During these pandemic times, when kitchen time has ratcheted up to three squares a day, day after day, there’s no such thing as too many tips and tricks to make life easier. We want all the clever hacks, from short cuts and time savers to kitchen tools put to unintended use. (Handheld mixer, may you shred our chicken for a lifetime!)

So we’ve compiled 20 of our favorite ways to make cooking simpler, faster or more successful. Some of these hacks hail from chef and cookbook author interviews over the years, while others are smart work-arounds we’ve come to rely on in our own kitchens.

1. Creamy soups, no cream

You don’t need dairy anything to create a creamy soup. Cook your veggies — asparagus, carrots, whatever you like — until tender. Let cool for a few minutes, then add the hot vegetables to a blender with chicken or vegetable stock, in batches, if necessary. Hold the blender lid down tight, using a dish towel to protect your palm, then blend the soup for two to three minutes — set a timer, so you know enough time has elapsed — to aerate the soup and make it creamy and silky.

Puree cooked veggies and stock for two to three minutes to aerate the soup and turn it into a creamy wonder, without any dairy. (Getty Images)2. Ginger-turmeric tea bag … broth

Homemade broth might sound hard, but you can use herbal ginger-turmeric tea bags to make a restorative vegetable soup broth in no time. Yes, tea bags! (Rishi and Trader Joe’s are good options.) Bring three cups water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Turn off the heat and add four tea bags, ½ cup coconut milk and three tablespoons of fresh lime juice. Cover and steep five minutes.

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Discard the tea bags; stir in ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon fish sauce. Bring back to a simmer and add any veggies you like. Chef and recipe developer Justin Chapple, author of “Mad Genius Tips: Over 90 Expert Hacks + 100 Delicious Recipes,” who is responsible for this hack, suggests cooked orzo, chickpeas, sliced shallots and cilantro sprigs.

3. Easy-grating ginger

Toss your leftover fresh ginger root in a zip-top bag and stash it in the freezer. Next time you need ginger, grab a coarse grater — a Microplane is our grater of our choice — to grate the frozen ginger into a snowy pile of ready-to-use deliciousness. (No need to peel it first. The whole thing’s edible.)

4. Frozen coffee cubes

We’ve never understood why anyone would freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays, although that may be because we’re unfamiliar with the concept of “leftover wine.” But freezing cold coffee in ice cube trays? Now that’s genius. Next time you’re in the mood for iced coffee, your “ice” won’t dilute your java.

5. Hot pepper savior

Here’s an easy trick that works better than milk: After cutting any hot pepper — jalapeños, serranos, or, shudder, a ghost pepper — rub vegetable oil on your …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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