Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, you can make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety.
Today: Gabriella shows you how to make the most of what you already have by teaching old tools new tricks.
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There are certain kitchen gadgets that I unapologetically lust after -- like KitchenAid Mixers, and Vitamix blenders.
But, realistically, I've moved seven times in the past five years and I learned early on that packing and unpacking a kitchen over and over again is a pain in the ass. Glasses get shattered, tools get tossed, weirdly aggressive email chains about tupperware ownership transpire between former roommates. So now, I travel light.
One day, I'll start stocking up. I'll have stand mixers and enormous food processors, matching plates and complete knife sets, cherry pitters and tart pans. In the meantime, I have these hacks to help me out when I don't have any of these in stock:
1. A Double Boiler If Amanda can go decades without ever using a double boiler, then so can you. Boil some water in a large pot, then stick a metal bowl or smaller pot inside it. Use this to achieve perfectly melted chocolate because you know better than to be using the microwave. Or, whip up hollandaise for eggs benedict and save the money you would've spent on brunch.
3. A Cherry Pitter Alright, I know for a fact that you won't have to look too hard for an empty beer bottle and a chopstick in your kitchen. If you've missed cherry season, just keep this trick in your back pocket for the next time it rolls around. Then it'll be a breeze to make a cherry pie filling that you'll want to stick in everything.
4. A Salad Spinner
My kitchen is basically the size of a salad spinner, so there's no way I'm buying one anytime soon. Fortunately, all I need is a dish towel and a sink to make sure my greens are cleaned properly. We've got two techniques: one basic, fairly static one and another that doubles as an upper body workout.
5. A Food Processor for Pesto Do you think pesto was invented in a food processor? Nope! Like Emiko says, “'Pesto', after all, comes from the word pestare: to pound, grind, smash." Roll up those shirt sleeves, gather up your basil, and start smashing. Hey, it's theraputic.
Tell us: what are your favorite kitchen hacks?
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).