Basic Kitchen Tips

Here are some basic kitchen tips I’ve learned over the years.  Just some random things I thought you might find interesting.

  • It’s best to use kosher salt for cooking and sea salt for finishing.
  • Don’t ever use your good knives on glass, ceramic or granite.  Use on wooden or plastic cutting boards.  Don’t forget to wash and sanitize those boards and have separate ones for meat/chicken and fresh veggies.  Some people color code the boards.
  • If you have a convection oven, it’s important to realize that it runs about 50 degrees hotter than conventional.
  • The OXO brand of vegetable peeler is awesome!
  • To keep your cutting board from slipping, place a rubber mat or towel underneath it.
  • To get the peel off tomatoes, take out the core on top with a paring knife and score an “X” on the other end.  Blanch in boiling water for a couple minutes and the skin will slip right off.  If it’s a beefsteak tomato, you can cut it in half and squeeze upside down to get a lot of the seeds out. (after peeling)
  • It’s best to salt your food towards the end of cooking because the concentration and reduction of liquid can intensify the salty taste.
  • Want your cooked veggies to be beautiful and brightly colored?  Blanch the veggies in boiling water for a couple of minutes and then plunge into ice water. This technique locks in the color and the nutrients.  You can then finish cooking them to your liking or add to other ingredients.
  • If you’re making a sauce in a saute pan, add a couple pats of butter at the end of cooking to make the sauce taste rich and silky.
  • When making soups, it’s best to add the cooked meat (like chicken) and the cooked starch (like pasta and rice) to the soup just before serving to avoid over-cooking the ingredients.
  • When cooking pasta, cook in salted water until al dente and then remove from pot and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.  Drain and serve with sauce immediately.  If you need to hold the pasta for a while, stir in a little oil to keep it from drying out.  Do NOT let it hang out in water.  It gets fat and mushy!

 

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