Photo by Steve Buissine on Pixabay
Cooking is an art, and we are all Michelangelo, right? Well, maybe one day. If your dishes are disappointing, it may be because you are overlooking a few simple techniques. Surprisingly, the best way to take your cooking skills to the next level may be to revisit the basics:
Have the Right Cookware
One quick way to ruin a dish is by cooking it in low-quality pots and pans, turning what could be a heavenly aroma into the acrid smell of something burning. A piece of high-quality cookware is going to apply temperature evenly and preserve all the flavors in your dish ensuring a better product every time.
Work on your Knife Skills
In addition to other kitchen tools, having high-quality knives is vitally important. Believe it or not, the way you cut your food can have a significant impact on your dish. Your cuts will create the texture of the food as well as ensuring that it cooks evenly, so the better you are with a knife, the better your food will taste. There are plenty of online guides to help you understand the various blades you will encounter along with tutorials on how to use them correctly.
High-quality knives and cookware can be significant investments, so consider investing in them over time, perhaps purchasing one new knife and pan each year until you have full sets. To ensure longevity, clean your tools following the directions provided on the packaging.
Read the Recipe
It might sound like a no-brainer, but so many dishes are spoiled by cooks who simply didn’t follow instructions. Knowing how to read a recipe will make you a better, more confident cook..
So how does reading a recipe take your skill to the next level? As you invest your time in understanding recipes, you will start to see patterns form. You will notice that certain spices always go together, certain vegetables are always sautéed first, and you will improve your ability to prepare and time your dishes so that all pieces of a meal finish together.
Measure Your Ingredients
This tip is also one that surprisingly few people follow because they are confident in their ability to “eyeball” the correct amount. Unless you are a seasoned chef, it is highly unlikely that you know precisely what ¼ teaspoon of salt looks like. Over-seasoning a dish can destroy it, so take the time to accurately measure your ingredients using the correct measuring tool and ensuring there are no excess amounts.
Pay Attention to Your Senses
If you have ever watched a cooking competition, you are familiar with professional chefs asking the competitors, “Did you taste it?” Your senses of taste, sight, and smell are vital to delivering a quality meal. Don’t be afraid to employ them once you have followed steps of the recipe. If something smells incredible and fragrant or looks like the recipe describes it should, but your timer hasn’t sounded, check if it is done anyway. And always, always taste along the way. The method lays the groundwork, but your taste buds should tell you if something is off. Pay attention to them.
The key to next level cooking skills is to perfect the basics. Lay the groundwork by cooking with high-quality cookware and knives. Invest time in honing your knife skills and understanding recipes. Finally, ensure the quality of the dish by making sure to measure your ingredients and trust your senses.