The Food Network recently published a list of 100 Greatest Cooking Tips (of all time!). The tips were collected from the stars of their TV shows, chefs and cookbook authors. Some of the tips are recipe-specific, but some are general tips that will make you say, “Hey, I’ll need to remember that.”
I’ve chosen a few that I think are great, but you’ll want to head over to the full list and read them. There will be plenty that you’ll appreciate.
Tip: Remember, y'all, it’s all about the prep. Take away the stress by doing the prep the night or day before. You'll look like a star. (Paula Deen)
Why I love it: It’s right on the money. Prepping ahead saves time and stress when cooking a quick weeknight meal or an entire dinner party’s worth of food. If you do it ahead of time, you’ll also know if you’re missing an important ingredient and be able to run out and get it.
Tip: Take the time to read recipes through before you begin. (John Besh)
Why I love it: Have you ever gotten ready to make a new recipe for dinner and realized you should have marinated something several hours ago, or that you didn’t realize one of the steps would take an hour to do? I’ve done that many times, and I’ve had to give up on that recipe and scramble for something else. A quick, but thorough, reading of the recipe would have saved me the hassle.
Tip: When you're browning meat, you should blot the surface dry with a paper towel so the meat doesn't release moisture when it hits the hot oil. Too much moisture makes the meat steam instead of sear, and you will lose that rich brown crust. (Charlie Palmer)
Why I love it: I just learned this last weekend when making a recipe from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” I tested it out, too. I blotted dry half of the meat I was browning and left the other half unblotted. Sure enough, the blotted meat browned much better.
Tip: Fresh basil keeps much better and longer at room temperature with the stems in water. (Elisabeth Prueitt)
Why I love it: I love this because it works. When you buy fresh herbs from the store, they can brown and wilt quickly in the refrigerator. I’ve seen basil keep for two weeks in a cup of fresh water.
Tip: Shoes off, music on, favorite beverage in hand — enjoy your time in the kitchen. (Claire Robinson)
Why I love it: This is how I cook (well, maybe slippers on instead of bare feet in winter). I have an under-the-counter radio/CD player right above my prep area, and the cabinet is full of CD’s that I like to cook to (Van Morrison, Nick Drake, The Gaddabouts and the “Sleepless in Seattle” soundtrack are a few off the top of my head that I can remember.) I also love to drink a glass of wine while I cook dinner, but since I’ve been on Weight Watchers, I’ve switched from wine to ice water with lemon — in a wine glass. I save the wine to drink with my meal.
Tip: Cook with other people who want to learn or who know how to cook. (Laurent Gras)
Why I love it: Cooking with other people is fun. Cook with kids, your significant other, parents, friends, grandparents, neighbors … even if your kitchen is small.