Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cooking Tips and Tricks

   I love to cook, I always have and always. It has always kind of baffled me when someone tells that they don't like to cook, or that they can't, I just can't wrap my mind around it. The reason people don't like to cook are usually the same; too much work, never turns out right, no clue what they are doing... In the few years that I have spent cooking for myself I have figured out a few things that just observing didn't teach me. Most of the time I learn from making mistakes and fixing those mistakes is usually something very simple. I would like to share those very simple fixes with you.

   My first tip is to fill your kitchen with things that inspire you. If you don't have yummy ingredients or your kitchen is a mess, you of course are not going to want to spend any time in there. Keep your kitchen well lit and decorate it with functionality in mind.


  • Partially frozen meats are easier to slice, cube and trim of fat.
  • Put frozen or fresh chicken into a water and sea salt mixture over night for extremely juicy chicken. 
  • Fried meats will come out better if you first dry the meat with a paper towel, dust with flour and then dip in batter. 

  • Have a cup of cold water near for wetting your fingers when forming hamburgers and meatballs to prevent sticking. 
  • Make a dent in the middle of your hamburger to cut down on cooking time. 
  • Don't over mix your meat mixtures, adding a fat such as cheese or cream will help insure it is juicy however. 
  • Rolling bacon while it is still in its package will make the strips separate more easily. 
  • When making a roast, (pork, beef, turkey, whatever) after it has finished cooking, loosely wrap it with tin foil and let it rest for around 10-15 minutes, this will give it time for all of the juices to settle in the meat and not end up on your cutting board. 
  • For a more tender steak try rubbing it in sea salt, letting it rest for 5-10 minutes, (depending on the size of your steak) and then rinse it off. Pat dry and salt and pepper. 
  • For a medium-rare steak, cook on high heat for 2 minutes on each side, then on low heat for 4 minutes on each side. 
  • The most important rule when it comes to cooking meat is DO NOT OVER COOK IT! Go online, double check the weight of your meat and use those as guide lines, or get a meat thermometer. 

  • You can buy fresh, peeled garlic in bulk at places like costco. Chopped the peeled garlic in a food processor and then spread it out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Put in the freezer over night, remove from cookie sheet and cut into 1 inch blocks for fresh, pre-measured garlic year round. 
  • Crushing garlic with the side of your knife will make it easy to peel. 
  • Removing the bulb from an onion will guarantee it to be tear free. Use a peering knife to cut out the bulb in a cone shape like you might remove a tomato stem. (the bulb is located on the bottom) 
  • Microwaving a lemon for 10 seconds will double the juice. 
  • You should only wash lettuce and other fresh vegetables as you use them, not all at once. 
  • Store green vegetables in vented drawers. 
  • A good melon will smell sweet and feel heavier than it looks. 
  • Frozen berries and vegetables are way cheaper than fresh and when prepared right, just as good. I use a mix of fresh and frozen fruits in cereals and salads. 
  • When mushrooms go on sale I buy them up, wash them with a damp paper towel, slice them and freeze them so I always have them ready for stir fry and other dishes. 
  • Store fresh mushrooms in a brown bag and not in plastic to reduce sliminess. 

  • NEVER melt your butter, instead let the butter come to room temperature or better yet, just break out the mixer and let it do the work on a stick straight from the fridge. 
  • Cool your cookie dough for a couple hours in the fridge before baking.
  • Cookie dough will keep for 4 days in the fridge and 4 months in the freezer. 
  • Always use a cool baking pan for cookies, this goes back to not melting the butter. 
  • Use olive oil instead of flour on your hands to prevent sticking to dough. 
All the above are to prevent flat cookies. 


  • If you get egg shell in your mix, use a larger piece of egg shell to get it out, works every time. 
  • To boil a cracked egg, just add some vinegar to the water. 
  • Fresh eggs are rough and chalky, old ones are smooth and shiny.
  • Try flavoring your eggs with a little bit of fresh ground nutmeg, they were made for each other.


  • Stainless steel knifes are terrible, get ceramic ones. 
  • Wetting your knife will prevent garlic and boiled eggs from sticking to it. 
  • Unflavored dental floss is a great kitchen tool, you can tie roasts, cut soft cheeses and eggs. 
  • When making whipped cream, put your bowl and whisk into the freezer and of course make sure your cream is very cold. 
  • Baking stones make a better pizza crust by mimicking the traditional stone oven pizza's are baked in.
  • If you are grilling fish in a wire basket, heat the basket first to prevent the fish from sticking. 
  • Scissors are a must, using your knifes will dull them. 
  • Pre-washing canines are very helpful when it comes to burnt on foods. 

If there is any food left over... 


  1. I don't know if I've put too much wine in my glass or what, but that picture of your man licking the plate is....HOT.

  2. ....great tips of course though.