Salad season is over and it’s time for those heartier, richer fall and winter dishes — the kind that require all that equipment you were able to store away during the summer. But fall cooking can be as easy as summer cooking; just use these kitchen hacks for fall recipes.
You’re making lots of pasta dishes and boiled potatoes because carbs are just comforting when it’s cold out. Keep water from boiling over and potentially putting out your pilot light with this simple trick: place a wooden spoon across the top of the open pot. The spoon breaks up the bubbles as they come up.
Cooking with wine
Wine sauces are perfect for fall dishes like roasts, but you often don’t use a full bottle of wine when cooking, and if it’s not drinking grade, it goes bad. Don’t waste it! Freeze it just as you would ice cubes, and defrost it when you’re ready to cook with wine again.
Homemade rolling pin
Don’t throw away that wine bottle from the last tip just yet! You can use it as a rolling pin for piecrusts and pizza dough. Because really, does anyone have a real rolling pin anymore besides cute grandmas chasing down rambunctious kids out of the kitchen?
An easy cheese platter
Fall means holiday parties which means cheese platters. But slicing cheese can quickly become messy. Use un-flavored floss to easily slice perfect slices of cheese.
Keeping cookies moist
Cookies can have that fresh-from-the-oven moistness days after coming out of the oven with this trick: layer your stored cookies with tortillas. Just as if you were making a lasagna (but with tortillas for the pasta and cookies for the filler) put one layer of tortillas on the bottom of your container, then one layer of cookies, another layer of tortillas and so on.
Know your onions
A little sautéed onion and oil make a great base for all the sauces and soups you’re making in the fall. But for optimal flavor, use the right onion. When roasting vegetables, add sweet onion; when adding onion to a roast, soup or stew, use yellow onion; to add flavor to casseroles use shallots. Red onion is best raw in salads and white onion packs a punch for salsas, so you may not use those much in the fall.
Softening up ice cream
You need ice cream to put on top of all those fall pies! And you want it soft so you can easily get some in every bite of pie. Put your ice cream container inside a ziplock bag before freezing and it will remain soft.
There’s nothing better than a warm, shredded pork or brisket sandwich on a chilly afternoon. Instead of taking forever to shred it by hand or with a knife, just toss your marinated, cooked meat into an electric mixer.
Clean out pumpkins and squash
Making soup in a pumpkin or roasting squash? Easily scoop out the seeds with an ice cream scooper—a metal one rather than a plastic one. You want that sharp edge that gets out all the stringy fibers, too.
Keep brown sugar soft
Brown sugar is essential for fall baking, not to mention delicious, slow-boiled drinks like Glug or warm punch. Keep it warm by adding an orange peel or slice of apple to an air-tight container with the sugar. Orange peel might give it a slight citrus flavor, but that’s actually delicious.