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HumbleHomeCook

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Alright KKF, you people have so much experience and knowledge, how's about a thread for all those little (or big) things that just take the kitchen experience up a notch? In another thread the value of bench scrapers and even hands free soap dispensers was brought up and I thought it was good stuff.

So what ya got?

I'll start with:

- Deli containers: These things are freaking awesome and I wish I would've bought them 30 years ago!!! For me, they were a real game changer. I purged soooooo much crap after I got used to having these guys around. Yeah, I still have some different styles, shapes and sizes of storage containers but deli containers probably carry 90% of the load these days. From thumb tacks to the grandkid's crayons to mise en place to freezing red sauce, these things do it all. The only brand I've ever tried is DuraHome (I get the multi-size packs) and am quite pleased. I've had people scoff at my adoration of them because they are plastic but I can tell ya, for me, they have massively reduced my plastic usage. I don't use nearly the number of bags and plastic wrap I used to. I love 'em and our fridge always has some in there with some kind of leftovers and the freezer houses several of them full of soups, stock, etc. All the lids fit, they stack no matter the depth, just so much nicer.

- The Earlywood Large Flat Saute Spatula. I use the hell out of mine. It took me a while to get into a groove with mine but before long I found myself reaching for it over and over and now it is a freakin' staple tool. You can use both ends for different tasks but truth be told, I primarily just use the spatula end but I use it a lot! As the name implies, a great saute tool that's light, handy, and effective. whether it's just stirring ingredients to scraping pans it covers the tasks well. From smearing butter on French bread loaves to pan sauces, this tool can do it. This along with a fish spatula and tongs are my most used utensils.

- Mind your berries! If you're like me, you like berries and often find yourself buying them in the grocery store. And all too often they start to go bad pretty quickly. Well, when you get home from the store, dump them into some cold water and add a tablespoon or so of distilled white vinegar, swish them around, and let them sit for 30-60seconds. Then give them a good rinse in cold water. The vinegar helps kill surface mold and really does prolong the life of them. Let them dry thoroughly and put them in, say a deli container, with a folded paper towel in the bottom and on top and you'll get more life out of them. And no, they won't taste like vinegar. If you find you're not using them fast enough, toss them in the freezer. Great for making quick compotes or sauces.

Again, what ya got KKF? Tools to techniques, what are those tips that are cool to know?
 
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M1k3

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+1 on deli cups, but, the heavy duty ones.

Slicing a bunch of cherry tomatoes? Place them between 2 deli cup lids or the bottoms of 2 plates with small ridges.

Mise en place. Oui Chef!
 

HumbleHomeCook

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@M1k3 , I have a pile of brand new DuraHome containers and lids sitting on the table. A few of ours have warped from the microwave or the lid or two has peeled some, but this is over years, but mostly, we just find ourselves using them so much we're running out of available ones. So, I ordered another pack.

While they're fully dish washer safe, we don't have one of those fancy gadgets and I'm the dish washer. Man, it takes a while to get them all done! :oops: :p
 
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MarcelNL

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We recently moved to glass deli containers, the lid is still a plastic clip on thingy. We're trying to avoid plastic (and dishwashing plastic) where we can.

Organizing our slightly ridiculous spice collection in various sizes Bormioli jam jars with stickers on the lid that now sit in trays we keep in a repurposed Ikea book cabinet
 

HumbleHomeCook

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We recently moved to glass deli containers, the lid is still a plastic clip on thingy. We're trying to avoid plastic (and dishwashing plastic) where we can.

Organizing our slightly ridiculous spice collection in various sizes Bormioli jam jars with stickers on the lid that now sit in trays we keep in a repurposed Ikea book cabinet
I recently attacked our spices as well. So happy with the results!

 

sansho

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yep. i was thinking squeeze bottles too.

i love the ones by oxo.


they come in different bottle and nozzle sizes. can explain more if anyone's interested.

but one of the things i really like is they're pretty airtight and leak proof (even if you squeeze on the bottle). a tip though: idk why, but some of them aren't leak proof as-received. all they need is a little tweak to the cap "spring". push it down for a few seconds like in this pic. you should only have to do it once. the cap should properly seat on the nozzle and be leak proof for good.

PXL_20211106_232843078.jpg
 

sansho

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i started keeping corn starch in a squeeze bottle. got the idea from an amazon review. if you cook asian food or just like a dash of cornstarch here and there to thicken things, it's great.

really convenient and cuts down on the mess. cornstarch is messy af. i don't bother making a slurry. i just give the pan a few poofs with the bottle (each poof in a different spot) and stir it in. works fine.

i was skeptical at first about how well it would dispense powder, but it actually does work. i'm guessing it wouldn't if you pack the bottle completely full though.

PXL_20211107_010520621.jpg
 
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daveb

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I'm a big fan of deli containers and the squeeze bottles mentioned above.

Pro tip: The tops on squeeze bottles are about worthless. Built in will break off, the little red ones will be lost faster than a saya pin. For storage or transport I remove the top, put some film (saran wrap stuff) over top of bottle and then replace the top. No film? Put a glove over the top.

