What's your best cooking tip? :)

Any tips / findings during our cooking discovery and adventure!

let me start the ball rolling:

1. cracking eggs on a flat surface or against another egg reduces greatly chances of having bits of egg shells.

2. Slicing a lemon along its length, instead of cutting in half, gives a better grip for squeezing the lemon juices out.

3. Easiest way to peel oranges? try YouTube "peeling orange Russian style" (I'm not Russian btw and I'm not sure whether that's a Russian method) but anyways it works for me!



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Pegeen
Pegeen February 14, 2013

Know your audience

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Mervyn,Lau
Mervyn,Lau February 20, 2013

Yes indeed!...Part of cooking is to share the love of food!

darksideofthespoon
darksideofthespoon February 14, 2013

Salt and an acid (lemon juice, red wine vin, etc..) used in moderation, to taste, can usually elevate ANY dish if it's not tasting quite right.

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Mervyn,Lau
Mervyn,Lau February 20, 2013

you are right, it's amazing what lemon can do to a dish.
I would pass on the salt (yes, i know it is over rated!) haha

Voted the Best Reply!

ChefJune
ChefJune February 14, 2013

Read your recipe through TWICE before assembling your ingredients. And always assemble all the ingredients before you begin to cook.

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SeaJambon
SeaJambon February 14, 2013

Relax and enjoy the process. Wine helps both the recipe and the cook.

More specific ones:

1. Eggs and butter at room temp when baking -- makes a difference.

2. Parchment paper is the best invention - EVER - bar none.

3. Use those ice cream scoops (various sizes) to get the perfect drop cookie (after years of using the "two spoon" method).

4. If there is a Julia Child recipe for what you're making, use it and ignore the others.

5. Peel ginger root with the edge of a spoon.

6. Don't dry herbs in the oven with the convection fan blowing.

7. Try new things, often.

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Pegeen
Pegeen February 15, 2013

SeaJambon, you're making me laugh. I appreciate your tips.

Mervyn,Lau
Mervyn,Lau February 20, 2013

lovely tips! - esp on the wine and pt 7.

I didn't get point 6 though...

SeaJambon
SeaJambon February 20, 2013

"Don't dry herbs in the oven with the convection fan blowing" is something I learned the hard way as all the tiny leaves danced and high fived all over the oven -- the fan blew those lovely little leaves everywhere! :)

Sam1148
Sam1148 February 14, 2013

With the age of internet and easy access to multiple versions of recipes. Read through the swarm of recipes---a commonality will develop. Work around that as a main theme and improvise. Learn the basics of cooking; steaming, sautee, frying, braising, grilling, baking. And making learn basic sauces.
If you know the main structure of a dish, you can play around that; adding your own touches and not be a slave to a recipe.
(Unless it's a dang good one that works for you and your guests)
And replace your dried spices every year! Go to bulk stores and you do it for 10 bucks.

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WileyP
WileyP February 14, 2013

1. If you are going to write a review for an internet recipe, make the dish as the recipe is written - no substitutions, deletions, additions or modifications. If you then feel adjustments would be a benefit, either mention them at the end of the review or submit your own adjusted recipe.
2. Use a marker to write the expiration date on the time-limited items in your larder or refrigerator. Not only will this make you immediately aware of the use-by date, but it will remind you each time you see the item. Gives you a little "heads up" when you need to think seriously about using an item.
3. Don't go to the grocery store when you are hungry.

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Mervyn,Lau
Mervyn,Lau February 20, 2013

i do no.2!! lol

ATG117
ATG117 February 15, 2013

Salt, salt, salt. And acid.

Taste every component of a dish as well as the final dish before you serve it.

Presentation counts. A lot. Keep it simple. White plates can't be beat.

Ingredients matter. Get the best you can afford where it counts.

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Jenny Maria
Jenny Maria February 15, 2013

When making bread wash the bowl in cold water
1 tbsp wineager in the pizza dough makes it mush easyer to rolle thin

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boulangere
boulangere February 15, 2013

Pay attention. Don't overcook anything.

