Fastest Way to Cut a Watermelon

So you may have noticed that the large majority of our kitchen photos on this blog have a watermelon in the background. That thing isn’t a cool prop for staging the photos. That is a real deal watermelon. From about June to September TJ and I always have a watermelon on our counter or in the fridge…mostly on the counter. Despite receiving this awesome watermelon knife that works like a champ at our wedding shower, I hate cutting watermelon. It takes such a long time and is so messy!

TJ shared this video with me and my mind was officially blown! This guy cuts a whole watermelon and bags it up in 2 minutes. I may actually cut the watermelon this weekend!  That will be the final nail in the Summer 2014 coffin. I’m totally ready for fall though. Bring on sweater weather and all food and drinks having cinnamon in it!

Have you ever seen this method of cutting a watermelon? How have I never heard of this before?

Basic Training for Sweet Tea Cooking

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every cook should be able to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch without a recipe, right?

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday from Sweet Tea Cooking! In an effort to enhance my basic cooking skills and best prepare our kitchen for Sweet Tea Cooking sessions I have decided to participate in two self “challenges”.We’re going to really get started on these challenges on September 1st. They should take about 2 months to complete and I will be reporting on our progress on Tuesdays. Keep checking back for updates!

The first is called “The Kitchen Cure” from The Kitchn. I love love love The Kitchn! They not only feature great recipes but review kitchen products and home kitchen remodels. I cannot get enough of the kitchen remodels! They are all so lovely! With TJ and me living in an apartment we have very little that we can do to change the aesthetic of our kitchen. While it isn’t really our style it is very nice and everything is brand new so we really can’t complain. What we are starting to complain about is space! We haven’t utilized the top shelf of almost any cabinet (#shortpeopleproblems) so we have room for additional storage if absolutely necessary but would like to avoid it. Thankfully the kitchen is not so terribly overrun but it could certainly use a good purging and cleaning. As if The Kitchn was reading my mind they began the Kitchen Cure. They email daily challenges for you to complete and at the end of the challenge your kitchen should be extremely organized and you should know where everything is. Has The Kitchn been reading my dream journal?!

The second is a long article with many moving parts that was posted last week on Food52. It was also a perfectly timed article (I suspect that The Kitchn and Food52 were in cahoots on getting their paws on my dream journal). Yesterday I mentioned that I have a handful of dishes that I can make pretty well but I just do not feel confident in even the most basic elements of cooking.  My goal with working my way through, “The Essential Techniques That Every Home Cook Should Know” is that I master some basic skills and techniques that I will be able to build on with more ambitious dishes in the future.

As we strive to eliminate overly processed foods from our diets that means “do it your dang self”! This article among other things goes over how to make rice, make a homemade tomato sauce, how to buy and sear a perfect steak, and most importantly make from scratch, perfect chocolate chip cookies! I have been dying for a knockout chocolate chip cookie for the past few Christmas seasons. I’ve hosted 9 Christmas Cookie parties but cannot bake a chocolate chip cookie from scratch. I am a total fraud!  I have the rice part pretty down thanks to our Aroma Rice Cooker/Slow Cooker/Food Steamer. (Shameless, unpaid plug alert…if you do not own one of these I would HIGHLY recommend it. It takes up very little space but does so many things!) The other items have been my kryptonite for many years. I can perk up a jar of tomato sauce and turn it into a thing of beauty but to be able to make that bad boy all on my own would be a crowning achievement! Currently there are two steaks sitting in my freezer that I purchased last month from the CSA but am too scared to cook them. I don’t want to mess them up but they’re just sitting there, mocking me. A training session like this is long overdue and a very welcome challenge!

Hopefully with the combined powers of The Kitchen Cure and Essential Techniques I will get our kitchen and myself in the best condition that it could be in to move forward with Sweet Tea Cooking.

What is your kitchen kryptonite? Do you have any kitchen challenges that you’d like to overcome?