Chowhound’s Top 10 Kitchen Tips of 2012

In 2012, Chowhound users shared enough practical kitchen information to set up even the novice home cook for an entire year of great meals. Behold, the year’s top 10 home cooking tips on Chowhound:

1. THE CASE FOR CARBON STEEL
Stainless steel knives don't rust and are easy to care for, but carbon steel knives hold a wickedly sharp edge when sharpened properly.

2. KEEP THAT RISOTTO MOVING!
With proper attention, almost any pan can turn out wonderful, creamy risotto—no special equipment needed.

3. DIFFUSE THE HEAT
A heat diffuser is an extremely simple item—basically a metal plate—that can prevent hot spots and provide for even cooking.

4. SANITIZE VINTAGE WOODEN TOOLS
If that lovely antique rolling pin has no metal parts, soak it in a diluted bleach solution in a well-ventilated area to kill germs, or heat it in a 250-degree oven for five minutes, then let it cool in the oven.

5. GET AN IMMERSION BLENDER, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
An immersion blender can simplify your life by puréeing without adding to your dishwashing burden.

6. MORTARS WITHOUT THE MESS
To grind seeds and small-grain spices like fenugreek without chunks flying everywhere, tap them lightly with the pestle to break them up, then grind them to a powder.

7. FIX "SCRATCHED" LE CREUSET
That scratch might not be a scratch at all—it might be a streak of metal from an implement, which will clean right off with a gentle cleaning compound like Bon Ami.

8. PUT AN EDGE ON IT
To sharpen a vegetable peeler, use the corner of a sharpening stone; hold the peeler stationary and move the stone up and down.

9. REVIVE THAT OLD MILL
To revive an old, clogged pepper mill, grind some dry, instant (par-cooked) rice through it to get the gunk out.

10. MATCH YOUR PAN TO WHAT YOU’RE BRAISING
A braising pan should be about the same size as the meat or vegetables you're cooking, so there isn't too much or too little liquid infusing and basting the goodies.

Photo by Flickr member myhsu under Creative Commons