Even as an experienced cook, I get a kick out of hearing about a new tip or technique that lets me be more efficient in the kitchen. Cooking is just more fun when you know some shortcuts!
Before peeling and chopping, place onion in the refrigerator or freezer for 20 minutes. The cool temperature retards onion gases that make us cry.
Don’t bother peeling ginger. Instead, grate it on the wide holes of a box grater and squeeze the grated pulp to extract the liquid essence. Use the same amount, whether liquid or grated.
To clean mushrooms, brush them off with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from absorbing extra water.
Lightly tap the olive with a meat mallet or a can of tomatoes to split it open and remove the pit.
After washing, store herbs in damp paper towels in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Shave the leaves off parsley or cilantro stems with a sharp knife.
To properly cut a pepper, hold it upright by the stem and make four slices around it like a square, leaving the core and seeds behind.
Slit the pod down the middle and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife.
Buy whole nutmeg and use a rasp or microplane to grate as needed for bold, delicious flavor.
Strip the leafy greens from the stem before cooking. The stem is coarse and difficult to work with or eat.
Cut it in half around the diameter of the pit. Scoop out the pit with a spoon and place halves face down on a plate to prevent browning.
Remove beans from pod and blanch in hot water for two minutes. Remove and cool in an ice bath. Peel off the tough outer shell of the bean to reveal the soft vibrant bean inside.
Roast directly on a grill or gas flame to brown it. Remove kernels from cob with a sharp knife. To milk the corn, run the back of a knife against kernels.
Cut off tough green tops and root tentacles, leaving root intact. To clean leeks thoroughly, cut in half lengthwise; lay each half flat and slice in the center along the length, not through the root. Fan leek halves under running water with the root up to rinse out sand. Drain well. Slice leeks crosswise into 1/2-inch lengths, discarding root.
What are your favorite shortcuts?