Your name might not be Jamie Oliver, but it takes a lot less than you think to become a master chef in your own kitchen. With these simple tips from this Reddit thread, throwing together a feast with friends and family will become a breeze.
1. Wash Your Hands
Yes, we know -- this isn't kindergarten. But this should be on top of your priorities. Especially after handling raw meat, a thorough soapy rinse of your hands should never, ever be skipped. Clean hands are, after all, the best tool in the kitchen.
2. Two Cutting Boards
Make sure to have at least two cutting boards in your kitchen. One should handle bacteria-prone foods like raw meat, while the other can be used for vegetables and everything else.
3. Keep Your Vegetables Fresh In The Pan
As soon as vegetables in a hot pan start to lose color, take them off the heat to avoid losing flavor or juiciness.
4. The Kitchen Thermometer
For the ultimate steak, pick up a kitchen thermometer. Getting the core temperature right inside your poultry or steak is key for a flavorful and optimally cooked meat dish.
5. The Chef Knife
If you haven't already seen the light, the chef knife is the way to go.
6. Learn How To Chop First
Listen to the one and only Jamie Oliver. Get over old habits, and re-learn how to chop properly with this instructional video. Be careful to note that there are different uses for different knives, as well as different techniques for each. As a certain wise man once said: "Chopping is all about non-wobbly veg."
7. A Whetstone For Sharper Knives
This whetstone is only about $30, and will sharpen your knives quickly and efficiently. Here's a YouTube video of its knife-sharpening prowess to get you started.
8. Kosher Salt For A Better Pinch
The higher coarseness of kosher salt compared to standard table salt makes it much easier to measure between the fingers.
9. Heat Your Plates
The last thing you want for your carefully laid-out meal is to cool down instantly on an ice cold plate. Preheat your oven to about 200F and throw them in for a couple of minutes. Make sure beforehand that your plates are heat-proof, though.
10. Wine Is Not Just For Drinking
Don't waste your money on cooking wine. Just share some of your favorite gourmet wine with your pan. Red wine works wonders in tomato-based sauces.
11. Hands Off The Margarine
Margarine just isn't going to cut it in the kitchen. While it is a great low-cholesterol, low-fat alternative for your breakfast bread, in a hot pan, the high fat content (and flavor) of butter will beat margarine in pretty much any situation.
12. The Magic Of Mirepoix
Yes, it's French, and it will spice up your cooking a ton. Just add a mixture of carrots, celery and onion, chopped finely, to your pan before the regular cooking process. It will add a hearty flavor to your cooking.
13. Add The Garlic Later
Garlic adds a lot of flavor to your cooking. Just make sure you don't add it too early. If it's among the first couple of things in your frying pan, you're doing it wrong!
14. Get A Cast Iron Skillet
Trust me. It's worth the investment. A cast iron skillet will heat up faster, stay hot longer, and your food will be noticeably more aromatic and crunchy.
There's a reason you're going to come across a lot of recipes that tell you to use shallots instead of an onion. Keep an eye out at the grocery store for them next time you're food shopping. They're generally slightly smaller and thinner, but also more aromatic and spicy.
16. Keep A Hot Pan Hot
Listen to Gordon Ramsay. If you add too much food at once, your pan is going to cool down too fast. Either add your chopped veggies bit by bit, or consider upgrading to a high-heat-capacity iron skillet.
17. These Steaks Need Some Rest
After frying up your favorite cut of beef in a hot pan, leave it to rest at room temperature for at least 10 to 15 minutes. This will prevent the juices from leaving the meat.
18. Don't Go All In One
While you might save yourself a minute or two, don't skip steps in a recipe -- especially when you're baking. You'll end up sacrificing fluffiness and an even texture by adding everything in one go.
19. Frying Leftover Pasta
Made too much pasta and it's gone cold and stale? Just fry it up with some oil and a couple of eggs. Instant frittata.
20. Easy Caramel
Here's a quick tip. It's easy to make, and delicious on pretty much anything. Slowly heat one cup of sugar and one cup of butter until light brown. Remove from heat, and while stirring frequently, add one cup of milk. Add vanilla to taste, and voila! (Just don't get too near it if it's bubbling. Melted sugar can be pretty harmful stuff if it gets on your skin, as it is far hotter than boiling water.)
21. Added Too Much Pepper?
Maybe the lid of your pepper container fell off. Don't worry, your meal isn't ruined. Just add lemon! The acidity will cut the taste of the pepper in an instant.
22. Clean While You Cook
This could be applied to almost any household activity. Besides, rinsing and getting it out of the way has many advantages. It clears up space for cooking, it reduces the amount of dishes you have to do later, and many kinds of dishes will be a heck of a lot easier to clean before they get old and crusted.
23. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.
Ever seen a cooking show where they prepare everything in little glass dishes before starting the cooking process? Yeah. It's a good idea. Especially when you're juggling multiple foods, cooking in your kitchen.
24. Say Yes to Freshly Cracked Pepper
Freshly cracked pepper will go a long way. It beats old pepper powder any day of the week in terms of flavor.
25. Greasy Fried Foods
Make sure the oil is hot in the pan before you add your food. This will prevent food from becoming too greasy while frying. Steam causes internal pressure in the oil, preventing it from soaking into your food.