My Grandmother always hammered into my brain to:
“Never stop learning. Always keep your mind, and heart, open to new things you can learn from the people around you.”
Here are just a few things about the kitchen I’ve learned over the years.
- Clean as you go!
You will always work better and more efficiently if you clean up after yourself as you go along. Don’t keep dishes piled up in the sink to add to the dishwasher when you’re done. Lay a kitchen towel out and hand-wash *gasp* yes, hand wash, as you go along.
- Never put your kitchen knives in the dishwasher.
Butter knives don’t count, but if you have really nice/sharp steak knives, I’d apply the rule there too. You will dull them out, and even rust them.
- The smaller the garlic clove, the more potent it is!
- Don’t be afraid to freeze things.
We throw out and waste so much food these days.. Freeze it! Pizza and pasta sauces, pestos, soups, even bread. Also cooked bacon, cook the whole pack and freeze the extra slices. Just make sure your freezer is at the correct temperature for the type of freezer you have. Every appliance is different.
- Parchment paper is your friend.
Cut the extra oil by laying a piece down for baking. Get your cakes out of the pan without them sticking by cutting a piece to fit the bottom. Don’t worry about using flour to roll out your shortcrust, put it between two pieces of paper – this will keep the pastry flakey and buttery.
- You can always add salt later, but you can’t take it out.
Salt is actually really bad for you, no matter how good it tastes, and it can ruin your food if you add too much. I am a firm believer of seasoning your food, but leave some salt for the table.
- Hard Boiled Eggs take exactly 8min
Boil the water first, add eggs one at a time with a ladle so you don’t break them, and pull them out at exactly 8min. Then run COLD water over them to stop them from cooking more.
- Perfectly Poached Eggs
The key is shallow water and a splash of vinegar… You only need about 2-3in of water to poach an egg, it helps the egg not have too much room to swim around in. And the vinegar helps the whites set more quickly. 4min, at a simmer, will give you the perfect poached egg.
- Storing Herbs
The best way to store herbs is wrapped in a damp paper towel inside a plastic bag.
- Room Temperature Meat
If you want your meat to cook more evenly, let it get to room temperature before putting it on the stove or in the oven.
- Above or Below Ground
If its grown underground, put it in the water and then boil it. (potatoes etc)
If its grown above ground, boil and then put it in the water. (corn etc)
- Don’t Overcrowd your Pan
Many times we are in too much of a hurry to correctly brown our mushrooms, or sweat our onions.. By over crowding your pan, you run the risk of making things mushy and not getting fully covered in the flavors we all love so much.
- Caramelizing Onions
Most people have the misconceived notion that you can caramelize onions in a good 10min. Wrong. To properly caramelize onions they need at least 45min in the pan, on medium-low (depending on the strength of your stovetop.
I could really go on and on with this, but I will save some for another day 🙂