It’s a new year and we’re all doing our best to solidify our new resolutions, and “new-and-improved” selves…
To help you on the culinary side of things, I have some amazing resolutions that will help you around the kitchen this year, and you’ll find that these resolutions are absolutely easy to keep.
Ditch the Gadgets & Gizmos
If you’re like me, you’re a sucker for kitchen gadgets and gizmos. They’re the hardest things to resist! They look great, are fun, and can even be practical. But, the truth is, if we have a well-appointed kitchen, we have what it takes to get the task done, sans-gizmo. The beginning of a new year can be a great time to clean out those drawers that tend to collect these gadgets and harbor them for months without use. So, next time you’re in Sur la Table and you see that new shiny gadget, take a moment and think about if you really need it or not.
Develop the habit of tidying as you go
After cooking an extravagant or involved meal, especially at the end of the day when we’re tired (think multiple pots, pans, cutting surfaces and utensils), it’s all too easy to simply say ‘oh, we’ll just clean it up in the morning’. However, have you ever awoken to make yourself a simple cup of coffee, only to be greeted by the sloppy, sauce-encrusted sins of the night before? It ain’t a pretty sight. Although it may seem like a big task, it can make all the difference to simply clean as you go, when you’re doing the cooking -- at least to an extent. That way, by the time your pasta is perfectly al dente and your marinara just how you like it, the prep dishes will have been washed and you’ll have less to clean up post-dinner (hot tip: find a helper to wash while you cook, and you’ll have almost none by the time you’re done!). This way, you can linger over that last glass of wine aprés-dinner, and not worry about waking up to clutter on the counter.
Check expirations monthly
Those pesky expiration dates can often sneak up on us and – let’s be honest – they regularly get missed. To avoid finding nasty surprises in my fridge or pantry, I actually like to use the calendar app on my smartphone to remind me when to check all the expiration dates on my products. This saves me from planning any meals based on foods that are out of date, and keeps my kitchen fresh and free of any questionable ingredients.
Switch out your spices
We all know that the shelf-life of most foods isn’t very long. But, for some reason that rule doesn’t always get applied to the spices we bought months ago for ‘that one recipe’. Herbs and spices, like any other food item, has a prime freshness window. The volatile oils in spices are what make them flavorful, and time and oxidation can dry out these precious lipids, making your favorite flavorings less...well flavorful! My tip is to take an inventory of your spices and replace the spices that are not your go-tos with smaller sized containers. A good rule of thumb is to replace all of your spices at least once a year to maintain the most flavor.
What are your resolutions this year?