What is one tip you learned about cooking that was simple but made a huge difference: Part 2
Part 1 is painfully long, lets start a part 2!
I hope nobody objects. I compiled a simplified list of tips from the original thread.
It seemed that for every good tip, there were 5-6 comments agreeing, arguing or slightly clarifying the original tip.
Kosher salt, in a dish, by the stove.
TASTE and season as you go.
Never use a dull knife.
Always preheat an oven.
Al dente pasta is the only way to go.
Use room temp eggs.
A separate freezer is a home cooks best friend.
Put a thin (3/8” to 1/2") steak in the freezer for 15 minutes or so before cooking will allow you to get a nice sear on the outside without overcooking the middle. Works for tuna, too
A slower, longer rise results in a better tasting bread.
Allow meat to rest before carving
Fresh juice is better than bottled
Don't crowd food in a pan when browning
browing a clove or two of garlic into the boiling pasta water
Zest has more flavor than juice
add seltzer water to the pancake mix for fluffiness
Separate the eggs and beat the whites for fluffier pancakes
flick water at the oiled griddle and it dances, it's the right temperature
WAIT till the pan and the oil get hot
Brown meat for extra flavor then deglaze pan to capture the flavor of the food bits in your sauce
Don’t drain grease off fried food by laying it on paper towels…use a cooling rack with paper towels underneath.
Fresh herbs are far better than dried.
Use herbs toward end of cooking process
When making a sauce add cold liquid to hot ingredients for the sauce to be lump free
Pull your pasta when it's pre-al dente and finish cooking your pasta in the sauce
Baking bacon is better than frying
Use good knives
Save veggie scraps and peelings in ziplock bag for stocks
add a teaspoon or two of water to the pan after the egg starts to cook and then put a lid on the pan. The steam from the water cooks the top of the egg without overcooking
Bring eggs and meat to room temperature before cooking
Read the entire recipe before cooking
Mise en place in order of use
Dry the meat before searing
Hot pan cold oil food won’t stick
Season as you go and taste as you season
When scrambling eggs remove the pan from the heat a few seconds before they are done.
Keep a garbage bowl nearby
Clean as you go
Taste it before serving
Warm plates before serving
Use a meat thermometer
Use a digital scale
Fresh bay leaves are better than dry bay leaves
Use kitchen timers
Use the water from cooking the potatoes to make the gravy
Cook mashed potatoes in half n half instead of water
Buy an oven thermometer
A bit of sugar tames the acidity in tomato rich dishes
Some grated carrot tames acidity too
Freshly ground pepper is lots better than pre ground
Keep your chicken bones for stock
Add a dash of salt to any baked good
Microwave clams and oysters for 10 seconds to open easily
When cooking ground beef, once the beef is starting to get brown, use a dough blender to break it up into small pieces.
Brine pork and chicken for a juicier product
Make a big batch of roux and store it in a sealed jar in the fridge to speed up gravy making
you can bake the steak to get it to the doneness you like without charring the outside after searing in a pan.
"Better than Bouillon" beef and chicken bases are far better than bouillon cubes and enhance broths for gravies and pan sauces.
Braise in an enamel coated cast iron dutch oven.
Home made stocks are far superior to anything else.
Use a whisk when making gravy and sauces to prevent lumps
Season in layers 1/3 early 1/3 in the middle and 1/3 last
Microwave sliced mushrooms until they give up their water then sauté for better browning
Store fresh lemons in a jar in the fridge.
Put a chicken or turkey, uncovered, in the fridge for a few hours enables a crisp skin
re: Hank Hanover
I would not agree with "When scrambling eggs remove the pan from the heat a few seconds before they are done." More like a MINUTE before they are done because through residual heat, warm plate and time they will otherwise be overcooked. Oh, and I used to be a purist for scrambled using just eggs and butter. Started adding a teaspoon of heavy cream for each egg, now they really are creamy---and there's no guesswork!
To avoid burning crushed garlic, add it to the oil in a cold pan and heat both together. Burned garlic bedeviled me before a lovely restaurant owner in Florence clued me in. You can still burn it this way if you're not paying attention, but it takes longer.
I have two that didn't make the list
Run cold water over cut avocado. It won't brown. Lime juice, contrary to popular opinion, works poorly and only for a very short time. Water works.
When prepping raw onions and garlic, if your hands smell, rubbing your hands all over a stainless bowl or faucet, for some enzymatic reason the smell dissipates.