Professional Cooking Tips! (ripped from the Interweb)
“To be a good cook you have to have a love of the good,
a love of hard work, and a love of creating.” – Julia Child
And so, here are some great professional cooking tips and tricks
that we have collected from the interweb. We love to cook!
NOTE: We learned at an early age. We had a cooking class in junior high.
We chose apartment-style living at UCSC (with a kitchen so we
could cook for ourself) instead of dormitory living and “dining-hall” food.
We are not a professional chef, but some of our cooking is pro quality.
Please check out our many recipes and other cooking related Blog Posts!
Use the links below or in the sidebar, or use the SEARCHBOX at the Top of Page.
And away we go….
ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS! (and wash them frequently while cooking)
CLEAN AND SANITIZE YOURSELF, YOUR KITCHEN, AND YOUR FOOD!
Learn about kitchen safety/sanitation and safe food storage and preparation.
Drink Coffee. Drink Water. (stay awake and alert, and always stay well hydrated)
Prevent the cutting board from slipping – place a wet paper towel underneath it.
ALWAYS USE A SHARP KNIFE!
Sharpen your knives before, clean your knives after.
Use a vegetable peeler for ultra-thin cuts and shaving.
Learn how to hold the knife properly!
Learn the proper knife technique for the type of food you are cutting!
(and there are great YouTube vids on “how to” cut up everything)
Heat your pans before cooking (so they are already HOT).
Preheat your oven for 20 minutes at temperature before cooking and baking.
Constant heat and proper temperature are necessary for professional cooking.
Baker’s Tip: Put a bowl of water inside the oven when baking.
The steam will help make a nice crispy bread crust.
Use eggs and butter at room temperature when making dough.
Take the eggs and butter out of the fridge the night before.
Caramelized sugar for baking.
Slightly frying the sugar will add a note of caramel to baked goods.
Heat sugar for one hour for a hint of caramel flavor,
or heat for up to five hours to create a deep and unique aroma and taste.
Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
Add healthy fats, cut sodium, bump up your fiber,
and aim for a variety of colors on your plate.
(but never sacrifice good food for a bad “diet”)
Cook your aromatics first.
Cook onions with salt. Add salt to reduce the smell. It will also cook them faster.
Add onions while the food is cooking.
Onions need time to develop their sweet flavor profile,
so they are one of the first ingredients to add to the pan.
NOTE: Garlic burns easily and the taste will turn bitter, so don’t add it early.
Know when to add the herbs.
Add dried herbs while cooking to enable the flavor to infuse the dish.
Fresh herbs should be added after the food is done cooking.
Fresh herbs will turn bitter if overcooked.
Use both salt and acid when seasoning.
Add the salt to your dish while you cook,
not before (and taste frequently) to avoid over-salting.
Use sugar as a seasoning.
It counteracts sour taste and will add a pleasant and rich flavor.
“The more you know, the more you can create.
There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.” – Julia Child
Add a dash of high-quality extra virgin olive oil to enhance your dish.
But don’t use olive oil in everything. Use pure vegetable oil for cooking.
Olive oil burns easily! It is not good for high-temp cooking and frying.
Brine your Meat! Brining makes for juicy meat.
Create a juicy texture and infuse rich flavor, and minimize
the chance of the meat drying out or being overcooked.
Marinate meat or fish in a plastic bag.
This ensures the meat or fish is coated evenly.
(also makes for an easy cleanup)
Cook steaks that are at room temperature and they will cook more evenly.
And not all cuts of meat take the same time to cook!
For quick cooking, choose tenderloins and steaks.
For longer and slower cooking, use a roast, brisket, or shoulder cut.
Cook steak without oil by placing it on its side when cooking.
Cooking meat on the side renders the fat and will add more flavor.
It will also create a nice crust for the edges.
Make burgers juicy by placing ice cubes in the middle of the patties.
Right before grilling, press a small piece of ice into the center of patty.
This prevents it from drying out while cooking.
Heat the saute pan to a high temperature before searing meat or fish.
Pre-heat your pan and Don’t crowd the food when searing.
High heat is needed for perfectly seared meat and fish.
Do not to crowd the pan because it will lose the high cooking heat.
Place fish in pan with the skin side down first.
The high temp will quickly sear the skin and prevent it from sticking.
Use mayonnaise on fish to get a nice tasty crust.
Paint a small amount of mayo onto the fish with a pastry brush
and then season with salt before grilling. This will make a nice golden crust.
Make scrambled eggs creamy by adding mayonnaise.
Just add a teaspoon of mayo, it won’t change the flavor of the eggs.
Use sour cream to make great pancakes.
Add 2 tablespoons of sour cream to the pancake mix.
It will make the pancakes tasty and fluffy.
Peel hard boiled eggs fast and easy!
Just add a little baking soda before you boil them.
You can also use vinegar.
Both ingredients get inside the eggshell, and will make them peel faster.
Use a large frying pan instead of a big pot when cooking pasta.
The wider area of the pan will heat the water faster.
Pick the right size pan for the amount of pasta being cooked.
Add a little olive oil and salt the pasta to taste after the water is boiling.
The salt will season the pasta.
The oil prevents the pasta from sticking and adds flavor.
Cook pasta in the sauce to finish.
The sauce will coat the noodles and they will absorb the flavor.
If the sauce is too thick, just add a little pasta water to create the thickness desired.
Dry boil potatoes before mashing.
After boiling, remove potatoes from water and place in a clean heated pan.
Make sure they don’t cook anymore. Once dry, mash them.
Make Roasted Garlic in the microwave.
Place a whole bulb of garlic in a small bowl with a little oil and water.
Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap before microwaving. Cook until the garlic is soft.
To cook a perfect egg, you will only need three things:
a thick-wall frying pan, a 1/2 tablespoon of butter, and an egg.
Cook for 4-5 minutes over a low heat. Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt.
Remember, eggs will continue to cook after being removed from the pan!
TIP: Use an egg slicer to cut and slice fruits.
Read our previous Blog Post “Fruit! Fruit! Fruit!”
“Eat, drink, and be merry!
For tomorrow we diet.”
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“Fat gives things flavor.” – Julia Child
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
“Learn how to cook! Try new recipes!
Learn from your mistakes! Be fearless! And above all have fun.”
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.
In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” – Julia Child
“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.
Enjoy the ride.” – Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain RIP (June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018)
May his memory be a blessing!