A few weeks ago I posted a list of simple, yet beneficial tips that are a “must” in the kitchen. With finals just around the corner, I haven’t been able to cook as much as I would like to, so I figured I’d share a few more things you should know to ensure efficiency every time you are working your magic in the kitchen.
1. Do NOT Rinse Your Cooked Pasta
This is something that I feel like everyone has done at some point in their life. After boiling a big pot of pasta, I know that it is almost human nature to want to just rinse it under some water after draining it into a colander. By doing this, you are actually rinsing off all of the starches that we LOVE, leaving your pasta with less texture and nutrients. If you are faced with the issue of pasta sticking together when left in the colander, try tossing it in some olive oil. This will solve your problem and still leave your pasta tasting delicious.
2. Overcooking is Most Definitely the BIGGEST Cooking Mistake
BURNT FOOD IS NOT GOOD, but overcooked, tough food is also pretty terrible. Overcooking vegetables makes them mushy, flavorless, and dull… overcooking meats makes them tough, dry, and chalky… overcooking grains makes them soggy and flimsy… None of this sounds appetizing, so it is essential that you learn to take food off the heat slightly before it is fully done and allow it to finish cooking simply by the internal temperature. Also, do not be afraid to utilize a thermometer. Yes these bulky things can be slightly off, but they will help you out much more than if you were to just “guess” whether or not your food is done.
3. Season Season Season
If your food tastes simply OK… it most likely needs some sort of seasoning. A pinch of salt can go a very long way when it comes to making an OK dish, a great dish. Yes, over salty food is not good, but under salted is even worse in my opinion. If you have added your salt and the dish still seems a tad bland, try a splash of vinegar or something acidic to try and liven up your flavor. You can also use acids, such as lemon, to help counteract any unwanted sweetness you may come across while cooking. If food feels dry or sticky, you can also add a drizzle of olive oil.
4. Avoid Regular Large Onions
These big onions have a place in recipes such as stews, soups, roasts, etc., but they are unwelcome in more delicate and flavorful meals. Onions have an extremely prominent flavor that can easily overpower any recipe, if not utilized correctly. This is why I recommend sticking with smaller, lighter onions, such as shallots and leeks, to help enhance the dish, while also giving the other ingredients a chance to show their flavor. Shallots have a sweeter, more delicate flavor, which is why they are one of my favorite ingredients to cook with when I come across a recipe that requires an onion.
5. Fruit Should NOT Be Stored in the Fridge
Most fruits are not intended to be stored in a cold environment, which is why you need to KEEP THEM OUT OF THE FRIDGE. Most people believe that by doing this, they are prolonging their shelf life, but this is not the case. Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, should always be stored in the fridge; however, fruits like bananas, oranges, apples, uncut pineapple, and pears, should not. Refrigerators actually dull the flavor of most produce, leaving them bland. Extremely hot climates are an exception to this rule.
These are only a few more of the essential things one should know to ensure “optimal performance” in the kitchen. I’ll be sure to post another 5 soon to help you all out. 🙂 Keep cooking and I have more recipes coming your way within the next week!