I know you’re all smart and fancy and know everything there is to know about cooking, but on the off chance you might learn something new; today’s post is going to be a little cooking 411. Yes it’s an ode to Andy Cohen for bringing us every trashy season of the Housewives and somehow ruining my moral compass. I totally blame him, and how can one sentence completely derail me? I was planning to talk about food and share some cooking tips no less. Alright back to it; let’s pretend you’re eager to learn.
Sit down, pull up a chair, grab your pencil and paper and get ready to take some notes as I share with you all my kitchen secrets. Or maybe just a few; I’ve got a word count to contend with. Of course once I tell you, then I’ll have to kill you. You understand right?
Once upon a time, Ms. Peas and Crayons taught me how to cook dried black beans in a crock pot, and I found it super helpful. I know, you’re shocked right. You thought I knew everything there was to know about cooking. It’s not true though; I just happen to be really cocky. Not in that way; get your mind out of the gutter. Today’s post is nothing but good, clean, wholesome, fun, and I probably just lost half my audience. No worries, I’ll be back to my raunchy self in no time. Quite frankly, it’s going to be hard to sustain wholesomeness for an entire post, but I’m going to try, dammit, and crap I think I just lost it.
Anyway, I learned something from Jenn, so I’d thought I’d try to do something similar. I figured it can’t hurt, and if my tips are too common, well then I just made an ass out of myself, and I’m ok with that. You’ve seen my banana eating ways so you know I speak the truth. But if I can help just one person make their lives in the kitchen a little bit easier, well then I’ve done my job, and my work here is done… after I share my tips, of course. I wouldn’t let you off that easy.
Feel free to skip today’s post if you’re too cool for school, but don’t skip the comment because I love to hear from you, and I’m attention needy. Let’s begin.
- Blade Savvy: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: get a couple of good knives. They make a world of difference. Seriously invest. For example, this knife cuts through tomatoes like butter. Room temperature butter, no less.
- The Garlic Smash: the best and easiest way to unsheathe (hee hee) your clove of garlic is to smash the shit out of it. It’s pretty therapeutic too. Simply place your garlic clove on your cutting board. Now place your good knife on top of the garlic, flat side up. With your dominant hand, hold your knife in place and now with your other hand, bring your palm down on your knife and the garlic, hard, essentially busting open your garlic. The trick is to shout out hi-ya every time you bring your hand down; it works like a charm.
- Pay Attention. When the instructions recommend you watch closely, since whatever your cooking may boil over, you really should pay attention. Oops.
- Onion Slice (not to be confused with Home Slice, a term of endearment). When dicing onions, I find it easier to cut the onion in half, and then place the flat side on the cutting board. With your non-dominant hand, loosely hold your half onion together while you carefully slice your onion lengthwise. Do not cut your hand (see above note about paying attention). Then while still holding onion together, carefully slice across the entire onion horizontally, right through the middle.
Last, rotate your onion forty-five degrees and slice lengthwise one last time.
As a result of your hard work, you will be rewarded with a quick and efficiently diced onion. Viola.
- Get Greasy: when the recipe says grease the pan; do it. It’s not really an optional suggestion. Oops…again.
- Vinegar Fail: Vinegar and high temperatures don’t mix. I tried to make roasted potatoes with balsamic fig vinegar and olive oil. The potatoes survived, but the pan almost didn’t. However, I am smart (and cocky) and I googled that shit, and I learned a lot of baking soda and a little water can go a very long way towards getting your pan back to new again.
- Freshness Test: if you find a little green stem on the inside of your onion or garlic, well then I’m sorry to tell you it’s no longer in its prime. Don’t despair and don’t pitch it either. Just yank the green stem out. “If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out.” Sorry a little Edgar Allen Poe slipped out there. It happens from time to time, especially in the dark of night. Cue scary music.
- Have fun: Turn on a little music. Feel free to have your spatula double as a microphone, get your hips swinging, and enjoy yourself because cooking is supposed to be fun.
Those are my tips, so go forth and make good food, and remember for every great dish I’ve ever made and there have been a few (not that I’m cocky or anything), there’s also been a ton which didn’t actually pan out, pun intended. I’ve learned something from all of them though, so don’t be afraid to fail, and when you do, dust yourself off and get back out there again.
What’s one of your greatest kitchen successes? What’s one of your greatest kitchen flops? What’s your best cooking tip? Share with me; I want to learn.