The butane torch in my kitchen sat for months without being used, except for the occasional creme brulee. Finally I decided I'd had enough and sat down to figure out what I could do with this amazing little tool. Here are the top 10 results of my brainstorming.
1) Meringue. A delicious banana cream pie topped with meringue can be given life again after it's sat all afternoon in the fridge. Use your torch to brown and crisp the topping before serving. Meringue can even be used on single serve dishes of pudding or other desserts.
2) Roasting pepper skins. A blackened pepper can add flavor to stir fry and other dishes. Place the pepper in a metal pan before using your torch to avoid burning yourself or the kitchen counter.
3) Melting cheese! Make that tuna sing by melting swiss cheese on top. Brown cheese on top of your potato or french onion soup. Cheese already melts easily, so using your blow torch is a perfect way to top a meal.
4) Instead of flipping your sunny side-up eggs in order to keep the white from being runny, use your mini-torch. Finish them up in the last couple of seconds of cooking and keep your yellow runny.
5) Crisping fish skin when cooking whole fish. Make the trout skin tight and brown using your butane mini-torch.
6) Softening butter. This is a big one for me. Personally I bake on the "let's go!" theory, meaning I never plan ahead enough to take my butter out of the fridge to soften. My butane torch is a great way to quickly melt/soften the half cup or cup of butter needed in those cookies or the brownies.
7) Heat up a knife when cutting ice cream cake or a spoon when dishing out ice cream. Just make sure they are metal and not plastic, otherwise you'll just end up with a mess. It would also probably work well with cheesecakes or other refrigerated foods.
8) Toasting breads. A quick pass will make the top layer of bread crunchy. This would be great when serving slices of bread as brioche. Small pieces of cut up, fresh bread a can be quickly toasted into croutons. Just sprinkle on your favorite seasoning and serve on a salad.
9) Glazes. Heat up glazes or melt sugar sprinkled onto fruit for a beautiful glaze. Fruit tarts or flans can be turned into delicious desserts using this technique.
10) Chocolate. Doesn't everything eventually come down to chocolate anyway? Pass over your chocolate dessert (pudding, glaze and so on) quickly to give it a lovely shiny finish.