Cooking tips

Discussion in 'The Mess Hall' started by saf, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. saf


    So I thought that there are plenty of good cooks on here and was thinking it would be a good idea to share a few amongst ourselves.

    I will start with eggs
    1 Turn the heat heat down I see a lot of people that get brown on their eggs and it is gross. Eggs are delicate take your time with them

    2 Scrambled eggs need to be beaten like someone just stole your razor. Its not enough to just mix them up. Beating them longer will incorporate air making them lighter and fluffier. Also see #1

    Pan trick
    If you have a stainless pan but you need it nonstick. Heat pan until smoking then wipe with a paper towel that has cooking oil on it. This will create a film that will make it non stick for a while. This is what they do on a breakfast buffet when the eggs are cooked to order. They don't go through 200 pans for breakfast.

    These examples might not not be that useful, but I am hoping all you fine folks can give some tricks that are useful.

    Thanks for indulging me .
  2. You can never have too many small pyrex ramekins for setting up mis en place before you begin. It makes everything so much simpler, and the ramekins are oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe for countless other tasks.
  3. Always let your steaks come to room temp before putting them on the grill.
  4. There in NO equivalent for BUTTER!
  5. I used to think the trick to fluffy eggs is beating the hell out of them. My trick now is butter. Crack your eggs into a bowl and beat them. Add salt/pepper if thats your thing. Then take cold butter and cut it up into tiny cubes and add to the beaten eggs. Add to a pan with plenty of melted butter and continually whisk until the eggs cook. The cold butter helps keep the eggs from clumping up so much. This also works for omelets.

    My only other advice is to use good ingredients. There is no substitute for quality ingredients in cooking.
  6. Hot Wok..... Cold oil........

    If you are going to wok cook, get the wok smok'in hot with the burner wide open, add oil and your first ingratiating as close to the same time as your hands will move. Keep ingredients continually in motion, fry don't stew.

    Cook veggies first, add one ingredient at a time starting with the longer cooking ones first, remove veggies to a plate, cook meat, add sauce, return veggies to wok to warm back up and coat with sauce, then serve immediately.
  7. the_edski

    the_edski Moderator Emeritus

    Another tip for scrambled eggs, they continue to cook after you turn the heat off and put them on the plate. I always turn the heat off and plate them right before they are "done" to my liking and when I'm ready to eat after getting my toast buttered and OJ poured, they are perfect. In short, I always remember "Done in the pan, over-done on the plate!"
  8. saf


    Freezing butter for biscuits and then grating it in helps it from melting too early. This will allow little pockets of air and make them lighter.
  9. Alacrity59

    Alacrity59 Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    If you want to use a whole head of iceberg lettuce . . . hold it in your hand stem up and give it (the stem) a good bump with your other hand. You can then pull the core out and shred it as needed.
  10. +1
  11. Get a good (Griswold/Wagner) Cast Iron Pan (9" is Ideal) to cook on and learn how to use/season/take care of it.
  12. The best tip I can think of is to embrace every opportunity you get to try something new
  13. Buy quality spices. Learn new recipes and memorize your faves. Buy quality and fresh ingredients. Go to the local butcher and buy fresh meats and don't freeze them, rather cook and eat the meat within a couple of days. Get a decent Chef's or Santoku knife -- doesn't have to be pricey. Use a meat thermometer for food safety and to take the guesswork out of cooking meat.
  14. Brine poultry. If you frying, grilling, or just roasting it, it will add so much flavor to the meat. My usual brine is about 4 cups of water, 1 cup of salt, a palm full of peppercorns, 2 bay leafs, 1/2 palm full of rosemary (non-ground), sprinkles of garlic powder and onion powder. Bring to boil to dissolve all the powders and salt. Then cool down before adding meat. Even a short 3-4 hour brine will make a huge difference, but its more ideal if you can do it at least overnight.

    Also, there are so many websites that offer quality spices now at great prices. I have bought from and they offer free shipping on all US orders.
  15. I'll one up that and say learn cooking TECHNIQUES, not recipes. Cooking is not an exact science.

    I've been cooking from Mastering the Art of French Cooking recently. Julia's recipes say things like "cook the onions for a bit", "make a roux", "deglaze". More modern cook books spell out every little step down to how long you should sautee vegetables, brown meat etc. Learn basic cooking techniques, and the entire culinary world is in your hands.
  16. Learn what spices/flavors are essential/commonplace with different types of cuisine. For example tex-mex typically contains cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic (among others). If you can learn the basic flavors of different types of cuisine, no matter what you have in your fridge, you have a meal.
  17. dpm802

    dpm802 Contributor

    This little tip is so simple that it is often overlooked ... especially by experienced cooks.


    Almost every thing in your pantry, and every small and large appliance in your kitchen, comes with valuable information, tips and techniques that tell you how to use it and maximize its potential.

    Just because you've been cooking the same way for decades doesn't mean you're doing it right. Every little piece of information you can gather about a recipe will pay off big rewards by either making the prep easier and faster, or giving you a better tasting, more nutritious meal when you bring it to the table.
  18. When I cut iceberg lettuce in mass quantities (think 64 heads for one batch of salad mix) I did basically the same thing accept I smacked the head, stem down, on the cutting board. Often the stem fell out, otherwise I pulled it out.
  19. SiBurning

    SiBurning Steward Contributor

    Use all 5 senses when you cook. Taste, touch, listen to, watch, and smell your cooking. But don't poison yourself with raw meat.
    Think ahead, even if you're winging it.
    Make friends with parchment paper--It has many uses. For one thing, it'll protect the counter/cutting board from chicken, but don't cut on it (i.e., through it).
    Buy lots and lots of special-purpose kitchen towels so you always have clean ones and can keep them immaculate. The way I see it, if I dry a knife, I'm basically eating off the towel. I prefer the so-called flour sack kind, all white so I can launder them with a large dose of bleach, but take your pick. (Or just use lots of paper towels.)
    Last edited: May 2, 2012

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