Martha's Latest Book, Very Good Things, Includes Over 500 of Her Best Homekeeping Solutions
When we discover a solution that makes cooking, cleaning, or homekeeping easier and more beautiful, Martha always wants to share it. Her new book, Martha Stewart's Very Good Things ($18.69, amazon.com), packs three decades of hits into one multiplatinum volume. Here's an aha!-filled sampling of the more than 500 brilliant ideas you'll find in its pages.
Elevate an Entryway
To improve your foyer's form and function, give it some eye-catching organization. Simply paint these oversize wooden hooks—we like Muuto Dots Wood Coat Hooks ($149 for five, finnishdesignshop.com)—to play up the space's colors like Tempaper Pomegranate Removable Wallpaper, in Sand ($12 a sq. ft., tempaper.com), then mount them at a variety of heights, so everyone in the family can reach.
Rock Out in Your Mudroom
Putting a boot tray by the door is one way to enforce your "no shoes in the house" policy. But to kick it up a style notch, fill it with pretty yet practical pebbles or stones from a garden center. They'll act as a drain, allowing rain, sleet, or snow to seep to the bottom while boots and other footwear dry on top. Most of the moisture will evaporate, but to keep it clean and mildew-free, dump out the rocks and rinse everything as needed.
Deliver the Dough
One of the trickiest parts of making a pie is transferring the prepped base from your work surface to the dish. To avoid a sticky situation, roll it around the pin, from one edge to the other, then gently lift and unroll it over the dish. Pat the round into place, then trim the excess as needed for your recipe, and fold the ends under.
Go Mellow with Garlic
This allium is delicious with sautéed leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale, and spinach. But when you mince or chop it, you risk overpowering, rather than enhancing, the final dish. (It can also burn quickly and turn bitter.) For more subtle flavor, spear a large peeled clove with a fork and use it to stir the greens as you cook. You can even save the clove to use again: Just cover it in plastic wrap, put it in an airtight container (the double layer helps contain the odor), and refrigerate for up to two days.
The best tool for peeling the fresh root is a regular metal spoon. Unlike a paring knife or vegetable peeler, it removes only the thin skin and wastes none of the edible part. Take a piece in one hand and hold the spoon in the other, with the concave side facing toward you. Scrape the surface in short motions, pushing away from you, until you have the amount you need. Cut off and refrigerate the unpeeled portion in a resealable plastic bag with the air pressed out.
Bottle Your Own Salad Dressing
Rather than tossing that last bit of Dijon mustard in the jar, turn it into a tangy vinaigrette. Throw in a crushed garlic clove and/or minced shallot, plus chopped fresh herbs, like tarragon. Add a splash of balsamic or sherry vinegar, season with salt and pep- per, screw on the lid, and shake to combine. Top with olive oil (use four parts oil to one part vinegar), shake again, and drizzle away.
Here's a genius way to keep a paint can clean: Stretch a large rubber band around it and across the opening, and wipe the brush on the band rather than the rim.
When you need to chill wine or spirits fast, pack a bucket halfway with cubes, toss in a handful of coarse salt, and fill it two-thirds of the way with cold water. The salt lowers the water temperature. Add your bottles, and they'll be ready to pour in about 10 minutes.
Text and photographs from "Martha Stewart's Very Good Thing." © 2021 By Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.