32 Secret Uses for Ordinary Kitchen Gadgets
Professional chefs share how they make common kitchen tools more useful.
Use a carving fork to serve pasta
“I can’t get through a night without it. Except we don’t use it to carve. Instead, we use it to deftly spin pasta and deliver a neat nest of noodles into a bowl. Using a large spoon in your left hand and the fork in your right, scoop the noodles with the fork and spin on the spoon until a nice bundle forms and set in the bowl—boom!—first class spaghetti.” —Chef Ryan Hardy at New York City’s Charlie Bird
Use a microwave to juice a lemon
“To juice a lemon, microwave it for 10 seconds. It breaks down the cells and makes the juice flow a lot faster. A good trick to keep in mind when trying to squeeze as much juices out as possible for a vinaigrette.” —Chef/Partner Laurent Tourondel, New York’s Arlington Club. Don’t miss these other smart uses for kitchen tools.
Use paint scrapers as offset spatulas
“I always have paint scrapers of various sizes on hand. They are great for everything from cleaning/scraping pots and pans (non-stick only) to tempering chocolate, it’s like a Brillo pad and palette knife in one!” —Curtis Stone, celebrity chef and television personality
Use a box grater to purée
“Transform your average grater into a tomato skinner and purée machine. Using the ‘wide hole side,’ hold a large tomato against the grater, with the stem end in your hand (have a plate underneath to catch the purée). Start pushing and turning the tomato, rotating in a circular motion as you grind the tomato through the grater. Your purée will fall on the plate while the skin and tomato belly button will end up in your hand to discard.” —Andrew Zimmern, chef and host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods America
Use your stainless steel sink to remove garlic odor
“Smelly garlic and onion hands? Wet them and rub on the sink’s edge where it’s easy to get the sides of and in between your fingers. It totally works!” —Alina Eisenhauer, Owner and Executive Chef at Sweet Kitchen + Bar in Massachusetts, and winner of Food Network’s Sweet Genius
Use kitchen scissors to cut foods quickly
“They’re not just herb clippers! Trim asparagus ends or aritchokes’ pointy tips pre-steaming, cut up pizza (raw and vegan, for me!), dehydrated crackers, or kale for an easy-to-chew salad.” —Laura Miller of Tastemade’s “Raw.Vegan. Not Gross.” These are the kitchen gadgets you are definitely wasting your money on.
Use a cheese grater to whip up biscuits or pie crust
“My cheese grater makes a quick job of pie crust or biscuits. Instead of cutting the butter into the flour, simply grate a stick of frozen butter, then mix with the flour until the crumbly mixture forms. It’s also great for shredding veggies (e.g., fine carrot shreds or quickly “minced” onions), if you don’t have a mandoline or food processor.” —Beth Moncel of BudgetBytes.com and author of Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half
Use a bent fork to pit cherries
“It might be fairly unconventional, but it’s effective: For a makeshift cherry pit remover, take a four-prong fork with the two outer prongs bent. It’ll make pitting a breeze!” —Chef Dominique Ansel of New York’s Dominique Ansel’s Bakery
Use sandwich bags to butter pans
“To keep hands clean when buttering pans, I put them inside a plastic sandwich bag and grab hold of a stick of butter. After rubbing the pan with butter, just invert the plastic bag and toss. Your pans are perfectly buttered and your hands grease-free.” — Pamela Giusto-Sorrells of Pamela’s Products
Use a wooden spoon as a “thermometer”
“Use one as a thermometer for deep frying. When the oil is up to the correct temperature for deep frying, the wooden spoon will begin to bubble around its end. Also, if a wine cork gets stuck in the bottle, I use the end of the spoon to pop it into the bottle. —Executive Chef Kolin Vazzoler of California’s Simi Winery