Wednesday, February 24, 2010

a bowl(ed) idea

my post about rachael ray's lazy cooking utensils yesterday got me thinking...what are the best tips you've learned from cooking shows?

i feel like i've learned so many. one of the best ones is the use of a "garbage bowl," also from rachael ray. of course she sells them, as shown here in both confetti and marble styles, but i find that to be highly unnecessary. i just use any large mixing bowl and it works just fine, obvi.

and if you really like the confetti look, i'd much sooner go for this zak designs set of confetti nesting bowls which is the same price as the rachael ray garbage bowl (sorry rach) -- so much more bang for the buck, and so fun looking! it also comes in quarry brown , which is gorg.

the idea of the garbage bowl is that when you're doing prep work, you dump all your garbage into the bowl and then empty it when full. this avoids the need for several potentially messy trips back and forth to the garbage, keeps your work area neat and keeps the garbage can in its rightful spot, not lugged over to the counter looking all messy and gross. it's a tip i've come to use every time i cook and i love it. totally one of those aha type of tips.

even if it sounds really simple and blah to you, try it. i wonder if you'd like it and feel that it makes your kitchen work easier and more efficient - i was surprised how useful a tip it was. and isn't that why we watch the experts at work?

what are some tips you've come to appreciate?

all photos from


Debra said...

I think maybe one of the best ideas I've learned (Barefoot Contessa) is that you don't always have to prepare an amazing dish from scratch. If you use really quality components, and simply "assemble" them together, the results can be quite wonderful. I did this with a dessert (melted Haagen Daaz vanilla ice cream, chocolate pound cake and fresh raspberries) and it was amazing (though I even managed to mess it up a bit -- didn't mix the melted ice cream before pouring.) I brought everything to the dinner hosts' home, even plastic bowls and utensils so the hosts didn't need to do a thing. The "assembly" was even part of the entertainment (at least for a minute...)

molly said...

i also always clean as i cook, that way i'm never left with a full sink of dirty dishes when i'm done :) if possible, i'll use one pan to cook an entire meal, washing in between of course.

Muchadoaboutnothing said...

My sink is my garbage bowl. Since my favorite work space is right next to the sink, I can just push the garbage off the cutting board right over the edge into the sink. No muss, no fuss and then I can gather everything up and dump it all into the garbage can which is in the cabinet underneath the sink.

Kayla@Wholesome said...

I love, and always use, RR's trick of slicing off a small piece of onion when chopping it, thus giving you a sturdy base for chopping. Also, I know I have loads of tips from Alton Brown, although I can't remember them specifically at the moment!

Kelly said...

Even though I am not a huge fan of Rachel Ray - I did pick up the garbage bowl trick from her and it's a huge help, especially when I'm chopping a lot of vegetables. It makes for such easy cleanup.

I'm not sure there is one specific expert tip that I can relay with excitement. For me, watching the food network and other cooking shows has really taught me how to be an all around better cook - from learning how to chop an onion more efficiently to understanding the difference between sweating and caramelizing vegetables. I'll tell you what though, when my husband, who does not cook, was able to recite the proper internal cooking temperature for a medium rare piece of meat - how much we learn from watching the experts was certainly crystallized in my mind!

Danielle said...

I love the idea of the garbage bowl - it makes cooking anything so much easier.

I also picked up some silly little tips like:
- You only get one chance to flavor pasta water - in the beginning of the boiling process
- If you flash chill an onion before cutting it, it won't make you tear. A candle burning while cutting works as well
- Eggs should always be at room temperature when used in baking.

I really enjoy how the food network has made all everyday, at home cooks a little more expert at the craft!

honey living said...

these are all great tips! totally saving them to my folders.

kelly - love the absorption of ideas! before you know it, he'll be the cook of the household. well, maybe not exactly.

danielle - i think you said it right - we all get better by watching and learning, and that makes it more fun to cook!

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