The kitchen can be a confusing place. There are all these tools and foods that may seem foreign to people, especially those who have never cooked before.
I remember my parents trying to teach me the best way to chop an onion so I wouldn’t get so teary. My mom used to peel hard-boiled eggs perfectly, but I butcher at least a few eggs almost every time I make them. While we waited out Hurricane Ida, I burned my face after rubbing an itch a few minutes after slicing a jalapeno. Not even a good washing with hand soap got all the juice off my hands.
Below are instructions on how to do certain things in the kitchen. We’d like to make this a regular feature of the food section, so if you have any tips you’d like to share, send them to me at [email protected] .
How to mince garlic
Here are the basic steps for how to peel and mince garlic with a knife:
■ Loosen the garlic cloves. First, remove any loose, papery outer skin on the bulb and press down on the bulb to loosen the garlic cloves.
■ Cut the root end of each clove.
■ Peel the garlic cloves. Once the garlic cloves are removed from the bulb, take off the thin skin of each clove by either”
■ Cut off the hard clove stem (where the cloves attach to the bulb) and gently squeeze the clove out of its skin
■ Place the clove on a cutting board, and using the side of the knife blade, press down firmly onto the clove until you feel the skin “crack”. Then you can slide the clove right out. Be careful not to smush the clove too much during this step.
Slice the clove lengthwise from top to bottom and then slice it crosswise. Run the knife repeatedly over the garlic cloves. To mince garlic to a smoother paste, turn the knife on its side and scrape the knife back and forth over the garlic.
How to hard boil eggs
Gather 6 to 12 eggs and place them in a single layer in a saucepan. Cover the eggs in a saucepan with at least an inch or two of water.
Heat the pot on high heat and bring the water to a full rolling boil. Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the water, which may help keep egg whites from running out if an egg cracks while cooking. After the pan reaches a rolling boil, turn off the heat. Keep the pan on the hot burner, cover, and let sit for 10-12 minutes.
If you have the type of stove burner that doesn’t retain heat when turned off, you might want to lower the temp to low, simmer for a minute, and then turn it off.
Depending on how cooked you like your hard boiled eggs, the eggs should be done perfectly in 10-12 minutes. If you have gray around the edge of the yolk, it is overcooked. If you like your eggs not fully hard cooked, it can take a few minutes less.
Strain the water from the pan and run cold water over the eggs to cool them quickly and stop them from cooking further. Or, if you are cooking a large batch of eggs, remove them with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water.
Store hard boiled eggs in a covered container in the refrigerator. They should be eaten within 5 days.
How to peel hard boiled eggs
Tap your hard-boiled eggs with a spoon or roll them on the countertop to crack the shells before shocking the eggs in cold water. However, the longer you leave eggs in cold water, the harder it is to remove their shells. Ideally, peel the eggs as soon as they’re cool. Start at the broad end, and hold the egg under running water to loosen any bits of stubborn shell clinging to the sides.
How to get capsaicin off your hands
Hot peppers have capsaicin, a natural substance that makes things spicy. Capsaicin can easily be removed from your hands with rubbing alcohol or a high-proof alcohol. Just pour a little on your hands and rub your hands together. Then dry your hands with a paper towel to clean them. It takes very little alcohol to remove capsaicin, so don’t overdo it.
Oil — the kinds you cook with — can be used as well. It combines with the capsaicin oil to take it off the skin efficiently. You will still need to dry your hands with a paper towel or some kind of cloth. You can also use oil as a preventative measure. Pour a tiny bit on your fingers before you start working with peppers to prevent the spicy oil from sticking to your hands.
Dish soap works better than hand soaps, as it’s specifically designed to remove oils from surfaces. All you need is a couple of drops to get capsaicin off of your hands and have clean fingers again. Just rub the dish soap between your fingers and then rinse it off. Or you could just dry your hands after applying the dish soap. Either way, this is a lot more effective than using hand soap and water to try to get off the capsaicin.
Of course, you could wear protective gloves when you work with spicy peppers and protect yourself from ever coming into contact with it.