Cooking with Claire: Kitchen hacks, tricks of the trade

“Cooking with Claire” is an introduction to dining beyond the dining hall using easy, fast and cheap recipes.

After cooking for a while, I picked up some “kitchen hacks” that can really help. Contrary to what you see on the Food Network, cooking can be a tiring, but rewarding, experience. Any tips and tricks that make the process a little easier should be remembered and shared. Here are a few of my favorite hacks. Some of them are passed down from my family, some from friends and others still from the wonders of the internet.

Protect your phone: When you’re fingers deep in cookie dough and need to check the recipe for the last ingredient, your phone or tablet begins to suffer. Before you start cooking, wrap the phone in saran wrap or place it in a Ziplock bag. Boom. Clean phone and delicious cookies.

Scrambled eggs and fruit. For fluffier eggs, add water before scrambling. (Annie Mole/Flickr Creative Commons)

Fluffy eggs: A friend of mine says if you add water to scrambled eggs before cooking them, you’ll end up with the fluffiest eggs ever. It’s on my to-do list.

Fresh eggs: To check if those old eggs in your fridge are still edible, place the raw eggs in a bowl of water. If they float, toss them. If they sink to the bottom, fry them up.

Don’t whine about it: To enjoy your cold and crisp wine without diluting it, freeze a few grapes before popping the bottle- it will chill your wine without watering it down.

Wash your hands: After cutting onions or garlic, rub your hands with stainless steel to eliminate the odor. I’m not a scientist, but somehow it works.

Sharp knives: Dull knives can be a safety hazard. Sharpen your knives with a knife sharpener so the knife doesn’t slip off your vegetables and into your hand.

Choose freezable recipes: Think about the future while cooking. If I have to choose between a recipe that won’t freeze well, and one that will, I usually choose the latter. I don’t want to waste food, and it’s so convenient to pop something into the microwave straight from the freezer in a few weeks.

An assortment of herbs. (A. Koh Samui/Pixabay Creative Commons)

Save fresh herbs: Buying fresh herbs can really make a recipe special. If you have leftover herbs, divide them up into a clean ice cube tray and cover them with olive oil or stock. Freeze them until you need them for your next recipe.

Clean as you go: Facing the gigantic pile of dishes after you cook can be the worst part of your day. However, it helps to cook as you go along. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, oven to heat up or food to cook, wash a few of the dishes in the sink. It keeps your kitchen clean and manageable.


Claire Galvin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.