Looking to host the perfect get-together? Plastics Make it Possible® and lifestyle expert Sissy Biggers have teamed up to share some clever tips for using innovative plastic gadgets and tools to make the most of your next meal or celebration.
• Test Your Skills: Impress your dinner guests with the latest gourmet cooking trend embraced by world-renowned chefs, including Alain Ducasse, Thomas Keller and Paul Bocuse. Sous-vide (pronounced /su vid) involves placing food in vacuum-sealed plastic pouches and heating them to precise temperatures to seal in moisture and tons of flavor. Make sure you’re using a bag designed by the manufacturer to take the heat.
• Don’t Forget the Wine: Some of this season’s most exciting wines now feature plastic corks that are less vulnerable to cork taint. And some wines are now being bottled in handy, shatter-resistant plastic, which are lighter and easier to tote to outdoor events. As an added plus, the lighter weight means less energy needed to ship bottles.
• Pastry Bag in a Pinch: If you want to make desserts and dips look professional, but don’t have a pastry bag, here’s a clever tip: fill a sturdy resealable plastic bag with icing, dips or whipped toppings, cut one corner and use it as an impromptu pastry bag to top desserts and pipe dip into serving dishes. The best part? Cleanup is easier than ever.
• Keep it Fresh: To prolong freshness, store leftovers in a refrigerator or freezer within two hours after cooking.
• Keep it Easy: Check your local grocery store for foods that come packaged in resealable plastic bags and containers. Convenient resealable plastic packaging is available for shredded cheeses, tuna, sausage, dried fruit, pastas, cold cuts and more!
• Super Silicone: From basting brushes and spatulas, to oven mitts and bakeware, silicone is part of today’s innovative cooking and baking. It’s a flexible, durable, and easy-to-clean plastic product, and it can withstand high temperatures – some up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Best of all, silicone bakeware’s non-stick surface helps cut down on the need for added fats and shortening.
• Partying at the Pool? When prepping for that perfect pool party, plastic flatware, plates, cups and wine glasses are ideal. They come in lots of fun colors, shapes and sizes. And since broken glass is a serious safety hazard poolside, plastic cups are always on the guest list – especially if you have little ones running around.
• Pack the Perfect Picnic: Picnicking can be even more fun if you pack the right supplies and tools. Keep in mind that many outdoor parks, beaches and venues restrict glass for safety reasons. Here are a few simple tips for planning the perfect picnic:
o Pack Light: Avoid lugging around heavy stoneware plates or silverware. Instead, pack lighter options, including plastic flatware and serving utensils, such as spoons, spatulas, tongs, a marinade brush, a carving fork, serving knife and skewers. Many plastic options these days are high quality and come in a variety of fun colors to make festive additions to any gathering.
o Don’t Forget the Bags! Pack a small plastic zipper pouch with small items such as matches, toothpicks and extra resealable plastic bags and reserve a few bags to transport salt and pepper. Plastic bags and containers are perfect for transporting leftovers you don’t want to go to waste once the picnic is over.
o Picnic-Pro Checklist: Remember to include essential items such as a cutting board, plastic plates and cups, extra bowls for mixing, a serving platter and napkins, as well as a portable grill and insulated cooler bag.
• Deterring Uninvited “Guests”: Summer is a great time to eat outdoors, but sometimes insects and bugs want to enjoy your food as much as you do! To help keep unwanted “guests” from helping themselves to lunch, keep lids on plastic containers when not serving and look for innovative stretch-to-fit food covers made from lightweight plastic mesh and elastic that fit over serving bowls and plates.
• Leftover Lovers: Store leftovers in shallow plastic containers, less than two inches deep, for rapid, even cooling. Larger or deeper containers take longer to freeze or thaw. This method will also help you maintain the flavor of your food.
• Don’t Get Burned: Be sure stored foods are tightly wrapped. When using a sealable plastic bag, try to squeeze out as much air as possible. This will conserve space and help to prevent freezer burn.
•And When the Picnic’s Over, Recycle: There is a tremendous opportunity to recycle. Many plastics such as beverage bottles, some food containers and plastic grocery bags and product wraps are recyclable. Check with your local community; many of these valuable materials can go on to live second lives as carpeting, clothing, furniture, even backyard decking.