Kitchen Hack of the Day – Make Caramel from Sweetened Condensed Milk

Kitchen Hack of the Day - Make Caramel from Sweetened Condensed MilkI really like caramel.  I take pride in making my own.  It can be a shitty process, I’m not blind to that.  You can easily burn the caramel, you can get crystallization, or you can get a napalm like splatter burn.  Not interested?  You can make it easily by boiling a closed can of condensed milk in water for two hours.

Credit Flickr user Pinot Dina for figuring it out.  Drop a can of sweetened condensed milk into boiling water and, given a few hours, you’ll be rewarded with a can of sweet caramel.  You’ll need to simmer the can for 2 hours, adding extra water as needed.  You want the can constantly covered in water.  After about two hours, remove the can and let it cool before you open it up, lest you napalm yourself with your hot new treat.

Make Your Own Low Acid Coffee

Coffee

When I was in college there came a point that I started getting sick every day.  I mean every day.  My stomach always felt as though there was some sort of civil war being played out in a third world country, replete with beat up Toyota pickups, machine guns mounted in the beds, and 30 rebels hanging off the side.  Ugly stuff.  One day I finally figured out that this was because of my healthy diet.  I grew up drinking orange juice.  I never drank soda.  During college I discovered coffee.  Lot of coffee.  For breakfast I might have a giant Dunkin Donuts coffee with 14 pounds of sugar and a liter of milk in it, a quart of Tropicana orange juice, and maybe a honey bun or some other healthy food as an actual solid.  I was Jim Fixx. Continue reading

Finding Hot Spots in Your Microwave

Finding Microwave Hot SpotsNow that most microwaves have turntables inside this is perhaps a bit less relevant.  I’ve had both types however, and it’s fairly useful information even if your microwave does spin your food around.  If a cold or hot spot is smack in the middle, you might want to know.

You might figure that food would heat fairly evenly inside your microwave, but you’d be wrong.  The way microwaves work creates little peaks and valleys or radiation that make spots of increased and decreased microwave activity.  The spinning/rotating plate in the bottom of your microwave aids in hiding these areas.   I know there are spots in my microwave that heat a mug full of water in less than two minutes to tea making temperature.  And there are spots that take longer, even with the spinning plate at the bottom.  So what to do? Continue reading

Cheap Kitchen Trick #1 – Fake a Steamer

Fake a SteamerLooking to put your kitchen together and not looking to spend a fortune on 20 different tools?  There’s no need for a steaming rack, rice cooker, or folding petal shaped steamer deal.  You can replace all those things with something you may already have.  And if you don’t, you can buy just one item and use it for multiple purposes.  Foodie Alton Brown is always railing on against unitaskers.  In other words things that only serve one specific purpose in the kitchen.  Expensive and unnecessary.  Usually you can find one tool that will serve two, three, four, or more purposes.  Great way to save room, money, and resources.

So here’s the plan.  Need to steam something?  A simple strainer suspended over a large pot makes a great substitute.  Just make sure the water in the bottom of the pot doesn’t touch the basket of the strainer.  Simple and elegant.  A slightly oversize lid will fit over the top and keep most of the steam in while still letting some vent out.  It may not be perfect for items that need extended steaming, but for stuff like asparagus, broccoli, and other veggies, it’s fantastic.

Fake a Steamer