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Five Cooking Tips & Tricks

Five Cooking Tips & Tricks

Posted on September 20 2022, By: Katerina Georgallas

Five Cooking Tips & Tricks

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*

1. Tools:

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.

2. Ingredients:

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. 

3. DIY: 

Mastiha Bakery Blog DIY Make Your Own Pita Chips

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.

4. Hacks:

Measuring spoons and cups full of baking ingredients.

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:

Pots and pans. Mastiha Bakery blog.

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! 

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