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Old 03-09-2013, 02:55 PM   #1
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Default What are your cooking tips?

Mine are relatively simple ones that I've given the most of.

First off patience is a virtue. Same idea as with Brewing. When you're cookign bacon, if you want perfect bacon cook it over a pretty low heat (30% or so) and just let the bacon fat do it's job. Unless you're sprinting out the door or running a restaurant, no need to rush it. When you do you dont' get perfectly crisp bacon. Also for bacon as well, frequent turning reduces the bubbling effect of bacon which also makes it crispy. For burgers, steaks, chicken, etc, the meat will let you know when it's time to flip it. Especially with fattier foods. You shouldn't have to fight with your burgers, when they're ready to be flipped or pulled off they'll come off with no fight.

My second is dome your cheese. I do this for burgers and grilled cheese all the time and sometimes for eggs as well. Doming is taking something large to cover your food and basically steam it. When I make grilled cheese I don't add water or anything but I cook it under a dome and no matter what kind of cheese I use it comes out melty like lava. With a burger I cook it on side one then flip, add cheese and dome, the doming melts cheese perfectly. Some places claim for burgers the doming makes it juicy, I don't buy that too much. You can also if you want add a little bit of water to steam the burger a bit, doesn't wreck the texture but melts the cheese super fast.

For fries, always do the double fry method. I know it's messier, but it's worth the results. Also cut and soak your fries for a minimum of a half hour in ice cold water. I like to if I'm making fries for dinner cut them early in the morning and soak for 8 hours or so. Helps reduce the starchiness and make a crispier fry. Another great tip for crispier fries (especially for the second fry) is to not over fill the pot. Doing that drops the oil temp faster and can result in less than desirable crispiness. Another positive to this way is say you have a few fries cooking faster than others, they're easier to watch and maintain then if you have 2 or 3 times the number of fries in the pot.

Next tip I'm tinkering with right now but I've been happy with my early results. For me this is the perfect scrambled eggs.

First - Scramble the crap out of your eggs. Feel free to add a little milk or water to lighten them but if you whip them enough they'll be light without the added liquid.

Second get a pan under medium high to high head and have a burner with no heat (just easier in case you have to put the pan down in case of emergency) melt some butter or other fat in the pan so the eggs don't stick. Put the pan under the high heat at about 10 seconds or 20 seconds or so. It's really a looking thing but if time helps it does. The whole time the eggs are on stir the pan with a rubber spatula (if you're a messy stirrer may want to use a pot) when eggs are creamy but still cooked pull them off the heat add a pat of butter and salt and pepper. Also can use heavy cream in place of butter. Butter does 2 things, first is it adds more deliciousness to the eggs, second it helps stop the eggs cookign so you don't get over cooked eggs. More important than mimicking the style I'm tinkering with, is to not salt your eggs until they're cooked through. I'm also a fan of putting cheese in when you start cooking the eggs so they get amazingly melty.

Last tip I stole from Mario Batali, when you're cooking pasta, first use a timer because the people at Barilla, etc. spent a ton of money on research into their proper cookign temps. And the second part is cook one minute under al dente, and then add the cooked pasta (plus a ladle or so of pasta water) to your sauce and let them come together.

Well what kind of tips does everyone else have? I'm sure I'll remember more down the road.

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Old 03-09-2013, 04:03 PM   #2
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when you are cooking a lobster, steam it don't boil it. also if you can do not add salt to the water,add some dulse instead, unless you are lucky enough to live next to the ocean. if so just use the ocean water

if you want to thicken a chili or a pasta sauce grate a potato in it, the potato will dissolve, leaving behind all vitamins, minerals and the starch

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Old 03-12-2013, 03:31 AM   #3
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Cast iron or better yet old cast iron is the best pan in the house. Get your cooking gear from a supply place, not a snobbyspends-a-lot store. Get good knives like Dexter or forshner and learn how to put a stone to them and touch them up with a steel. Find a real Butcher and use them for great meats. My butcher has aged steaks that are to die for. Welcome wild game into meals. Buy bigger cuts of meat and break them down your self. Cook over hard wood fires and things that were bland like whole chickens can turn into crazy good meals. Don't let your spices get to old.

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Old 03-12-2013, 02:57 PM   #4
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I second the cast iron one. I have one cast iron I use to make everything involving meat. Also use it for shallow frying.

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Old 03-12-2013, 03:09 PM   #5
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Chopping an onion:

1. Cut the ends, then cut in half through where those ends were.
2. Think of the ends as North and South pole, then with the one side flat against the cutting board, slice longitude lines in it all the way around, don't go all the way through to keep it somewhat together.

3. Then rotate that bad boy 90 degrees, and chop away like normal.

Once I found this out (girlfriend does NOT cut onions) I find it saves me alot of time, and reduces an extra cutting step.

