When you cook with love, those around you take notice. Though most wish they were better skilled in the kitchen, it does not come naturally for everyone. However, with the tips and tricks outlined here, you can expand on what you already know, and take your cooking to the next level.
Ensure that you are getting the most out of your chef’s knife by holding it properly during use. The thumb and the index finger should be on either side of the blade, at the point where it meets the handle. This will give the ultimate in control, when slicing through ingredients.
Learn to use your hands when cooking (after washing them thoroughly first of course!). Hands are the most sensitive yet versatile cooking utensil you will own. They can be used for mixing, measuring and testing whether a product is cooked enough. A cake, for example, will show that it is done by springing back when touched lightly with a finger on its top.
Change from ordinary table salt when cooking, to sea salt or kosher salt. The latter will add a much better flavor to the recipe. While it is important not to over-salt food for health reasons, leaving salt out of a recipe altogether can result in a meal that tastes bland. So seek a middle ground when using this seasoning.
Ensure that your baked fish is moist and tender by cooking “en papillote”. This is a French technique that refers to fish baked in a parchment-paper packet. Place the fish and vegetables of your choice in the center of a large piece of parchment-paper. Bring the edges of the paper together, crease them tightly to form a seal, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees. The fish and vegetables steam in the packet, keeping them moist and tender, and creating a tasty, healthy dish. (Clean-up is just as easy – simply throw away the paper after eating!)
To reduce the fat and calories in a recipe that calls for a lot of mayonnaise, simply replace half the mayonnaise with sour cream. Since mayonnaise serves primarily a textural purpose in many of these recipes, replacing it with similarly textured sour cream gives you the same texture with a lighter, healthier taste.
After you have cooked mashed potatoes, make sure that you return them to the hot pan so that they can steam for the next ten minutes. This will allow for the potatoes to dry out so that you can get a rich texture when you are applying your milk and butter.
Learn some proper knife-work techniques to make your time in the kitchen safer, more productive, and more enjoyable. Proper cutting techniques not only help to ensure safety in the kitchen, but food cut properly and uniformly looks better (which of course makes it tastes better!) and cooks more evenly. Stop cutting off your fingertips and burning half of the French fries with proper cutting skills!
Do you enjoy flavoring your food with fresh basil? Try placing clumps of fresh basil into a clear, glass container. Fill the glass with water till the stems are covered. Put it on top of your kitchen counter and it will be fresh for weeks! Change the water once in awhile, and before long roots will even form on the basil. You can encourage the basil’s growth even further by trimming it back from time to time, keeping it fresh and healthy even longer.
Impress those you care about with your new-found cooking skills. With a bit of effort, some trial and error, and the tips provided in this article, you can take your cooking up a notch. Time in the kitchen should be enjoyed. Use what you have learned, and go cook up a storm.