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Hey there, friends!
We’re in the kitchen today! We are in the kitchen every day, actually, but we’re talking about indispensable kitchen tools. I wrote a post just a few weeks (cough, or so) ago, and introduced a new series: My Favorite (Kitchen) Things, at about the same time that I started a Lenten de-cluttering challenge. Then I promptly dropped the first series, although I did chug along happily with the de-cluttering one, for awhile, anyway, until I stopped that one, too. *sigh*
Some bloggers probably shouldn’t start series, right? I’m writing a post right now–incidentally–about habits of successful bloggers, and one of those habits is “Intentionality.” Successful bloggers, I write, have a plan. They are intentional in their blogging. Starting a blog series would fit under this category, of course, especially if one actually carried through with it. Ahem.
It may seem so, but I don’t have a short attention span, seriously. That first series has been tucked away in the back of my brain ever since, and I devote a tiny bit of mental energy to it every time I work in my kitchen. AND every time a friend or an acquaintance asks me how I bake so much bread in one day, I think about this series that I abandoned like an unwanted puppy. NOT that I would ever abandon a puppy, unwanted or not.
So, enough banter, already, not to mention thoughts of puppies. Let’s get back to the series, and back to writing about kitchen tools. Having good tools makes me happy. A couple of years ago, my sister Mollie introduced me to reusable parchment paper, and honestly, it’s such a simple thing, but it’s one of those tools that I honestly wouldn’t want to be without today. I started out with one sheet of this wonderful stuff, and I have bought more, a piece or two at a time, until now I have 6 pieces, in various stages of use.
Reusable parchment paper can eliminate the need for the rolls of parchment paper that you buy, and that don’t come cheap, by the way. It may seem pricey to buy at first ($6.00 or $7.00 a sheet) but if you use parchment, the sheets will actually save you quite a bit of cash. You can use it in whatever way you would ordinarily use the paper parchment sheets, and after you use it, you just wash it in the sink, with warm soapy water, and hang it up to drip-dry. The stuff lasts forever. I have a few sheets that I’ve been using several times a week for three or four years, probably. But for the unfortunate fact that somebody cut bread on top of one (they are not impervious to being damaged by sharp knives), my older ones are still just as good as my newer ones.
I use my reusable parchment sheets mostly when I bake artisan bread. The traditional technique for baking 5-minute artisan bread is this: you put a loaf on a pizza peel which has been dusted with cornmeal, and then when it’s ready to bake, you slide it off the pizza peel onto the hot baking stone in your oven. Since I bake four loaves at a time, this doesn’t work for me. What does work is to put a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, dust it with corn meal, and place my loaves on there. When they have risen, I slide all four–parchment paper and all–into the oven, onto the hot stones. It works great!
I also have learned that clean-up after making my granola is much easier if I use these reusable parchment sheets. I line a jellyroll pan with the sheet, spray it with olive oil spray, and put the granola on top. After I’ve baked it and the granola has cooled, it’s very simple to pick up the sheet of parchment–granola and all–and crumble it into a large bowl, for bagging.
Also sometimes I have something that I’m afraid will ooze out in the oven while baking–caramel monkey bread, or a juicy fruit pie–and I’ll slide a cookie sheet below it, with a parchment sheet on top. The parchment sheet is always easier to clean than a cookie sheet, in my experience.
So–there you have it! I love the stuff. If you do any baking at all, you’ll probably love it, too. You can buy the sheets in a big kitchen store, or you can order them online. I’ve gotten mine from amazon.com, and now and then one of the vendors on there will have a sale–buy two, get one free, and that’s nice, too!
I know that you are very clever, Gentle Reader, and that you can come up with lots more ways to use these handy sheets. One other thing I’ve used them for, is to keep flats of seeds that I’ve sown moist while I am waiting for them to germinate. Here’s what I do: I sow the seeds, moisten them, and then lay the parchment sheets on top. The flats don’t dry out, and I just lift the corners every day or two, and when the seeds germinate, I remove them.
Now. A little business. When I started this series, I made a promise that when my vomitingchicken.com Facebook fan page got up to 3000 “likes” that I’d have a giveaway of my favorite kitchen things. I’m still planning to do that, and I’ve sailed past 2,000 and am eyeing that number now! I know it’s silly, but I’d really love to see 3000 friends on that fanpage. Soooo . . . Have you liked my page yet? I share lots of fun stuff on there that never makes it onto my blog, and I have some pretty interesting conversations with my Gentle Readers, so you probably don’t want to miss out! PLUS we do frequent Q’n’As and we puzzle over the world’s problems occasionally, even. Here’s where you go to join the fun!
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