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Dec 20, 2009 05:31 PM

In 2009 I learned to...

For me, this was the year I finally quit applying heat to extra-virgin olive oil in almost any application. To be honest, I'd always secretly suspected it was absolutely pointless to do something such as sautéing onions in good, fruity oil. After extensive A/B testing with canola or corn oil, I'll never put the good stuff in a frying pan again.

I've also finally really internalized how important it us to preheat the oven for a minimum of 20 minutes, or preferably 45, when baking. I know -- bush-league, but I used to get impatient.

Anyone else have any cooking revelations this year?

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  1. Finally stopped being scared of bread baking and pie crust. Wish I would have conquered this YEARS ago.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Faraway11

      Same here. But not bread yet.

      I am finally beginning to bake cakes and cookies from scratch, including whipping frosting by hand. For most of you here this is small potatoes, but while I'm a decent cook, I've never been disciplined enough to bake.

      Finally getting over my fear of baking, though alas, the diet is going to bust.

    2. This year I learned to become comfortable with dried beans...of all kinds! Lentils were never a big deal to me because I never soak them first...just cook them. But I'm loving the black beans, small red, to soak a pound of them...cook them, then enjoy them all week long or even longer when I freeze them.

      More of a dietary discovery than a cooking discovery: mustard greens!! OH, MY!!! Raw, they give me a nose burn equal to wasabi! YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!! I love that..what a kick!

      1. -make pizza dough at home (it's so easy!!)
        -use the "first knuckle" technique to cook rice (I had no faith)
        -make spatzle (see pizza dough comment)
        -put lemon zest in almost everything, often instead of salt (hopefully this will pass)
        -eat salty licorice
        -not have hot sauce with absolutely everything savory

        1. Letting cooked meat rest. It's so important to let the juices drip back into the meat. Deglazing with wine. Making my own stock. Cooking what I want to eat, not just what other people want.

          And, a wave to Julia, wherever she is, not apologizing for what I put on the table. We are lucky to have something to eat. And criticizing our own cooking forces our guests to come up with compliments.

          Also, to enjoy food, and life again. Good eating and another good year to all Chowhounds!

          1. fully utilize dried porcinis
            crush garlic properly
            perfectly roast vidalias