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101 Tips and Techniques for Cooking like a Chef 51-60

Does your spice cabinet leave you feeling confused? Do you worry that your food will not have enough flavor, or that it just won’t look the way you expect?  Well, the answer to your worries might be in these tips that have been gathered from professional chefs, who have plenty of experience making food that is both beautiful and delicious.  Try some of these ideas today:
101 Tips and Techniques for Cooking like a Chef 51-60

51. Make perfect meatloaf. If you don’t want your meatloaf soaking in drippings of fat and water while it cooks, invest in one of the new meatloaf pans with a built-in rack. The holes in the bottom of the rack allow the juices to drain away from the meat. The result is perfect meatloaf every time!

52. The different fat contents in ground beef. In most cases, regular ground beef is a better buy than medium or lean. And some foods – such as hamburgers – are more tender and tasty when made with regular ground beef because of the extra fat content. Any excess fat can easily be drained off. So, unless medium ground beef is on sale or not more than 7 percent more expensive than regular ground beef, it’s not a good buy.

53. Quickly cook chicken for recipes requiring pre-cooked chicken. An easy method of preparing chicken for recipes that call for pre-cooked chicken is to “poach” it. This involves simmering it slowly in liquid. This can be water, broth, fruit juice, wine or a combination of these. Poach the chicken until tender, about 15-20 minutes, then chop or slice as specified in the recipe.

54. Barbecue the perfect steak every time.  Ever have a hard time knowing whether a steak is cooked properly? Instead of poking it with a fork or cutting it open (both of which let the juices run out), learn how to tell by touching the outside. For an example of how a steak feels at the different stages of cooking, look no further than your own hand. Touch your pointer finger to your thumb and then feel the fleshy part of your hand underneath your thumb. That is how a steak that is medium rare will feel. Your middle finger touched to your thumb shows you medium. Your ring finger to your thumb is medium well. And lastly your pinky finger to your thumb is well done.

55. Prepare the barbecue grill properly. For a better barbeque, brush your hot grill with a thin layer of oil prior to cooking or line your grill with a layer of aluminium foil covered with cooking spray. This will ensure that the meat does not stick and need to be torn away from the grill.

56. Never use a fork when grilling.  When you poke meat with a fork you allow the natural juices to flow out. As a result your meat ends up dry and tough. Instead use tongs or grilling tools to turn and flip the meat while keeping the juices locked in.

57. Place food in the right place on the grill. Barbecues give off heat in a very different way than your stove or oven. To ensure your food is properly cooked and not burnt, be sure to grill meats and vegetables approximately 4” from the heat source. With chicken, which is more likely to burn, 6”-8” away is best.

58. Quick and easy corn on the cob. The simplest way to cook perfect corn on the cob is to toss an ear into the microwave for three minutes.  Then, remove the husks, add some salt and butter and enjoy.

59. Blanching vegetables. Blanching vegetables means to boil them for five or six minutes prior to using them in a recipe. This is particularly helpful for harder vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and cauliflower that take longer to cook. Otherwise you end up with vegetables that are too crunchy.

60. Plump up limp vegetables. Give limp vegetables a second chance by soaking them in ice water to make them crisp after prolonged refrigeration. This is a great technique for lettuce and celery, which seem to go limp fastest. This trick also works for limp herbs.

After reading these tips and tricks, you should be well on your way to creating culinary delights that will please even the most discriminating palates. Cooking does not need to be difficult, and when you know the right shortcuts you’ve already won half of the battle.

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