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9 Foods You’ve Been Cooking The Wrong Way

Whether or not you consider yourself a Master Chef in the kitchen, everyone has some staple foods that they know how to whip up in a hurry. But, no matter how basic the foods are that you love to make, it could be that you’ve been cooking them completely wrong.

It’s a rude awakening, we know.

Never fear, it’s not just you. There are nine common foods that are almost always prepared incorrectly, which just seems like a waste of perfectly delicious food. To resolve this injustice, we’re opening your eyes to nine simple foods that you’ve been making wrong all along.

EGGPLANT

Eggplant

Photo: Culinar

Veggies lovers, are you preparing eggplant the right way? Because, no, it can’t just be cooked like regular vegetables. Well, it can be, but the results are lackluster compared to what you could be enjoying.

To get the most tender and delicious results, you need to salt the eggplant and then let it sit in a colander to drain. This technique will pull out the excess moisture out of the eggplant and banish that unappetizing, chewy texture.

PASTA

Pastas

Photo: Recipes Hubs

The biggest mistake we make while cooking pasta? We dump the water we cooked the pasta in down the drain. While this might seem like second nature, don’t throw out that water! A little salted water helps the sauce cling to the pasta, so leave some in the bottom of the pot where you’ll be mixing your pasta and sauce.

Oh, you’re salting your water rather than oiling it, right? If not, get to salting, friends. Salt water seasons pasta both inside and out and give your dish a more complex flavor than oil does.

STEAK

Steak

Photo: Home Wet Bar

Cooking pan seared steak is actually an art form. It takes some ruined steaks and a lot of study to really perfect it. But, trust us, the end result is entirely worth the correct technique.

First, don’t defrost your steak. Cooking it right away will actually help preserve moisture in the meat and will make your meat less likely to become overcooked. The real trick is to brown it first in the pan, slow roast it in the oven for a few, and then quickly fry it with butter and herbs one last time. You won’t regret it.

SCRAMBLED EGGS

Scrambled Eggs

Photo: Vital Farms

This breakfast favorite is probably fine the way you’re making it now, but there is a trick no one talks about. There’s actually no need for water or milk in your scrambled eggs, they’re fine all of their own! Also, whisk your eggs right before you put them in the pan; this will make them the fluffiest you’ve ever seen.

For the best eggs possible, make sure to crack your egg on a flat surface rather than the edge of a bowl. This will prevent the yolk from breaking and guarantee less egg shell in your eggs. And any scrambled eggs with a low ratio of shell is a successful breakfast made.

FROZEN VEGGIES

Frozen Veggies

Photo: ABC News

Don’t listen to the packaging! It’s telling you filthy lies. We don’t care how tempting it is to be lazy, do NOT put your frozen veggies in the microwave. Doing that will only result in soggy, limp veggies. And soggy, limp veggies are sad veggies.

Instead, use a steamer; it only takes a few minutes longer than microwaving does and it leaves your veggies with a crisp texture and fresh flavor.

BACON

Bacon

Photo: Entrepreneur

As it turns out, we’re even cooking this pinnacle of all foods incorrectly. Let’s face it, if we’re not cooking bacon right, why even bother cooking at all?

The most important thing when it comes to cooking bacon is that you don’t wait for the pan to get hot. Put your bacon in the cold pan as you’re turning on the heat. Weird as it seems, this will help render the fat more slowly, creating crispier, less greasy bacon. Once you’ve mastered perfectly cooked bacon, you could very well take over the world from that point.

MASHED POTATOES

Mashed Potatoes

Photo: FastaPasta

Selection is key for perfect mashed potatoes. Russet potatoes are better in this scenario than waxy red or white ones, and they cook better if you put them in cold water, which you then gradually heat up. And no matter how much you love mashed potatoes, try not to mash too enthusiastically either: this releases starch, which can make your potatoes pasty.

So stop taking your frustrations out on your potatoes. Be kind to them and they will be kind to you.

FISH

Grilled Fish

Photo: Serious Eats

Unlike bacon, you want to cook fish on a surface that’s nothing less than scalding. This will ensure that the fish doesn’t stick to the surface of your pan. If you really want to improve your fish game, the biggest hint is to stop continuously flipping fish. Unless the filet slides easily, it’s not ready to flip and you’re just going to rob the meat of flavor.

TURKEY

Full Turkey

Photo: Bull BBQ

The trick to turkey is defrosting it correctly; usually that means for the correct amount of time. A turkey that hasn’t defrosted enough is going to result in tough, dry meat, when our endgame should be moist and bursting with flavor.

