not mistakenly double salt.

  • Matt Hypes

    I feel like everyone already knows this one but, I’ll leave it none the less. I will when making cakes, grease and flour the pans with confectionary sugar instead of flour. It works great, doesn’t change the consistency of the cake and doesn’t leave the floury edge on your cake that just doesn’t hold up to the sweetness of cake.

  • Kris

    Two things I use wherever possible – ice cube trays and shelf liner. Larger sheets of shelf liner help hold bowls and cutting boards in place, while I use a small square to “rub” the skin off garlic for slicing.

    Ice cube trays – bits of just about everything get frozen in those then transferred to baggies in the freezer – extra tomato paste, leftover wine, chicken stock, grated ginger, lemon zest, pesto, even buerre manie – sometimes, when you’re cooking something, it needs just a bit of . . . something.

  • MattW

    I enjoy using chemistry glassware and spatulas. I find the reasons why they’re good for chemistry, true for cooking as well. But rotovaps can be expensive.

  • Aaron

    Save Parmesan and other hard cheese rinds to add to stocks/broths/sauces for an added flavor element.

  • Laura

    I use a small weighted ice cream scooper to take the flesh out of squash, such as butternut squash or acorn squash. The heavier weight makes this task really quick and easy!

  • pshampton

    Anytime you make a really spicy dish (whether it is curry, chili, spicy noodles, keema, etc.), add a bit of sugar to meld the bold flavors. It really helps bring everything together – especially if you don’t have enough time to let things properly cook or ‘stew’.

  • Ray Masterson

    After lightly spraying the bottom of a cake pan, spray a large round coffee filter flattened out to line the bottom of a cake pan. Easy clean up and peels right off bottom of cake.

  • Mike Beaty

    Don’t wait until you’ve finished eating, clean up after yourself as you’re preparing meals and the dreaded sink full of dirty pots/pans/untensils won’t seem so daunting.

  • Barbra Walton

    Have a really dirty pan that’s looking like it’s going to take forever to clean? Deglaze it! Put it on the stove over high heat, allow to heat for a few minutes, then add 1/2-1 cup water. Bring to a boil (it’ll happen instantly if the pan is hot enough) and gently scrape with a spatula. All the baked-on grime comes right up, and no scrubbing required.

  • EY

    Not original, but I love using a scoop to dish out cookies. I bake cookies at least once a month, more during this time of year and that makes it a breeze. I keep a small glass of hot water nearby and rinse off the scoop every 2nd or 3rd cookie.

  • Mary Chaffee

    I don’t use a lot of butter, so when I get it home from the store I immediately cut it into 1 Tbsp. measures and freeze it. That way when I need it I only have to thaw what I want.

  • ShaRose Niedelman

    In the summer I’ll use ice cube trays and fill them w/ juices. I’ll water down the juice a bit so it is refreshing and not overly sweet. Watermelon juice as is makes a perfect quick cooling relief to quench thirst and begin cooling oneself down when overheated. Also, this restores natural sugars body is sweating out in hot weather to keep us from feeling faint. It’s fun to make mini-juice blends and freeze them that way. You can add a toothpick or popsicle stick to create mini-ice-popsicles. Great for kids! And you can also place these fruity flavored ice cubes in beverages to add a new flavor. Something I haven’t tried yet is brewing mint tea or other herbs and blending them w/ juices or leaving as is to make iced-tea ice cubes with or without juices. Something else I just came up with to add to what I’ve done w/ freezing fruit juices in ice trays is to use some spices with herbs or juice or alone or even other treats. Like watered down vanilla extract and assorted extracts, alternate milks like rice and almond milks in their various flavors; chocolate, mocha, vanilla, original et al. And what about liquid chai watered down for an eclectic blend of delicious spices. I love concocting and blending things so it is no wonder I came up with something new to add to my original idea. I’ve even heard that parents can freeze baby food ad pureed fruits/veges to make for perfect portions to defrost or heat up. Freezing applesause sounds rather yummy to me right now as a frozen pudding pop that I’ll have to try when the weather is warmer. Also, sometimes I’ll place them in plastic ziploc bags to store in freezer – make sure they are freezer bags. I tend to brainstorm all the time and add to ideas which is my thought and creative process constantly turned on. Oh my mouth is watering now, how about yours? Enjoy!

