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101 Tips and Techniques for Cooking like a Chef 71-80

A recipe does not need to be complicated to produce a delicious result. Even the simplest meals can be made better when you know the tricks of the trade.  Cooking is an art, and like any art, cooking will improve with practice and experimentation.  Here are some quick techniques designed to get you cooking like a professional in no time at all.

 

101 Tips and Techniques for Cooking like a Chef 71-80

71. Use pureed vegetables. Pureed vegetables make an excellent thickener for sauces and stews. Consider pureeing your leftovers and freezing them in small plastic bags. Just be sure to heat thoroughly before adding to a hot sauce.

72. Roast red peppers. Wash and place whole red peppers on the barbecue grill. Grill them on HIGH to char the skin all around. This takes 15-20 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when their skin is black and lifting away from the flesh in places. Then cool them in a paper bag to loosen the blackened skin. Simply peel them and remove the seeds. Roasted red peppers make an excellent topping for pizzas, hamburgers and quesadillas or are delicious all on their own!

73. Cooking fresh pasta. Fresh pasta needs less water than dried pasta. To cook fresh pasta, have a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water ready. Make sure you have enough boiling water for the pasta to cook in. Add a little oil to the water, so the pasta doesn’t stick together. Add pasta to the pan, ensure the water stays boiling and stir slowly for 10 seconds to separate the pasta. Boil pasta for 2-4 minutes depending on the type you’re using.

74. Untangle spaghetti before serving. If you have allowed your spaghetti to cool for too long and it becomes tangled, toss it back into the hot water and stir with a large spoon.  Then, drain and rinse the pasta in cold water immediately. You can add some olive oil if you’d like, but it’s not a necessity.

75. Al dente pasta. Al dente means “to the tooth”. When it’s cooked, pasta should be soft but still firm when you bite it. The easiest way to tell whether pasta is al dente is to remove a piece from the saucepan and test it between your teeth. The pasta should have some texture when you bite into it, but it should not be dry and hard in the middle.

76. Cooking dried pasta. The most common mistake when cooking dried pasta is not having enough boiling water. Have a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water ready. Add a little oil and pasta to the pan, and stir for 20 seconds to separate the pasta. Boil for 10-14 minutes depending on the shape of the pasta and the flour used. Drain it and eat immediately without any extra oil or butter if you’ll be having it hot. For cold pasta rinse it under warm water and then cold water.

77. Perfectly cooked pasta every time. For perfect pasta, do not boil the noodles!  Instead, boil the water and then turn off the fire and add the pasta.  Cover, and stir the pasta every five minutes for twenty minutes.  Your pasta will never overcook, and it will be perfect every time.

78. Make fluffier rice. For fluffier rice, add one teaspoon of lemon juice to the water before adding rice. It won’t change the flavor but it will plump up the grains to give you perfect rice.

79. Add flavor to rice. Instead of using plain water when boiling rice, try chicken stock, beef stock or even tomato juice. Serve it as is or add even more flavor by sautéing some vegetables in olive oil and garlic and adding them for a delicious and healthy side dish.

80. Reduce the stickiness of pasta and rice. The starch in pastas and rices often cause them to stick together. Avoid this by adding a splash of vinegar.
Whether you are preparing for a dinner party, or just making a weeknight dinner, these tips will make creating delicious food a snap. When you know the shortcuts and cooking techniques of professional chefs, you will leave your guests wondering how they can cook like you!

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