Cooking Tips From the Pros
November 21, 2016
Home cooks probably do not have a walk-in refrigerator or morning prep crew at home to ease their kitchen chores. There are, however, many practices that professional chefs use every day that translate well to the home kitchen.
Wash your hands. That is the first, unpublished, step to every recipe. It is also a good habit to develop between steps in a recipe and before you serve the meal. Disposable gloves are an option if you change them each time you touch something new.
Read through the recipe before you begin. The better you understand the steps of the recipe, the easier it will be to follow once the heat is on.
Prepare your ingredients in advance and have them set up near your cooking area. Chefs call this mise en place (pronounced MEE-zon-plahs). Line up the necessary cooking equipment too. That way, you won’t find out when you are halfway through your sauce that you need half a cup of diced onions. You won’t have to dig through kitchen drawers for the toothpicks. You will sail through the cooking and sit down to your meal in a good mood.
Sharpen your knives. Dull knives result in bad cuts—to the food and to the cook. Dinner spent in the emergency room is memorable, just not the memory you had in mind when you planned the meal. Another tip for safe knife work: Never leave your knives in the sink. Wash them immediately, hone them on a sharpening steel and put them away.
Clean as you go. An uncluttered work area makes quick work of most tasks. But if you are up to your elbows in dirty cutting boards and bowls, you will just get frustrated.
Don't be afraid of salt and pepper. If your food tastes bland, it probably needs a little more salt. Just make sure to add it slowly and taste as you go so you don’t oversalt your food.
Invest in an instant-read thermometer. Many recipes require the cook to temp the food at some point, especially with meat items. (This is not to be confused with a meat thermometer, which is left in the roast. An instant-read thermometer takes the temperature quickly, then is removed from the food and washed.) If you have an instant-read thermometer but have not used it in a while, you may want to calibrate it before you use it again. Fill a glass half full with ice, fill it the rest of the way with water, stir the water and stick in the thermometer. When the needle stops moving, it should be on 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything else and you will need to adjust the dial to 32 by moving the screw directly under the dial head.
June 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 December 2015 August 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 June 2014