The last 2 posts in this series were mostly to do with the equipments that make your life easier, but lets face it, what good are equipments if you are going wrong in all the other departments?
In lieu of this, part 3 of “An idiots guide to the kitchen” is dedicated to the do’s and dont’s and some quick fixes!! (the 10 commandments from “All things yummy”, if you will :P)
1. Taste as you go: Always always taste your dish at regular intervals while cooking! I know this is a tip straight from masterchef, but it is one of the cardinal rules of cooking.
2. Extra salty? No problemo: This awesome tip comes from my mommy’s experience in the kitchen! If you have put in extra salt in your dish, just throw in a small ball of wheat dough (the one you use to make “chapatis”) in the dish while its still cooking, it has a sort of a magnetic relationship with salt. Once your dish has reached the optimum salt level, you can take the dough out!
3. Working with raw meat?: So here’s the thing about any kind of raw meat that you buy, you can not take any chances with it, you have to give it a thorough wash (3-4 times) before you start working with it (preferably once you are done chopping it up).
4. Shrooms: As I have said time and again in various posts, mushrooms need to be washed and scrubbed like your lucky shirt before the big meeting/ interview :p. I usually go a step further, and give them a quick boil before cooking them.
5. Milk can save the day: This is especially true for all the italian sauces! Whenever you feel your dish is drying up and it needs that creamy effect, just add some milk, or if you wish to indulge, throw in some fresh cream also while you are at it!
6. Invest in fresh herbs and spices: Even though they are bit more expensive and have a low shelf life, there is no comparison between the flavour of freshly chopped basil sprinkled on top of a dish with its dry version or the aroma of freshly ground black pepper with its store bought equivalent. A word of advice, store them in an air tight container or cling wrap nice and tight.
7. Cheese and olives can turn a sad day into a happy one: Don’t believe me? Try using this on any of the boring home made mac and cheese or your regular sandwiches and see the difference it makes. They can even make your boring biscuits fun to eat 😀 (Check out the article on “Pass the cheese please” to learn about all the divine cheese types)
8. Unless otherwise mentioned, cook on low-medium flame: Rome was not built in a day and your dish can not be cooked in half time. So let go of all the laziness, cook slow and serve your guests the yumminess that they deserve.
9. Non-stick pans are your best friends: Although most recipes will not recommend you to use a non-stick cooking equipment, I always find it to be a safer option irrespective of the dish I am cooking.
10. Start from the scratch: I know it is not possible with the crazy workdays and even crazier weekends, but as much as possible, try to make your dishes from scratch (and not with preservative induced sauces and mixes), trust me, it makes a world of a difference.
Hopefully after reading this post, you can all say “bring it on!” when the crazy world of cooking strikes on you.