Kitchen Tip: Cleaning Burnt-On Pans

IMG_2198Confession: I *occasionally* burn things. It happens.
For me, it usually happens because I have a friend over and I get distracted talking and talking and talking (sorry, I’m a talker.) So, there’s often the added embarrassment of an audience around when I burn things.
This happened early this week. I invited my friend Krista over to brainstorm ideas for our new Family Table ministry. I thought I’d be sweet and bake us some teriyaki chicken, too. Well….let’s just say I got caught up in all the excitement of planning something new and beautiful. Next thing you know, I’m like, “Hey! What’s that smell?”
Ugh. So embarrassing!
The chicken was still shockingly edible, but the pan was toast. And, to make matters worse, it was my brand new Le Creuset brazier from France! I wanted to cry. Instead, I acted like it was no big deal (an audience, remember?) and did the only thing I could think to do. I removed all the chicken and then added the following:
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup vinegar (I used apple cider b/c that’s what I had around)
Then,I put the lid on the pot and shoved it back in the warm oven. It was turned off, but I hoped the pan would steam and it did. You could do the same on your stovetop if your pan isn’t oven safe. Just simmer the vinegar water gently and let set until cool. Then, rinse and wipe.
The results?

IMG_2200
Isn’t that amazing? I could hardly believe it. No scrubbing! I just rinsed and wiped with a sponge. Incredible.
Do you have a fabulous cleaning tip for pots and pans? Please share it with us. Or, share this tip with a friend using our share buttons below.

5 Things I Learned in Culinary School

IMG_1314.JPGWell, I did it. I survived my first month in culinary school, and I managed to learn a few things, too. I know what a daikon is, how to calculate food cost and the ratios for labor cost, and what temperature microwave reheated food must reach to be considered safe. But, there were other lessons that really surprised me. Here are my top five take aways from my first month in school.

1. I still know how to procrastinate
….and it still sucks. Seriously, it tried to ruin my life. I hate your guts, Procrastination. We’re so over. Don’t call me. We’re through.
2. Culinary school does equal free snacks. 🙂
Even the professors look forward to “leftovers” from the French pastry class and I’m pretty sure my Hospitality professor can be bought with cookies.
3. Your family will expect better food, but you’ll be too tired to cook.
Mondays might as well be relabeled as pizza night because, let’s face it, I’m not cooking. My children don’t seem to mind, but my sweet husband is probably wondering when this investment will pay off.
4. If you offer to help clean out the fridge, you might score gourmet treats.
I have found an entire building full of people who love food as much as I do and none of them like to see food go to waste. So, when you help chef clean out the last of the gourmet pastries, and you bemoan their waste as you head toward the trash bin, she’s going to look at you with hopeful eyes and suggest you take it home. “I just hate to see them wasted.”
Me, too, Chef. Me, too.
5. You do NOT want to know all the ways food could kill you.
I’ll give you a hint: finding hair in your food is sooooo not even a little bit dangerous. I’ve seen the dark side of nature and the most insidious possibility is completely out of our control.

Seriously though, the last month has been amazing. I don’t think I can explain all the ways this experience is affecting me. I’ve found a passion and a purpose that I hope will someday change lives. That may sound dramatic, but that’s my end-game. Until then, I’ll keep studying best methods for food sanitation and effective food purchasing strategies. I might even get around to actually cooking something new and delicious. And you can follow along with me on this crazy culinary journey. So, stick around. You never know what I’ll learn next month.