10 Cooking Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know
Not everyone enjoys cooking, not everyone has time to cook, and not everyone really knows how to cook. That being said, everyone has cooked something at least once in their life. Whether you're someone who hates cooking or lacks the experience or time, there are some tips and tricks that you should still know for when you do take the time to cook. We've put together a list of the best tips and tricks to know for your cooking adventures. Read them below!
Season your food
If you're a novice when it comes to cooking, you need to season your food. Spices and seasonings exist to enhance the taste and flavor of your food. Don't just add salt and pepper either; there are hundreds of spices out there. Please use them. And as you season and cook your food, taste it! Taste it as you go so you know if you need more spices or not. It'll be worth it in the end.
Have a good knife
There are a lot of different knives, many of which are made for specific purposes. You can see our wide collection of high quality knives from some of the best cutlery brands on our website by clicking here. While having a nice herb knife or a nice bread knife would be great, at the very least we recommend having a high quality chef's knife, such as the Carl Mertens Metz Chef's Knife. A chef's knife is essentially an all-purpose knife, and will improve your cooking methods drastically. You'll also want to take care of your knife, and it might be smart to invest in a knife sharpener.
Prep all ingredients before cooking
This might be common knowledge, but for those that don't know, you'll want to prep all of your ingredients in advance. For one thing, it's easy to start cooking something and then realize you're short one egg or maybe out of flour. Get your ingredients ready ahead of time, and that way it will speed the cooking process as well.
Know how to sear a steak
Searing a steak at home is not a completely difficult thing to do, but there are a few ways to make it easier. Sometimes when you sear a steak, you may or may not set off the fire alarm as well, but there is a trick. Be sure to blot your steak with a paper towel to dry it out, and then heat on high a cast iron skillet. Cast iron works best for searing, like the Staub Cast Iron Frying Pan. Choose one close in size to your steak, then season, oil the pan, and place the steaks into the pan. You know you did it right if there's a nice sizzle. Turn on a fan, and then temp your steaks! Use the guide below to know when they're done.
Know how to temp your meats
Knowing how to cook your meats is very important. For one thing, it can be dangerous to consume raw and uncooked meat. This guide shows you what the minimum temperature is needed for each kind of meat. It also shows you what temperature you need for how you like your beef or pork. This makes it easier when cooking, and also much safer. A thermometer is a MUST in the kitchen.
Understand the role of salt
Salt can seem intimidating to a new cook. It's an easy way to flavor your food, but how much is too much? How little is too little? Salt works best in foods high in carbs, like breads and pastas because it adds flavor. Salt also helps make foods last longer, so it's good to pay attention to what the recipe calls for in terms of salt. Taste your food as you go along, and determine if you need more or not.
Don't overcrowd the pan
When you are pan-frying, pan-searing, or sauteing, you should not overcrowd the pan. When too many ingredients are in one pan, the heat from the skillet gets trapped under the food and creates steam. The food cooks, but it won’t get that delicious caramelized crust that makes meat succulent and potatoes and vegetables caramelized and crisp. Instead, give every piece of food some breathing room in the pan. Make sure pieces aren’t touching one another so that heat and air can circulate around them. This will help your food develop color, which means flavor, and lock in moisture.
Cook eggs over low heat
Certain methods of cooking an egg can be tricky. Be sure to read our article The Many Different Ways to Cook an Egg to learn how to cook eggs in every way. One of the ways is frying eggs, such as over easy, over medium, over hard, or scrambled. The best way to fry an egg is on low heat, because this way you cook the whites without burning them. It's the easiest way to get perfect over easy eggs every time.
Let your meat rest
Culinary students repeatedly hear "let your meat rest" in their classes. Why? Letting your meat rest means letting it sit for a few minutes after it's been cooked. This way the moisture, juices, flavor absorb and stay in the meat for better taste. If you cut a steak right after pulling it from the skillet, a lot of the flavor will drain out with the juices.
Know how to tell if an egg is spoiled
For our final tip, we're going to tell you how to perform the egg test. It's very easy. Since eggs are so common in many meals, it's necessary to know when they have gone bad. All you have to do is fill a bowl or cup with cold water. Put your egg in. If they sink to the bottom and lay flat on their sides, they're very fresh. If they're a few weeks old but still good to eat, they'll stand on one end at the bottom of the bowl. If they float to the surface, they're no longer fresh enough to eat. It's that easy.
We hope these tips and tricks help you in your cooking adventures!