I was looking through the FINE COOKING website coming across some useful tips for beginner chefs, and thought it would be useful to spread the word. Just some very easy, minor details that make a big difference.
1. The chef’s knife. Invest in a good knife (and keep it sharp). The longer, wider blade of a chef’s knife will give you speed, control, and confidence.
2. Start with the best ingredients. Imported Parmigiano-Reggiano is so much better than domestic parmesan that the two can hardly even be compared; excellent chocolate makes all the difference in a cake as-well.
3. Use your hands. Pay attention to how different foods feel at different degrees of doneness, even as you’re checking them with a thermometer, a toothpick, or a knife. Meat, for example, goes from being very soft when it’s rare to quite firm when well done. Touch can also indicate when a cake is baked, and if a dough is kneaded enough.
4. Switch to kosher or sea salt, and don’t be stingy with it. Sea salt hasa much better flavor than ordinary table salt. Always use this kind of salt whatever you are doing and be generous with it!
7. Bake pie and tart crusts longer than you think you should. Pastry doughs taste much better when cooked long enough for the sugars in the crust to caramelize. You’re going for brown, not pale blond.
8. Let roasted meats rest before carving. Without a rest to let the meat’s juices redistribute, your roast will be dry.