If you enjoy cooking and entertaining guests, a few chef tips will go a long way in taking your dishes from great to unforgettable. Not only that but knowing the tricks used by seasoned chefs can also help you to get the most out of your prep time, allowing your kitchen processes to flow better. Let’s stir the pot and get the low-down on chef tips.
If you enjoy Mexican food, incorporate the flavour profiles of tomato, oregano, chilli powder, jalapeno, cumin, and fresh coriander (known as cilantro in the US). Tortillas are marvelous with these flavours, as are tacos. Add a little guacamole and sangria and you have yourself a fiesta!
“You can never have enough garlic. With enough garlic, you can eat the New York Times”
Many of the spices and flavour enhancers we use in the kitchen can stain our hands, or cause a strong, lingering odour to cling to them. While garlic enhances many meals, it does have its drawbacks. If you dislike the smell that’s left on your hands after cooking and working with garlic, we’ve got a top tip for you! Simply rub your hands against some stainless steel, like a sink, and your hands will be odour-free.
Recently baked up a storm in the kitchen, and made the perfect cake? Keep your cake looking beautiful and pristine, even when cut into slices, with this easy-peasy tip. Warm your cake-cutting knife before you use it. You can warm it by running it under hot water. The knife will slide into your cake and give you a smooth cut.
Don’t be afraid of heating things up! If you are looking for a sear, you need to bring on high levels of heat. Without a smoking-hot pan, it will be close to impossible to achieve a crispy, caramelized browning on your meat. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan, or risk it cooling down too much. Oil your meat rather than the pan, and don’t feel tempted to turn your meat too often, this will cause it to lose valuable juices. Let it sear properly on each side. Rest is also essential when it comes to cooking meat. When you take your steak off of a hot grill, remember to let it sit for five minutes for the most mouthwatering flavour!
Cooking is an art more than a science – so get comfortable with replacing ingredients with similar ones that you like. If you like oregano, then use it even if the recipe says to use thyme. Chives can be used in place of onions if you dislike strong flavours, and cilantro can replace parsley, but at the end of the day you need to experiment and find what works best for you. Recipes are only a guideline, after all, and the food is just another opportunity to showcase your uniqueness and personal preferences.
Keep an onion together while dicing and chopping by keeping the root intact – do not remove it. For the sweetest caramelised onions, get it done quickly by cooking them in a pan over medium heat with a little olive oil or butter. Remember, to get the onion smell off your hands, rub your hands against some stainless steel.
If you are planning to bake, take your eggs and butter out of the fridge about an hour before, or while you assemble the rest of the ingredients. The even temperatures allow ingredients to combine more effectively, making for finished goods with a lighter texture. Room temperature eggs also whip up larger than cold eggs.
On the other hand, it is always important to rest pastry in the ‘fridge after making it – this makes for flakier pastry, and prevents shrinkage when you bake and will help keep tarts in shape. If you are baking cookies, your dough should also be chilled when it is placed in your baking pan. Your leavening ingredients will work before the butter flattens out and your cookies won’t lose all of their distinctive textures!
Cook with other people who want to learn or with people who know their way around the kitchen. It will inspire you. Inspiration is the mother of creativity, so throw on some great music, have a craft beer, and stir up a pot of greatness in your own kitchen!