20-07-2017 Be A Kitchen Magician

20 July 2017

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Practical Living

1) Foil limp celery

Don’t let your celery get limp in the refrigerator. Wrap it in aluminium foil as soon as you get it home and it will keep for weeks.

2) Banish onion odour

You love the taste of onion in your food but you could do without that lingering scent on your hands. Here is what to do. Rub your hands with salt before you wash them and the onion smell should vanish into thin air.

3) Sweeten the pot for sweet corn

For deliciously sweet corn on the cob, add a bit of milk or a pinch of sugar to the boiling water. But never salt the water. The calcium in it will make your corn tough.

4) Treat tomatoes tenderly

Even if you love tomatoes, you can only eat so many from your garden. Leave what you can use in a few days on the counter for everyone to admire but don’t put any in the refrigerator. Tomatoes don’t take kindly to cool temperatures and quickly lose their flavour. Yet, they freeze just fine. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer overnight. Once frozen, store them in your freezer in freezer bags. When you need tomatoes for cooking, simply thaw a few.

5) Banish tears with a candle

Does slicing onions make you weep for happier meals? Try slicing the onion under running water into a colander in your sink. Or light a candle next to your work area before you begin slicing. The onion gas that makes your eyes water will burn off before they reach you. Besides, your spouse will think it is romantic.

6) Serve artichokes with ‘gourmet’ dips

Don’t get stuck in a rut dipping artichoke leaves in butter. After steaming the vegetables until tender, try dipping the leaves in Hollandaise sauce, light mayonnaise blended with lemon juice or plain yoghurt mixed with mustard.

7) Wake up wilted asparagus

Fresh asparagus is so expensive you can’t afford to let it wilt in your refrigerator. To keep it fresh and to perk up wilted asparagus, cut off a half inch from the bottom of the stalk and stand the vegetable in an inch of warm water. Be careful not to get the tips wet. Your asparagus will look and taste great when you cook them for dinner.

8) Serve a classy salad

Want to impress your friends with a fancy asparagus salad? Steam the vegetable early in the morning and toss them with a bit of red wine or balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate the asparagus for several hours until they are completely chilled. Just before serving, add a dusting of chopped, toasted almonds. Serve, sit back and enjoy the compliments.

9) Microwave tender asparagus

Why bother with pots and pans when you can microwave a pound of asparagus to perfection in less than 10 minutes? Using a large, microwavable container, lay the asparagus in a single layer with the tips facing the centre. Cover and microwave on high for a total of six to 10 minutes or until tender. Rearrange the asparagus after half that time, exchanging pieces on the outer edges of the container with ones in the middle. Cover again and finish cooking. Watch out for steam when you remove the cover from your cooked asparagus.

10) Ripen an Avocado with a banana

Avocados go all the way back to the 9th century – almost as along as you have been waiting for the one on your counter to ripen. To speed up the process, seal the avocado in a plastic bag along with a ripe banana. Keep the bag at room temperature until the avocado becomes soft and ripe.