I was catching up on the blogosphere today and found some great cooking advice from the site, the everygirl. Jennie lussow, the sites food editor, is a trained-chef with a culinary degree from kendall college. Her passion for food was always present but not until she honed her skills and graduated culinary school, did she learn some tips and tricks that all home-chefs could appreciate. So without further adieu...
1. mise in place - from the french term, “things in place". This term is all about planning and prepping your meal... having all your ingredients prepped, measured and ready to use before you start cooking your dish.
2. work flow - if you are following a recipe, read it all the way through a couple of times before you start cooking. Visualize each step, make sure you have your mise in place ready to go and know how long the recipe is going to take you to complete... before you start.
3. knife skills - The first thing they talk about on day one at culinary school is knife skills. The most important thing to have in the kitchen is a sharp chef’s knife. I also suggest taking a knife skills class to learn basic cutting techniques —dicing, mincing, slicing, julienne, etc. If you hone your knife skills, it will save you loads of time doing tedious prep work.
4. seasoning - Properly seasoned food is what separates the amateurs from the pros. I keep a small bowl of kosher salt and a pepper mill right next to my stove. Start by seasoning lightly at the beginning of the cooking process (if you wait to season at the end the food will only taste salty, not seasoned) and taste as you go. Take a small pinch of salt between your fingers and season from up high to help distribute the salt evenly over the food.
5. managing the pan - give your pan and oil enough time to reheat. If the food doesn't sizzle when you put it in the pan, take it out and give it another minute to heat up. Also, don't overcrowd the pan by putting too much food in at once. Lastly, resist the urge to constantly stir or flip your food; everything needs time to be in contact with the pan to develop the color and crust you are after.