Other things from the pro side that I use at home include Cambros - 2qt round holds a pound of coffee beans perfectly, 4 qt square lined with a grocery store bag is a small trash receptacle, all kinds of other storage. And gloves - a box of gloves lives on top of my refridge, almost feel nekid in the kitchen without them.
 
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I use squeeze bottles for cooking (avocado oil) and the white vinegar & water mix to wipe down my cutting board. Mine don't have caps and the only annoying thing is that the vinegar/water mix seems to act as a trap for gnats/fruit flies. I started keeping a scrap of paper towel over it. I am sure the vinegar kills anything negative, but once you go over a couple it is just not right having them swirling in there.
 

sansho

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I use squeeze bottles for cooking (avocado oil) and the white vinegar & water mix to wipe down my cutting board. Mine don't have caps and the only annoying thing is that the vinegar/water mix seems to act as a trap for gnats/fruit flies. I started keeping a scrap of paper towel over it. I am sure the vinegar kills anything negative, but once you go over a couple it is just not right having them swirling in there.
imo:
  • put your vinegars in something vaportight
  • buy or diy a funnel trap for fruit flies and charge it with vinegar. also add a TINY drop of soap to break the surface tension so they drown better. make sure the funnel hole (ingress point) isn't too big or else it's also an egress point. the funnel slope should also be relatively steep. some flies will always get out, but it's a probability game. you want to have the ratio of ingress:egress be as high as possible. it may need to be periodically recharged as the AcOH concentration drops (it's volatile). before doing this, microwave the trap for 10s or whatever to kill the flies inside so they don't escape when you open it.
  • optionally, eliminate their source from your kitchen. easier said than done if you like fruit :) . also, sometimes you have no control over it if you're in an apartment that's close to a dumpster or something.
 
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sansho

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Pro tip: The tops on squeeze bottles are about worthless. Built in will break off, the little red ones will be lost faster than a saya pin. For storage or transport I remove the top, put some film (saran wrap stuff) over top of bottle and then replace the top. No film? Put a glove over the top.
try one of those oxo bottles. ime it solves all of those problems. only problem is they're significantly more expensive. worth it to me however. at least consider trying them for your most frequently used bottles or a bottle you travel with.
 

daveb

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Have tried them. Nah. I buy bottles 12 at a time, cut the tips per application and discard when they get nasty.
 

sansho

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if you need a lot of them, it's harder to justify. i only have/need 5 or so.

was it just the price that you didn't like?
 
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I ordered a few of the OXO ones and will see how the caps hold up.

I have fruit fly traps out (which do work), but they always seem to love the bottle of vinegar/water as well. Not talking a huge amount of gnats, but there always seem to be a few around. I always have some fruit and tomatoes out.
 

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In completely random order some of the things I do that aren't the most ubiqutous:

-The best tool to deglaze a pan and scrub all the fond off the bottom is a dishwashing brush; works way better than any spatula or whatever. Just make sure it's a recognizably different one from your normal dishwashing one that you only use for deglazing.

-Silicone spatulas and spoonulas are IMO the best for stirring just about anything in pans, especially when it's liquidish.

-Scissors work fairly well for cutting flatbreads and are a decent alternative to a pizza cutter if you don't have one.

-For pouring flour and other powders (usually to thicken sauces) I use big shakers - the kind that are normally used with powdered sugar or at big frying shops to salt fries. Works well enough that I can usually just dunk it straight in without getting lumps.

-For oils and other liquids like soy sauce, I usually throw them in proper glass bottles that I put pouring spouts into - the kind that are normally used for booze. You could probably push those into plastic bottles as well if you insisted. Gives you a lot more control than simply pouring from bottles, and it looks a lot better than squeeze bottles.

More food related:
-Already done by some here: dry brining. Unpackage whatever meat you're intending to use the day before, salt liberally on both sides, and place on a rack in the fridge. The result is a homogenous seasoning as the salt disperses in the product, the outside dries out resulting in much better and easier browning, and generally the meat comes out much better. It's the biggest improvement you can do to your meat with the least amount of effort, and gives better results than simply salting an hour before.

-My favorite way to prepare a whole bird (guineafowl, chicken, duck), is not trussed or spatchcocked, but completely deboned Pepin-style the way he preps it for a galantine. Not a lot of work; do it the night before, dry brine it on a rack (or season / marinade however you want) and then you can prep it any way you want, but the main advantage is that you have pretty much even flat boneless slab of meat, for which even panfrying in generous fat works surprisingly well.

-Any fats that had meat in them and didn't get overheated beyond smoking point should never be discarded like a lot of 'instructors' and recipes insist; there's a ton of flavor in it. Usually I throw it in with whatever I'm frying my potatoes in but you could add it to just about anything. Same applies to meat trimmings... usually I brown it all in the oven before turning it into stock, but any fat that comes out of it gets preserved.