    At present with this cold spell across the country I’m wondering what hot tip I can leave that is actually hot! Well, when you boil tea if it is too hot you can use an ice cube or two to cool it down without cooling it down too much. Again, you can use these fruit juice and/or herbal/spice/extract/alternative milks (won’t curdle) etc flavored cubes to add dimension to your hot tea, hot cocoa. hot apple cider and endless hot steaming beverages there to warm you up in the cold of night of stormy winter day. You might even try a mix of two or as many to flavor and heat up whether used to cool down tea or not. You can play and explore with all kinds of flavors to toss readily into cooking up hot broths, soups, stews, rices, grains and just about anything you cook up!. I hope I’ve stirred your mental pot of creativity some in our shared brew of hot kitchen tips.

  • Christie Ison

    Keep tomato paste in a small glass or plastic container in the freezer, and microwave for 30 seconds or so to get out a tablespoon or two at a time. Over time, the remaining paste will acquire a smoky flavor from being reheated — an added bonus!

    Also, a cleaning tip…if you have metal caps and grates over a gas stovetop, these may be put in the oven during the self-clean cycle.

  • sandy bowie

    Instead of washing strawberries, I put mine in a dish towel and gently shake them. Leaves them dry and pretty for presentation or dipping in chocolate. You will see what came off on the towel.

  • Mike-Oh

    I find that the most effective way to seperate egg whites and yolks it to use you hand (clean hand of course). Let the white slide between your fingers while gently rolling the yolk around.

  • Andrew Miller

    When peeling multiple heads of garlic the easiest way to go about it is by separating each clove, then smashing the clove with the blade of the knife. After this is accomplished simply put all of the cloves into a stainless steel bowl, of which you have a duplicate. Place the two bowls together, hold tight with your fingers, and shake vigorously for about a minute in a vertical, curving motion. Every peel will be separated from the garlic. Huge time saver….

  • JasonAU

    I use a lot of garlic; buy the 3lb container of peeled garlic at your favorite wholesale warehouse, cut off the root end, wrap in foil with olive oil and roast until tender. I divide it into zip-locks and freeze. Makes it so easy to whip up a quick sauce.

  • kenny

    When poaching eggs break them into a ramekin or small cup and then slide them from the cup into the simmering water so that they stay together. Otherwise, if break an egg directly into the water the parts of the egg fall into the water at different times, making a hot mess.

  • Teri

    When making ginger cookies, use the wrapper from the butter to wipe the inside of the measuring cup before measuring the molasses. The molasses will pour out much easier.

  • Scotty Harris

    My favorite kitchen tip is Andreas Viestad’s homemade aquavit recipe (though Tina Nordstrom is easier on the eye). First, down two shots of iced aquavit in quick succession. Attach your children to the chains on that iron stake you have in the yard (we all have one right?) to keep them out of the way. Down two more shots of iced aquavit. Hone your knife to surgical standards. Down two more shots of iced aquavit. Randomly select a recipe from Ad Hoc at Home. After you discover you lack the ingredients down two more shots of iced aquavit. Call your favorite pizzeria and order a large pie and order 20 wings (hot). While waiting for the delivery, down two more shots, free the kids, and bring up that growler of Flying Bison Aviator Red. Enjoy your meal!

  • Rob Cordosi

    Buy those huge containers of mixed greens at your local warehouse club? To keep it fresh longer do two things. After you open it, place a folded paper towel in the container to absorb excess moisture, change it out every couple of days. Also, every time you take a serving out, rotate the greens from bottom to top so that the stuff on the bottom gets some fresh air too.