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ChezHenry
ChezHenry February 15, 2013

1. Always use an instant thermometer to check for doneness. Its foolproof.
2. Season as you go. Each component should be seasoned.
3. Ingredients are 85% of cooking. Don't scrimp.

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Kristen W.
Kristen W. February 15, 2013

Concur with using salt generously and salt as you go (except for kale chips, which get WAY too salty real fast, IMHO).

Let your meat rest.

Cook what makes your heart sing.

Don't be afraid to question a recipe if something in it doesn't make sense to you. The palate trumps the page.

Fresh herbs and a, ahem...hit of acid (as in lemon or vinegar!) can make an otherwise okay dish really sing.

In the words of J.C. (Julia Child, that is): don't be afraid!

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff February 15, 2013

And more Julia Child--never apologize!

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kimhw
kimhw February 16, 2013

Always have a sharp knife.

Use the right tool for the job.

Time management.

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Diana B
Diana B February 17, 2013

Before using, toast spices briefly in a hot, dry skillet to really bring out their best.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 February 17, 2013

Never make a recipe for guests unless you've tried it before.

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Diana B
Diana B February 17, 2013

Interesting, Sam - I'm always testing new recipes on guests. I can usually just look at a recipe and know whether it's likely to turn out well.

Anyway, I did think of another tip: If you fail to follow Mervyn's suggestion to crack eggs on a flat surface and get a bit of shell in your egg, use the rest of the shell to fish it out - it cuts right through that egg white in a way your finger or a spoon never will.

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boulangere
boulangere February 17, 2013

Me, too, Diana. I nearly always try out new ideas on guests.

Mervyn,Lau
Mervyn,Lau February 20, 2013

Thanks Diana.. I'll try that next time with the egg shells!...very interesting!

loubaby
loubaby February 18, 2013

I'm with Diana...My guests love to try new recipes....have to say they usually turn out well...even if I have to make a few adjustments along the way....everyone is different.....Diana, we just won't invite Sam or Cynthia over when we do this!...hee..hee..hee

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loubaby
loubaby February 18, 2013

I'm with Diana...My guests love to try new recipes....have to say they usually turn out well...even if I have to make a few adjustments along the way....everyone is different.....Diana, we just won't invite Sam or Cynthia over when we do this!...hee..hee..hee

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Melusine
Melusine February 18, 2013

In addition to many of the tips here, including "don't make anything for guests I haven't tried before"....
Know your ingredients. What does each one do or contribute, in terms of flavor and texture? What's the best cooking technique for each item?
Keep roasted onions and garlic in the fridge (or freezer.) Huge time saver and they both taste soooooo good.
Reduce frustration and annoyances. For me, that means starting with a clean kitchen and clear workspace.
Assemble everything first; put things away (or at least out of the way) as you go. (I've been known to move the same bowl 5 times...I've finally learned.)
Make sure utensils and such are within easy reach. (Magnet boards for knives, utensil crocks.)
And, before you pull a hot pan out of an oven or off of a cooktop, know where you're going with it -- and make sure there's a landing spot ready.

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Diana B
Diana B February 18, 2013

Oh, loubaby, we're definitely inviting Cynthia over! She "practices" on friends, and besides, from her blog, I can tell she's a perfectly fabulous cook, so we'll assign her to bring something!

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boulangere
boulangere February 18, 2013

Tell me what and when and I'm there! Though it'll probably be something I've never made before ;0)

Pegeen
Pegeen February 19, 2013

This is a great topic. Wish it was a continuing feature on the site.

Corn - Slicing corn kernels off a raw cob:
Cut a raw corn cob in half. On a cutting board, stand one of the cob halves vertically on its flat (sliced) end, for stability. Using a serrated bread knife, slice off the kernels with a steady, gentle downward motion, close to the cob. Don’t “saw” the knife back and forth. Do it on a clean cutting board surface, then use a straight-edge knife or metal scraper to scrape the corn “milk” and corn bits off the surface and use them.

