Ah hacks, how the internet loves thee. Thing is… when popular sites or 99.99% of everyone else refers to a hack, most of the times it’s either:
a: A ridiculous solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
b: A good tip (but not really a hack).
And you know what? Tips are cool too (ridiculous solutions to problems that don’t exist are not cool). They might not be as sexy or clever as hacks, but they’re probably going to actually help you improve your life. They just don’t get as many clickthroughs because people go CRAZY for hacks (why?). Well despite the fact that this article is titled hacks (ha… got you to click) here’s 20 tips for improving your life in the kitchen:
1: Simple seasoning
Take a simple snack to another level just with salt. Salt and pepper over an avocado is a game changer if you’ve never tried it, and it shows just how easy it is to take loads of other food to the next level just by getting the seasoning right.
2: Smoking hot
Heat your pan for 10 MINUTES (or until it starts smoking) before frying a steak. OK so that time may vary… but it’ll take longer than you think for a pan to get really, really hot and that’s what you want when you’re trying to get colour on your food.
3: Open a jar, impress your friends.
If you can’t open a jar bash the sh** out of it on the edge of a table. Not really, just give the lid a firm tap and it should loosen it up just enough. Be subtle about it and have your epic feats of strength be the talk of the town.
4: STOP IT (part 1)
Don’t cook with extra virgin olive oil. It’s great for seasoning, it’s terrible for cooking due to the strong flavour and low smoking point. It can actually become unhealthy if you apply enough heat.
5: Switch up your cooking methods
If you’ve got a full oven or hob then start thinking about alternative cooking methods. Breakfast? Cook bacon in the oven instead of the on the hob to free up space. Roast dinner? Roast carrots in a frying pan instead of in the oven, saving space for the all important roasties.
6: Too simple?
Use a lid to boil a pan of water quicker. Seems obvious, but are you actually doing it? I mean… It means food 5 minutes earlier so it’s actually the best tip on here.
7: STOP IT (part 2)
Stop putting oil in pasta water. Just stop it. It makes no difference. A large pan of well seasoned water at a rolling boil is most important.
8: Everyone loves a good sauce (and hates a bad one)
Here’s a thing… as sauce reduces it becomes more salty, so when you’re seasoning something that is going to be cooking for a long time less is more. Still season, just remember you can add salt, but you can’t take it away (no, the potato in sauce ‘hack’ doesn’t count).
9: Just be better
Do everything in batches… e.g. Peel all your onions, then slice across all your onions, then dice all of your onions. Trust me, it makes you WAY quicker. Don’t believe me? I’ll race you…
10: Beurre monte, biatch
Make a sauce smoother and silkier by adding very cold butter. The butter has got to be cold, because then it will slowly melt, allowing it emulsify into the sauce without splitting.
11: Moist. Yeah we said it.
Always throw a lemon or lime into a chicken before you roast it. They will create steam and flavour, keeping the chicken moist and fresh.
Start with a clean kitchen, end with a clean kitchen. Boring as hell but it makes everything a little bit more enjoyable, quicker. It’s what chefs do and everybody wants to be a chef don’t they?
13: OMG SALTED CARAMEL IS AMAAMAMAMAMAZING
Salt isn’t just for savoury stuff. Add a pinch or more to sweet stuff to bring out the flavours. Perfect for cakes, cookies and other things.
14: How do you like your eggs?
Do you like creamy eggs but really want them cooked through? Add a spoon of creme fraiche right at the end for extra deliciousness. It also stops the cooking process and adds a little freshness. Why wouldn’t you try this?
15: STOP IT! (part 3)
Oh please don’t use a salt shaker or grinder. Pour salt into a bowl and use pinches. It gives you better control over salting. If you’re using a grinder and not getting annoyed by how long it takes then you’re probably not seasoning your food enough.
16: Get sweaty
Heat your pans over a very low heat while you prepare your ingredients. They’ll already be halfway to hot by the time you’re ready (just keep an eye on them). In a pro kitchen all the pans are kept on the hot side of warm so that they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice.
17: Spinach officially tastes of nothing
Make a soup, sauce or smoothie look greener by blending spinach into it… it won’t affect the taste but the colour will be awesome (spinach is great by the way, full of flavour… we’re not hating on it).
18: Oven gloves are so not fashionable
Let’s face it… oven gloves are a terrible invention that have somehow clung on and become accepted in society. Kind of like bluetooth. They’re clunky and hinder grip and dexterity. So basically everything you need when handling really hot stuff is gone. Do what the pros do and invest in some heavy duty, heatproof kitchen towels. You can fold them any way you want and get a really good grip on things.
19: Heat + liquid + human = bad
Tip: Don’t get the towel you use for handling hot stuff wet. It ends badly. Have a ‘wet’ towel’ (for cleaning / drying) and a ‘dry’ towel for handling hot things (you can also have a ‘clean’ towel for wiping surfaces after cleaning them
20: Take your time, enjoy it
If in doubt, cook in batches when your pan is getting overcrowded. Especially if you’re browning meat. It’s worth taking double the time to get great colour because colour = flavour. There’s nothing worse than grey meat. Serve me grey meat and I’ll silently judge you.
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