From GlobalChefs.com (a culinary online magazine written by chefs) comes the following “Cooking Tips From The Pros”.
Cooking With Olive Oil
Do not saute (fry) food in good olive oil. High quality olive oils contain small particles from the olives that the oil was pressed from. When these are introduced to intense heat the particles burn and give the oil and the item that is being cooked a bitter taste.
Cleaning A Cooking Dish
When you burn sugar on a dessert – creme brulee for example, the best way to clean the serving dish is to wrap an ice-cube in a kitchen towel and rub this around the inside edge of the warm dish. It works a treat.
Do not buy marinated fish from your supermarket, often (not always) when fish is nearing the end of its shelf life it gets thrown into a marinade to mask its deteriorating flavor. By a nice piece of fish and marinade it yourself.
Eggs – Which Is Cooked Which Is Raw…
If you ever have hard boiled eggs in your fridge and they get mixed up with raw ones there is a way to figure out the raw from the cooked without cracking a shell… Takeone egg at a time, place it on its side on a flat surface and spin it around. Once it is spinning place your finger on it, stopping it in its place, then quickly remove your finger. If the egg is cooked it will not move however, if the egg is raw it will begin to spin again due to the momentum of the liquid inside.
Give Your Cooking A Little Zip
Use grated lemon zest in addition to lemon juice for a little extra zip in your recipes.
Left Over Bread?
Never throw good bread away. Cut into thin slices and brush with a little butter or olive oil, then toast til crunchy and let cool. Keep in ziploc bags or airtight containers and you have a great crouton to smear anything on. Or serve them with salads.
Susan Spicer Bayona/New Orleans
Cooking With Wine
Do not waste money. Generally speaking you do not need to use expensive wine to cook with and you do not need to use too much – more wine does not make a merrier dish! Use a medium dry wine like a pinot grigio, chardonnay (white) and cabernet sauvingnon or chianti (red). The most important thing is to cook down the wine (simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half) that way you are left with its delightful flavor and not the rough alcohol element.
If you find it difficult to figure out when a piece of fish is cooked do this. Obtain a thin metal skewer. Test the fish by piercing it with the skewer, keep it in the fish for five seconds – then place the skewer on your bottom lip. If the metal is cold – the fish is still rare, if it is warm – it’s cooked, if it is hot – it’s well done. This works well when testing meat too.
Sauces & Fish
When cooking with limited resources it can be difficult to make a good sauce – this is especially true when cooking at home. So my suggestion to someone in that situation is to make vinaigrette, with the addition of diced tomato and chopped chives you have a super way to finish a fish dish – minus the headache and the last minute preparation!
Balsamic & Beef
A little balsamic vinegar goes along way and a drizzle of this stuff works really well with beef in lieu of a time consuming sauce. It can be expensive though, so if you cannot afford the good gear, buy a less expensive type and simmer it in a pan until it has cooked down by two thirds, allow it to cool, use it and keep a few pennies in your pocket.
Jeremy Emmerson – Chicago
When saut???ing mushrooms do not season them until you have nearly finished the cooking. If you add salt at the beginning of the cooking process it will draw the moisture fromthe mushroom and they will boil in their own liquid.
Mark Flatt – Amsterdam
Trim the mushrooms and immerse them into a sink or bowl full of cold water, swish them around and then lift them out ? leaving the debris behind. Place them on a tray that has three sheets of baking parchment (grease proof paper) on it and place them in the fridge. Leave them overnight – they will be dry by the morning.
Eren & Davis – Chicago
Using Parmesan Cheese
Always use a good quality aged Parmesan. It may cost twice as much as the cheaper kind but you only need to use half as much so the cost ends up being the same with a far superior result.
Parmesan Rind & Risotto
Did you ever wonder what to do with the rind that encases Parmesan cheese? Remove it and add it to the stock you are making your risotto with ? it adds great flavor!
Chef Palo – London
Whether you are cooking at home or professionally, if you cannot afford expensive fish but want to create an up scale dish, incorporate a high end item with a less expensive fish; Roasted salmon with a crab butter sauce for example.
Chris Baun – Cape Town
Using a cookbook?
When following a recipe in a cookbook always read all the way to the end before starting.
Mise en place
Mise en place (advanced preparation) – makes life easier!! Make sure that you have everything prepared and organized before getting into the actual cooking.
Don’t be afraid to mess up. Practice makes perfect…whether it’s cooking, playing the piano or skiing.
Wine and vinaigrettes
Sometimes wine and vinaigrettes do not go well together. If your vinaigrette is too acidic it might overpower the wine. Try to mellow the vinaigrette by adding shallots or roasted garlic.
Chef Mehmet G???rs – Downtown Restaurants Istanbul
Always use the freshest ingredients possible. Good quality products makes a chef’s job or home cook’s job that much easier.
Serve fruits and vegetables that are in season. They taste better, are fresher, and usually less expensive. Definitely a win win situation.
Chef Sarah Stegner, The Dining Room – Chicago