Saturday, October 30, 2010

Secret Chef Tips

After years of cooking in commercial kitchens and at home I have decided to write some of the little things that make cooking easier. I will now present you with some top tips for cooking.

Garlic - this easy way to cut garlic is to put the cloves lined up on the board. Now slice the root end off. Then place the cloves spread out flat on the board. Take a large knife and place the side over some of the garlic cloves and bash down with your hand to crush the garlic. Repeat with all the cloves. The garlic shell will fall off and it is now ready to slice with a sharp knife. This is very quick and an easy way to prepare garlic and after a few times of doing it you will find it a simple procedure.

Tomatoes - Always use a very sharp knife and it will be much easier to slice

Onions - If the onions are stinging your eyes then put the garlic in water to counteract it. Also, use a sharp knife when cutting to have fewer problems.

Boiling water - use a lid to boil water, it is much faster

Rice - Wash 2- 3 times in cold water. Put lid on and bring to boil. Turn heat down to simmer and let cook slowly.

Potatoes - Cook in cold water and bring to boil, then turn down and cook on low to medium heat. Keep the skin on for tastier and healthier potatoes.

Vegetables - Keep skin on veggies like carrots and potatoes for more fiber and texture plus as above, healthier too. Carrots take quite awhile to cook so it's better to put them on earlier or cut them small than other veggies. Don't cook leafy veggies too long, the less the better. Steam or blanch for healthier veggies. Only use minimal water when cooking in water for leafy and green veggies.

Pasta - Bring water to boil in large pot with plenty of water. Add pinch of sea salt (no oil needed) then place the pasta in. Put lid over the pot until it comes back to the boil then immediately take lid off and cook open. Take fork and stir a few times and then leave to cook until al dente. It’s better to under cook slightly than over cook pasta. The pasta should visibly look larger when it is nearly ready. Take fork and select a strand of pasta, take out of pot and bite it see if it is ready. When it is ready, drain in sieve quickly but leave the last drops of water still on, now lace the pasta back in the empty pot. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the pasta and stir it in with fork and serve. Serve pasta on the plate first separately from the sauce, don't mix into sauce unless the dish is one that requires it or you want to do something different. In general pasta is better served on plate first and then you pour the sauce over the pasta followed usually by shaved Parmesan cheese.

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If you have any other questions or requests for future topics, recipes or any information, you can either ask them in the comments or email me.