You worked all day. You managed to make it to class before (or after) work. You’re finally home, and you’re starved. But while you can hold a plank like a boss, you’re not the best in the kitchen. You want to preserve what you buy, cook quickly and get the most out of your meal – we get it, and we’re here to help with some awesome hacks.
Believe it or not, even in your 15×11-foot studio apartment with a measly kitchenette, you can make culinary wonders without losing your sanity. Try these brilliant ways to bypass even the most obnoxious baking, brewing, grilling and simmering cooking hurdles.
Turn Sour Milk Into Savory Cheese
If that expiration date is cutting it close, don’t toss it down the drain or have a milk-chugging marathon (that certainly won’t end well). Instead, whip up some delicious, homemade cottage cheese. It’s easier than you think: Just pour the milk into a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it reaches 120 degrees F, remove it from the heat and add some vinegar. Stir slowly for a minute or so and the curds will slowly separate from the whey (cool, right!?).
Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes. Next, pour the mixture into a colander lined with a tea towel. Let this sit and drain for a few minutes, and then gather up the edges of the cloth and rinse under cold water. Once the curd is completely cooled, squeeze dry and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add salt and stir to break up the curd into bite-sized chunks. Add some half-and-half or heavy cream and voila! (Psst: Detailed recipe here.)
Maximize the Life of Your Avocado
Hate when you’re craving avocado toast, but know you’ll be wasting the other ¾ you won’t be using right away? Good news: Even this quick-to-turn-brown vegetable’s shelf life can be enhanced. All you need is an extra onion sliced in half and a sealable container. Slicing the onion lets out its sulfur, which works to keep the brown at bay– at least for a few days longer. A light sprinkle of some apple cider vinegar may also do the trick, too.
Peel Potatoes Like a Couch Potato
You can pass on a peeler to prepare potatoes (and avoid the tedious act of peeling itself) as long as you have hot and cold running water. Grab a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Toss in your potatoes, skin and all, and let them simmer until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Once they’re ready, plunge the cooked potatoes into a bowl of ice-cold water until they’re completely cooled. Pick up each one and gently twist the potato like you’re wringing out a towel. The skin will slide right off! Lastly, close your jaw after it drops in amazement!
Never Boil a Bad Egg Again
We know you’re busy running from work, to class, to drinks with friends. Can’t remember the last time you went to the grocery store? Don’t even worry. ‘Cause when you reach in your fridge and the only thing staring back at you is a box of eggs you bought over a month ago, you may still be in luck! Forget the expiration date (so long as it’s at least within the last six months), and do this easy trick to detect whether or not your egg’s gone rotten. Simply fill a bowl with cold water and place the egg(s) inside. If it sinks to the bottom, you’re golden. If it floats to the top, you’re out of luck. When eggs go bad, they release a gas called hydrogen sulfide, that cringe-worthy, flammable odor that you definitely want to avoid cracking into.
Don’t Let Onions Make You Cry
Ahh, onions: They’re a tasty add-on to almost any dish, but they’re big bullies when it comes slicing and dicing. The good news is there’s a no-hassle way to tame the tears on the chopping block: Freeze the onion beforehand. Just be sure you plan to cook the onions after chopping, as the thawing process can make the raw pieces very soggy! If you’re not feeling the freeze-cut method, you can actually stick a slice of bread in your mouth (partially) to absorb the gas leaked out of the onion when you cut into it. Just make sure to remove the bread once your roommate gets home.
Melt Chocolate in Minutes
Bakers beware: Your kitchen’s not the only hub in your apartment hiding cooking appliances. For those of you who can’t afford a double boiler or would rather not clean up an explosion in your microwave, let your hair dryer melt hard chocolate pieces in seconds! Simply chop or break the chocolate pieces and place them in a bowl. Hold your dryer over the chocolate (about 8 to 10 inches away) and slowly stir with a spatula. Next, either spoonfeed yourself your melty masterpiece or add the rest of the ingredients to your recipe and press bake.