Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Innkeeper's Kitchen Helpers

Many an innkeeper or inn sitter working in a bed and breakfast kitchen has looked at a piece of equipment and thought "what else can I use this for?". Here are some of my favorite items and their alternate use

Rolling Pin - Place food items in a heavy-duty self-sealing plastic bag and then use the pin to do one of the following:
- Flatten skinless chicken breast halves to a uniform thickness for even cooking
- Grind nuts without using a food processor to use in dips or for crumb toppings
- Crush spices for the freshest flavor to add to your dishes.

Pastry Blender: works best with soft foods.
- Egg or Tuna - use it to slice up eggs and flake tuna more quickly for use in salads or sandwiches.
- Avacados for Guacamole - the avocados are soft enough to mash with the pastry blender. It will add body and chunks to the dip.
- Mashed Potatoes - use to break up cooked potatoes. Then you can add some butter and warm milk for a smooth creamy side dish.

Paper Towel Roll - flatten this tube when all the paper towels have been used up and insert a knife that won't fit in a butcher block. It sheathes the blade safely when stashed in a drawer.

Bamboo Steamer - since these items have holes in them to let air in and out, they are also well suited to storing onions, garlic, and shallots. All these items require ventilation and should not be refrigerated. Set on the counter for quick access.

Seam ripper - while not usually found in the kitchen, this handy sewing item makes fast work of removing plastic packaging from around bottles.  Slip the sharp pointed edge under the wrapping to break the seal.

Chopstick - use a chopstick to measure the height of liquid in a pan when you are reducing it.

And, last but not least, use large coffee filters between two sauce pans or frying pans to keep them from scratching each other.

Lynda and Howard Lerner
Inn Caring