I'll probably come up with some more useless tips when my brain stops being foggy...
 

sansho

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i love deli containers but have never bought them. i just have an assorted collection of the nicer / heavier duty looking ones from when i order takeout. they are mostly compatible with each other in terms of stacking and lids.

however, i wanna buy some new ones in a few sizes. DuraHome came up here. where do you buy DuraHome? amazon?

any of you guys ever try the ChoiceHD brand from webstaurant store? microwave/dishwasher/freezer safe. seems heavy duty from the pics.


i wonder how that compares to DuraHome or other brands.
 

HumbleHomeCook

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i love deli containers but have never bought them. i just have an assorted collection of the nicer / heavier duty looking ones from when i order takeout. they are mostly compatible with each other in terms of stacking and lids.

however, i wanna buy some new ones in a few sizes. DuraHome came up here. where do you buy DuraHome? amazon?

any of you guys ever try the ChoiceHD brand from webstaurant store? microwave/dishwasher/freezer safe. seems heavy duty from the pics.


i wonder how that compares to DuraHome or other brands.
I do get the DuraHome on Amazon. They were recommended to me by a chef online and the multi-sized pack was easy to find so that's what I bought. I got my first set two or three years ago and most are still doing pretty well. Heating liquids pretty hot and then putting the lid on will start to warp them over time. Think microwaving soup and then putting the lid on to carry it back to your desk. :)
 

M1k3

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i love deli containers but have never bought them. i just have an assorted collection of the nicer / heavier duty looking ones from when i order takeout. they are mostly compatible with each other in terms of stacking and lids.

however, i wanna buy some new ones in a few sizes. DuraHome came up here. where do you buy DuraHome? amazon?

any of you guys ever try the ChoiceHD brand from webstaurant store? microwave/dishwasher/freezer safe. seems heavy duty from the pics.


i wonder how that compares to DuraHome or other brands.
ChoiceHD I've used some of their other products. They seemed pretty sturdy.
 

MowgFace

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i started keeping corn starch in a squeeze bottle. got the idea from an amazon review. if you cook asian food or just like a dash of cornstarch here and there to thicken things, it's great.

really convenient and cuts down on the mess. cornstarch is messy af. i don't bother making a slurry. i just give the pan a few poofs with the bottle (each poof in a different spot) and stir it in. works fine.

i was skeptical at first about how well it would dispense powder, but it actually does work. i'm guessing it wouldn't if you pack the bottle completely full though.

View attachment 150621
…Recipe calls for 1.5 poofs of Cornstarch
 
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I don’t like deli containers. I only keep Rubbermaid plastic containers with red tops. They’re pretty cheap to buy the forty piece set, they last about fifty times longer so they dramatically reduce plastic waste and they’re square so they fit in the freezer more efficiently.
 

rmrf

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I like deli containers for prep and mason jars for leftovers particularly if you have food with liquid. For soups, stews, or beans, heat the food at least to a vigorous simmer and pour in the jars. Flip upside down for 30 minutes and place in the fridge after they cool enough. It will extend the lifespan of leftovers significantly (like 5x...) because you're basically doing a super ****** canning job. Keep in mind that you should not can like this. If there isn't a lot of sugar and/or acid, you need to pressure can to make your preserves shelf stable.

Regarding fruit flies, the easiest lure I've found for fruit flies is my sourdough starter. I put the discard in a tin can destined for the trash and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. The flies make their way into the can every 24 hours and you can trap and kill them with the plastic wrap. Make sure to not let them fester though because then you'll get baby fruit flies which defeats the purpose. The best thing is that if you have a daily feeding schedule, you get a fruit fly trap for free!
 

sumis

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-For oils and other liquids like soy sauce, I usually throw them in proper glass bottles that I put pouring spouts into - the kind that are normally used for booze. You could probably push those into plastic bottles as well if you insisted. Gives you a lot more control than simply pouring from bottles, and it looks a lot better than squeeze bottles.
this i do as well.
glass with spouts for oils and and stuff in room temp.
squeeze bottles for salsas, sauces and dressings i keep in the fridge.

.
 

Michi

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This is an original Zyliss chopper that is at least 35 years old. Way back then, I used it to chop onions. For a while. Until I figured out that it takes no longer to do that with a knife, and then there is one fewer thing to clean up :)

The one thing I still use it for is chopping nuts. It's great for that because the nuts don't go flying all over the place, and I can chop them as coarse or as fine as I like in a few seconds. I'm told that the current models of the Zyliss chopper are not as good as the original one, so I'm planning to hang onto this one until, one day, it gives up its ghost. Hopefully that'll be after I'm dead :)
IMG_4523.jpg
 
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This is an original Zyliss chopper that is at least 35 years old. Way back then, I used it to chop onions. For a while. Until I figured out that it takes no longer to do that with a knife, and then there is one fewer thing to clean up :)

The one thing I still use it for is chopping nuts. It's great for that because the nuts don't go flying all over the place, and I can chop them as coarse or as fine as I like in a few seconds. I'm told that the current models of the Zyliss chopper are not as good as the original one, so I'm planning to hang onto this one until, one day, it gives up its ghost. Hopefully that'll be after I'm dead :)
View attachment 151105
I was just talking about these to my better half as I remember chopping onions for my mom when I was a kiddo back in the day.
 
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