  • lizette

    i see someone already said this but the cheese rinds in stocks really is an awesome tip. i just recently started doing that and it does really add some depth. i just keep the hard edges in a little tupperware in the back of my fridge till i need them.

  • Charlie H

    To keep toast for a sandwich from getting soggy from its own steam after it comes out of the toaster, prop the pieces together like you are making a teepee.

  • Jason Riedy

    I can’t recall where I learned this, but when slowly sauteing garlic, soak the crushed/minced garlic in a tiny bit of water to prevent burning. The water evaporates out, keeping the temperature lower for longer.

  • Shane

    This is simple, but use a kitchen thermometer when cooking any type of meat that’s prone to drying out. Though it’s important to be able to use sight and touch to evaluate the doneness of meat, using a thermometer really takes the guesswork out of it.

    I know so many people that cook the hell out of pork because they are terrified of foodborne illness. Incidentally, I know plenty of people that don’t like pork chops becuase their parents always cooked them until they had the texture and flavor of hockey pucks.

  • Daniel

    I love the trick of placing a kitchen towel between the counter top and the cutting board to keep my board from slipping all over the place when I’m chopping things.

  • Todd

    First, 734 comments already? wow.

    I know this is so simple, but changed my view of chopping completely. Cutting a pepper, I used to try and cut out the seeds, stem and such. I took a chopping class and we just cut the sides off the pepper without removing anything. You then have all the pepper sliced off and the seeds and stem in a neat package to throw away.

  • Chuck Shaw

    Here’s a tip. When straining stock or broth through either cheesecloth or, in Michael’s house, a hankerchief be sure to wet it first. It will stay in place and you won’t lose any precious stock in the cloth.

  • Derrick

    I wear a hat when I’m frying, it actually reduces the amount of oil droplets on my glasses. Thanks, McGee!

  • chris

    To keep the oil from splattering and to not waste paper towels or wet an entire dish towel, I put my washed vegetables into a hot pan first and cook off the water a little before adding the oil.

  • vforvelociraptor

    Instead of soaking my gnarly greasy pans in dishsoap and water, i toss some dishwasher liquid into the pot or pan, fill with water, leave on the stovetop overnight. come morning, everything wipes clean as though you were using non-stick.

  • Mea

    I use the edge of a thin metal spoon to scrape the skin away from fresh ginger. It’s less dangerous for those not dexterous with a knife and definitely wastes less of the root itself.

  • carrie

    The freezer is your best friend: Herbs, leftover everything, from cheese rinds for sauces to tomato paste to coffee (I use defrosted coffee in baking recipes) to stock to pesto and so forth. But I also use it for baking recipes: cutting up your butter and putting it in the freezer for at least an hour before baking scones or muffins results in a fluffier baked good.

  • Andrea

    I use an inverted cast iron skillet in place of a pizza stone. It comes up to temperature on the stovetop while the oven is preheating (much faster than adequately heating a stone), and the iron makes for a fantastic crisp crust. I remove the whole skillet from the oven (no pizza peel required!), and cut right on the pan bottom. The iron keeps the pizza warm.

  • Josh

    When spraying non-stick spray in a pan, place pan over open dishwasher door so that mis-sprays land on the inside of the door and are washed away with your next dishwasher cycle.

  • Rodney

    Wipe down the grates of the BBQ Grill, or Gas stove grill top with olive oil before adding the meat to prevent sticking. Especially helpful with poultry. Simple I know, but it works!

  • matt

    I always like putting a layer of fat down on the bottom bun of a hamburger (fat as in mayo or avocado), then placing the burger on top, as it acts as a grease stopper, stopping the bottom bun from turning into a mushy mess. I always wonder why various restaurants put this on top of the burger where it serves virtually no purpose other than taste. Putting the burger directly on top of the fat layer creates a nice and clean burger.

