11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

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MaryMiller
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11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by MaryMiller » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:07 am

Every time my father comes to eat at home, he tells me that he learns something new in the kitchen, some little trick or advice, apparently silly, but that helps him a lot at home. The funny thing is that the same thing happens to me when I go to yours and gossip while cooking, so I tried to gather all that mini wisdom in these 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Some will seem like silly advice to you and others will be obvious to you, but I am sure you will find a few that will appear to you to be revealing, and with that I am satisfied. Also, since I am not omniscient, I am convinced that you will have much more to contribute in the comments. Ah! And they are not in order of importance, but as I have come to mind.

1. Sharpen your knives

Because there is nothing more hateful (and dangerous) than trying to cut with knives without sharpening. So stick with a good sharpener or, better yet, have them sharpen a professional from time to time. You'll see how wonderful.

2. Always use extra virgin olive oil


Because of the difference in price, you get an oil of a very superior quality, which better withstand temperatures and the passage of time, is healthier and, well, it is much more good and tasty. And if it is new harvest, I will not tell you.

3. Buy quality salt


Skimming salt does not make sense. Even the most expensive salt has a negligible impact on the cost of a meal, and it does not change a salad, a toast or a piece of meat with a quality flake salt.

4. Freeze the bread already cut into slices

And so you can defrost the right amount and directly in the toaster. There is nothing like a good bread toast in the morning without having to go down to buy the bread or have to thaw an entire bar.

5. Clear your kitchen bench

Unintentionally, we tend to accumulate things on the countertop. Boats, toasters, microwaves, coffee machines, choppers, blenders ... we have so many things in the kitchen that we just have to peel and cut potatoes in a corner. Clear your kitchen, save everything you do not use daily and work much more at ease.

6. Have a (good) skillet just for the potato tortillas

Unless you like to stick or directly do not prepare tortillas, this is my advice: a good pan only and exclusively for the potato tortilla. I even dare say you do not scrub it and just clean it with some kitchen paper. Hand of Santo.

7. Tune your salads in order

First the salt, then the vinegar and finally the oil. If we start with the oil, it will create a film around the lettuce and prevent salt and vinegar from doing their job well.

8. When making pasta, wait to pour the salt until the water begins to boil

Salt water has a higher boiling point and a higher specific heat, so it will take longer and it will spend more energy to heat it than if we add it when it boils.

9. Store chicken broth and fish in ice cubes


These small doses are perfect to give a blow of flavor to all types of sauces and creams without having to prepare a broth ex Profession.

10. When making broth, make more

So you can save it for future uses, like the one mentioned in the previous step, or to make rich dishes like baked rice, Arroz a banda ... and a lot more rice.

11. When making white rice, provided that

White rice can be stored in the refrigerator for several days and used to bring salads to life, vegetables to the wok, accompanying meats and fish.

dAviD
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by dAviD » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:13 pm

Excellent advice.

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jbart65
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by jbart65 » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:14 pm

No. 5 is the biggest for me. My family knows I won't cook if anything is on my breakfast that I use for prep. Or if anything is in the sink. I like cooking with a, well, clean slate.
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ckreef
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by ckreef » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:42 pm

#2 - I have to strongly disagree with this one. Once EVOO starts to burn even a little it becomes very acrid and stale tasting. EVOO is only good for a finishing oil put into already cooked items to impart an extra flavor layer. I almost never use EVOO.

#5 totally agree. I always want to start in a totally cleared down/clean kitchen/workspace. Since I do almost all of the cooking that means my wife and son are responsible for cleaning. Pisses me off when I come home from work to cook dinner and my workspace isn't totally clean and ready to go.

jmcnelly85
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by jmcnelly85 » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:28 pm

I love hearing other cooks strategies, and I love dissenting opinions. I don't follow 8, I apply a "salt early, not often strategy to everything. I don't follow 3 necessarily, I use mortons kosher for everything. I think consistent salt helps "finger measure" more accurately and it's easier to properly season with the same salt, (cheap or good) compared to using different boutique salts. I will add the caveat of "if all you use is boutique" it's fine; however, it'd be a shame to use a beautiful, expensive salt just for pasta water. I also rarely use EVOO, cheap veg/canola, rendered animal fat, and sesame are some of my go-tos. EVOO works better as an ingredient than a cooking oil in my eyes.

loco_food_guy
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by loco_food_guy » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:04 pm

