New Uses for Everyday Tools
Scissors as Pizza Cutter
You'll invest in a pizza wheel as soon as you install a brick oven in your kitchen. Until then, plain old kitchen shears will cut through crust and hot toppings without drama or fuss. If the pizza is really hot, use an oven mitt or tongs with your other hand to hold the crust while you cut.
Can as Biscuit Cutter
Most biscuit cutters make overly wide biscuits, anyway―more beret than top hat. Use a tomato-paste can to achieve the proper size. First, scoop out the paste and freeze it in Tupperware or a storage bag. Then remove both the top and the bottom with a can opener and wash the interior. To prevent sticking, dip the can in flour before each cut.
Wine Bottle as Rolling Pin
Sure, you can fork over the $40 for something you use only at Thanksgiving, but why would you when a wine bottle works just as well? Sandwich your pastry between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to prevent sticking. Press down firmly on the bottle with one hand; grip the neck and steer with your other. (If you chill the dough to firm it up, do so briefly: Slightly firm dough is easiest to control.)
You Need: A Milk Frother
You can use: A whisk and a saucepan.
First of all, a milk frother is kitchen clutter. Second, it sounds worse than an ailing vacuum cleaner. To whip up a cappuccino quickly and quietly: Heat milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat until it is frothy on top but isn't yet climbing the sides of the pan. Then whisk the milk rapidly to the desired frothiness, about 1 minute, taking care not to scald it. Pour into coffee; serve immediately.
Yogurt Containers as Measuring Cups
And you thought they were good only for storing leftovers. An 8-ounce container, filled to a pinkie's thickness from the rim, holds about 1 cup of flour or liquid. A quart container, filled to the same distance from the rim, holds 4 cups. Use this Band-Aid solution for small-scale cooking―pancakes, rice, soups―rather than for serious baking projects, which demand exact measurements.
You Need: An Egg Poacher
You can use: Ramekins and a skillet.
Drop a teaspoon of butter into as many ramekins (custard cups) as you need eggs, then place them in a large skillet. Add about 1⁄2 inch of water to the pan and bring it to a gentle simmer. Crack an egg into each cup once the butter has melted. Cover with a lid or foil and simmer for 4 to 7 minutes, until the yolks are done to taste. Remove the cups with a slotted spatula.
Mason Jar as Blender Jar
Is it cheaper to buy a whole new blender or just replace that busted blender jar? Until you figure that one out, you might try this: Many detachable blade assemblies screw right onto a mayo jar or a small-mouth Mason jar. Don't fill it by more than half, though, and as with any regular blender, avoid very hot liquids.
You Need: A Large Griddle
You can use: A roasting pan.
We're talking scrambled eggs and sausage for a crowd, and Buick-size pancakes for your uncle Jimmy. Only heavy metal pans need apply: Most earthenware and glass pans aren't stovetop safe. Span the roaster over two burners, as if you were making gravy. Use moderate heat, and move the pan around periodically to keep the bottom evenly heated.
Salad Spinner as Cake Dome
Even if you bake a layer cake about as often as Halley's comet swings by, you'll eventually need a cake cover. How better to preserve that buttercream still life you've created? Just invert the outer bowl of your salad spinner over the cake. To transport, put the cake on a large base and use masking tape to secure the dome.