1. Citrus –
a. Roll the citrus under your hand before squeezing it, you’ll get way more juice out of it!
b. When squeezing a lemon/lime directly over your food, hold it face up in your palm to help prevent seeds from falling into your dish.
c. Zest the citrus before cutting it for juice, it’s nearly impossible to zest a squeezed lemon!
d. Adding a bit of freshly squeezed citrus to your dish just before serving it brings out its freshness and flavor.
2. Salt –
a. Tara always told me, “Salt is the ultimate spice”. Using good Kosher or Sea salt on meat will help tenderize it and keep the juices in.
b. Salt whatever you are cooking throughout the cooking process, not just the beginning or the end. We are not saying to over salt anything, just make sure you bring out every layer of flavor you spent the time adding to your dish. Don’t make it fall flat.
3. Never cut meat right after you take it off the grill or pan. Let it sit for about 10-20 mintues depending on the size of the meat. If you cut it too early, all of the juices will run out and your meat will be dry.
4. Always, always, always use sharp knives. A dull knife can be your worst enemy in the ktichen and will cut you faster than a sharp one any day of the week.
5. Pound your chicken breasts to make it the same thickness all around. This will ensure even cooking (and relieve some tension after a hard day).
6. If you are making something and it tastes too salty, add some fresh lemon juice to neutralize it. If you have something too lemony, add some salt!
7. Even though salt is the ultimate spice, fresh ground pepper can make all the difference in a dish!
8. Tomatoes –
a. When cutting tomatoes, you have to use a serrated knife.
b. If you are slicing tomatoes for use on a sandwich, salad or other fresh application, salt them in advance. They are best when you have about an hour but even 5 minutes in advance helps.
9. The best way to toss a salad is with tongs. I know a lot of people use the wooden spoon and fork that come with the big wooden salad bowl, but trust me…use tongs! Or the tongs God gave you, your hands ;-)…just make sure they are clean!
10. Cutting Boards –
a. Make sure you have a good size cutting board. I have gone to many people’s homes who will remain nameless and I see them chopping, cutting, slicing and dicing on a cutting board about as big as a small memo pad.
b. Keep your cutting board from sliding around if it does not have a firm grip on the counter. Easiest way is to dampen a kitchen towel, fold it in half and place it under the cutting board. I nearly cut the tip of my finger off by cutting on a cutting board that kept moving around.
c. Don’t use wood cutting boardds for raw meat. In fact, don’t use any cutting boards you use for raw meats for anything else.
11. Frying/Sauteeing Foods –
a. Place items in hot oil away from you – the last part of whatever you are frying or sauteeing should be set down in the pan furthest away from you. This prevents that little splash from splashing on you. Instead, if it splashes, it’s going where it is supposed to – the backsplash!
b. As soon as you take something out of the fryer, add a pinch of salt. While it is still a bit wet from the oil, the salt will ‘melt’ right into the food and give it that last layer of seasoning.
a. Always keep some in the freezer.
b. Need to chop nuts quickly? Don’t want the mess when chopping nuts as they fly all over the kitchen? Place them in a plastic zipper bag and ‘smash’ them gently with a meat pounder or rolling pin or whatever else you have on hand that won’t break.