3 Keys To Cleanliness In The Kitchen (and a savory Miso Eggplant recipe)

I am tired, but happy as I just finished hosting a dinner party for 20 friends last Saturday night.  

As I was doing my prep for the party, a simple and important idea hit me that could help chef teachers, parents and kids in the kitchen

It’s an often overlooked element of cooking and working with food.

Trying out my tips below will allow you to cook with EASY and simplicity.

And it’ll keep your countertops shiny and clean.  

The worst cooking environment is a messy one.

And what is this key?   

The kitchen towel.

But not just one towel, but three.  

Here’s how to effectively use them when you’re making a big meal with an entree and multiple sides.

1st Towel:   Keep it in your front pocket

Keep a towel in your dominant hand’s pocket, and it should be sticking out.

This is your go-to towel for wiping your hands as you’re cooking.  

Cut those onions?  Quick wipe

Plating your sushi?  Quick wipe.

Watch Gordon Ramsay or any other chef at home and you’ll see they have a towel near their hips at all times, just for this use.

2nd Towel:  For wiping your board board

If I’m chopping Italian parsley, herbs tend to go everywhere from my cutting board to the countertop.  Keep a towel on the countertop to easily wipe messes before they set.

Just chopped tomatoes and have a wet board?  Quick wipe

Just chopped garlic and don’t want your feta to reek of garlic?  Quick wipe.

3rd Towel:  The drying towel

As you cook, wash your kitchen tools a LOT

Done with that bowl?  Wash, dry and put away

Pan just finished that frittata or omelette?  Quick rinse, dry and put away.

When you’re about to eat, you’ll find that you will have VERY little cleanup coming your way after the meal.

Honestly, it can be a little stressful to be enjoying your meal with your loved ones, but in the distance you look at a kitchen that is a complete mess.  You know it’ll take an extra 30 minutes to clean and put everything away

What if instead you onlysaw a few dirty bowls and a plate, but the coutnertops and stovetop looked great.  It would take 10 minutes max, and then you can relax on the couch after your meal.

Post Meal: 

Hang the towels over a rack or your countertops.  If they’re messy, put them in your laundry hamper.  I have a separate container just for these towels.  Usually 1 or 2 will be ok and the other 3rd will need a wash.  Use your judgement.

Now I’m not saying I cook with 3 towels every meal, but if it’s a dinner with a few side dishes, it keeps everything working smoothly.

Our teachers in class use towels all the time, but have you used them like a true chef?

Try cooking this way and let me know how it goes.

It’ll cleanup your cooking style.

And now a recipe, courtesy of one of our most popular Chefs in the South Bay

“Miso Eggplant” (Nasu no Denkaku) by Chef Yvette

Ingredients
1 Chinese long eggplant
3 Tbs oil
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs mirin or sake
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp wasabi
2 Tbs white miso paste
Chopped green onion and sesame seeds for garnish

Directions
Use a vegetable peeler to shave the outer skin of the eggplant, length wisey. Leave a small space with skin on in between to create a zebra effect (see picture above)

Cut eggplant into 1″ rounds. Cut slits into the to of the eggplant to look like tic-tac-toe.

In a frying pan heat 3 Tbs oil on medium-high heat.  Add eggplant slit side down, cover with lid and cook for 7 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the sauce by mixing brown sugar, mirin, sesame oil, soy sauce, miso paste, and wasabi together in a bowl.

Turn over eggplants and cook for an additional 4 minutes.  Heat a broiler on high.  Transfer eggplant slit side up to foil-lined baking pan.  Spoon the sauce of each eggplant.   Place in broiler for 5 mins to get the tops nice and crispy. Top with chopped green onion and sesame seeds and serve warm.

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Guess what?  Cooking classes are open for registration at All Souls, Bethany Lutheran, Big Springs, Circle View, Clairbourn, Davis Magnet, Egremont, El Rincon, Haynes, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Stevenson, St Mark, Village View, Visitation, Westchester Lutheran and Wood Ranch.  If your school is NOT on that list, then we are still finalizing details, stay tuned.

To join our after-school cooking class:  Sign up here 

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