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Mervyn,Lau
Mervyn,Lau February 20, 2013

Hi Pegeen,
what's the advantage of using a serrated knife btw?
I do the same process but with a regular chef knife...

I should get myself a serrated knife (i think), but i have already 5 knives! ..the usual suspects and 2 ceramic knives (which are great too btw!)

Pegeen
Pegeen February 19, 2013

This is a great topic. Wish it was a continuing feature on the site.

Corn - Slicing corn kernels off a raw cob:
Cut a raw corn cob in half. On a cutting board, stand one of the cob halves vertically on its flat (sliced) end, for stability. Using a serrated bread knife, slice off the kernels with a steady, gentle downward motion, close to the cob. Don’t “saw” the knife back and forth. Do it on a clean cutting board surface, then use a straight-edge knife or metal scraper to scrape the corn “milk” and corn bits off the surface and use them.

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ChefJune
ChefJune February 19, 2013

I slice raw corn off the cob using a bundt pan. I put the tip end of the ear of corn in the hole in the center, then cut down from the top of the cob, close to the cob. The kernels fall off into the pan, conveniently.

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Pegeen
Pegeen February 19, 2013

To peel tomatoes before using (also works for peaches and plums): with the tip of a sharp knife, cut an X in the non-stem end. Wait until you have all the tomatoes X’d, then put all in a pot of boiling water at the same time for about 30 seconds until the skin loosens. Take pot off heat and remove all tomatoes from boiling water immediately, at the same time, with a slotted spoon, placing tomatoes directly into a bowl of cold water. Lift out of cold water and peel – peel should come right off. After peeling, if you need to seed the tomatoes, cut in half and very gently squeeze a half in one hand and use a spoon or your fingers to remove the seeds and pulp.

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Mervyn,Lau
Mervyn,Lau February 20, 2013

Thanks for the tip!
You can also do the same X cut and steam the tomatoes.
Steaming locks in the flavour (according to my oven cook book)

petitbleu
petitbleu February 19, 2013

Don't throw anything away. Take every ingredient as a challenge to be creative and enterprising. Make stock from bones and veg scraps. Use the peel/zest and juice of citrus fruits. Cheese rinds, pickle juice, chard stems, the last teaspoon from a marmalade jar. You will learn so much and become a better cook for it.

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Bevi
Bevi February 19, 2013

Don't cook with a wine that you would not want to put in your mouth.

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SeaJambon
SeaJambon February 20, 2013

Bevi - reminds me of the time I accidentally used a $100 bottle of wine (special gift -- how was I to know? It was with all the other bottles...OOPS!!!) in boeuf burguignon ... It was, however, one of the best BB's ever! Served with a much less expensive wine...

AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames February 20, 2013

Sharpen your knives. Often. And before you notice they need to be sharpened. ;o)

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SeaJambon
SeaJambon February 20, 2013

So true! I hate to admit how many years (more than you'd expect for a reasonably intelligent person!) it took me to catch on to this one. There's a reason why pro's sharpen their knives every day.

MDC
MDC February 21, 2013

Be Safe, a sharp knife is always safer than a dull one. Clean as you go, and keep your workspace free of crumbs, garlic peelings, bits of herbs etc. Always put down a damp paper towel or dish towel under your cutting board to stabilize your work surface. Cut your ingredients in uniform sizes to ensure even cooking times, use fresh herbs whenever possible. Learn to make your own stock, nothing improved my own cooking more than making my own demiglace and dark chicken stock.

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Bevi
Bevi February 21, 2013

I wholeheartedly concur on the knife sharpening rule. It makes a world of difference. @seajambon - yes, there is that extreme as well! That was one expensive boeuf bourg - I am glad you thoroughly enjoyed it!

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dymnyno
dymnyno February 21, 2013

If you are cooking with wine, use the best you can afford. It does make a big difference. I'm with Sam. When I am cooking for a dinner party I always use a recipe that I am completely comfortable with. It makes me a much more relaxed hostess.

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