10 useful cooking tips

1. To serve your dishes at the perfect temperature, use the classic oven or microwave oven. Heat the oven until it reaches 50 degrees, turn it off and, while you cook, put the dishes you are going to use inside. A very convenient alternative is the microwave oven. Just put the dishes in it to heat for a minute or two before serving but making sure they don't have golden designs. Also applies to a cup of coffee. It sounds trivial, but once you start using this rule, you won't be able to do without it. How long does even a simple fried egg take on a plate at room temperature to cool? Not even the time to place it on the table.

2. But how many pans could we have saved? And to do this it would be enough to put an oiled parchment paper on the bottom of the pan that we are going to use. We prevent food from sticking and it is easy to clean.

3. Traditionally we are used to cleaning cutlery, steel and glass with water and vinegar. But let’s use vodka: effective and above all odorless. In restaurants it is widely used to have a perfect mise en place, without fingerprints and halos.

4. This advice, on the other hand, concerns the use of spices and herbs in the kitchen. When you read the recipes where you "prescribe" to put the basil in cooking for two hours, the question arises by itself: but what has this poor basil done wrong to want to "kill" it twice? Herbs have the wonderful characteristic of aromaticity and freshness and therefore are best expressed when used raw, perhaps chopped. In addition, different herbs and spices, such as black pepper, if cooked bring out the bitter notes. Unless a recipe calls for it, as in the case of our “peposo” (typical tuscan meat cooked with the black pepper for hours), always use it raw and it will give you the elegance and aroma of its flavor. The same thing for basil, parsley, for which you can also have fun using the extractor: try to make the extract, then using the immersion blender, mount it by incorporating the air. In this way you will create a foam with the maximum extraction of aromas and flavors that will go on to finish your dishes scenographically and substantially.

5. Always concerns the use of spices and aromatic herbs, to always have them fresh, chop them well, making sure they are dry, close them in the container or in plastic wrap and keep them in the freezer. While the chili and garlic I recommend you keep them whole or in wedges. It is not only valid for spices but it is also very convenient for bread. If you only need a few slices of bread, it is extremely convenient. Cut it already into slices and if necessary the slice heats up on a pan in just over a minute.

6. The freezer is also useful for keeping the broth always at hand. A vegetable or fish broth is always very convenient in small quantities for creaming the pasta, for lengthening or preparing the sauces. Just freeze it in the ice bucket and keep the mini portions aside.

7. Given that the creaming of the pasta has been mentioned, let's dwell on this fundamental but often neglected phase. Apart from a few rare exceptions, the success of the good pasta dish lies in the creaming, taking for granted that the raw materials used are excellent and the cooking times are respected. The attention lies precisely in the timing. The pasta must be removed a couple of minutes before from the water, always keeping a little cooking water aside, it must be placed in a pan with the sauce and its cooking must be finished by adding cooking water or broth, the bisque, olive oil or other ingredients such as, for example, a splash of soy sauce and at the end of cooking, if needed, a little seasoned cheese. The pasta must absorb the sauce and maintain the creamy consistency. For long pasta like speghetti it is extremely convenient to use long kitchen tongs which are also convenient for serving.

8. The tongs are very useful in cooking meat or fish as well. It allows you to turn the slices without piercing them and making them lose their succulence. This advice concerns their cooking. To have very tender fish or meat slices, two-stage cooking is highly recommended. Cook your slice the first time, remove from the heat and place in a possibly warm environment (oven at 30 degrees off is perfect otherwise on a hot plate): in this way the meat relaxes the fibers after a thermal shock. After 5/10 minutes quickly cook your meat or fish on high heat, perhaps with the use of some aromatic herbs and you will undoubtedly notice the difference.

9. From the main couses let’s move on to side dishes. To maintain the bright colors of the vegetables, add a pinch of baking soda. The advice is to opt for possibly shorter cooking. Vegetables are wonderful when they retain a little crispness and freshness: try the spinach or courgettes just seared with some herbs, it is pure poetry. Going back to baking soda, there is a downside. It is perfect in short cooking to maintain the colors but, as it softens the vegetables during cooking, it must be used judiciously and also convenient for shortening the cooking of vegetables such as black cabbage or legumes.

10. Finally the fruit. How many times do you buy the fruit that ripens immediately? Bananas are a perfect example for this advice. When they start moving forward with ripening, peel them, cut them into pieces and put them in the freezer. With the use of a powerful blender, which I always recommend in the kitchen, you can create sorbets or smoothies in an instant. The consistency of the banana is perfect for a sorbet and with the addition of berries, cocoa beans or any other ingredient to your imagination and taste you will create a fantastic and healthy dessert.

Try, you can't do without it!


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