Here is where I keep all my cooking tips and “beliefs.” These are the things I find very important and very useful when cooking in general. You could say these are some of my guidelines to keep in the back of your mind at all times.
Also, keep a look out for these bright bubbles! They are tips and/or comments about a step or part in the post.
- My number one is that in most cases, recipes are only a guideline. I really want to show you that you can play around with a recipe by swapping certain ingredients to add what you like, such as switching almonds for hazelnuts in a salad, or adding dried cherries instead of dried cranberries in cookies.
*it is important to remember that while you can substitute in some cases, you must measure when baking, it is truly a science.
- Like they say, a sharp knife is the best took in the kitchen. You are more likely to get hurt if you are using a dull knife, assuming you know basic knife skills and knife safety. I find a sharp knife really makes preparing and cooking easier.
- A clean work-space is a successful work-space. I always remember when watching 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray, she would have a garbage bowl, and this is a really great tip. Use a large bowl to put scraps and garbage as you cook and prepare, and then everything is all in one spot when you go to clean up! Genius!
- When seasoning with salt and pepper I feel it is really up to the person cooking. I personally believe in liberally seasoning everything, especially with salt.
- Salt obviously adds a salty taste, but is also brings out the flavors in the food and the dish. I find it important to salt every “layer” of the dish. Like salt, acidity(lemon juice, vinegar) also brings out flavors.
- Balance of flavors is KEY: The universally recognized flavors are: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami(savory).
- It is very important to taste your dish throughout cooking, so you can constantly check on seasoning and balance of flavors. Just make sure to use a different utensil every time, no double dipping when making food for company 😛
- Dried pasta should be cooked al dente…ALWAYS. And water should be heavily salted… ALWAYS. Salting the water is the only way to season the pasta itself. Then it should go right to the sauce to finish cooking.
- A homemade vinaigrette is worth it every time. They are pretty simple but pack a ton of flavor that beats the bottled kind any day. And only dress a salad right before serving.
- When cooking meat, make sure to bring meat to room temperature before preparing, as this will result in even cooking. Always let meat rest for about 10 minutes after cooking, especially grilling. It will give the juices time to redistribute throughout the meat.
- If you want a fresh pepper or chili not so hot, remove the seeds and white membrane from the inside of the pepper or chili. This is where most of the heat resides.