Whether we admit it or not, there’s something in everyone’s kitchen, or something that should be in your kitchen, that’s haunting you. Now, the Accidental Locavore is not talking fuzzy science experiments in the back of the fridge, but scary stuff masquerading as normal household objects.
Take my friend Cozy. Normally a savvy entrepreneur and founder of Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, a published author with multiple Today show (scary, live TV) appearances under her fashion-forward belt. Recently she admitted to a terror of parchment paper. Yes, parchment paper. While you or I may look at it as waxed paper’s ancient and more useful ancestor, she saw an alien object on a roll. Or maybe she didn’t see it at all. One of Cozy’s fears was that while she knew it existed, she didn’t know where to find it (any grocery store) or what to do with it once it crossed her threshold.
Enter the Accidental Locavore! You may have made the mistake I did, years ago, substituting wax paper for parchment and ruing the day, or like Cozy, just not be familiar with it. Cooking in parchment is one of those cheap tricks that makes everyone think you can really cook. One of my favorite recipes for zucchini is to wrap it in parchment, it’s like giving everyone at the table their own gift. Fish is great in it and that’s what Cozy did, fighting her fear and steaming some halibut with Israeli couscous and vegetables. Her verdict? “It was pretty successful!” I recently did a piece of halibut in parchment with some very thin lemon slices and arugula pesto, popped it in the microwave for two minutes, delicious! What Cozy didn’t have was these cool parchment bags, just written up in the NY Times.
If you don’t have a Silpat (and if you’re scrunching up your face right now, you don’t have one…trust me), parchment is a pretty good substitute for lining pans and makes cleaning up gooey messes super easy, just throw the paper away! In Paula Wolfort’s Moroccan squash soup she has you topping the squash with a disc of parchment. What’s your favorite use for it?
And the Locavore’s friend, Cozy? “I realized there’s nothing to be afraid of and it’s easy as pie”. What’s in your kitchen that scares you?
Vegetable peelers… all varieties. It is not easy to hold and peel without taking off a digit. Give me a good paring knife and I can peel anything in half the time it would using a peeler.
My mandolin has great sentimental value, it was the first gift my husband gave me (pretty cool, right?). I’m just careful, use the finger guard and when the pieces get too small they go in the scrap pile. That being said, sometimes I choose to practice my knife skills. Less dishes to wash!
Great point! And it’s a lot more useful than wax paper, don’t you think?
I confess, I’m a little skittish about using the mandolin. Premonitions of slicing off my finger, or scraping a knuckle. (I just go for the knife, and spend way more time slicing than I should!)
Parchment paper has a serious marketing problem. Supermarkets put it in the baking section or maybe the storage bag section. It’s usually on the bottom shelf. Its name suggests antiquity (although I personally like that). There’s a great opportunity for someone to take parchment and make it as famous as its friends plastic, aluminum and wax. Thanks for a terrific post.
I have excommunicated Saran wrap from my kitchen. Never could get a piece out easy enough to use without getting it all scrunched up and uneven.