30 Cooking Pearls of Wisdom

30 Pearls of Wisdom for Cooking 
For the everyday novice or the seasoned kitchen witch

So, I've put together some tips that will help us all in the kitchen. Nothing super fancy. Just some pearls of wisdom I've picked up along the way. Here we go...

Tongs can double as oven mitts, juicers, and extend-o-arms. 

Clean WHILE you're cooking. 

Follow your heart when cooking but follow instructions when baking. Baking is science.  

Sometimes, when you think something needs more salt, what it really needs is acid. Lemon juice is your friend. 

A blunt knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. Always keep your knives sharp. 

If your towel or oven mitt gets wet (or your hands are wet while using them on something hot), they will NOT protect your hands. I learned this the hard way.

A falling knife has no handle. Say that again. "A falling knife has NO handle". Good. Moving along...

A good kitchen should be equipped with a plentiful supply of clean, dry hand towels. 

Don't cook something you aren't familiar with when having guests. Just don't. Experiment on yourself and your own family, lol.

Brown the onions BEFORE the garlic. Punish the onion. Be gentle with the garlic :D

In baking, each ingredient does something, so add-ons and substitutions can change how everything works together. See pearl number three.

Wash your hands....a lot. Then wash them again. "Just keep washing. Just keep washing. Just keep washing, washing, washing..." 

Soy sauce is more versatile than you think. Try a dash in scrambled eggs. It's savory salt flavor compliments many dishes. 

The amount of garlic flavor is dependent on WHEN you add the garlic. Add it early for a light flavor, add it later for a  
bold flavor. 

Olive oil is a condiment and is terrible to fry with. Use vegetable oil or any other 'neutral' oil, it has a higher flash point (when it starts to smoke) and is pretty much flavorless. 

Clean as you go. It's very important to end-of-meal satisfaction. And just over-all satisfaction.

Everyone should know how to cook eggs. Hard boiled, omelets, scrambled, sunny side up, etc.  
Once the egg has been mastered, try throwing some mushrooms or peppers in an omelet or adding  
different herbs and spices to scrambled eggs. 

Choose an acid based on what you are cooking. Italian? Red wine vinegar. Mexican? Lime juice. 
It's also good to note that when working with anything cream based, add acidity right at the  
end or else the sauce/dish may curdle. 

Taste as you cook, and do so at various stages (while safe, please don't taste raw meat). It  
lets you know if you have added too much or too little of something. Also, it helps you develop 
your palette for what different seasonings do. 

Massively improve the quality of your proteins (chicken, beef, tofu anything) with fond. Fond 
is the dark brown stuff that sticks to your pan when you're cooking. It's not burnt unless it's 
actually black. To get it off the pan and on the food, pour either an alcohol or acid to dissolve  
it and get the now-brown liquid to coat your protein. Different proteins work best with different alcohols. For instance, dry white for chicken or lighter meat. Red for beef. Lemon juice works great for almost anything. 

MSG doesn't give you headaches. That myth is based on a very old, very flawed study. Glutamates 
are found in many foods, including almost every vertebrate. 

Cooking bacon in the oven is exponentially easier to perfect and clean up than in a skillet on 
a stovetop. Set the oven to 405-ish degrees F, line a baking sheet with tin foil, and lay your bacon 
flat on it. I prefer to use a baking rack with a drip pan but use what you've got. Cook for 13-15 minutes. It's perfect every time, and you can cook a lot more at once this way. 

For thicker sauces, use the water you boiled your pasta with. 

Cinnamon isn't just for sweet foods. It can be really, really good in savory foods as well. 

When cooking pasta, salt your boiling water. It seems to help prevent to pasta from sticking to itself.

When talking seasoning, adding is easy, but removing is hard. Less is more, friend.

Time is the best and most expensive ingredient. Think marinaded meats, breads, cheeses, and alcohol/wine. All take time to improve the flavor. 

NEVER allow your cast iron skillet to soak. EVER. I cannot stress this enough! I'll talk about this in my next post***

If you find it is taking too long to peel your garlic, place an unpeeled garlic clove under 
the flat side of your knife and press on it at a slight angle. The peel will separate easily. 

If you want crispness on the outsides of your meats, you should pat them dry before seasoning. Sear the ends of roasts and other larger cuts of meat and you will have that delightfully tasty trim all along your dish.

That concludes my musing for this evening. It was short but I hope it was good for you anyway ;). Have a great night. See you later this week.

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