1) Agreed. Not just dangerous but physically fatiguing. Try cutting a couple cases of glove artichokes with a dull knife. It wears your body down. A dull knife requires so much more effort/pressure applied to the knife in order to cut through what ever you are cutting.
2) Not for everything but definite for a lot of things. If you haven't deep fried in EVOO give it a try. The flavor it imparts into the food is amazing. Do not use your top shelf EVOO for this.
3) Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt is what I have used in almost every restaurant I have worked in. Finishing salts (larger crystal size, flake, flavored are great for specific purposes.
4) Wrap bread well if you are going to freeze it. Freezers dry and burn bread. Use if fresh or turn into breadcrumbs.
5) Always work clean. A cluttered counter is just harder to work in. Not just with tools you don't use regularly or aren't needed for the task at hand but with the actual products you are using. You don't need every ingredient for a meal on your counter at one time. pull what you need. Prep, put away or place somewhere that isn't blocking further work and move onto the next product.
6) I don't have any pans that are just used for 1 item unless they are made specifically for one item like a comal for corn and flour tortillas. Otherwise they ultimately get used for other things. I always wish I had new pans for crepes but I never do.
7) I usually make the vinaigrette separately and then mix with greens etc. However I don't think that if you started with the oil it would have a detrimental effect on your salad. Besides if I were to add oil first I wouldn't mix the greens with the oil and then move onto the vinegar. If you keep mixing your tender greens after you add each ingredient your going to bruise the greens.
8) Not really. Try this side by side in equal sized pots with equal amounts of water on the same heat and your probably not going to notice enough of a difference to matter.
going to do this right now for shits an giggles. Plus adding salt to boiling water sometimes causes a boil over.
9) I wouldn't do this but not a bad idea.
10) I tend to always make for broth. Always nice to have more broth on hand. additionally starting a broth stock with stock or broth to begin with instead of water creates a much better finished product.
11) I tend to cook extra rice when I cook it to have extra lying around for fried rice.

ChefJeff
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by ChefJeff » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:30 pm

#2 - Cooking with EVOO imparts an olive oil flavor to the food. Great for some but not everyone likes the flavor of olives or olive oil. For this reason and its higher smoke point, I use Pure grade for cooking, saving the good EVOO for drizzling.

BillyKitchen
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by BillyKitchen » Thu May 18, 2017 3:22 am

EVOO is not worth it for the most part. If you are doing any marinates or using it for a small drizzle then it is okay, but for cooking it burns too fast and impacts the taste of the food too much IMO. I prefer to use cheaper, pressed olive oil for cooking and save the expensive stuff for special dishes.

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ken123
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by ken123 » Wed May 31, 2017 8:13 pm

I agree evoo for drizzling, etc. Regular olive oil for frying, etc.

I also use peanut oil for frying (higher dmoke point )

Favorite oil is avacado oil. If it were cheaper, would use it more. Magnificent taste on salads, of course on avacados. Superb massage oil.

Surprisingly high smoke point. Fine to sear, saute, but too expensive to fry with :( Easily digestible too.

I use olive oil mostly. Grapeseed oil has a neutral taste. I use it snd ghee mostly for Indian dishes.

---
Ken

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ken123
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by ken123 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:58 am

I think one of the most important things that go towards making one a better cook / chef is the willingness to try new foods. If the foods you eat are narrow, so are your horizons for making good recipes.

Try all kinds of veggies, even tofu, kale etc as well as liver, oysters clams raw fish etc etc. Even tripe. You might pass on various insects, eating pets and primates etc ... We all have our limits.

---
Ken

appleward91
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by appleward91 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:21 am

i have never tried to freeze bread, does this really work? where has this advice been my whole life?

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STPepper9
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by STPepper9 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:26 am

ken123 wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:58 am
I think one of the most important things that go towards making one a better cook / chef is the willingness to try new foods. If the foods you eat are narrow, so are your horizons for making good recipes.
---
Ken
+1
Excellent point Ken

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Kit Craft
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by Kit Craft » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:24 am

appleward91 wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:21 am
i have never tried to freeze bread, does this really work? where has this advice been my whole life?
My grandmother froze bread all of the time. It keeps but I would not say it taste the same after. Better than stale but not as good as fresh. Personally, I bake my own bread daily. Haven't much of a choice with a European wife who is used to fresh bread with a nice hard crust. No such thing is sold around these parts. All soft bread here.

appleward91
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by appleward91 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:43 pm

Kit Craft wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:24 am
appleward91 wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:21 am
i have never tried to freeze bread, does this really work? where has this advice been my whole life?
My grandmother froze bread all of the time. It keeps but I would not say it taste the same after. Better than stale but not as good as fresh. Personally, I bake my own bread daily. Haven't much of a choice with a European wife who is used to fresh bread with a nice hard crust. No such thing is sold around these parts. All soft bread here.
Sounds rustic, freshly baked bread from your local hole in the wall bakery hah. I too would bake my own bread if i knew the first thing about it. I get freshly baked french bread as well, but deff looking to get into breads more, i love the whole aura of fresh loaf of bread *yes I'm weird haha.

