Certain kitchen tasks are just less enthralling than others. While everyone has their own likes and dislikes, here are some of our most bemoaned cooking chores, along with some helpful suggestions to make them a little less irritating.
1. Trimming green beans
A giant bag of fresh green beans can be an ominous task. Use kitchen shears instead of a knife and snip the ends off — you’ll be done twice as fast.
Try:Garlicky green beans.
2. Chopping, in general
If you dread chopping, whether it’s onions, potatoes etc. — a good tip is to slice an edge off your fruit or vegetable, creating a flat surface. This will help make chopping easier; preventing the item you’re chopping from slipping or rolling away.
Try: Lemony fish pie.
3. Pitting olives
It can be tedious and time-consuming to pit olives one by one. Here’s a video tip to get them pitted in bulk, quickly and easily:
4. Emptying the dishwasher
Personally, my most dreaded job in the kitchen. My tip to getting over it? I timed myself doing it five times then calculated the average time it takes me to do this task. It turns out that it takes me 2:35 minutes to empty the dishwasher — not long at all. So I just decided to get over it.
5. Needing eggs at room temperature
You’re all set and ready to bake, but your eggs need to be at room temperature. The solution? Drop your cold eggs in a cup of very warm water. They’ll be ready to go in 3 min.
Try: Classic angel-food cake.
6. Cleaning leeks
So delicious, and so good at trapping sand and dirt. An easy way to clean your leeks is to chop them before you clean them, then use your salad spinner to wash and dry.
Try: Chicken and leek pie.
7. Mincing garlic or ginger
These little jewels of flavour are so finicky to mince. So don’t. Use a rasp every time your recipe calls for a mince. Chances are the rasp will do a better job at producing tiny particles than your fine chop could ever do.
Try: Fiery snow peas.
8. Greasing cake pans
When I was in baking school, I learned that the first job I would get in a bakery would be as a pan greaser. I almost quit! I bake a lot, and my tip here is to always grease pans first, before starting any mixing or measuring. This gets this tedious job out of the way and also keeps you from letting your batter sit (and potentially deflate). Even better, you’ll be so satisfied when you seamlessly scrape your batter into your prepared pans.
9. Washing lettuce
Often lettuce will sit in my crisper far passed its crisp stage – only because I dread washing it. The best tip to prevent this from happening is to clean it a soon as you buy it. Fill your sink with some cold water, cut the core off your lettuce then dump in the leaves. Swirl them around with your hand, removing all the sand. Either transfer them to a colander to drain, or put them in a salad spinner to dry. Store lettuce in a storage bag in the fridge with a single ply of paper towel. The ugly job is done…and you’ll use your lettuce!
Try: Shrimp and grapefruit salad.
Originally published February 6th, 2015.