  • Beth

    I like to add fresh garlic (or other such pungent vegetables/herbs) at two points in the cooking process in order to achieve a layering of that flavor. Adding garlic toward the beginning and then again at the very end of a stir fry, a stew, a saute, or other preparations effectively creates two ingredients from one, simultaneously presenting garlicky depth and pep in your final dish.

  • Claudia

    When having friends over, keep it simple & easy, make as much as you can ahead of time, and clean up as you go. After all you do want to see and enjoy being with these people you invited into your home

  • h lee

    Control the ease of rolling out pastry in your kitchen by controlling the temperature. If your pie crust is getting hard to roll out, pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes. The oil will harden and your pastry will be easier to roll out.

  • Felix

    I put butter in an empty mustard tube so I can use it freely wihtout my girlfriend attacking me for it… I just leave the tube on the counter, not raising her suspicion, and whenever she looks away I squeeze as needed.

    She always loves the result and I love her body, butter or no butter!

  • petra

    When i make a spaghetti sauce (bolognese type) i always make enough for leftovers. It’has become a tradition in our home that the day after this leftover sauce together with a simple bechamel will become a lasagna. It makes cooking on the second day very quick and easy since all i have to do is make a white sauce (simply butter fat, flour and milk) and put the lasagna together. Takes no more than 15 min! I make it early in the day so that i can bake it and rewarm it for dinner. That way the lasagna will hold it’s shape and in our eyes it tastes always better the next day when it’s reheated. That way we have it reheated the same day. Added bonus, the questions what’s for dinner is omitted since everyone will know what’s being severd the day after Spaghetti.
    Petra

  • Sugar Apple

    Christophine (a.k.a. christophene, chow chow, chayote, mirliton, vegetable pear, mango pear, xuxu, etc…) contains a very sticky sap that can be hard to wash off your hands and can irritate the skin. Parboiling the squash for 10 minutes before cutting into it or peeling it will neutralize the sap.

    And I do have a US address if I happen to get one of the books. No customs headaches here.

  • Crystal

    Chilling onions in the fridge prior to cutting them will minimize the fumes which cause you to tear up while slicing and dicing them.

  • Blyth

    When I’m packing things away in a ziploc-type bag, I always fold the sealing part back. It keeps the bag open better and prevents food from spilling or getting on to the sealing strip. Very useful when packing up raw meat (keeps the outside of the bag clean) or when putting more viscous items into bags.

  • Lauren

    My boyfriend taught me this: douse your garlic with some salt and olive oil before cutting it. It should give you some traction and allow you to slice and dice more finely.

  • Jena Lockwood

    To contain the mess while cracking eggs on the counter, crack them against the open lid of the egg carton.

  • KristineB

    I like to use a pastry scraper to scoop up fine diced veggies, etc., instead of the knife. Less dangerous.

  • Kelsey

    I know it looks silly…

    A lot of times I end up cutting very juicy onions even though I have very sensitive eyes. If the onions are too much for me to handle without bawling, I root around my drawers until I find my old pair of swim goggles. Keeps the tears at bay!

  • Caitlin HC

    When making biscotti, which I do a lot this time of year, dampen rather than flour your hands to handle a sticky dough.

  • Ari

    place one of those rubber “jar opener” pads under your cutting board to give it more traction on the counter.

  • Richard

    Add garlic cloves, folds removed, into salted water on the boil for mashed potatoes.

  • Chris Shenton

    When grinding meat for sausage using a KitchenAide with sausage stuffer attachment, I run a “sacrificial” onion through it at then end to push out the last of the meat into the sausage casing so it’s not stuck and wasted in the stuffer tube.

  • DanK.

    Running your knife under cold water before chopping onions greatly reduces tears.

  • Rachel

    A good way to store leftover tomato paste in measurable portions is to scoop it out with a tablespoon and place it on a small dish or baking tray sprayed with cooking spray. Leave it in the freezer for 30 minutes until it hardens, then put the balls of tomato paste in a ziploc. Freeze for storage.

