Some of us may need more training with cooking to feed ourselves and the family. Having spent many years hanging around the kitchen most of us begin to learn the tricks of the trade. Chefs and personal cooks use different techniques and training to become to better in the kitchen. Here I share some handy and useful tricks that can be an asset for any home cook looking to improve his or her kitchen skills.
Preparing side dishes:
One day step out the box and try other sides beside your usual rice and potato dishes. There is farro, couscous, different color quinoas, barley etc. When cooking quinoa and couscous, toast them in dry skillet before cooking to bring out their nutty flavor. Then cook them with whatever flavors you’d like them to absorb, like chicken broth, herbs, or spices.
What to bring to a Boil and What to place into Boiling Water
If it grows below ground, such as potatoes, they should be placed in room-temperature water and brought to a boil. Whatever is grown above ground, such as beans, Brussels sprouts, etc., they should be placed in boiling water or steamed and then cooked until done.
We are always trying to lower our sodium intake. Most of the time salt is needed to bring out that little added flavor cooking to most basic recipes. Season and taste your food throughout the whole cooking process. If you only salt at the end, it’s too late.
Don’t over handle Meat:
When making meatloaf, burgers or meatballs, it’s easy to over work the meat while combining it with spices and seasonings and then shaping It., This can be one of the worst things that you can do because it will make the meat tough and flavorless. Instead, mix the meat until it’s just combined with the seasonings, trying to handle it as little as possible.
Don’t Cook Cold Meat or Fish:
Bring the meat and fish to room temperature before cooking, because if you start cooking cold food, the outside will cook much faster than the cold inside, leaving you with raw meat in the middle and overcooked meat on the outside.
Don’t Overcrowd the Pan:
When searing or browning foods like steaks, meatballs, or scallops, it’s important not to crowd the pan or it will steam the foods rather than brown them. Foods do release moisture as they cook.
Finish It in the Oven:
If something is burning on the stove or meat is browning too much on the outside, then finish it in the oven for more evenly distributed heat. I find it best to lightly grill chicken or fish on each side and then finish it in the oven. It winds up being a much juicier piece of meat that way.
Rest Meat after Cooking :
Resting meat after cooking, anywhere from 10 minutes for small cuts to 30 minutes for larger birds like turkey’s, allows the juices in the meat to redistribute, essentially dispersing wonderful flavor into the meat. If you cut too early, then all of those flavorful juices will spill out onto the cutting board.
Use a trusted resource for recipes:
Use your favorite cookbook, a recipe on the computer, or on an I Pad. No good cook is too good to look it up if they’re unsure of something, so you shouldn’t be either.
Last but not least, my motto from when I ventured out into creating my business is:
Without love, the food won’t taste good. Food doesn’t necessarily have to come from the fancy restaurants or the most expensive places to taste great. Cooking with love for others, and the simple joy of creating a meal from scratch are all at the heart of great home cooking.
Are you a person who is working 24/7, juggling between work, the family, events, and now wondering when you are going to have time to put dinner on the table. Grabbing a bite to eat at a restaurant, getting take out or reaching for that frozen dinner in the freezer isn’t always the healthiest of options. Debbie, a personal chef of Debbie’s Home Cooked Meals and is a personal cooking service. I can help those who would like to have dinner fully prepared when they arrive home. Dinner is ready and waiting for you to just heat and serve. Serving, Hunterdon, some of Mercer, some of Somerset County in New Jersey and some of Bucks County Pa.For more information come visit me at www.debbieshomecooking.com Contact me at (908-788-6873)