1. Read the recipe all the way through before beginning.
This is really true. Reading a recipe all the way through and taking time to
Put it in your own words in your head will help you not only cook a little
Better. They will teach the underlying mechanics of what is happening.
2. Its good to put dinner on the table a little late.
This is because you can start cooking with a clean work space.
This is one that I find I need to remember all the time. I will fly through a
Work day, then toss myself into the kitchen, shoving yesterdays cereal bowl
and pasta pan out of the way. It would be better to take a deep breath, clear
up and have dinner ready. But enjoy the process of making it in a more cleared
3. Set a daily time to clear out the fridge.
One of the biggest inhibitors to cooking happily and well is feeling like my
fridge has suddenly gotten out of hand. Take it in hand often, looking for
things that need to be used up or eaten.
4. use your hands.
Your hands are your first and best kitchen tool. Use your fingers to mix to knead
dough, to prod a piece of meat to check for doneness and to rub out lumps in sauces
before cooking. Your hands are the best to tool for mixing salad.
5. Cut everything the same size.
Knife skills are a big thing that people want to learn but while the focus can be on fancy
cuts or speed. The real mark of good knife skills is being able to reliably cut everything
to the same size.
6. Brown boldly.
When browning meat or vegetables, let them brown. Don't push the meat around the pan incessantly. Let it sit and sear, and maybe even char a tiny bit. That is the flavour right there. When in doubt brown a little more. You will taste it.
7. Don't leave the flavour in the pan.
When you sear meat, cook a pan of chicken in the oven, or roast the vegetables in a sheet pan.
They leave a bit of themselves behind. Don't let that go to a waste. Add a splash of water, broth or wine to help the pan scrap it up.
8. Build taste over time.
When your are working with simple ingredients, adding time to the process can elevate in the way that more expensive additions never could be.
9. Smoke is magical.
Any hint of smokies in a dish will elevate it. You can add smokies in so many ways. I like to grill meat instead of browning it, before braising or slow cooking. Smoked salt, even roasting peppers over your stove burners.
10. Pay attention to how things smell.
I think that we all are pretty well acquainted with smell of scorched cookies. Its about smelling burnt things. If you pay attention you can tell by smell when a stock is rich enough or when potatoes have browned enough in the oven.
11. Season early, then add more as needed.
Its best to season early so the salt, spices or herbs can cook with the beans, meat and vegetables. Season your chicken with a quick brine, sprinkle the Brussels sprouts with salt before they crisp up in the oven. Then taste and add more before serving as needed.
12. Take full responsibility for how your food tastes.
A recipe is only a guide and especially when it comes to savory dishes like pasta, soup and salad. Taste as you go and adjust with more salt, pepper and other seasonings as you go to suit your taste.
13. After salt add acid.
Squeeze in lemon or a dash of plain white vinegar. Its amazing how thus can brighten and sharpen all the other flavours.
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