Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Foil - Entertaining's Best Friend

Can you imagine actually getting to enjoy time with your guests instead of spending most of the party with your arms in soapy water, scrubbing pan after pan, while everyone else has a grand old time? Well, here's a fancy little trick to help cut down on clean up - line your baking pans with foil!

This is something that I do to help lessen the amount of time I spend cleaning up at work each day. It is primarily a trick for roasting vegetables and baking or reheating dishes that are already in containers, like casseroles and quiches, and it helps keep your oven clean! 

The only exception I can think of to doing this is pastries and cookies because foil will reflect light and heat onto them, causing your baked treats to burn more quickly than normal. Cookies and such should be baked on sheets lined with parchment paper, which is another great way to keep pans clean!


It's not difficult at all. Here is what to do: (If you scroll down really fast, it's kinda like a flip-book. Kinda.)

1. Line your pan with foil. One layer is fine for heating foods in dishes, like pies, casseroles, etc., but for roasting vegetables, roll out some extra foil and fold in half to make a double layer. This will keep the foil from tearing and leaking oil or juice onto the pan. Getting the pan underneath messy would kinda defeat the purpose, y'know.




2. Put your items on top of the foil and bake or reheat. The foil will catch any drips, spills, and splatters.


3. Remove your delicious foods and sit them off to the side or let your guests schnarf them, then peel back the foil.

4. Keep peeling...

And voila - a perfectly clean pan that can be set aside to cool and then put away! 



Is using foil like this wasteful? Yes, but you can keep using the foil until it gets too dirty AND it does waste energy to run hot water while washing your pans or to use the dishwasher, so either way, you're spending a little money to clean up after you cook. However, this way, clean up is a snap, and it's really no more foil than you would use to cover a couple containers of leftovers. 
As long as the foil doesn't become too filthy, it can be recycled.

When roasting vegetables for non-parties on foil like this, I've even closed the foil around the leftovers to make a little parcel and stored it in the fridge just like that. When I wanted to reheat it, all I had to do was pop it in the oven on a sheet pan - it was already wrapped up in foil for easy heating!

Have pots, pans, and other wonderful cooking items that require the use of steel wool? 
Balled up foil works just as well! That's a great way to reuse the foil you use to keep your pans clean.

Try wholesale stores like Sam's Club and Costco to find great deals on huge rolls of foil that will last months.

Using a little extra foil in exchange for more time with my friends and family during my next party? 
Yes, please! :)




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Executive Chef and Owner of No Place Like Home in Louisville, KY. Writer, actress, chef, professional cook and professional eater.