mdl130
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by mdl130 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:46 am

Kit Craft wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:24 am
appleward91 wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:21 am
i have never tried to freeze bread, does this really work? where has this advice been my whole life?
My grandmother froze bread all of the time. It keeps but I would not say it taste the same after. Better than stale but not as good as fresh. Personally, I bake my own bread daily. Haven't much of a choice with a European wife who is used to fresh bread with a nice hard crust. No such thing is sold around these parts. All soft bread here.
I am an advocate for freezing bread. I love buttered toast in the morning. I have been buying this sourdough pullman from a guy at the farmer's market and take 3/4 of it and immediately slice and place in the freezer. I can't tell the difference after I toast it. I always freeze fresh bagels that I won't eat within 24 hours (I live in NYC and get awesome bagels). I slice the bagels and then freeze them in individual sandwich bags. I defrost them the way my dad taught me. 20 seconds in the microwave followed by the toaster.

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Kit Craft
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by Kit Craft » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:04 pm

mdl130 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:46 am
Kit Craft wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:24 am
appleward91 wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:21 am
i have never tried to freeze bread, does this really work? where has this advice been my whole life?
My grandmother froze bread all of the time. It keeps but I would not say it taste the same after. Better than stale but not as good as fresh. Personally, I bake my own bread daily. Haven't much of a choice with a European wife who is used to fresh bread with a nice hard crust. No such thing is sold around these parts. All soft bread here.
I am an advocate for freezing bread. I love buttered toast in the morning. I have been buying this sourdough pullman from a guy at the farmer's market and take 3/4 of it and immediately slice and place in the freezer. I can't tell the difference after I toast it. I always freeze fresh bagels that I won't eat within 24 hours (I live in NYC and get awesome bagels). I slice the bagels and then freeze them in individual sandwich bags. I defrost them the way my dad taught me. 20 seconds in the microwave followed by the toaster.
I suppose if you toast it but I like to eat it with a sliver of real butter without toasting. :) It isn't that it is very different but I can tell it was not baked that morning and when you can bake it every morning there is no need to freeze it. :) If you can't do so, then I understand.

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Altadan
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by Altadan » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:00 pm

Kit Craft wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:04 pm
mdl130 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:46 am
Kit Craft wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:24 am


My grandmother froze bread all of the time. It keeps but I would not say it taste the same after. Better than stale but not as good as fresh. Personally, I bake my own bread daily. Haven't much of a choice with a European wife who is used to fresh bread with a nice hard crust. No such thing is sold around these parts. All soft bread here.
I am an advocate for freezing bread. I love buttered toast in the morning. I have been buying this sourdough pullman from a guy at the farmer's market and take 3/4 of it and immediately slice and place in the freezer. I can't tell the difference after I toast it. I always freeze fresh bagels that I won't eat within 24 hours (I live in NYC and get awesome bagels). I slice the bagels and then freeze them in individual sandwich bags. I defrost them the way my dad taught me. 20 seconds in the microwave followed by the toaster.
I suppose if you toast it but I like to eat it with a sliver of real butter without toasting. :) It isn't that it is very different but I can tell it was not baked that morning and when you can bake it every morning there is no need to freeze it. :) If you can't do so, then I understand.
I often imagine the many immigrants who crossed the Atlantic over the centuries never included among their host a baker. All the bakers were too heavily encrusted into their stone ovens that they never felt the need to leave Europe and come here.
Stone ovens here were too much, apparently.

keithmarder
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by keithmarder » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:44 pm

I agree with the irony of #1. A dull knife is more dangerous

Nmiller21k
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by Nmiller21k » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:25 pm

I don't Allow EVOO into the kitchen unless it's from
https://www.freshpressedoliveoil.com

This is one of the most faked and ripped off food groups in America
And none of the major brands come close to real.

EVOO isn't for cooking it's a finishing oil
Smoke point is too low to cook with and once you get good stuff you won't want to waste it.

gladius
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Re: 11 tips to be a better cook (if it fits)

Post by gladius » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:36 pm

Nmiller21k wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:25 pm
I don't Allow EVOO into the kitchen unless it's from
https://www.freshpressedoliveoil.com

This is one of the most faked and ripped off food groups in America
And none of the major brands come close to real.

EVOO isn't for cooking it's a finishing oil
Smoke point is too low to cook with and once you get good stuff you won't want to waste it.
---
What type oil does your restaurant use for cooking?

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