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Five Cooking Tips & Tricks
Posted on September 20 2022,
Cooking is a true art form, full of tradition, generational recipes, versatility, cultural immersion, flavor, etc. As a baker, I've learned quite a few lessons + picked up on some simple tips + tricks that I wanted to share with you all that will hopefully be useful to you the next time you want to chef it up in the kitchen.
*I've included FIVE main categories with five tips under each + some links to some of my favorite items*
Always keep your knives sharp (you can't cut anything with a dull blade...I mean, you can try, but it's not going to be very fun, or quick)
Place a wet towel under your cutting board to keep it in place (will help prevent any accidents if it slides...trust me) *bamboo boards are the best*
Have a digital meat thermometer handy - every meat cooks differently - so also keep a list of the different internal temperatures so you can cook by the temp + not the time.
Mixing bowls are my best friend. Use them. Great for making dressings, cookies, sauces, tossing a salad, cake mixes, or seasoning veggies.
Everyone needs a durable cast-iron, stainless steel, saucepan + nonstick skillet in their collection. They will see you through a variety of cooking methods.
USE FRESH + SEASONAL INGREDIENTS (fresh is always best)
Don't skip herbs, they're what will help you build a nice robust flavoring in whatever you're cookin' up & don't be afraid of a little salt.
There is no such thing as too much garlic. Seriously.
ALWAYS keep extra virgin olive oil + lemons stocked in your kitchen. They are literal essentials.
Oregano + bay leaves go with everything. Rice, meats, sauces, seafood, pastas, and the list goes on. Keep it on hand.
Don't buy pita chips... buy PITA BREAD (here), slice it up with a pizza cutter, drizzle oil, sprinkle some salt, garlic, + pepper, + throw them in the oven until golden brown.
Make your own croutons. It's cheaper, healthier, + often tastier (& takes practically no time at all). Throw it on your salad or into your soup + enjoy.
Stay saucy. Find a GOOD recipe (you can tweak, if necessary, based on your tastes), + make your own tomato sauce, chocolate sauce, chili sauce, tartar sauce, pesto, etc. I can't tell you enough how much I avoid pre-made grocery store sauces. Make your own in bulk, jar it up, store properly, + voila.
Frosting can literally be made with 4 ingredients, I repeat: 4 ingredients. All you need is confectioner's sugar, whole milk, butter, + a dash of vanilla extract. Homemade frosting is oh so tasty + if you want to have a little fun with the colors, add some food coloring to change it up.
Chocolate chip cookies + home-baking are a batch made in heaven. It's a fun (and easy) cooking project to get the kids involved AND there's just nothing better than your house smelling like fresh cookies. PLUS, no extra preservatives from pre-made cookie dough. WIN-WIN.
Use a little cooking spray for measuring cups/spoons for sticky ingredients. Less mess + less waste.
You can (almost always) fix a dish if you've made a mistake. If you oversalted a soup, add some sugar + some water. If it's too fatty or rich, add a little splash of vinegar.
Keep whatever you're boiling from boiling over by laying a wooden spoon across the top. Thank me later.
Freeze flat. Whether it's ground beef, soups, sauces, etc... freeze it flat + stack. Makes you more efficient + saves space in your freezer.
Mood matters. Throw on a good playlist. Put the volume on loud. Slip on your favorite apron. Get into your groove. Feel good, cook good.
5. A mean clean:
Clean as you go, while you're cooking. It's better to wash a pot here and a pan there, than having a WHOLE stack of pots + pans to clean at the end.
To prevent cross-contamination, I like to keep two separate sponges on hand: one for the raw meats + one for everything else.
Baking soda + vinegar + hot water is super effective + will help keep your aluminum cookie sheets super clean.
Have tough grease in a pot or pan and can't get it out? Use lemon to remove it (or white vinegar if the pot/pan is still hot). The acidity hits that grease + gets it right off.
We're all guilty of throwing EVERYTHING in the disposal. Know how to make it smell super fresh? Fill an ice cube tray with a lemon wedge, water, + rock salt. Once frozen, send 'em on down the disposal. The lemon makes it smell good, the ice will knock off all the grime, + the rock salt scrubs the blades.
Hope these little tips + tricks helped you. Happy baking, my friends!