Cooking for pleasure doesn’t have to be equal to cooking professionally. You can still have a grand experience cooking at home, make gourmet-level food without investing into a variety of expensive pro appliances. Here are a few useful tips from an amateur chef on how to make your cooking process simpler, safer and more fun.
- Knives. It does sound like an oxymoron, but a safe knife is a sharp knife. It is actually much easier to cut yourself with a blunt kitchen tool, and besides, simply knowing that your knife is sharp will make you more careful. So yep, keep them nice and sharp.
- Placing a wet towel under a cutting board will prevent it from moving. This way you can cut and carve at your pleasure. If you have a flexible rubber mat, you can use that instead.
- Have you seen how cooks on fancy TV shows about cooking carry the products they’ve just chopped on the flat surface of their knives? Well, it’s not just for the show. This way, you keep your hands clean (and you know how hard it is to get your hands free after that chopped garlic smell) and it’s simply faster.
- A used wine bottle can make an excellent rolling pin if you don’t have one.
- Ziplock bags are excellent for marinating. Try placing your pork chops into one next time! If you have a kitchen vacuum – even better. Marinating food in vacuum is times faster.
- You do love that wooden cutting board, don’t you? It’s not just comfy, it’s a great part of your kitchen decor. Well, you may want to wrap it up in plastic next time you use it, if you want it to keep shape for a longer time.
- Glass surfaces and salt are your knives’ worst enemies.
- You can use chopsticks or any utensil handle to squeeze out the last of ketchup or mayo from a plastic bag.
- Did you know that you can make excellent, fluffy milk foam for cappuccino in a… french press? Yes, simply by beating the milk with the press for a minute? Well, now you know.
- You broke an egg into a boal and see a tiny eggshell chip? the easiest way to pull it out is scoop it up with the rest of the shell and let the liquid back out.
- If you don’t want to get sprayed and blistered by hot oil, place the things you fry in an away from yourself direction, when you put them on the frying pan.
- Who doesn’t love a golden brown crust on fried… anything? If you want one, put the stuff you fry over a low heat and leave it alone for a while. Just don’t even touch it. No, no stirring either. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, that’s all.
- When you pour oil over water in a pan, it will most probably shoot in different directions. Even if there are just a few runaway drops of said water. So if you don’t want blisters on your face, make sure your frying pan is dry before cooking.
- Mixing two kinds of oil prevents oil from burning. For instance, vegetable oil and olive oil.
- You may want to invest some time into learning how to strip and carve a whole chicken. This way, instead of buying chicken breast and then buying only wings and then only legs, you can save a whole lot of money buying whole chickens and carving them up for cooking.
- There are only two ways to have your meat soft and tender. Express-fast frying or super-slow stewing.
- If you want your meat crispy-fried and browned, don’t put too many pieces on the pan at the same time, otherwise, the juices will prevent it from getting that lovely crispiness.
Sauces and seasonings
- Mix soft butter, herbs and garlic well, place in an ice-cube form or simply wrap up in plastic and keep in a freezer, taking some when you need it.
- Do you like chunky, crispy, KFC-style deep-fried chicken? Add some ground oatmeal to your mix of bread crumbs and flour when you make it.
- If you want to control how hot your hot pepper kinds are, leave more (or fewer) seeds inside when you cook, because that’s where the hot flavor comes from.
- You have probably heard of MSG or monosodium glutamate and industrial flavor enhancers it’s used in. Yes, one of the main reasons why various junk food tastes so good. Well, now you can make a safer version at home! Mix about equal amounts of sugar and salt with water, tasting it. You have it when you can’t say exactly whether the water is sweet or salty. Use a syringe to put the mixture into meats to bring out the flavor.
- Add herbs to your oil. Rosemary, cumin, oregano, hot chilli peppers. The oil in your bottle will look much cozier and prettier and well, you’ll have a ready-made dressing for any occasion.
- Place a mixture of herbs into a form for ice and pour extra virgin olive oil into it. Keep it in a freezer. Next time you need to add a bit of flavor to a stir fry or a soup – use one of them.
- The best way to bring out the flavors in any spices or herbs is to mix them with oil. that’s why when you fry something, the first thing that goes into the oil is always herbs and spices.
- The simplest and fastest marinade for chicken wings: soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey, pepper.
- If you’re cooking a cold shake or sauce and can’t lick a spoon or take a sip to taste-test it, just drop a little liquid on your thumb.
- Dark spots on your frying pan after cooking isn’t something ugly. It’s sugars from the products you fry and if you simply add a bit of water and stir fry veggies in the mixture, you’ll add a great flavor to them.
Let us know if you try any of these life hacks and how it goes. Or maybe you have some of your own? we would be glad if you share them!