Cooking & Recipes

9 Best-Kept Chef’s Secrets

March 19, 2013
9 Best-Kept Chef’s Secrets

 

Want to cook like a pro? Go from Rookie to Master Chef? Read on for 9 top-secret tips we managed to wrangle out of some of the most experienced Chefs around! Avoid problems and master the kitchen with these easy to implement words of wisdom.
 
1.       Baked bacon
Because bacon gets all crinkled up when you cook it stovetop, try placing half a pound on a large baking sheet with sides, and bake it in your 375 degree preheated oven. Not only will you find it cooks perfectly even, but it comes out much flatter.
 
2.       Time the salting
Timing is everything. Keep in mind what happens when you add salt. If you toss it in right away when you are sautéing veggies; it pulls out the water and they get soggy and steam; instead of getting that deep, flavorful caramelization.
 
3.       Pre-heat your meat
Bring the temperature of your meats up to just above room temperature before cooking. It makes it easier and quicker to cook through. Keep in mind food safety, and don’t leave it lying around on your counter. Put it in a plastic bag and place in warm water to quickly and safely raise the temperature just before you cook it.
 
4.       Veggie CPR
Did your veggies wilt on you? No problem. Toss them into ice-water for a quick and penetrating bath that will bring them back to life!
 
5.       Protect your fingers.
Don’t whack off your fingers! When cutting awkward shaped foods like mushrooms, cut them in half first to get a flat side, rest it on that, and then proceed to chop away.
 
6.       Temper your plates
Avoid the rookie mistake of dishing out warm foods onto cold plates or cold foods onto warm plates! Adjust the temperature of your plates to match what you are serving and bring out the pizzazz in your meals!
 
7.       Don't overcrowd the pan
To get the best flavors from your foods, don’t overload your pan! Dumping it all in at once makes the temperature hit all time low and leaves your foods to cook for longer periods, making them lose taste as the minutes tick past. You want to try and caramelize foods rather than steaming and boiling them. Try to cook in a single layer, and cook in batches if you have to.
 
8.       Cushion your cutting board
Safety matters, and having your cutting board slip can be annoying to say the least, and painful if you stab your fingers! Using a bigger, heavier, wooden cutting board can help keep it in place. Also try putting a tea towel underneath to add some cushion for your heavier duty jobs.
 
9.       Zap Citrus Fruits
Zap citrus fruits like lemons or limes for 15 seconds in the microwave before squeezing. The fruit will yield twice as much juice, and the flavor is more potent. Also try poking a hole in the citrus to only squeeze out the amount you need...and save the rest for later!
 
10.   Ok...Ok...Sample as you cook.
I know this was supposed to be a list of nine tips, but the best one of all is this: Use your mouth! Taste a dish a minimum of three times during the cooking process, adjusting the seasonings along the way.
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