Kitchen tricks have been woefully absent from these quarters recently. I would have shared more, but I find good tricks are hard to come by. Take my search for a way to dice onions without tearing up. I wore glasses, but just ended up smudging them when I couldn’t resist the urge to rub my burning eyes. I sharpened my knife: chopping was faster, but certainly not tear-free. (On the plus side, I can now slice tomatoes with my chef’s knife, no problem. Even when they’re really ripe and squidgy.) Chopping under a cooker hood set to high brought some relief, but I stopped doing that when I accidentally set fire to a cutting board.
The search is underway, please send help if you’ve got it. In the mean time, I’ll tell you about a recent revelation. I have never been a fan of cans that have a ring to pull them open. I love the idea behind them (no opener required! so quick and hassle free!), but often end up with the ring in one hand and a firmly shut can in the other. Many has been the time when the garlic for my tomato sauce burned because I wrongly assumed I could quickly pull open a can of tomatoes and pour them in to stop the cooking. Instead, I usually ended up scrambling around for my can opener while the garlic went from golden to charred.
But! It is not actually difficult at all! Waiting in line at the grocery store, I picked up a can and read the instructions for opening. (Had I known these existed, I would have turned to them sooner. But who would suspect can manufacturers add instructions? For pulling on a ring? I had no idea.) They suggested I place a thumb firmly just behind the ring while pulling backwards, to ease proceedings along. It didn’t sound like much help, but what the hell. I had nothing to lose by trying. So I did. And it worked.
I will never go back to my non-thumb-pushing ways. Why not give it a try, too? Then you can live a happy, easy life, full of open cans. Also, you can make this:
Looks like a suitable reward for mastering a new skill, no? Here’s what you do:
Open a 400 gr can of lima beans, drain and rinse. Open a small can of tuna in oil, but don’t drain. (Please make it an MSC-certified brand of albacore, or something similarly ocean-friendly. Don’t risk eating the last three tuna fish still swimming around- they’re too tasty to disappear.) Open a can of anchovies. Put the tuna, beans and two anchovies into a bowl, and puree with a stick blender until smooth (or use a food processor). Add a generous tablespoon of sour cream and blend thoroughly. Slice a ripe tomato and place on a plate. Spread with the tuna puree. Sprinkle a few chopped black olives over the top (or, as in the picture, a teaspoon of black olive tapenade). Be proud of your can opening prowess. Eat.
(Recipe idea courtesy of Jill Dupleix’s Totally Simple Food.)