Cooking is a wonderful (and delicious) endeavor. However, if you don’t have a natural flair for it, you may encounter some issues (nothing wrong it), even following the most well-written recipes. There’s no need to worry, though, as plenty of people are in the same boat as you are.
Furthermore, even if you may find cooking difficult or time-consuming, there is no need for things to continue in such a vein. With the right tips and tricks, you can be on your way to improving your culinary skills. I am not saying that you will become master on day 1, but surely find cooking much easier. Continue reading for figuring out some this easy cooking hacks.
Start with Boiling and Preheating First
Do you need to boil water for your recipe? Or, perhaps, you will need to pop your ingredients in the oven. Well, regardless of which path you have to take, make sure to handle these tasks prior to doing anything else.
Always boil the water or preheat the oven before getting started on your prep work. As you are aware, it can often take some time for water to boil, especially if you are heating up a larger volume. Similarly, an oven needs several minutes before it is sufficiently warmed up. You may have noticed in my recipes that I advice preheat the oven.
When you tackle these tasks first, you can do your prep work until they are completed. This cuts down on you simply hanging around in your kitchen, waiting for a particular step to be completed.
Adopt Mise en Place When Required
Don’t worry, there’s no need to brush up on your French to utilize this particular technique. It essentially means “everything in its place”. It is based on a strategy used by professional chefs where they lay out everything that they need ahead of time. Remember its always said to be organised in whatever you do, it just makes things so easy to execute the steps.
With this technique, you need to measure out spices, chop up ingredients, and keep sauces and oils in required amounts at the ready. This way, you simply have to add the ingredients to the pan at the instructed times, reducing the amount of effort that you have to make during the cooking process.
Now, as you can imagine, mise en place may not be the right approach each and every time. Rather, opt for this strategy when the recipe calls for you to do things “immediately”. This tactic also works well when a particular recipe has a long list of ingredients. You can stop yourself from running if they have all been measured out or prepared beforehand. Makes sense, right?
Opt for Wide, Shallow Pans
Do you only cook in saucepans? Well, you may want to switch things up. Get yourself a few wide, shallow pans. These utensils will come in especially handy if you are cooking for a greater number of people.
Understand, with wider pans, a larger surface area is making contact with the flame or heating element. As such, the pan heats up quickly and more evenly. Furthermore, with such pans, you can layer more food in a single layer. Thus, you can sear or brown a greater quantity of food.
As an added bonus, such a pan is great for reducing liquids as well. More surface area means that the reduction process takes place at a faster rate. All in all, such pans are great for cutting down how much time you spend over the stove. Note that this is a guideline, there are exceptions such as tempering, you won’t use wide pan.
Look for Pre-Mixed Flavorings
As you are well aware, certain cuisines need specific seasonings. Thus, if you want to recreate an authentic dish, you need to combine different herbs and spices to get the right flavour. Of course, it can be difficult to get just the right mix. Furthermore, opting for this route means that you have to stock up on more ingredients.
A less tiresome method would be to opt for Bearded Butcher Blend Seasoning for your preferred mix. This way, you can simply measure out the required amount and add it directly to the recipe. It will be as simple as that. Not to mention, such flavour combinations often contain ingredients that may not be readily available to you. Thus, using such flavourings is a great way to reduce time and effort in the kitchen. Please do note that if you are proficient in cooking, you may prepare your sauces yourself.
Use the Proper Tools
If you are like most people, you will have probably had at least one recipe that hasn’t come out just right. It may be undercooked, overcooked, or doesn’t taste or look the way that is supposed to. Well, this could be because you haven’t used the right kitchen tools.
Many recipes will describe how much of a particular ingredient to use in terms of weight. However, if you think that you can accurately estimate how much this is using only your sight, think again. It is far better to use a kitchen scale. This way, you can guarantee that all the ingredients will be in proportion to one another.
You may also want to get into the habit of using a food thermometer as well. This way, you won’t end up overcooking certain liquids or sauces. Not to mention, such a thermometer will come in quite handy when cooking meat. Using it will ensure that the middle portions of the meat will be thoroughly cooked.
Cut, Chop and freeze
To save time at the last minute of cooking, you may cut your fresh vegetables and freeze it. Take them out ahead of time to use it, allowing them to get to room temperature. This saves time which goes in cutting chopping, and can be purely focussed on cooking.
Learn Proper Knife Skills
Last, but certainly not least, you have to learn basic and significant knife skills if you want to improve your culinary experiences. When you think about it, a major part of cooking is prep work – or to be more specific, cutting and chopping. (I sometimes spilt cooking with my partner, he does cutting, chopping and I do cooking). Thus, if you don’t have the proper knife skills, you may be making mistakes that can jeopardize the entire dish.
To prevent this scenario, read up on what knife skills that you need. You should also make an effort to practice when you aren’t cooking. After all, it is only with practice that you will be able to improve. In doing so, you will be able to chop up ingredients more quickly. What’s more, you can also ensure that they will be the perfect shape and size as well.
These are all the hacks that you need to know when cooking. Once you have mastered them, you will find that cooking becomes a much more relaxing and enjoyable endeavour for you. So, go ahead and incorporate these tips into your cooking today! You may like to check some of my quick recipes to gradually groove into the wonderful world of cooking.
Happy Cooking !