Spending more time at home — and in the kitchen — these days? Want to step up your cooking game? Get busy mastering these simple cooking techniques, so you can make your way around the kitchen with the confidence of a seasoned chef.
Fill Half Your Plate With Produce
When serving meals, add the produce to your plate first — and fill half of your plate with it. This way you know you’re getting a hefty amount of vegetables and fruit. This trick also works in pasta dishes where half of the noodles are replaced with vegetables, as in this Asparagus, Snap Peas & Chive Blossom Pasta recipe.
Make Stock or Broth
Set aside time over the weekend to make a giant pot of stock or broth, then keep it in jars or freezer-friendly containers and use it to enhance almost any dish. Not sure where to begin? Try making a batch of The Pioneer Woman’s Overnight Chicken Broth.
Whip up a Vinaigrette
Never tempt fate again with iffy expiry dates on long-forgotten salad dressing lurking at the back of the fridge. Learn to make your own homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes with just a few pantry ingredients.
Make a Roux
Master Crispy-Skinned Fish
At the heart of any restaurant-quality fish dish is crispy skin. Learn this technique and expect your family to ask that you make it again and again. Want to give it a try? Alex Guarnaschelli’s Blackened Salmon is a good place to start.
Make an Aioli
Keep an aioli recipe in your back pocket and break it out for sandwiches, barbecued burgers, grilled veggies or even Crispy Patatas Bravas. It’s easy to make and has much more flavour than simple mayo.
Roast a Chicken
The ultimate Sunday night supper just wouldn’t be the same without a perfect roasted chicken at the centre. Master this recipe and reap the benefits of leftovers, from shredded chicken nachos to delicious chicken stock. Want some direction? Look no further than The Barefoot Contessa’s Perfect Roast Chicken.
Make the Perfect Omelette
They say you can tell a great chef by their ability to whip up the perfect French omelette. While it may seem like a dish for a novice cook, getting an eggy concoction that’s soft, creamy and void of any hint of brown is actually a chef-worthy skill worth mastering.
Whip up Whipped Cream
There’s nothing quite like a dollop of freshly whipped cream atop a bowl of sweet summer berries or a slice of Key Lime Cheesecake. Get creative and add mint or vanilla to really make it pop. Don’t have a mixer or electric beater? Achieve the same results with a simple mason jar.
Perfect Your Pan Jus
Knowing how to make a good pan jus is life changing. Mix together the cooked bits left in the pan after searing a steak or piece of chicken, along with a knob of butter and dash of wine. Once you learn this trick, you’ll toss bottled sauce forever.
Fry the Perfect Egg
Are you in favour of butter or olive oil when it comes to the perfect fried egg? Do you like them soft or with a slightly charred edge? No matter how you like them, making fried eggs exactly how you want to eat them is a beautiful thing. Test out your technique with The Barefoot Contessa’s Roast Beef Hash and Eggs.
Onions really do transform into something beautiful when cooked low and slow in a bath of butter. The smell is so intoxicating, you’ll be finding new ways to incorporate them into your menu, like this Caramelized Onion and Bacon Pull-Apart Bread.
Roast Your Tomatoes
Oven roasting tomatoes may seem like a chore — but once they hit the oven, there’s nothing to do but wait. Roasting makes them incredibly sweet and a tasty addition to pasta dishes, pizza, salads and even eggs. Also, it’s a great way to use up any tomatoes that are about to overripen. Running short on time? The Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Vine Tomatoes are ready in just 20 minutes.