Blog Fav: Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Started Cooking

by Andrea on October 7, 2011

Jenny from Dinner: A Love Story shared ten cooking tips that she wished someone had told her when she was fifteen.  I’m not fifteen (how about double that and sprinkle in a few), but I’m not a pro in the kitchen either.  I figured I was bound to learn something or a lot of somethings.

If you are kitchen comfortable and know a lot, awesome.  If you think there’s room for improvement, consider that Jenny worked for ten years editing Real Simple and Cookie magazines.  The girl knows her stuff!

Okay, onto my favorites:

3. Some Type-A behaviors worth stealing: Do everything you can in advance when you are having people over for dinner. No matter how easy and tossed-off the task  may be. No matter how many times your partner-in-crime says, Why don’t we just do that later? (Andrea: I always stress when people come over.  I need to remember this tip, no matter how small the task. I also need to ignore Brian when he tries to convince me NOT to prep in advance. He’s really good at that.)

5. Meat will never brown properly if you add it to the pan when it’s freezing cold and wet. (And browning properly is where you’re going to get most of your flavor.) It should be patted dry and room temperature.  (Andrea: Wow, who knew?  I didn’t!)

6. Add acid. A drizzle of vinegar, a spoonful of tangy buttermilk, a simple squeeze of lemon or lime will always add brightness to an otherwise boring and flat dish.  (Andrea: I do this on occasion, but it sounds like I should be doing it more regularly.)

8. Learn the correct way to slice and dice an avocado. You will not only save time, energy, sanity by doing this, but you will find yourself giving tutorials to awed, in-the-dark observers every time you make guacamole in front of them.  (Andrea: Okay, I must admit I included this one for Emily.  Given her recent battles, I think this tutorial will come in handy.)

And the tip that I liked the most wasn’t even one of her top ten but instead how she started the whole post.  Given that my freezer is smallish, and I have a terrible time finding things in it, this tip will come in handy:

I always freeze dinners in flattened Ziplocs. When you do it that way, you save time (by thawing whatever is frozen under running water for 60 seconds) and you save space. (After your soup or stew is frozen, you can file the bag in your freezer like a book in a bookshelf.)

Brilliant!  Totally brilliant!  Even though I was complaining about my smallish freezer, what I love most is thawing it in 60 seconds.  Awesome!

Anyway, check out the full post and for that matter, check out all of Jenny’s beautiful posts and recipes.

Happy Weekend!

image via Dinner: A Love Story

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