A quick way to know you’re defrosting your turkey is with this little tip: defrost the turkey for six hours per pound. If the turkey in question is four pounds, it would need to defrost for at least 24 hours. This will ensure your turkey is ready to cook and will provide maximum deliciousness to your dinner guests.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Never Scrub Your Stovetop Again With This Cleaning Method [WATCH]

 

Everyone has their own methods to cleaning stovetop parts, but they’re often  grueling, or inefficient.

There is a pretty clever method that does require some overnight patience, but will leave your stove burners looking new, without the struggle of intense scrubbing.

By simply putting your burners in a Ziploc bag and filling them with clear ammonia, you can watch weeks, even months-worth of grease fall off overnight.

The next morning, you just put a little dish soap on a sponge and gently wipe away any residue.

Of course, scrubbing like crazy works, too, but might as well save yourself the carpal tunnel.

If you’re a fan of cleaning obscure kitchen parts in drastically easier ways, check out the quick tutorial from DIY Super Mom below, and keep that stove clean:

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17 Restaurant Workers Reveal Their Personal Food Hacks and Tips

Kitchen-Hacks-Tray

What separates an idiot from a cook? Timing. Are you about to cut those ghost peppers without slathering olive oil on your hands? Oh dear. Found on AskReddit, the following question was posed to the professionals — chefs, sous chefs, line cooks: What tricks and conventions do you use everyday that amateur home cooks can benefit from?

The answers came readily. Longtime Reddit users, who had never posted before, felt compelled to share their bits of knowledge from the kitchen. So tune in below for hacks and wisdom from the professionals

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Freeze Tomato Juice into Savory Ice Cubes

If you’re cutting a lot of tomatoes, use a cutting board with a trough. Collect the juice that weeps out and pour into an ice cube tray. Freeze ’em for when you need them to add some tomato flavor sauces, soups, etc. This works for pretty much any fruits and vegetables that weep when cutting. You paid for that juice, so you might as well use it, and its usually highly flavorful.

 

Sprinkle Chopped Garlic with Salt

When chopping garlic, dice it up really finely with your knife, then sprinkle some salt on it and use the flat of your knife to grind the salt into the garlic. This helps to further mince the garlic, as well as to season it and bring out the flavour more. Remember this means you need less salt in your dish.

 

How to Slice an Onion Without Cutting Your Fingers Off

There is a far easier (safer?) way to dice onion. Start by cutting the onion in half, from root to top. The then cut 1/2 inch off the top, and peel. Then, instead of cutting horizontally through the onion as you did in step two, cut vertically. Position your knife near one edge, and plunge the tip into the onion near the roots (but don’t cut through them), and cut all the way through to the top. Continue across the onion until you reach the other side. Then rotate 90 degrees, and cut vertically across your onion from top to root. No precarious knife skills needed, and a fast dice every time. I would do a handy graphic, but I’m on redistributed mobile.

 

How to Make Epic Mashed Potatoes

Next time you want to make mashed potatoes bake WHOLE potatoes on a bed of salt on a baking sheet.

Poke a few holes and cook until you can easily pierce them with a knife. Peel them (it should be very easy) and SAVE THE SKINS.

In a pot, fry the skins in some butter for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add about 1/2 cup of milk and let it get warm with the potato skins still in it.

Strain the milk through a strainer, add it to your cooked potatoes, add salt and paper and whip to your preferred consistency.

It’s a little more work than normal but I promise it will be the best potatoes you’ve ever had. Also, you can save the salt for future uses – no need to throw it out.

bacon-bake

Picthx Paleo Spirit

NEVER Fry Bacon

Never fry bacon, bake it in the oven on a baking pan. Less splatter, less raw ends and crumbly middles, less work.

edit: about 400-420 degrees F works best.

 

Coat Your Hands in Olive Oil Before Touching Habenero

When handling habanero or other extremely hot peppers, I coat my hands in a teaspoon of olive oil before finely dicing the peppers. Get the oil thoroughly under and around fingernails. After handing natures napalm with oily hands I find that the hot stuff washes off far more easily with some dish detergent.

 

Pineapple + Soy Milk = Pineapple Soy Cream

Organic chemistry will blow your mind.

Put pineapple chunks in soy milk. Wait for a couple of hours. The proteins in the soy milk will solidify: you now have delicious pineapple flavored soy cream.

 

“Respect the Alliums”

Culinary School Grad/Line Cook(Kitchen Supervisor) here.

