Occasionally, as a pan sauce’s aromatics (usually onions or shallots) cook, the caramelized drippings of sautéed meat, poultry, or fish (called fond) begin to overbrown, which can lead to a bitter sauce. If the fond starts to darken too much, spread the aromatics over the area of the pan that’s in trouble. The juices released by the aromatics keep the fond from burning.
Trying to remove a finicky cake from a pan may leave you with two broken cake halves. To repair the fracture, allow the cakes to cool, then spread a thin layer of soft buttercream frosting over the broken surfaces and reattach the pieces. Then set the cake in the refrigerator for about an hour to allow the frosting to harden before continuing to assemble and frost it.
Cleaning dried-on spills and splatters in your microwave oven needn’t be a time-consuming chore. Start by placing a microwave-safe bowl full of water in the oven and heating it on high for 10 minutes. Once its steam loosens any dried food particles, use a small disposable foam paintbrush to reach the hard-to-reach corners. It’s just the right size to brush away any crumbs or other residue.
Like these? See more quick tips at Cook's Illustrated.