We’re coming up on prime holiday cooking season, so I wanted to share a couple of thrifty-nifty hints today.
• The first one is about baking, and more specifically, pie crusts. I have made my share of pies, and while they usually turn out pretty well, getting custard-type pies, like, well, custard, or pumpkin, or pecan into the oven without spilling the filling can be a bit fraught.
It dawned on me one day that things didn’t have to be that precarious. I’m not a huge fan of pie crust anyway — IMHO, it’s an edible vehicle that happens to hold the delicious insides.
So as I was shaping the edges of a pie crust, it occurred to me that instead of stretching the dough to the edge of the dish and then folding it over — why not create a barrier instead? A great pie wall, if you will. I pulled and pinched the crust upward — vertically — instead of horizontally. Voila! no more worries about pie spillage. It’s still a good idea to cover this raised edge with foil to keep it from browning prematurely.
• The second hint came from making the pie crust, but it applies to other baking recipes. And this might be something you already have come up with on your own. It has to do with when a recipe calls for a small amount of milk. Most of us, I think, will grab our tablespoons, grab the milk container, and try to pour the milk into the spoon without losing a drop. (And some of us are dexterous enough to succeed. Not I.) While trying to wrestle a gallon container into position over my tablespoon (over the sink, yes), I realized — why not just pour some milk into a cup, then spoon out what I needed from that? Much more stable and easier to handle. Pour the rest back into the milk jug or just drink it up as a reward.
• And last, a tiny timesaver re the microwave. We didn’t realize for quite a while that the clear plastic over our new microwave’s keypad was removable. But I noticed that the “0” button got the most use, because the protective plastic sheet started to wear there. (We then saw that we could just remove the sheet without consequence. O brave new world!)
But I started to think — why be such a slave to precision? Isn’t it easier, and faster, instead of hunting for the zero, or even the “5,” to just double-punch the first digit of what you’re aiming for? I mean, how big a difference is it going to make for you to hit “11” or “22” or “33” where you used to search around for “1” and “0” or “2” and “5” or “3” and “0”? Yes, I know, sometimes you really need that precision. But most of the time — not. It saves me just a few seconds (hey, I said it was a tiny timesaver), and it beats fumbling around when I’m in a rush.
Comments, suggestions, shares? Go for it. And thanks for reading.
(c) copyright 2016 Laura Groch