Quick tricks and fixes

January 3, 2014

Sometimes, success in the kitchen rests on using something for a purpose other than, or in a manner other than, it was intended. That can extend to ingredients, utensils, condiments…and electrical appliances.

Sweet potato barbecue hash, with leftover NYD black-eyed peas and slaw.

Sweet potato barbecue hash, with leftover NYD black-eyed peas and slaw.

Like sweet potato and barbecue hash, of which I have written before. It’s a good thing to do with leftover barbecue. It’s a good thing to do with barbecue you went and bought for the purpose, as was the case with this. Peel and slice sweet potatoes, season them with barbecue spice rub, fry them, throw in the barbecue in time for it to heat through. Top with sauce if you wish. Good with an over-easy egg, too.

Beyond that, few people think about making jam with bacon and onions, but it’s sublime. Ditto a fruit salad dressing that features mustard.  (This one’s astounding on a salad of fresh figs, grapes and cubes of fresh mozzarella cheese. Just saying.) Lots of people are amazed to learn that a crock-pot can be used to easily caramelize a metric ass-load of onions (it’s helpful if you take them outdoors to do so, as the smell is…pungent).

I learned, recently, that a colander can sub for a food mill when it comes to separating cooked apples from peelings in the making of apple butter. And, thanks to a Pinterest post that got posted to Facebook (I don’t do Pinterest; I’m perfectly capable of wasting more time than I ought online without it.), I learned a cool new thing to do with a toaster.

Thanks, gravity!

Thanks, gravity!

If you want to toast your bread with something ON it — like, say, butter, or cheese, or whatever — turn your toaster over on its side, carefully insert topped slices, and slide the handle down. Back. Over. Whatever.

Gravity is your friend.

Beware, however, that when that baby is done toasting, it will kick out your slices onto the floor if you have it faced out toward you, off the edge of the cabinet. Not that I know this from experience or anything.

Those sonsabitches will land face-down, too.

Not that I know that from experience or anything.

I would dearly love to have a toaster oven, or better yet, a Breville smart oven, for those small baking or toasting jobs that don’t require heating up the entire kitchen with the regular oven. However, the countertop above is the ONLY stinking countertop in my 1950s house era kitchen that has an outlet on it. Except for the wall with the sink, which has an outlet in the light fixture over the sink, which I never turn on because I think that baby has 750-watt interrogation bulbs in it. And I have not taken time to change the bulbs. And the outlet only works if the light is on.

Sharing the countertop, and the multi-plug affixed to the outlet, are the Ms Scarlett, the Big Damn Mixer; accompanied by the Big Damn Food Processor and the Big Damn Blender, neither of which have names, but both of which are too large to sit in a cabinet anywhere because they’re too heavy to drag out and if they aren’t countertop I won’t use them.

There’s also the electric kettle, which heats water for coffee and such, and the coffee grinder. They don’t have names either, but they’re the first appliances I reach for daily when I grope my way into the kitchen. No way they’re living anywhere but the countertop.

My microwave sits awkwardly at the end of the bar separating my kitchen and den. It’s plugged into an outlet in the dining room wall, adjacent to it, and screened on the den side by some strategically placed photos and such, arranged by Child A. Because, you know, no one wants to look at the back of a microwave.

Adding a Breville, I think, would be pushing it.

Why can’t there be wireless outlets? I mean, we have wireless internet, and THAT’s magic, right? Can wireless outlets be far behind?

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em let me know if you find some tech outlet somewhere that carries same. I need a few.

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