Posts Tagged ‘clean as you go’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Clean As You Go

January 12, 2016

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It is easy to make a big mess in the kitchen. Pots, pans, utensils, mixing bowls… they add up fast! Not to mention all of the ingredients spread out on the counters.  All that clutter can cause a bad case of kitchen chaos. Cooking, and especially baking is a methodical process. It becomes almost impossible to acheive perfection in a messy kitchen, and cleaning up becomes a chore that is unpleasant enough to drive you straight to Seamless. ( For non- New Yorkers, that means take-out!)

Here are my tips for dealing with the colossal mess that comes with cooking and baking for a crowd. Trust me on this one people. I just made 200 pink marshmallows. It doesn’t get much messier than that!

Start with a clean slate. Put away the clean dishes, wipe down the counters and empty the sink before you begin. Starting clean makes it easier to find things, and to have ample room for the task at hand.

Take out all of your ingredients. Rummaging through the cupboards with sticky hands is not the way to go. Suddenly, everything is sticky and will require you to wipe down things you wouldn’t normally have to. It also helps make sure that you have everything you need before you get started.

Wash the dishes as you go. When you are done with something, put it right into the sink to soak. Once you finish that part of the project, wash them or put them into the dishwasher. Don’t leave the mixing bowls from the cake in the sink, only to find you don’t have room to wash the lettuce for salad. It will also help you keep tabs on where things are. If you need to reuse a bowl or utensil for something else, it will be clean and ready for you.

Keep up with the wiping up! If something spills, wipe it up as soon as you can. Not only will it keep your workspace tidy, it will avoid cross contamination of foods. It is also easier to wipe up something fresh, than to try to clean it up later when it becomes dry and crusted onto things.  Been there. Done that. Not fun.

For me, cooking and baking should be a calm experience. When all hell breaks loose in the kitchen, it takes the joy out of the process. It almost always shows in the end result too. Do your self a favor, and clean as you go. Its worth it!!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Clean As You Go

August 5, 2014

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I used to make a colossal mess when I cooked. The kitchen would be covered with food, dishes and who knows what, every time I made a significant meal. As I have honed my skills over the years, that has changed. While I won’t say I don’t make a mess, I will say that it is more contained. They say that the best cooks are neat cooks, and I am starting to agree with that. S can use the entire kitchen, just making a smoothie, and I end up chiseling the remains of it off the counters for the rest of the day.
Here are a few tips to keep the kitchen clutter at bay while whipping up meals:

Plan ahead. Think about the ingredients and the tools you need before you start. Dripping things across the kitchen and measuring things all over the kitchen, instead of where they are going is a recipe for disaster. Searching frantically for a tool when you have your latest creation all over your hands just spreads the mess to cupboard handles and countertops. Assemble things in one central location, for maximum efficiency.

Clean as you go. Placing used dishes and utensils into the sink keeps them contained and off the counters. Wash the dishes and especially wipe the counters immediately before you move on to the next dish. Always start with a clean slate, even if that just means the countertops are food and clutter free.

If you are making multiple dishes, don’t put the utensils you need again into the dishwasher. Hand wash them so they are immediately accessible for the next round.

Wipe spills off the floor, the cupboards and refrigerator door as soon as possible. Once they dry, they are harder to clean off. Everybody spills and splatters, but not everybody wipes them up. Get my drift?

Catch the overflow . Place a cookie sheet under cakes, pies and casseroles  before putting them in the oven. That way, if they boil over, or spatter, you can clean the cookie sheet, instead of the entire oven. Even better, cover them in aluminum foil to avoid having to scrub the drip pan.

Use a garbage bowl.  TV cooks often use a garbage bowl to collect the food scraps as they appear, Toss vegetable peels, and other food refuse into the bowl as you go, and simply empty it and rinse the bowl when you are done.

Cooking can be great fun. Cleaning up: not so much. Cleaning as you go can make the task less daunting and give you more time to enjoy your delicious meal!

 

photo: Glasshouse Images

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