Thankfully, I've now got the perfect solution to my quandary. One can actually bake tortilla strips, and they arrive at the same satisfying crunchiness. I discovered this thanks to Everyday Food and an ingenious recipe for shrimp tortilla soup. The key is to crank up the oven to very high heat — 450 degrees F — toss the tortilla with a generous amount of oil, and bake just until golden brown, about five minutes.
Have you ever tried to make tortilla strips at home? What's your trick?
I hate the idea of squeezing the moisture out of chopped spinach. How is it possible to wring out a mass of minced greens? Inevitably, everything falls apart and results in a mess. Then I was looking up spinach dip recipes online and spotted a picture of someone using cheesecloth. My life will never be the same again.
Have you ever had a lightbulb-kitchen moment like mine?
I sliced up a basket full of fresh tomatoes, placed them in my colander, and salted away. After 20 minutes, the tomatoes had lost a fair amount of water, and with that most of the salt as well. The result was just as Jamie Oliver promised: a more intense tomato flavor that wasn't overly salted. Of course, assembling a caprese with these flavorful tomatoes, burrata mozzarella and a variety of basil fresh from my garden was a piece of cake. I can't wait to use the same technique for my next batch of bruschetta — or even a simple garden salad. Don't be scared of a little extra salt to bring out even more flavor; keep reading for the recipe.
The key is to sprinkle them with a liberal amount of kosher salt (but don't go overboard!), then wait patiently for 15 minutes for the salt to draw out the water by osmosis. Then, depending on the amount of water brought forth, either pat dry with a towel or drain using a colander.
This process, known as disgorging vegetables, works well for ratatouille crepes, zucchini-and-egg turnovers, quiche, or any other pastry dish that could turn soggy if vegetables are too moist after cooking. It also helps reduce bitterness and prevent cucumber salads from tasting overly watery. Have you ever tried disgorging vegetables?
"One trick I learned from [Chef] Jasper White's prep cook is to use tongs to juice lemons and limes," he revealed, placing half a lemon close to the fulcrum of his stainless steel tongs. He used the tongs to get a better and more powerful grip on the citrus before squeezing.
This tip is a great way to juice without a citrus juicer or reamer, and makes even more use out of those multipurpose kitchen tongs. What's your foolproof method of getting the most juice from citrus?
Start with a nearly empty jar of any component that will work in salad dressing, such as anchovies in oil, mustard, soy sauce, olive tapenade, or chopped sun-dried tomatoes, pictured here. (Of course, don't forget to check the date on it.)
Add in the necessary components for vinaigrette (one part acid, three parts oil of any kind), along with seasonings such as salt and pepper, and anything else you've got a hankering to add. Close the top, give it a good shake — and what do you know? You've got homemade salad dressing (in this case, flecked with bits of tomatoey goodness) in its own container!
Have you ever tried this? If not, how do you use up those last jarred bits in your fridge?
Use red, blue, yellow, pink, or any shade of decorative sugar to add a pop of color to an otherwise beige drink. Dip the rim of the glass in a tray of shallow water, then immediately place the top of the glass, upside down, into another shallow plate of colored sugar.
When serving glasses at a large event, such as a graduation party or engagement soiree, it's nice to break up the monotony with rows of various-hued sugar rims. For even more effect, stir in raspberry puree or vibrant pomegranate arils. What's your way of livening up an ordinary glass of sparkling wine?
It used to be that when I cooked too much food, I'd send my friends, neighbors, and co-workers home with Tupperwares of the leftovers. But those reusable containers didn't make their way back to me, and eventually, I had nothing to pack my own lunch with! That's when I discovered another use for those pesky plastic takeout boxes that are designed to be disposable. Rinse them out with tepid water, dry them with a clean towel, and ta-da! They become a convenient way to transport goods and accomplish one more task with a single-use container. What do you do when you're faced with a surplus of food?