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Sal's Single Fathers' Kitchen

Kitchen Tips  
Baking Potatoes
Poke holes in freshly scrubbed potatoes with a fork so that steam can escape while cooking. Bake for approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees F. (If you're cooking extra large potatoes or more than four, allow extra time). Never bake potatoes in aluminum foil, which seals in moisture and makes the potato pasty.
Chop Sticky Things
Next time you need to chop sticky ingredients (dried fruit, etc.), coat a pair of kitchen shears with nonstick cooking spray and snip away.
Fight Fried Odors
Next time you fry foods, try placing a small cup of bleach nearby. The bleach absorbs much of the "fried" odor (that would otherwise linger for days!) Be sure to clearly mark the cup and keep it out of the reach of children.
Get Rid of Garlic Odor on Hands
Not fond of the garlicky odor left on hands after peeling cloves? Rub hands with the rounded side of a stainless steel measuring spoon under running water. Gourmet specialty stores sell a piece of metal designed for the same purpose, but an everyday tablespoon should do the trick. After rubbing hands thoroughly, wash with soap and water.
Keep the Kitchen Cool
Too hot to cook? Prepare fresh vegetables alongside meats on the grill. Wrap green beans, asparagus or your vegetable of choice in heavy-duty aluminum foil with a little water (and optional butter/oil/seasonings). Throw them on the outskirts of the grill and turn frequently until steamed to your liking (5-10 minutes).
Keep Salad Greens Crisp
The sooner you consume lettuce, spinach and other greens after they are picked, the crisper they will be. Rinse fresh greens under cool water to "revive" them. Dry by running the greens through a salad spinner or wrapping them in dry towels. Place in a loosely closed bag and refrigerate.
Keep Sponges Clean
It's a good idea to replace kitchen sponges often, since they provide a comfortable home for bacteria. Spruce up existing sponges by tossing them into the dishwasher with your next load. Detergent and high temperatures will help keep bacteria at bay.

Better yet, I would suggest that sponges should be dampened and than microwaved to the point of steaming, about 1 minute. This is safer than just putting in the dish washer as many water supplies are only set at 120-140 degrees, not hot enough to kill many microbes.

Opening Jars
Having trouble opening a jar? Slip on a pair of latex dishwashing gloves. Their nonslip surface makes it much easier!
Measure Honey or Syrup
Oil measuring cups or spoons before filling with syrup or honey and the ingredients will pour easily.
Cooking Mushrooms
When frying chopped up mushrooms for an omlette, use butter in the fry pan,and not oil, then they will not stick together too much
Peeling Garlic
Using the heel of your hand, press the flat side of a chef's knife onto an entire clove of garlic. You can then slip the slightly crushed garlic from its skin.
Remove Fat from Soups
To remove fat from soups, refrigerate until the fat hardens. If you place waxed paper on top, it will peel away the hardened fat. No time to refrigerate? Try dropping a lettuce leaf in the soup. Let it collect fat, then remove it.
Soften Butter
To soften butter, let it stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. No time for that? Place it between sheets of wax paper and pound with a rolling pin.
Whipping Cream
Whipping Cream
To speed the process of whipping cream, chill the mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes beforehand.

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