No matter your level of expertise in the kitchen, there are always opportunities for you to further your knowledge of the culinary arts and to learn tips to simplify your cooking processes. In honor of Culinarians Day, we spoke with two of HHS’ executive chefs, Frank Boerdner and Marta Hernandez, to learn some of their favorite tricks of the trade, which you can easily incorporate into your cooking routine.
10 tips that will boost your culinary savviness:
Heat your skillet before sautéing
Before adding vegetables or other ingredients to sauté, thoroughly heat the skillet on the stovetop. Once warm, add cold oil - this will greatly reduce the chance of the oil burning. After the oil is warm, then add the vegetables and sauté.
Sharpen knives for safe slicing
Invest in sharp, quality knives or purchase a knife sharpener as part of your culinary inventory. Using the knife sharpener, regularly sharpen your knives to increase the quality of the blades to provide safer, more consistent cuts. Never use a dull knife when cutting, chopping or slicing, as it is more likely to cause injury.
Coat your utensils to avoid a sticky mess
If you are measuring sticky ingredients such as molasses or honey, first coat your spoon or measuring cup with cooking oil or nonstick spray and the sticky substance will slide right off.
Partially freeze onions to skip the tears
To lessen the amount of gas an onion omits and reduce the chance of it causing your eyes to water or burn, place it in the freezer before chopping. Once it is partially frozen, remove and enjoy tear-free chopping.
Preheat pans for even cooking
While you are preheating the oven to roast vegetables or french fries, place your pan or cookie sheet inside and let it warm along with the oven. After the oven is heated to the desired temperature, remove the pan, add the ingredients and place back inside. By following these steps, you will eliminate the need of having to flip the food midway through the cooking process.
De-crystallize your honey
The longer honey and agave nectar sits on your pantry shelf, the more likely it is to crystalize. To return it to proper consistency, place the jar in a bowl of hot water and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Speed up the ripening process with a paper bag
If your fruits are not quite ripe, place them inside a brown paper sack. The paper sack increases the concentration levels of ethylene gas, which helps induce the ripening process. This trick works best for more porous fruits such as avocados, pears, kiwis, mangos and bananas.
Reheat pasta evenly and quickly
When reheating pasta, place the noodles in a donut shape with a hole in the middle and then microwave as normal. This will help the dish heat evenly.
Peel hard boiled eggs the easy way
Add a teaspoon of baking soda or vinegar to the water while boiling eggs. This will make the eggs easier to peel.
Treat wooden cutting boards regularly
Make your wooden or bamboo cutting board look new again by vigorously rubbing coarse sea salt or kosher salt into the wood and then treating with a layer of food grade mineral oil. Continue this routine at least once a month to preserve the quality of the wood.
By incorporating these tips into your cooking routine, you will be able to create delicious meals faster, clean more efficiently, and remain safe throughout the entire process. Just as Julia Child once said, “there is no end to imagination in the kitchen,” which is why we encourage you to never stop learning and integrating new culinary skills into your cooking repertoire.
To learn more about HHS’ approach to culinary services, contact us.