32 things to learn about everyday cooking

I love to cook, and I cook a lot. My late mother was a good cook for Italian food. The Baltimore woman whose second son considers me an excellent chef for Italian food. My late husband’s father was an accomplished French chef in New York City. So I had culinary influences. I’ve met professional chefs and foodies. So here, just in time for cooking and baking season, here are 32 things I learned from dans la kitchen, if you know what I mean:

1. For better results without greasy spots, bake bacon slowly over low heat in the oven rather than in a skillet. (If you must cook bacon in a skillet, always wear a T-shirt.)

2. When preparing chicken for grilling, loosen the skin, then place pieces of butter under the skin in the breast area.

3. When making a frittata, use a cast iron skillet. When the pancakes are almost done, put them under the grill for 40 seconds to get a nice look.

4. Amazing shallots. Use the white parts in soups or saute them in butter as a side dish. Keep the green parts in the freezer for future soup storage.

5. Same thing with onion peel. Keep some in the freezer to store.

6. After you have prepared a large pot of chicken or vegetable broth, pour the mixture and drain it through a colander in the sink. Make sure you put another pot under the strainer first. Otherwise, your tasty stock will go down the drain. I went there and did it. Don’t let this get to you.

7. Everyone has the right to a decadent plate. Pick one and make it once a year. Mine is spaghetti alla carbonara.

8. To get fluffy and moist scrambled eggs, cook them in a double boiler with a large piece of butter and mix in a small piece of cream cheese.

9. Get your knives professional once in a while. It will make preparing meat and vegetables a pleasure. do not worry. Just keep paper towels, bandages and a tourniquet nearby.

10. Place a slightly damp towel under the cutting board to prevent it from sliding on the counter.

11. Invest in a meat mallet. A little grinding makes chicken breasts tender and uniform thickness, so when frying, both ends finish at the same time.

12. Do not crowd food in a frying pan. They will become steamy and tender instead of crunchy and brown. Five chicken thighs cook better together than six.

13. Julia Child’s recipe for coq au vin is absolutely perfect if you follow it exactly.

14. For spaghetti, salt the boiling water seconds before adding the pasta. Do not add oil. If you do this, the marinara will not stick to the noodles.

15. When preparing the lasagna, cook the pasta over low heat, removing each piece to a large bowl of ice water, then cleaning the kitchen towels to dry them. This makes assembly of the lasagna quick.

16. Items that are worth keeping in stock because they come in handy for all kinds of fast food: cans of kidney beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas; A can of orzo diced tomatoes.

17. To thicken the soup, add cannellini puree from the can.

18. If you’re having some breakfast cereal and are tired of looking at them, crumble them up and use them to bake with apple slices, honey, butter, and brown sugar.

19. “London Broil rocks,” a friend says, and I agree. Just be sure to marinate for two days.

20. Don’t refrigerate the tomatoes unless you’re making a summer sandwich with mayonnaise and plan to eat it over the sink. Otherwise, do not refrigerate; It kills flavor and odor, and it’s scientifically proven.

21. Cod is an underrated and affordable all-purpose white meat fish. You can bake it or fry it. You can use it as a base for a delicious seafood soup. I also mix it with crab meat for the Crab Corn Codie, perfected by Chef Nancy Longo of Pierpoint Restaurant. (Email me for the recipe: drodriks@baltsun.com).

22. Find fresh (not canned) sardines at your local seafood market. Fire up the grill. Place the sardines in the olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. They grill quickly and are crunchy, and the taste is great.

23. Baking is fun but requires precision. Unforgiving pastry recipes. He veered off course at great risk.

24. Treat your wooden cutting board with Boos Block Mystery Oil.

25. This 16-inch cast iron pizza pan works great and doubles well as an oven tray.

26. Rice flour is a good substitute for pancakes, waffles or crepes when you need to eliminate gluten.

27. Grill lean meats on low heat. If you see edges wrinkling, reduce heat.

28. If spaghetti sauce must be bought out of a jar, there are two things: Always add some of your own herbs and spices for a more flavorful sauce, and keep a few jars for storing leftovers.

29. Invest in a digital thermometer. It takes all the guesswork out of roasting and grilling and gives you more confidence as a carnivorous cook.

30. Extra virgin olive oil is wasted in most cooking. Save it for salads and pizza.

31. Kitchen shears are useful for opening frozen food packages, chopping herbs, cutting chicken into portions, and slicing the next day’s pizza to avoid a fight.

32. For great meatballs, take out the casing of some light Italian sausage and add it to the beef mixture. Also, mix some milk with the breadcrumbs, and cool the rolled balls lightly before baking them. (If you must fry it in a frying pan, always wear a T-shirt.)

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