The silver lining of the worldwide pandemic was that it provided me plenty of time to learn new techniques and enhance my existing cooking skill set, which was not much, honestly. But quarantine gave me time to cough up some new ones, thanks to youtube lectures available for all types of cuisine and dishes.
I fall somewhere along the lines of a beginner and a home chef preparing meals now on the off days. But I am still not sure about what goes well with what. Sure, there are some of my favorite recipes I have wrapped around my head, but I still need to keep a professional`s recipe and techniques for it to turn out as good as I expect them to be.
I am combining all the tricks received from our network of chefs and going around asking them about the best tips that can help beginners escalate their skills. These tricks are helpful for beginners and will also come in handy for an experienced chef.
Use Sharp Knives
Saying that a dull knife won`t work as well as a sharp knife is obvious enough. But dull knives also end up harming the cells of your food, compromising their physical integrity and damaging the cells, causing the degradation process to happen faster. Imagine the damage done by a dull knife.
It will easily cut through the food object in sight. Dull knives tend to be slacker, they are not something, and extra force might cause them to slip, harming you. A sharp knife will slice right through every object easily.
It is reasonably easy to maintain sharp knives at home. Sharpening stones are expensive, yet they usually last a lifetime, so the benefit outweighs the cost. On the other hand, if you are looking for something cheaper, you can get a knife sharpener, which usually has a shorter life span but works just as well.
Preheat The Pan
An already heated pan will speed up the cooking process and result in crispier vegetables and meat searing. Chefs at restaurants often use this trick to cater to customers, and it has proved quite handy in preserving time while enhancing the taste of the food.
Boil Potatoes To Peel Without Hassle
You will require a knife, tongs, a pot to boil water, and chilled ice water. Score the raw potatoes around their equator with a knife. Now throw the bushel of potatoes in tempting hot water and let it sit there for about 15 minutes. Use the tongs to reach into the boiling water and move the potatoes to icy chilled water. Once they are cool enough, use your hand to peel the skin off simply.
Learn About Freezing Vegetables
I hate to break it to you, but freezing everything does not mean that it will last longer. Sure the stock-up hype was real (YES! I remember the toilet paper), but that does not necessarily imply that storing vegetables will not suck the taste out of them and turn them into good for nothing. That is why you need to understand which vegetables freeze well and which don`t.
The freeze well category includes rooted veggies (turnips), peas, and green spinach. Carrots are some of the foods that freeze well but will rot if left out in the open. Spray some oil over the frozen vegetables and plastic wrap them to protect them from freeze burns.
Don`t Put Too Many Items On The Baking Dish
The food we use has moisture in them as you put the dish in the oven, vegetables and meat release water causing the food to steam instead of baking themselves. It will change the outlook, feel, and texture of your food. The steamed food is moist on the inside, whereas people often use baking to get a crispy texture.
Begin With An End Mind
For our safety and the recipe`s success, it is necessary. You need to have prepared all the items before or most of them. I made this same mistake when I started cooking and kept pushing it until I got around to reading books about cooking. "Mise en place" is the terminology thrown around in the cooking community. The French phrase literally translates to "put in place."
It is better to chop, mix, dice, and get other things taken care of before you even heat up the pan. When you do not have items prepared, you will often roam around the kitchen. This results in unwanted accidents happening in the kitchen, and even if nothing terrible happens, you might end up ruining your dish for the night.
The word of advice for beginners would be that we all like to be a little experimental with our cooking. I did as well initially, but sticking to the recipe and following the cooking professionals, especially for beginners, is fundamental. Once you start getting the hang of things. And has a rough idea about the tasting and ratios. Sure explore the chef within.