Be a Kitchen Expert! 15 Tricks and Tips You Should Know
Seasoning steak, cleaning greens, and other kitchen tips to help you cook like a pro.
Unless you're a seasoned chef or have clocked in hours and hours of working in the kitchen, chances are, there are some cooking tricks that you don't know about. We offer some tips to make cooking and working in your kitchen way easier:
1. Smell seafood before purchasing it.
It should smell like the ocean at high tide in the morning-mild and fresh, not muddy or sulfuric. Buy clams and mussels with shells slightly open. To ensure freshness, tap them carefully and watch if the shells slowly close.
2. To check the freshness of eggs, drop them in a pan of cool salted water.
If it sinks, it's fresh. If it floats, it's rotten; discard it immediately.
3. Make stock out of bones and vegetables before throwing them away.
Combine all ingredients in a pot, add water, and bring to a boil. You can use this as a base for soups and sauces.
4. When searing or browning meat, pat its surface dry with paper towels.
Excess moisture will steam it instead of searing its surface.
5. Season steaks with salt only when you're about to start cooking.
Seasoning ahead of time will draw out the meat's juices and make it dry.
6. To clean greens easily, soak them first in a bowl of cold water.
Stir then let stand for a few minutes. Scoop them out and check the water. Repeat until water is clean and no dirt or residue remains.
7. Instead of individual bowls, use muffin pans or bento boxes for no-fuss mise en place.
8. Use an egg slicer to evenly slice fruits like strawberries, kiwis, and bananas. You can also do the same with semi-soft cheeses.
9. Use a bamboo steamer to store vegetables like garlic, onions, and potatoes that need to be stored in a cool, dry place with good air circulation.
10. Store spices in a cool, dark place and not near your stove. Light and heat WILL cause SPICES to lose their flavor.
11. MULTITASKING IS KING! If you need to use onions or garlic for three days throughout the week, prepare all that you'll need on the first day. Just store the other portions, submerged in oil, until you need them again.
12. To smoothen icing on a cake, dip a knife in warm water and gently run it over the top and the sides. Use this same trick to make clean cake and bar slices.
13. Keep fried food crisp after cooking by allowing it to rest on a wire rack. Don't place it immediately on a plate.
14. When serving beverages, use ice cubes made out of the same liquid. This way, THEY won't water down your drink.
15. Keep a damp, folded cloth under your bowl when mixing cake batter, icings, or whipping any liquid. This will keep your bowl from slipping and moving in different directions.
Tips featured originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Yummy magazine. Photos by Miguel Nacianceno (bamboo steamer and Korean-style chicken)