There are many tips and tricks to mastering the kitchen, some of which you’re familiar with, and some things that most cooks wouldn’t know. But the real experience in cooking is the knowledge you gain from knowing how food responds to certain culinary strategies. Here are some unconventional methods for preparing food that will produce tried and true (and delicious!) results.
1. Make sure all ingredients in your grilled cheese are at room temp before cooking.
Butter your bread with softened butter so it’s easier to spread on the bread before cooking. Then use room-temperature cheese because it’ll melt more evenly and you won’t run into the problem of burning your bread. It’s pretty simple, but here’s a beautifully detailed argument for using room-temperature cheese and butter to make the perfect grilled cheese.
2. For a dish with raw onions, soak them in cold water first to reduce their pungency.
The cold water draws out the sulfates, making the onions more tolerable.
3. Upgrade your coffee by adding a pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon.
Add a pinch of salt and some cinnamon to your coffee grounds before brewing. The salt will cut the bitterness and bring out flavor whereas the cinnamon will straight-up change your life.
4. Always cook in stock instead of water to improve flavor and richness.
Also opt for low-sodium stock, since this allows you to control the flavor more easily. Learn how to cook the perfect quinoa with stock here.
5. Choose Kosher salt or sea salt over table salt.
The main difference between kosher salt and sea salt is size: Kosher is less processed and therefore has bigger crystals. For a wicked flavor in your meats, use sea salt because the large crystals improve texture and taste. However, for most cases, kosher salt works best because it’s flakier than table salt, which makes it easier to control. Plus, it’s much cheaper than sea salt.
6. Before adding juicy vegetables to a salad, lightly salt them to brighten the taste of the salad without making it “salty.”
Salt will bring out the excess water in your vegetables, which helps them stay crunchy — and a good salad is 100% crunch, 0% sogginess.
7. Tenderize your meat using the velveting method, which involves egg whites and cornstarch.
Coating meat slices in cornstarch and egg whites gives them a really silky texture that’s never too tough or too dry. By preserving the moisture on the outside of the meat, they keep the temperature down and reduce your chances of burning or overcooking the meat. You can also add rice vinegar or rice wine to bring out extra flavor. Instructions here.
8. To bake the perfect cake without a recipe, make the weight of the sugar equal to the flour, and the eggs equal to the fat.
Remember, this rule pertains to weight, not volume. For eggs and fat, the ratio doesn’t need to be exact, but stay within a 20% difference (Yay math). You can read more about the science behind the perfect cake here.
22. Keep your knives sharp by cleaning and storing them correctly.
It’s also better to use a wooden cutting board, because this does the least damage to the knife’s edge. You should clean your knives by hand-washing them. Never throw them in the dishwasher and don’t soak them for a long period of time. As for storing them, you should keep them in a wood block, which prevents them from dulling.
Want to learn more cooking tips? Visit Buzzfeed for the full list of tips and tricks.