  • Melissa

    We always start the Holiday Turkey in the oven, but finish it (for the last two hours or so) on the grill. Imparts that great grilled taste to the bird and frees up the oven for all of those side dishes.

  • Katie

    Add a tablespoon of sugar to your spicy tomato sauce to give it a little something special.

  • diane

    Here’s a trick I use for removing fresh corn from the cob (at least until I’m able to locate one of those nifty corn scraper thingies like the one you have.) I use a bundt pan- insert the ear of corn in the center hole, then using a sharp knife, scrape downward on the ear and voila! the kernels and juice collect in the pan. No more kernels all over the kitchen counter.

  • Edward

    Okay, I have a very convenient use for pilsner glasses (in addition to the obvious). I use a pilsner glass to keep my dried pasta handy next to the stove while the water is coming to a boil. The glass is the perfect size to hold 3-4 servings close at hand but out of the way/

  • Sara Woodin

    Freeze leftover tomato paste, wrapped in wax paper, then in a freezer bag. When you need just a tablespoon or two, cut it from the frozen chunk, then return the remaining chunk to the freezer.

  • Allison

    When making lasagna with fresh pasta, there is no need to boil the noodles. Just layer them in with the usual cheeses, sauce and meat (I use mini meatballs) and the pasta will cook while it bakes.

  • Nancy

    Use half the ganja the recipe suggests so you don’t wig out when you eat a brownie.

  • Clay

    i boil and reuse all my marinades as sauces and glazes, and find they are great ways to use up fresh herbs that are past their prime.

  • Cali

    The easiest way to deal with fresh ginger is put some plastic wrap over a grater and rub the chunk of (peeled) fresh ginger. It’s like a ginger puree with not much mess.

  • Sarah

    Store Silpat sheets vertically between two thin plastic cutting boards–they stay nice and flat and save space in the cupboard.

  • Andrea

    Buy a large, flat unglazed terra cotta saucer at a garden store. This would be the type of saucer that goes under a potted plant to keep it from leaking water.

    Clean the saucer, dry it well and place it on the bottom rack of your oven (when cold). The terra cotta will soak up and distribute oven heat such that it becomes more like a brick oven. When baking bread, you can move it to the middle rack and use it as a surface for the bread to bake on.

    Needless to say, you only use this saucer for the oven, never for plants. 🙂 And be careful to heat it up and cool it down slowly with the oven, rather than placing it in a hot oven.

  • Hussein

    Explore the under-appreciated wonders of fine pimentón from Spain, especially from the La Vera DO, and learn how to carefully use the four varieties, separately or in combination — sweet, bittersweet, hot and unsmoked (the last therefore being essentially Spanish paprika) — to add an amazing depth to most savory dishes.

  • Nancy

    Line all bar cookie pans with heavy duty foil. No cleanup, terrifically easy slicing, no sticking. (Be diligent about pressing against sides & bottom.)

  • Jo

    When you have very fresh ginger, put it in the freezer so that it doesn’t become all stringy. When you want to use it, grate the amount you want to use with a Microplane (it is very easy to grate). It’s great in curries, soups and sauces.

  • Daniel

    When I’ve added too much salt or added salt twice because I’ve forgotten that I did, adding a raw potato wedge to the dish and cooking for a while longer helps remove the excess.

  • Shawn

    When peeling potatoes, especially the smaller ones, I impale them on a fork so that I don’t accidentally take off a ream of skin from my hand with the peeler. Or I wear a latex glove.

  • Ruthy

    My husband has the miraculous tendency to leave huge black marks at the bottom of my stainless steel pans when he’s finished cooking with them… (how do they get there!? I may never know….) I tried soaking overnight, soaking in dishsoap, scrubbing with steel wool… all to no avail! Then I started filling the pans with about a cup or cup and a half of white vinegar, bringing it to simmer, adding baking soda till fizzy, boiling that mixture, removing from heat and letting sit for a few minutes. When I go to clean it, the black comes miraculousy off the bottom of the pan!! Never underestimate the power of all natural cleaners!

