We'd like to dedicate this roundup of killer culinary tips to those whose M.O. in 2013 is to work smarter, not harder. Often it's the smallest changes that have the greatest end result, particularly in the kitchen. We suspect that if you even adopt just one new tip, you'll notice a significant difference in the quality of your cookery, and really, who wouldn't like that? Keep reading for 12 tips that will kick your kitchen experiments into high gear.
If you're still using that cookie sheet to roast your veggies or that roasting dish to bake your cookies, we have the bakeware essentials to fill in your kitchen's missing gaps! Having the proper bakeware can really make a difference, affecting the end result of your cooking and baking recipes . . . separating the burnt cookies from the gooey ones. Going back to basics, we gathered up the essentials — pieces that are multipurpose and can be used in a variety of recipes. From the cookie sheet to the casserole dish, here are the 11 bakeware essentials no kitchen should be without.
When is the right time to drink ginger tea? Consider ginger the anytime tea for any ailment, whether it's a cold, stomachache, migraines, or general fatigue. Drinking ginger tea at once invigorates like a strong cup of coffee and soothes like a lavender salt bath.Here's a quick tip in terms of buying ginger: if you have access to Asian markets, then buy your ginger there. The ginger will be plump and fresh from the high turnaround, and it will be sold at a fraction of the price. This large piece would have cost me upward of $10 at an organic supermarket, but it only cost me 50 cents at my local Chinese grocer.
Ready to warm up to your own cup of ginger tea? Keep reading for the recipe.
Truth is, fancy words aside, you'll be surprised how many of these techniques are actually fairly simple concepts once you get a little confidence in the kitchen. Like most things we're afraid of, it's never as bad when you tackle the problem head on and figure out what you need to succeed.
So don't sweat the technique right away; once you get into the swing of these, you'll feel like a kitchen queen. Get acquainted with these French terms and techniques, and they'll soon seem like no kitchen biggie.
- Béchamel. This classic milk-based white sauce was named after Louis de Béchamel, chief steward to Louis XIV. It's composed of three main ingredients: flour, butter, and milk. The thickness of this cream sauce depends on the ratio of flour and butter to milk: the more milk, the thinner the sauce. It's usually served with eggs, fish, steamed veggies or poultry, or pastas, like macaroni and cheese.
- Velouté. This sauce is made just like béchamel, only milk is swapped for stock. Whether it's made from chicken, veal, or fish stock, velouté is typically not flavored with extra seasonings, and it's regularly used on veal, eggs, fish, steamed vegetables, poultry, or pastas.
- Espagnole. A brown stock-based sauce that may sound Spanish but is actually French in origin. Espagnole includes rich meat stock, browned vegetables, browned roux (a butter and flour mix), plus herbs and tomato paste. Unlike velouté, though, it's served mainly with roasted meats.
- Hollandaise. Egg yolks and fat, usually butter, are the basic ingredients for this yellow emulsified sauce. Like mayonnaise, this rich, creamy sauce tends to top eggs, vegetables, light poultry, or fish.
- Tomato. Whether it's made with raw, stewed tomatoes or a tomato paste, tomato-based sauce is generally used on pasta, fish, vegetables, veal, poultry, breads, and dumplings.
This list is still up for contention today, as still others believe that different sauces (like allemande, the egg-enriched velouté sauce, and vinaigrette) belong in the category of "mother sauce." How many of these have you made at home or sampled at a French restaurant?
Every baker must begin somewhere, yet the calculated science behind baking is not always simple and intuitive for some, especially cooks who prefer to improvise in the kitchen instead of following a recipe verbatim. If you're new to baking or have had rough (aka messy or burnt) experience in the past, here are 10 tips every beginner baker should know going into a recipe.
- Don't try to wing the recipe without reading it several times. Do follow the recipe exactly to avoid making careless mistakes.
- Don't overmix the batter or else the pancakes can end up flat and dense. Do combine the wet and dry ingredients until they are just mixed. There should be some lumps.
- Don't attempt to cook large pancakes at first, because they are harder to flip and cook thoroughly. Do stick to four- to six-inch pancakes, measuring and dolloping out the batter using a trigger ice-cream scoop.
See four more dos and don'ts of making pancakes when you keep reading.
Before going to culinary school, I had no idea when to use the smaller skillet versus the larger one or how big a four-quart saucepan really is. For those who can relate to not having a clue what to do with that eight-, 10-, or 12-piece stovetop cookware set, this guide will take you through the most common pieces of cookware and how best to apply them.
Use a nonstick teflon pan when: cooking delicate scrambled or fried eggs, omelets, and crepes. Really, that's it. And if you have a beautifully seasoned cast iron skillet, you can skip the category altogether and use that instead. While nonstick pans are slightly easier to clean than their cast iron and stainless steel analogues, they are notoriously bad at browning and may even pose health concerns if used improperly. Additionally, if your nonstick pan no longer lives up to its implied promise, it may be time to replace it, as the teflon coating becomes less effective with use (due to scratching of the surface).
I recently learned this horrifying statistic: about half the world's food is tossed out. Instead of wasting the stalk, start the year off differently by learning how to prep the entire broccoli crown (stems included!). In addition to feeling better about less waste, this technique will make even the broccoli stems a desirable part of the cruciferous vegetable and will help cook the stems and florets evenly and thoroughly.
- Start at the stalk of the broccoli. Cut away the root end, which may appear dry and discolored. Holding the head of the broccoli firmly, use a vegetable peeler to peel the entire stalk, then slice it into 1/4-inch rounds.
- When the broccoli stalk divides into the floret stems, cut the stems apart from each other. Holding each large floret piece, use a vegetable peeler to peel the stems. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch rounds until you are left with one-inch broccoli florets.
- Once all of the broccoli is cut, go back through the florets and ensure they are all the same size. To cut the floret pieces, turn them so the stem side faces up. Cut the stem in half, stopping when you hit the florets. Then, use your hands to split the piece into two parts.