Most of us learned our skills in the kitchen from watching other people. This means that every bad habit, every incorrect assumption, and every misinformation that they cooked under was passed on to you and you unassumingly adapted it, thinking it was right. Don’t worry! I’m about to clear it all up for you. From ways to cook that you have never even heard of, to things you’re (probably) doing wrong, I’m about to lay it all out for you. Your chef skills are about to be sharpened. I hope you’re ready for this.
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1. Stewed beef shouldn’t be cooking ALL day
There is this idea that the longer the beef cooks, the better it will be. This is false. The meat actually breaks down and dries out when it’s cooked too long. For the best meat, you should actually check in on what’s happening when 80% of the cooking time is up.
2. Perfect pasta starts with cheese paste
While tomato sauce is delicious, and alfredo sauce is decadent, you’re missing out on an amazingly perfect sauce because you have never tried this. This sounds like crazy talk, but by grating cheese (parmesan and romano), add in pepper, and a small amount of cold water, you can make a cheese paste. This cheese paste, combined with the salted pasta water, ends up making this wonderful cheese sauce that is going to become one of your favorite ways to eat pasta once you try it.
via Shane Ferro / Business Insider
3. The perfect turkey isn’t complicated
To brine or not to brine. Slow cooker? Roasting pan? Secret spice rub? Basting? Don’t baste? People have strong opinions on what makes the best turkey. BUT if you just strip it down to the basics, here is the perfect uncomplicated way to cook a turkey.
via Emma Christensen / The Kitchn
4. If you’re not par-cooking your filling, you’re not making your apple pie correctly
Okay, so I know that this goes against what SEEMS right, but par-cooking your filling will actually ensure that your apples don’t turn to mush when you bake them. Because, science.
via Serious Eats
5. Cornstarch for crispy sweet potato fries
If you’ve been trying to make crispy sweet potato fries in the oven like you would with normal potatoes, you’re doing it wrong. You actually need to coat them in cornstarch before you toss them in your seasoning and olive oil.
6. Creaming your butter and sugar isn’t a suggestion
Since we’re such a busy society, we’ve learned to cut corners when it comes to a lot of things in order to save time. Well, when it comes to baking cookies, that “cream butter and sugar” step isn’t a suggestion—it’s a commandment. Creaming butter and sugar helps with the leavening of a cookie. It incorporates air pockets into the mixture. It’s going to help you achieve those thick, chewy cookies that you’re craving.Make sure that you cream for five minutes, that you scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go, and that your butter isn’t too warm.
7. Stop over-mixing your pancakes
Pancake batter should be lumpy. If you mix it smooth, you’re actually in for a denser, chewier pancake. By keeping lumps in your batter, you’re ensuring the opportunity for light and fluffy pancakes.
via The Kitchn
8. Hard boil your eggs perfectly every time
Making hard boiled eggs does not have to be a guessing game. Here are the steps to perfectly hard boiled eggs every time:
Put your eggs into the pot and add cold water (if you add vinegar to help with the peeling, you can do so here). Bring your water to a boil. Turn off the burner and put a lid on the pot. Wait for 10-12 minutes. You’re done! They are now cooked.
via Simply Recipes
9. Swap cream cheese for the condensed milk in pumpkin pie
Soggy crusts and grainy texture are common problems when it comes to pumpkin pie. You can easily change this. Swapping out the sweetened condensed milk for cream cheese will ensure a smooth texture and will keep your crust flaky. It also will enhance your pumpkin flavor.
10. For a baked potato that is going to change your life, it all starts with how you cut it
This is basically like a blooming onion but a potato version and it’s perfect.
via The Gunny Sack
11. Stop rushing your scrambled eggs
The secret ingredient to scrambled eggs? Patience. The biggest mistakes people make is not putting enough time into whisking them before cooking, adding too much milk, and rushing the process by cooking with too high of heat.
via flickr / Hamburger Helper
12. You’re not roasting your veggies…you’re baking them
Technically if you’re roasting your veggies at a temperature less than 500° then you’re baking them, not roasting them. Get that heat up high. Also remember that veggies like potatoes that are denser should be cut smaller. Also give your veggies a ton of space. Crowding them will cause steaming, rather than roasting.
13. Touch your meat
The best way to know if your steak is done is with a thermometer, but if you don’t have one, your hand will work just fine. If your hand is open and you touch the fleshy part under your thumb, that’s how rare meat should feel. When you touch your thumb to your pointer finger and press the fleshy part, that is how medium-rare steak should feel. As you move down your fingers, it increases the steak doneness. See thecomplete list here.
via Simply Happiness
14. If you’re not heating your pan, then what are you doing with your life?
If you’re putting food into a cold pan, then you’re doing it wrong. Have you ever even watched a cooking show? They heat their pans before they even start chopping to ensure that the pan is hot enough by the time it comes to add their ingredients.
15. Fluffy rice isn’t reserved for rice cookers
The first thing you’re probably doing wrong is not rinsing your rice. You have to rise off the starch. Basically, once you see the water run clear, you’re good to go. Then don’t stir the rice. Just leave it alone and let it do its thing. Stirring releases starches.
via flickr / hansikkorea
16. Jalapeno hotness levels
Ever notice that you might try a jalapeno one time and it barely has any heat at all and then the next one you try is making your eyes water? There is a trick to help you choose ones that are more suited to your heat levels. As they age they get little stretch mark type lines down them. The more stretch marks, the hotter they are.
Know of something else people have been cooking wrong? Comment below!