Basic Cooking Tricks Everyone Should Know
Cooking is a skill everyone should know on some level. It is what helps you survive and helps you provide your children, if you have any, with something to eat. The younger generation of the current day is lacking in that department. Many Millennials are completely unaware of cooking’s most basic rules.
Here are a few rules that everyone from novice level to five-star should know and follow:
1. Don’t Overcrowd The Pan
Pots and pans come in a variety of sizes, depending on the manufacturer. But just because one is visually perceived as ‘massive,’ does not mean it can hold a massive amount of food to cook.
The biggest problem with overcrowding the pan is the heat not distributing properly. And when your heat is not distributed properly, you run the risk of not cooking your meat through completely. If you’re cooking too much chicken at once, you might give your guests or family salmonella poisoning.
To ensure that you get the best all-around heat for anything you are cooking in a skillet, leave a few inches between each piece. It will allow an even distribution of heat and your meat will be cooked through.
2. Let Red Meat Sit
This is one rule that professionals may refer as a ‘cardinal sin’ in the cooking world. When you are cooking red meat, the biggest rule one should follow is letting the meat sit after removing it from the stove or grill. Allowing steaks to rest lets the juices distribute throughout cooking the rest of the meat. Just wraps the steaks in foil and sit them in the microwave for about 5 minutes before cutting into them.
Think of it like this: if you take a medium rare steak off the cooking surface and let in rest in foil, you’ll get the medium cook you really wanted.
3. Store Spices in The Right Location
A great deal of spices used in cooking are extremely sensitive to light. You can also count on humidity to get a few of your spices stuck to their own bottles.
If you want to extend the life of all your spices, place them is a cool and dark place away from the stove. Leaving them near a source of heat may change their original flavor.
4. Shut The Stove Off Before Eggs are Done
Overcooking eggs is one of the most common mistakes when first learning how to cook. Whatever way you choose to cook them, it is important to remember this: turn the flame off before the eggs are finished.
Don’t worry about how runny your eggs look. The heat still on the pan will make quick work of it and give you nice, fluffy eggs.
5. Chop Herbs with Salt
Herbs fly everywhere when one is chopping them to toss into a dish. If you want to maintain as much product as possible, pull a ‘sprinkle’ chef and grace the cutting board with some salt. Then you’ll have no problem chopping your fragrant herbs for that fish you’ve been looking forward to.
6. Add Salt to Boiling Pasta Water
Pasta on its own tends to not have a flavor. If you’d like to add flavor inside and out, add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt and stir until dissolved. Adding salt will stop your water from boiling for a short time, so add your pasta once the water comes back up to boiling.
A simple addition of salt will add flavor missing from most pasta dishes.
7. Use Pasta Water for Pasta Sauce
Before you drain your pasta water into the sink, set aside a single cup. Use your pasta water to add another flavor element to your sauce. At this stage, of course, is when you add in your pasta.
8. Always Keep a Few Essentials on Hand
Depending on one’s expertise in cooking, the ‘essentials’ of a pantry vary. Some of the most common you should stock up on are: extra virgin olive oil, whole grain mustard, sesame oil, vegetable oil, balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, soy sauce, and a few others.
9. Use Paper Towels to Preserve Vegetables
Preserving vegetables is difficult for even the most seasoned cook. Follow this simple trick and see your vegetables last longer: wrap your vegetables in loose paper towel, then place them into a plastic bag, like a zip-lock or glad bag.
10. Keep Onion Root Intact When Slicing
The shape of onions make them one of them most frustrating things to cut. To make it easier, slice the onion in a horizontal direction after peeling. With a vertical downward slice, you can create almost perfect pieces of minced onion.