First and foremost would be having a good handle on how to care and use a french knife properly. My biggest complaint when it comes to home cooking is most people have no respect for the most valuable tool in our arsenal.

Having a basic understand of flavor composition is also very handy. Do yourself a favor and find a website or book ( In my case, Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dorenburg and Karen Page). Having the understanding of what flavors work and what drinks pair well with foods is a godsend if you’re looking to impress. It helps me immensely when looking to whip up something new or when I’m sorting through leftovers to make a soup.

Respect the Alliums. That’s your garlic, onion, and leeks. There is a reason that they are the basis for so many cultural foods, THEY’RE FANTASTIC. Nuff Said.

Buy yourself some non-iodized salt and a pepper cracker.

Take special care to prepare your cooking equipment. If it be pregreasing pans or using an onion piquette on a grill. The better you care for equipment, the better it takes care of you.

I know its been said before, but cook with a plan and MISE EN PLACE!

Most importantly, you have to have the ability to have fun and enjoy creating dishes. Don’t be afraid of failure because thats the process of learning to cook. I can’t begin to count the amount of people who are afraid to cook because “They suck”.

cast-iron

Picthx what2cook

Before You Cook Anything, Get a Cast Iron Pan

It’s been touched on but I’ll go into a little more detail.

Buy cast iron, used from an antique store, if possible. Not the expensive enameled stuff but, rather, the old-school raw black stuff. If you can’t get used, the Lodge Logic pieces from Amazon are an amazing value.

With these pans you can use any utensil you want, can go easy on the soapy scrubbing, and your food will turn out great with little effort. If you burn something in them, it’s almost a good thing. They work on the stove; they work in the oven. They are the original non-stick. They’re vastly cheaper than all those shitty aluminum or anodized sets that burn your food.

To cite Bourdain: “… if you have any doubt about which will break first, the pan or your head, then the pan isn’t heavy enough.”

Cast iron. The end.

 

Know the 4 Golden Flavors

Have a very good sense of flavor. This can be classified into: 1. The meaty one – Egg: Meat, fish, mushrooms, daichi, cheese, soya, onion etc. 2. The seasoning – ie, basic tastes – sweet, salt, capsin, sour. 3. The fresh parts – lettuce, cucumber etc. 4. Spices – ginger, garlic, lemongrass, anything else.

A good dish is something that has a balance of these 4 flavors, therefore, when you list down ingredients, try to classify them into these 4 categories. When thinking of a new creative dish, try to think in your head how these classifications could combine.

 

Life-Changer

Surprised this hasn’t been mentioned… Changed my life. HEAT THE PLATES.

Easiest tip you’ll ever get – helps amateurs and pros alike. Helps scrambled eggs and filet alike.

 

Taste Everything, Prepare Everything, Try Everything

Former Executive Chef, Culinary School Grad, Catering Chef and Private Chef here. This is my first reddit post. I have been lurking for a couple of years, but never felt compelled to post anything until now.

1) Always taste. Taste everything, everytime you add any new ingredient. Taste everystep, taste before you serve it. Just taste!

2) Never used canned items, ever. If you can’t get fresh, use frozen. But never use canned items.

3) Learn to use a knife. Ideally, learn to use a French chef’s knife, but if Asian is more your style, just make sure you learn to use it properly. Any chef worthy of the title can do anything that a kitchen gadget can with a knife or whisk.

4) Taste new ingredients. You know that item int he grocery store that you are afraid to try? The one that you know nothing about? Buy it, try it. The only way to learn new ingredients is to use them. Try it raw then try it cooked. Learn the flavor, the texture, etc.

5) For best quality meals, use fresh and local ingredients. The fresher the ingredient, the better the result. You should also try to cook seasonally. I only use tomatoes when they are in season. When you buy ingredients in season, they are cheaper and taste much better.

6) Pick up a good book to teach you techniques, etc. I would recommend On Cooking by Sarah R. Labensky and Alan M. Hause or How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.

7) If you are worried about cooking from scratch, then start from a box, then add something. You’d be surprised at how much a little onion, garlic or herbs will increase the taste of a pre-made dish. Once you get comfortable with adding your own flavours to something, it becomes easier to make something of your very own from scratch.

8) Always write a recipe for something when you try something new. If it turns out great, it’s a good thing to have something to remember how you did it.

9) MISE EN PLACE! The term just means “everything in its place”. This simply means to have all ingredients measured out, all utensils you need, etc. Basically, everything you need to complete the recipe, dinner, whatever. Get it ready before you begin to cook. More often than not, a dish is burned because somebody didn’t have everything ready before they started cooking.

