Dealing with Cookware Crises

 

Can't find the pot or pan you need? Don't worry. Some common items can do double duty in the kitchen.

  • A wok with a lid makes an efficient vegetable steamer.
  • A plastic fruit basket or an old aluminum pie plate with holes punched in the bottom can serve as a makeshift colander.
  • Large, empty coffee cans or food storage cans are perfect for baking banana bread, courgette bread, and other loaves.
  • A Swiss-roll tin can stand in as a roasting or baking sheet.
  • If you need a fish kettle but don't have one, use a roasting tin. Put a cooling rack or an inverted oval plate under your fish and cover the top with foil. Or wrap the fish completely in foil and place it on the roasting tin. If the fish is too large for the tin, curve it or cut it in half. The joint can be covered with thinly sliced cucumber or a garnish of parsley or watercress when serving.

For minimum washing up, nothing beats baking in foil packets. Foil is ideal for braised steak, simple seasoned chicken breasts, meat loaf, fish, and vegetables. Lay the ingredients on one half of a large piece of heavy duty foil. Dot with butter or margarine, add herbs and seasoning of your choice, and fold over the foil. Seal the edges tightly and fold over once more, leaving a little room for expansion before placing the whole thing in the oven.

To clean burned food from pots or pans, you can use several different tricks.

  • Wet the burn, sprinkle with salt, and leave it standing for ten minutes. Scrub well.
  • Cover the burned area with a paste of baking soda and water. Leave it on overnight, then scour. (Do not use this on an aluminum pan; alkaline materials like baking soda will etch into the surface of aluminum if they are left on for more than an hour.)
  • For stubborn burns, scrape off as much burned food as possible with a wooden spoon and fill the pot halfway with water. Add a strong detergent or scouring powder, boil for ten minutes and leave overnight. Then scrub.

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