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12 Simple Tweaks To Enhance Your Cooking

Ready to level up your cooking skills? I had a quick chat with Harry* (a fellow cook) about quick changes to from prep to cooking.

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1. Experiment with herbs and spices

If you are limiting yourself to salt and pepper you are missing out. How about adding a bit of cumin with that fried egg and multigrain toast?

2. Switch butter with something else

Have you tried pan frying your multigrain toast in Olive oil?

Also:

* Coconut Oil

* Grapeseed Oil

* Mashed Avocado

3. Taste your food while cooking

Not just at the end! Keep checking during certain points of cooking your dish.

4. Wait until your meat is fully thawed

before searing, grilling or deep frying. The big challenge though...is the decision on how long to wait.

I probably should point out that Harry has a slightly different view than me. I lean more towards 'fully thawed' rather than room temperature. Say for grilling sausages, I sear them (about 60% of the surface area) then finish them in the oven for 10-15 minutes (200 C).

5. Rest your meat

Half the cooking time? A quarter of the cooking time?

See what works for you.

6. Dry your vegetables before cooking

"Many people test the temperature of the wok by sprinkling a few drops of water into it. When the water droplets vaporize on impact, it's time to add your oil. Just be careful not to mix more than a few drops of water in hot oil because it can cause a reaction that sends droplets of hot oil in all directions. Be careful to pat dry your vegetables before you add them to the pan to avoid this." - Matthew Kadey

“I usually dry my vegetables by patting them down with paper towels, but with leafy greens like spinnach you just have to drain them and let them sit unless you want to go through the tedious task of patting down every individual leaf.” – Harry*

7. Salt water before boiling pasta

To enhance the flavour!

When I asked Harry* what he thought of my habit of adding olive oil while cooking the pasta, he replied with:

“Adding olive oil to raw pasta in the pot is kind of a waste, it doesn't really do anything, just add it after if you want to have that flavour, I like to add a bit of olive oil, butter and parm cheese to mine, it emulsifies into a nice simple sauce when you mix it properly."

8. Use fresh herbs instead of dried

Do a simple comparison with fresh and dry basil. Though don't discount dry herbs altogether!

9. Start with low heat in your pan so you would have time to pull it back before it gets too hot (and your oil would reach its smoke point)

I know it takes a bit of waiting sometimes...particularly when deep frying. Just consider: 'charred mushrooms' or 'the 2-3 minute extra wait'?

The upside of low heat is because it gets to your desired temperature slower, there is also time to pull the temperature back before you go over the oil's 'smoke point'.

10. Watch your garlic!

It gets bitter when it burns...so don't add it too early.

11. Don't crowd your pan

Just like what Julia Childs says about mushrooms: if you try to cook too many things in the same pan you'll risk lowering the temperature of your pan and get a subpar result.

12. Slice meat against the grain

Because it helps break down muscle

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Harry* is 22 and lives in the UK. He currently has a cat, though he thinks he needs more animals.

* I've changed Harry's* name for privacy. If there is a part of this post that you would like to pick his brain about, let me know and I will arrange an introduction (To date he is open to people reaching out).

PS: Thumbnail photo credit: Vincent Buuron

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