Trying to coax ice cubes out of their plastic tray usually ends poorly—they either stick stubbornly in their slots or tumble out all at once when you want only one or two. However, there’s a more efficient (and elegant) method to this madness. First, twist the tray to loosen the cubes. Then touch the tip of your finger very lightly to the cube you want. Most of the time, your body heat will melt a bit of the ice, which quickly refreezes and sticks your finger to the cube just long enough to pick it up and drop it in a glass. Dampening your fingertip slightly under running water helps the ice stick even more tightly.
If you’re having a party, you definitely don’t want to run into the issue of maxing out on fridge or cooler space. Where to find extra chilling space for the multitude of beverages? Head to your laundry room and stare down at your answer: the washing machine. Fill the washer’s basket with ice cubes, and then nestle in the cans and bottles. When it’s time for more cold drinks, they’re at the ready. When the party is over and the ice has melted, simply run the washer’s spin cycle to drain the water.
Most cooks with electric stoves who need to quickly cool down a hot pot move it to another burner. Instead of risking a burn while trying to move a large pot of angrily boiling contents, try tossing in one or two ice cubes. This brings down the temperature quickly and takes up the slack while the heating element slowly cools down.
In that rare occasion that you can’t finish off a bottle a wine, try freezing the leftovers—that way, the next time you’re cooking and need a little wine to finish a sauce, there is no need to open a fresh bottle. Measure 1 tablespoon of leftover wine into each well of an ice cube tray and freeze. Use a paring knife to remove each wine cube, then store in a zipper-lock bag. Add frozen cubes to sauces as desired.