10) Experiment. If you don’t know how to cook something, try it. Don’t be afraid. We have all made horrible dishes before we learned how to do it right. Want to try a new flavour combination? Do it. You never know what flavours will work out.

11) You should also buy a good knife if you can. It doesn’t have to be expensive (I prefer Kasumi or Shun). Victorinox is a great brand that is very inexpensive. Great quality, keeps a sharp edge and the grips are very good.

 

Two Words: Mayo Crust

Thin shmear of mayo on a steak + hot pan = rare steak with crust.

 

Recycle Leftovers

Don’t let anything go to waste. Carrot tops, onion stem ends, and other vegetal “garbage” can be accumulated in a Ziploc bag in the freezer to be used in stocks. Likewise, chicken bones can be collected from plates after meals for the same purpose.

Homemade stock is not only infinitely cheaper than store-bought. It adds a depth of flavour to soups, stews and sauces that you just can’t buy. The secret ingredient really is love.

 

$3 TONGS FTW

Former sous, can’t stress this enough, for the love of God, don’t buy anything for your kitchen at a box store, go to a restaurant supply store. It’s less expensive and made to last a long number of 12 hour days in tough conditions it can surely handle your dozen uses a week. Decent saute pan will run you $20 and by all means get multiple pairs of these, they are like $3 a piece

 

Buy a Good Knife

Learn to use a knife properly. Go out and spend 50 bucks on a strong french knife, watch videos on how to cut properly. You’ll save a ton of time on making food and it will seem like less of a chore because the prepping part isn’t a huge hassle. Once yuo get the hang of it you’ll be watching tv while you chop your food up.

 

What Separates an Idiot from a Cook

Former Italian caterer here. For parties, or even a normal dinner for two, the most important thing to know isn’t a recipe. You can look up a recipe. Any idiot can follow directions, but a real cook knows how to time things correctly.

Practice cooking and time management. Know how long it takes to cook a chicken. Know how long it takes to steam vegetables. That way, when your chicken comes out, you’re not waiting another half hour for rice to be done, or having it dry out in a steam table or something.

Similarly, clean as you go. I can’t stress this enough. When I see people staring at the pot of boiling pasta while the dishes pile up, I don’t understand what they’re doing. If you have downtime that isn’t necessary, start cleaning! Then it won’t seem so bad when you’re done.

 

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How to Cut 11 Cherry Tomatoes at the Same Damn Time [Hack]

cherry-tomato-hack

This trick has been floating around the Internet for a while, but we decided to resurrect it for those of you missing out. If you’ve ever wanted to know how you can cut multiple petite food items in half without tediously cutting them one at a time, pay attention to the video below.

It ‘s simple. All you have to do is put a handful of cherry tomatoes on one plate or lid, put another plate or lid on top, and then slide your knife between the middle opening between the two lids. And voila – this cuts all your tomatoes at once.

The only problem is that if you’re really lazy, you now have to wash a knife AND two plates, which will probably take you the same amount of time as cutting each tomato individually. Curses.

H/T That’sNerdalicious

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This Life-Changing Bacon Hack Reduces Shrinkage By 50 Percent

rinse-bacon-to-reduce-shrinkage

When it comes to bacon, we don’t take the topic lightly. It’s the hangover cure of the internet and the fountain of youth, after all. So, when we heard someone mention that rinsing it before cooking reduces shrinkage by up to 50 percent, we dropped our sad desk lunches and set to find out if this was indeed true.

Luckily, Fran of Franalan put this rumor to the test. After rinsing the meat in a colander, Fran placed the bacon on a rack covered in aluminum foil and popped it in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes at 365 °F. The end result, according to Fran, was plump bacon that didn’t shrink. Hey, if Snapple caps confirm it, it must be true.

We’re curious to know, however, if it was the added moisture from the water or the fact that the bacon was baked rather than cooked that lead to the reduced shrinkage. If you’ve got an answer to this confounding dilemma, share your pro-tips in the comments below.

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How to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew, Plus 9 Other Awesome Kitchen Tips

Are my eggs still fresh? How can I cut onions without tearing up? How do I make crystal clear ice — because those foggy cubes are peasants! If you find yourself asking these questions daily, boy do we have a video for you.

In just a minute and forty seconds, you’ll learn how to prevent your pot of water from boiling over the sides, how to clean your disgusting microwave with ease, and even how to iron your work pants…without an iron.

Get educated:

Which of these tricks did you already know? Share your own kitchen tips with us in the comments: