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?