Learning to cook is an essential skill. Cooking makes it possible to take raw ingredients and turn them into enjoyable meals. As many people have discovered, meals at restaurants often taste a lot better than the meals they make at home. A dinner at a restaurant seems more flavorful, fresher and pleasing to the eye. There’s a reason for this. Trained chefs know tricks the home cook does not. Fortunately, it’s easy to copy them. From fabulous ingredients to classic techniques, these little-known secrets to cooking delicious meals are easy to copy at home.
Start With a Mise En Place
French for set in place, this is what the pros do to prepare their meals. They begin with all they need on hand before they start to cook. Chefs know their recipes cold. They know they’ll need oil, protein, seasonings and any additional ingredients. Chefs will lay it all out in front of them once they start cooking delicious meals. You should, too. Look at the recipe or dish you have in mind. Chop all vegetables and set aside. Get the olive oil in place along with the proper utensils before you begin. The result is easier, faster and better dishes.
Don’t be Afraid of Heat
Fire means flavor. The pros take advantage of it to create a what is known as a Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is what gives browned food it’s pleasing taste. Turning up the heat increases the concentration of flavor. Don’t be afraid to copy them. Turn the burner up on high when you’re making a
Make You Own Stock
The stuff from a can is fine but it can’t compete with the real thing. Stock intensifies other ingredients. Take a tip from the professionals and make your own. It’s not difficult. All you need are some bones from a chicken carcass or from the butcher at your supermarket. Throw them in a pot of water with chopped onions, celery
Go For the Herbs
Herbs bring in the luscious flavor that makes you want to eat even before it’s done cooking. Look through the produce section and you’ll find plenty of wonderful options. Try dill with meat for a taste of fall. Brighten up main courses with varied flavor profiles from other cuisines. Bring French to the table with tarragon and parsley. Mexican cilantro perks up your homemade tacos and will wow your guests. Fresh holy basil and lemongrass work in Thai food. Dried herbs are also a treat. Create a great apple pie with cinnamon and freshly grated ginger. Make sure all herbs are pungent and fresh when you start cooking delicious meals
Understand Meat and Dairy
A good steak is a treasure. Chefs treat it properly. Cook it the precise degree of doneness you like best. Medium rare is ideal. Let the meal rest before you start slicing it. This prevents juices from running out when it’s released from the pan. The pros also know how to take advantage of dairy. Butter adds a layer of richness. Gently rub on your meat before cooking. Add it to your sauces at the last minute. You’ll get sauces that marry wonderfully with everything else you cook.
If you want to start cooking delicious meals like the pros, learn some of their secrets and make them your own. Whether you learn through a class (like at your local Cozymeal), trial and error, or some online web searches, the information you gather will soon have you creating mouthwatering dishes.