November 14, 2003

Kitchen Tips

* With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, it's time to buy new spices. Get rid of the old stuff in your spice rack or cabinet, and buy fresh. Do this every year around this time, and you'll notice the difference.

* Get a pepper grinder. You don't have to spend a fortune for one of those riot-baton sized monsters, small ones are available at Wal-Mart or kitchen specialty stores. Fresh ground pepper is a whole 'nother matter compared to the usual stuff folks buy.

* Along the same lines, try kosher salt for cooking. It's not iodized, so it doesn't have that metallic taste we've grown used to.

* Buy good knives. Unfortunately, quality costs. Even if you can only afford one a year (a present for yourself), it's worth the money. And regardless of the knife, keep it sharp. A sharp knife is safer to use.

* You should have at least two cutting boards. A wooden board for veggies and general use, and a glass or non-porous plastic one for poultry. Believe it or not,
wood is naturally anti-bacterial. That doesn't mean you don't have to clean them, just that the board itself is helping.

* Ever see Rachel Ray on the Food Network? Love her or hate her, one excellent idea she taught me was to keep a big 'garbage bowl' close at hand. That way you're not running back and forth to the garbage can all the time.

* The first time you make a recipe, follow the directions and measure carefully. That way, if you want to adjust things to your taste the next time, you have a known baseline to work from.

* Something I've found that really works is to do like cooking shows and pre-measure spices and such into little bowls ahead of time. Yes, it causes a few extra dishes, but makes it much easier during the actual assembly and you're not running around snagging items from the pantry and fridge when things get cooking.

* Keep up with the dishes if you can. It just makes things easier if your workspace isn't cluttered with bowls and pots and pans. Plus, if you do one or two when time allows during cooking, then you won't be discouraged by the memory of the mountain of dirty dishes created next time you feel like cooking.

These are just common sense and little things, but it's stuff that I've learned or been taught over the years. They work for me.

Posted by Ted at November 14, 2003 06:33 AM
Category: Recipes

Hmmm. The garbage bowl is a great idea! Gotta remember that.

Pre-measuring stuff is referred to as "misen place" in a professional kitchen. Apparently it's French for "everything in order" and I wouldn't be surprised if my spelling of it is wrong. Even if it is French, it's a good idea and I do it all the time, despite the protests from the gf that I use every bowl in the kitchen. Like Mozart, I use only the number of bowls required--no more or no less.

Posted by: Victor at November 14, 2003 07:55 AM

Thanks for the site, good read! Keep up the good work. Also, drop in to my new site anytime ;)

Posted by: cookbook at September 11, 2004 10:06 AM
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