Banish Fridge Funk with a Cotton Ball and Vanilla Extract

We’re not too proud to admit that sometimes our kitchens can get a little…funky. From blackberry caramel sauce to soy-glazed chicken thighs to homemade ramen, sometimes even the most intoxicating scents can linger. After a day or two of “Hey, what’s that smell?” we realize that somewhere along the way, last night’s dinner has become today’s awful stench.

And hey: There’s no shame in admitting we’ve got a problem. It’s all in how you handle it. We here at Bon Appétit prefer to take care of business the old-fashioned way. Sure, harsh chemicals might work in cleaning up a mess, but they leave behind a scent that, in our opinion, can be just as bad as that questionable kimchi. So we rounded up our best folk remedies for ridding your kitchen of even the weirdest, worst smells. Here are our favorites…

Source: How to Get Rid of Kitchen Smells with Natural Remedies

Is it embarrassing to admit that 90 percent of the time taking out the trash fixes the problem? 😉

Don’t try the cotton balls/vanilla extract anywhere near your ice maker, or all ice will have a little bit of vanilla extract in it.

Pavlova: How Much Vitamin K?

This gets tricky, because Pavlova is a recipe… which can be customized to some degree.  But here goes…

Pavlova is made by beating egg whites (and sometimes salt) to a very stiff consistency before folding in caster (AKA very fine, berry…) sugar, white/distilled vinegar or another acid (e.g. cream of tartar or lemon juice), cornflour, and sometimes vanilla essence, and slow-baking the mixture, similar to meringue.  So said Wikipedia anyway

On that note, Pavlova doesn’t appear to have much if any vitamin K in it.  But it depends on what you serve on top of the Pavlova…  I’ve covered the vitamin K content of various dairy cream in the past.  You’ll have to investigate for yourself what the vitamin K content of the fruit that was served with or on it.

Use Up Souring Milk by Making Pancakes and Waffles With It

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

As we show in the video above, this is what chef Dan Barber demonstrated earlier this year, when he temporarily turned Blue Hill, his Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, into an incubator for garbage-to-plate dining.

Barber’s intent was to raise awareness about the vast issue of food waste. As we’ve reported, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. each year. The typical American family tosses out about $1,500 of food yearly.

Source: Don’t Toss That Sour Milk! And Other Tips to Cut Kitchen Food Waste

Pasteurized milk doesn’t sour – it putrefies. Only raw milk will sour and not many people can even get that anymore. Any milk sold at the grocery store is pasteurized…  Alternately, you can make something like clabbered milk by adding a little bit of acid to your milk – lemon juice or white vinegar both work.  This tip also works for Russian style crepes (blini).

I don’t know that “garbage to plate” is the best way to sell this to people.  I think everybody can enjoy tips like this to make use of things considered waste that really aren’t.

Remove Odors from Your Entire Home by Simmering Vinegar

Some of our favorite tips in the kitchen are for getting it sparkling clean; these are their stories.

Source: 7 Kitchen Cleaning Tricks That Really Work

The fruit fly one is interesting.  …Not that I have a need for it… 😉

How/why does this work? What does the vinegar do?

Vinegar is about 90% water, and about 5-10% acetic acid.  Most scented molecules contain a functional group like an amine (putrescine, for example, one of the rotting smells), a thiol (ethanethiol, i.e. skunk smell), or other non-carbon molecules. Acetic acid can bind these to form molecules that your nose can not detect, thus eliminating the odor. Even if it’s not forming an actual chemical bond, it can still coordinate (i.e. form hydrogen bonds, which are pretty strong themselves. It’s analogous to dissolving.) thus removing the scented molecules from the air, woodwork, carpet, etc.

Make Your Own Salt and Vinegar Chips with Homemade Sodium Acetate

Salt and vinegar potato chips are a polarizing topic; you either love them or loathe them. Living with vinegar haters can make life hard, but with the help of just two extremely common ingredients, your family won’t have to battle it out in the chip aisle.

Source: Make Your Own Salt and Vinegar Chips with Homemade Sodium Acetate

Or make even better ones by making a balsamic or malted vinegar reduction (not to syrup, but only 1/2 to 1/3 reduction).  Apply as necessary 🙂

Add Tang to Your Salsa with a Dash of Sherry Vinegar

I have at least five kinds of vinegar always in use at home, and one of my favorites is sherry, which is floral, not as acidic, and a bit subtler overall than other vinegars. Add a touch to rich sauces or, especially, to salsas and pico de gallo. Take any fruit like mango or pineapple, and toss it in a hot pan with onions and cilantro. Then drizzle it with olive oil and sherry vinegar and you have a perfect salsa.

Source: Hey Chef, What Else Can I Do With Vinegar?

Need a salsa recipe?  Try this one.

I admit, I didn’t know there was so much variety in vinegar.  Some of the suggestions for what to make using vinegar are rather interesting, but I think I’ll wait to try someone else’s vinegar gelato…

Moldy Cheese: When to Keep, When Not To

Soft cheeses, such as cottage cheese, cream cheese and ricotta cheese, that have mold should be discarded. The same goes for any kind of cheese that’s shredded, crumbled or sliced.

…Mold generally can’t penetrate far into hard and semi-soft cheeses, such as cheddar, colby, Parmesan and Swiss. So you can cut away the moldy part and eat the rest of the cheese. Cut off at least 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) around and below the moldy spot. Be sure to keep the knife out of the mold so it doesn’t contaminate other parts of the cheese.

Of course, not all molds pose a risk. In fact, some types of mold are used to make cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert. These molds are safe to eat.

Source: If a piece of cheese has mold growing on it, should I throw the cheese away?

If unsure, be safe & throw it out.

Sometimes you can cut the mold off, but you can prevent the mold by moistening paper towel with vinegar – apple cider or white, doesn’t matter.  It’s not enough to taint the flavour.  But it’s a good idea to let the cheese stand to air for a couple of minutes before consuming.