Eight Cooking Tricks to Enhance Your Kitchen Skills

by Jennifer Wieland
Eight Cooking Tricks to Enhance Your Kitchen Skills

If you already enjoy food and cooking, you may be ready to move up another level. Cooking classes or guided dining and market experiences can be a great way to boost your culinary knowledge. There are also plenty of things you can do to improve your cooking now. Below are eight suggestions that you can start to use today to make the food you cook even tastier.

Eight Cooking Tricks to Enhance Your Kitchen Skills

Read the Recipe All the Way Through

Many people fail to do this, or they only quickly glance at the recipe. Read it thoroughly, and as you read each step, visualize how you will perform that task. Make sure that you have all of the ingredients and equipment that you need. Think about how long it will take to perform certain tasks, and don’t put too much credence in the prep time given by the recipe itself because those times are often too short. Clean your area, and locate or lay out everything that you will need to complete the recipe. Consider prepping most of your ingredients ahead of time so that you can easily add them as needed.

Use the Best Ingredients

When you begin cooking regularly, you will begin to notice that quality of ingredients makes a huge difference. If you are on a budget and there is a significant price difference between ingredients, you can make adjustments as needed, and not all quality ingredients are necessarily costly. However, you will find that in most cases, cutting corners on ingredients like Parmesan-Reggiano cheese affects the end product. When it comes to quality ingredients, salt is one of the most significant ones. You will be surprised at what a difference it can make to your cooking when you switch from table salt to kosher or sea salt. Salt is also important at bringing out other flavors. A pinch can do a lot to enhance the flavors in your dish.

Taste as You Go


Speaking of flavors, you should get into the habit of tasting your cooking as you go along and adding seasoning as needed. Keep in mind that the recipe is only a guide. If you need more intense flavors, then you should add them.

Practice Cutting Foods the Same Size

Knife skills are an important part of learning to be a great cook. One of the most important things to do in order to get your food to cook evenly is to cut your like ingredients in the same size. At first, this might seem time consuming, but it’s worth the effort, and you will get faster as you go along. Depending on the city you live, there might be knife skill classes from cooking schools to help you improve your skills.

Don’t Be Afraid to Caramelize and Brown

Recipes often underestimate the time it takes to sufficiently brown or caramelize ingredients. Don’t hesitate to get both meat and vegetables nice and brown. This will significantly deepen the flavor of your dish. For example, onions become increasingly flavorful and sweet the longer they cook. Understand the optimal temperatures at which to brown foods as well. For example, searing meat should be done on a high heat while caramelizing onions should be done on a low heat.

Reduce Liquids

Another way to intensify flavors is to reduce liquids. The longer you cook liquids at a low simmer, the stronger the flavor will become. Experiment with a variety of broths, wines and other ingredients to get a sense of how those flavors work with different ingredients and which ones you like best.

Don’t Crowd Pans

Whether you are cooking meat in a pan on the stovetop or baking food in the oven, if the food is not meant to be cooked with a cover on it, be sure that you do not crowd it. This results in steaming instead of roasting or sauteeing. For example, if you are making oven-roasted potatoes, crowding them will result in soggy potatoes.

Use Your Hands

Just as you need to use your taste buds to keep tabs on the flavor of your food, you should also get accustomed to using your hands as you cook. With practice, you can get a sense for checking the doneness of meat with your hands. Your hands can also be used to toss salads, mix dough and check for the ripeness of fruits. Becoming a great cook is a sensory experience, and training your sense of touch is an important part of that.

Cooking is a fascinating pastime and a wonderful way to connect with loved ones. Learning to be a better cook is a lifelong journey. By continually working to improve your technique with tips like the ones above, you will find your time in the kitchen even more rewarding.

 

 

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Jennifer is a mom to 5 boys, 1 girl and 1 husband. Her kids range in age from 8-24 so things are always crazy with everything from school life, to autism and to college and beyond. She tries to bake, craft, travel and blog her way through all of the chaos and craziness that life, her kids and her husband throw her way.

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