  • Steve Kennel

    I “cook” my bacon and sausage patties in the oven. I set the oven for 350 and place bacon strips and/or sausage patties in a rectangular cake pan, then set the timer for 30-45 minutes, depending on desired browness/crunchiness of the bacon.

    While it’s baking I am free to work on the rest of my food prep. I don’t need to turn over the bacon/sausage, and I don’t have a mess of splattered grease on the stove and counters to contend with afterward.

  • Susan

    Granola, homemade or at least the kind without puffed or flaked cereal, makes an incredible porridge–never tastes like library paste. Subbed for oatmeal it’s also fabulous in cookies.

  • Geof Brown

    I’ve never found a better tool for cleaning out squashes, pumpkins and so on than our one grapefruit spoon. Slick as a whistle.

  • Charlie

    Instead of buying an expensive pizza stone, use a couple of unglazed quarry stones that you can buy from a hardware store. You can buy them for a $1-2 a sf. Much cheaper than the $40-45 from a cookware store.

  • MCU

    Refrigerate onions (and especially shallots) before chopping — no more tears!

  • Justin Powers

    When buying salad greens in a clam shell package, use your chef’s knife to poke several holes in the cover to keep the greens fresher longer.

  • Cesar Cruz

    When you are making a stock, pour ice in it and the fat will rise to the top, it’s kind of like clarifying it but without adding anything other than ice.

  • John House

    Get a good emulsion in your vinaigrette? Xanthan gum works wonders, but who has that lying around? More folks than you think…take a look at that hot sauce in the cupboard. Ingredients? Xanthan gum!
    Adding a few dashes, or even a teaspoon, depending on quantity, to your vinaigrette can aid dramatically in achieving an excellent consistency. The extra bit of flavor doesn’t hurt either. This works particularly well for Caesar, Dijon and balsamic vinaigrettes.
    Tapatio works really well, providing a nice red chili flake and garlic flavor without adding much heat.

  • Cassidy

    I use a spoon to peel ginger. Just put your thumb on the back and scrape! So much easier than using a knife, and less goes to waste

  • Dan D.

    When toasting bread for crostini, impale a clove of garlic on a fork, and rub over the bread.

  • Eric L

    My obsession (and the one that causes the most strife with my wife when she cooks) is to “clean as you go”. There is not reason for the kitchen to look like a disatster by the time you serve. After you use an ingerdiant, put it away. Reuse bowls, plates, pans! Rinse that plate/spoon/pan, it takes a moment and makes clean-up much easier.

    Not really a tip, more of a mantra.

    Of true tips, I love keeping bags for chicken bones and vegtable trimmings for making stock in the frezer. Once you start doing this, stock becomes a “free” ingredient that is better than anything you could buy.

  • Robyn

    If you like crispy skin, make sure to dry out your chicken and duck breasts by placing them in your fridge on a dish without any covering on them for a day or so before you cook them. This works especially well if you have brined your chicken.

  • duncan russell

    When you need to chiffonade herbs make sure to only use the tip of the knife as to not bruise or crush the herbs thus leaving their beautiful natural colors!

  • Brent

    When you make stock/soup freeze one cup increments in large yogurt containers. The hockey pucks of stock can them be placed into freezer bags and stacked in the back of you freezer. You can fit a lot of stock in a small freezer this way.

  • leena!

    When canning at home with a hot water bath, my mother always taught me to sanitize and keep the cans hot by putting them through a dishwasher cycle with no soap. This eliminates the annoying and time consuming step of boiling the cans right before you fill them and keeping them warm. Simply leave them in the dishwasher until your food is ready to be canned, and the cans will be clean and warm, ready to use!