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Old 03-12-2013, 03:21 PM   #6
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If you have a thermapen for brewing, use it for meat. Never have overcooked meat again.

Never waste good pan drippings. Learn how to make pan sauces. Wine & butter are your friends here.

Don't shy away from fat. Fat is good.

Charcoal + hair dryer = super hot = awesome sear

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Old 03-12-2013, 03:21 PM   #7
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Don't cry when cutting an onion.
If you have a microwave above your NG stove, turn on a burner next to your counter (without a pot on it) and turn on your microwave fan. Put a cutting board next to the burner (but on the counter) and chop your onion. The flame and fan will create a convective air current that will pull the sulphur released by the onion away from you, combusting in the flame then exiting in the microwave vent. (The sulphur reacts with water in your eyes, making a potent acid, which hurts and makes you cry.)

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Old 03-12-2013, 03:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TyTanium View Post
If you have a thermapen for brewing, use it for meat. Never have overcooked meat again.

Never waste good pan drippings. Learn how to make pan sauces. Wine & butter are your friends here.

Don't shy away from fat. Fat is good.

Charcoal + hair dryer = super hot = awesome sear
Thermometer is nice. I use it for making pork all of the time. I have a different method for beef.

This is my method

LINK

Finger test is pretty accurate.

What I find the most effective as well with beef is pull it off at least 5 degrees below the desired doneness and let sit for at least 5 minutes, longer for bigger cuts of meat.

Few other ones, when I'm making a steak I always leave it out for at least 30 minutes and I always season it with salt in advance.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:59 PM   #9
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Garlic:

Gently crush the cloves under your knife before peeling and then the skin will just fall off.

Perfect boiled eggs:

Cover eggs with cold water, add salt (makes peeling easier) and vinegar (prevents cracking). Bring water to the boil, once boiling cover and turn off the heat. Wait 12 mins, drain and cover in cold water. Easy.

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Old 03-14-2013, 02:34 PM   #10
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Taste and season as you cook. The food should be perfectly seasoned when it is time to serve. There should be no need for salt & pepper shakers on the table.

Use your senses when cooking. Hear the sizzle of the pan as the food hits it, feel the tenderness/texture/quality of the food, look at your food to check for quality and gauge doneness, smell and taste your food!!

Don't get caught up with measuring things while cooking. Use common sense. Cooking is not an exact science.

Be extremely exact when baking. Level measure everything. A rounded tablespoon vs. a level tablespoon of baking soda can make or break your recipe.

Hold a knife at the pivot point where the end of the blade meets the top of the handle. This position will give you better leverage and control.

A Steel hones your blade; it does not sharpen it. You are simply bringing the slightly warped blade back to a ^ shape when using a Steel. For optimal sharpening, get yourself a 2-sided whetstone. Think of one side being like coarse sandpaper whereas the other side is for fine tuning. The japanese water-based versions are the best. Video instructionals on how to sharpen your blades using a whetstone are available online.

Invest in a couple different strainers, sieves, chinois, china cap, ricers, food mills, cheesecloth, tamis... These pieces of equipment will aid in fine straining and smoothing of sauces, soups, mashed potatoes, and other purees.

Learn how to make your own sauces. It will elevated your cooking to another level and you will impress your family and house guests.

Learn all about braising. It is one of the most simple yet flavorful methods of cooking out there.

Learn about quick-curing meats with kosher salt - http://www.steamykitchen.com/163-how...me-steaks.html

If you can do so safely and sanitarily, open your whole meats (chicken breast, steak, pork chops) from their original packaging and let them sit in the refrigerator on a wire rack with a tray underneath at least a day before cooking. The air exposure and airflow around the meat will help pull out the flavorless water from within the meat and intensify the natural flavor.

Take out free cooking books from the library and read them in your spare time. NOT the type of books that simply list recipe after recipe with no commentary. You want to look more for the books that teach you technique or explain why its recipes are prepared the way they are.

Buy the book called, "The Flavor Bible". It is a good tool if you want to learn about what flavors/methods make the most sense for the particular ingredient you're researching.

Visit websites like seriouseats.com and thepassionatecook.com. Subscribe to a few cooking magazines. Watch the more technical cooking shows on tv. Even youtube is a great source... Ramsay and Blumenthal have dozens of video instructionals available.

Don't be intimidated by fancy sounding ingredients and don't limit yourself by recipes that contain ingredients which are a headache to get ahold of. If you truly want to learn about flavor, you have to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Keep the passion going.

Cooking doesn't have to be complicated. In its purest form, it is really about assembling ingredients that make sense together, and cooking them in a smart way that offers the most flavor. - For example, boiling steak and serving it with raw spinach and lemon wedges vs. grilling steak and serving it with roasted onions and mushrooms... which do you think is more sensical and flavorful?

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