I've compiled a brief list of a several mistakes people make when cooking which are easily corrected.
So many times you hear all this misinformation about common mistakes people make. Most of these things are dreamed up by marketers trying to sell you
some crap you don't need in the kitchen. Rarely do any of these things really make your cooking any better. I thought it might be fun to throw out
some common things which actually will make your cooking better. Some will be obvious, some maybe not so much.
Often you'll hear things like it takes good knives to make a good cook. Well, good knives are nice, but they won't make you cook any better. They're
safer than cheap knives, but they don't make your food any better. That's just an example. Clever little gadgets won't make you cook any better
either. But here's some stuff which will make your dishes better...
1. Cookware - Oh sure, there will be a life long debate about non-stick vs. other materials. There will be debates about steel vs aluminum and
thousands of variants in between, and there are some credible elements to these discussions, but they won't save the day. But here's one which will
improve your results immediately...no matter what you choose for cookware, choose something which is oven-safe, always. If a pan is not oven safe,
regardless of type it's not worth having, IMO. Something which can't go from the stove to the oven is not something you want in your kitchen. It
doesn't have to be some space age alloy or coating, but it needs to be able to go in the oven. You will notice dramatic improvement in recipes where
you don't have to transfer something from one pan to another just because the one you used on the stove can't go in the oven.
2. Uniform ingredient size - Nothing to buy here, just make sure whatever your ingredients are are cut or portioned evenly. Cuts of chicken or pork
should be uniform thickness, and if they're not then make them that way. Same goes for any sliced or cut ingredients. This is kind of a no brainer,
but you'd be surprised how many times this trips people up with all sorts of things. Carrots and potatoes are easy, but things like green pepper and
oddly shaped ingredients are often not cut uniformly and the whole dish suffers as a result.
3. Preheat cookware - Again, nothing to buy here. Unless a recipe specifically calls for putting ingredients in a cold pan, don't do it. Preheat a
pan with some oil or whatever to the temp required for cooking before putting the ingredients in it. Remember, most recipes assume you're doing this
anyway and the times are based on this. Ironically, starting with a cold pan usually leads to most things being "over" cooked, not under cooked,
because people wind up adding way too much extra time to get the consistency / doneness they are shooting for.
4. High/Low - There's more than two settings on a stove. "Low" and "High" are not the only two settings on the stove, and most people try to cook
things with too much heat. The "Hi" setting on your stove is best for boiling water, and that's about it.
5. Tomatoes - Tomatoes (any kind) catch and burn, and they burn fast. If you're using tomatoes, watch the heat and stir frequently on stove top.
6. Onions - Everybody loves onions, right? But did you know onions absolutely HATE you??? That right, every time you touch a raw onion remember it
is your worst enemy in the kitchen. Better than 70% of kitchen injuries are suffered by cooks cutting onions. Want to spoil a great dinner? Lop off
part of one of your fingers cutting onions during the prep! Cutting onions is dangerous (so is using a mandolin). This one will make your dishes
better because you'll actually get to eat them, and not go to the ER for stitches instead. Be careful will onions and by all means...keep your thumbs
behind your fingertips!!
7. Salt - If it needs just a little bit more salt...don't do it! If it needs a LOT more salt, okay, but if just a little...resist the temptation.
Let it cook some more. Too much salt can ruin anything and everything. (No, I am not a salt Nazi, but I do love salt, and I've learned to hold
8. Melted/broken/dented/scratched - If it's in your kitchen, and it's a tool or piece of cookware, and it's damaged...throw it away! Now! Want to
flip that beautiful crepe, but all you've got is a spatula which got the end melted in bacon grease? Toss it before hand and replace it. Same for
any badly scratched non-stick pots and pans. Ditch 'em. Not only do they no longer work properly, they may also be hazardous to your health.
9. Clean as you go - No, I'm not a tidy Nazi either, but guess what happens to that perfect dish on the stove when you all of a sudden have to
hurriedly clean up a jar of spilled honey or something on the floor which you just knocked over (one you used 20 minutes ago for something)?
Something is going to get burnt, scorched or overdone. I know it sounds like your mom, but keeping a clean cooking and prep area will improve the
quality of your dishes.
10. (I'll leave this one, and any more for you guys).
These are just some of my suggestions. Hope these help.
P.S. Ginger is an awesome spice/ingredient to use in a whole variety of dishes, and only fresh ginger will do (candied isn't really ginger (mostly
sugar) and jarred is just not the same). But many people hate to use fresh ginger because it's such a bear to peel. Not any more. Just use the edge
of a teaspoon and the skin will peel right off!
edit on 4/9/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)