Heat is your best friend in the kitchen
- Every stove is different.
- Heat can be affected by things like a ceiling or exhaust fan, the thickness of the pan you are using, the water content of the food, its age.
- Always keep an eye on the heat and don’t be afraid to turn it up or down.
- If you have a convection oven, that will affect the heat and time.
- Using your senses to tell if something is cooking too fast or too slow.
How your senses help you in the kitchen:
Sound: when the eggs hit the hot pan…you will hear that sizzle….if you don’t hear that, the pan was not hot enough…..
When you hear the water boiling…or you hear the pace of a boil change….
Smell….when the smell changes…..for example, you’re roasting carrots….and suddenly you smell them strongly….they’re likely done or almost done…
When I cook black beans on the stove top…here is what happens…..i put plenty of water and then I go about other things…and forget….and the water starts to run out….i get two clues: one: they start to smell like they might be burning…..and maybe they are…if I am not quick enough….and I hear them start to sizzle a little, sort of bubble…..
This is how I use my senses when cooking….
Sight, of course. You need your eyes to tell you so much: is this fresh? Is this ripe? Is this cooked properly…..
And touch….texture….is this avocado ripe? Same with pasta….we can bite into to see if it is the texture we like….when we are caramelizing something…..is it crispy enough for us….
Taste…of course....and on that subject.....the greatest tool for the best result is to taste as you go....
- Working with knives
- Make sure your cutting board is always stable. A kitchen towel underneath is good, or you can buy those shelf liners at Walmart or Target that you can cut to size and rewash over and over.
- Make sure your knives are sharp.
- Tuck your fingers underneath and think of your knuckles as a guard. They keep the fingers out of the way.
- Work slowly until you build up your motor skills. It’s not a Top Chef competition.
- A good medium sized chef’s knife, a long serated bread knife and a small paring knife are the three most important to begin your collection.
- It is important to make sure your vegetables are cut as close to the same size as possible.
Insert from Healing Her the part about posture in the kitchen
The Thermometer + PDF
A thermometer is great for making sure you have thoroughly cooked proteins. There are tons of charts on line that gives guidelines for safely cooking fish and chicken.
There are also so many kinds of thermometers on the market. I use the cheapest meat thermometer but one of these days I am going to treat myself to a really fancy digital one like the one we use at work.
Insert a cooking temperature chart here PDF