Top 51 Kitchen Tips

By Aaron Welsh | Mar 13th, 2014

Don't miss out on these essential tips from The Chew!

1. Use stainless steel pan if making an acidic pan sauce.
2. Use cast iron pan if charring meat without a sauce.
3. Cast iron with enamel good for sauces, too.
4. If you only buy one pan buy a stainless or cast iron pan with enamel.
5. Let raw protein (meat/poultry) sit at room temperature for minimum 30 minutes before cooking.
6. If time permits, season protein night before.
7. Salt makes meat more tender and juicy because it breaks down the cell structure.
8. Liberally salt both sides of non-processed meats.
9. Pan should be on high heat, then add fat (oil), so protein won’t stick.
10. Let the protein cook for several minutes to caramelize.
11. Don’t splash food into a hot oil pan!
12. If pan isn’t hot enough, protein will leach juices into pan and won’t stay in the meat.
13. Keep Tea Tree oil on hand for kitchen burns.
14. Hardy herbs like oregano, rosemary, marjoram should go in at start of cooking process.
15. Soft herbs like parsley, cilantro, mint, tarragon should go in after pan is off heat as they release oils quickly.
16. Wait until last minute to wash produce before use. Use light mixture of water and white vinegar.
17. Use what you were born with as tools: hands and senses.
18. When cooking pasta, remove from hot water and put in pan with sauce or other ingredients. Don’t rinse.
19. Finish pan sauce with butter at the last minute for extra creaminess.
20. Use wine, stock or vinegar to deglaze protein bits in pan.
21. A splash of red wine vinegar can brighten a sauce.
22-26. Michael’s thumb pad of palm test for meat doneness:
- Open palm = rare
- Forefinger to thumb = medium rare
- Middle finger to thumb = medium
- Ring finger to thumb = medium well
- Pinkie to thumb = well done (or “Michael’s shoe”)
27-31. Top must-have seasonings in pantry:
Daphne: oregano
Carla: thyme
Clinton: thyme
Mario: fennel pollen, hot chiles, black pepper
Michael: coriander, chili flakes, sea salt
32. Clean behind your fridge regularly.
33. Clean out the inside of fridge a few times each year.
34 - 41. Knife Skills 101
- Practice on an onion, all else will be easy.
- Routinely sharpen knives every couple of weeks or months.
- Hold knife at base of blade with thumb & forefinger, wrap 3 other fingers around handle. Hold free hand like claw, fingers curled under. Use as guide.
- Cut onion in half, top to root.
- Put flat cut side down, cut off each end, peel and slice across.
- To Dice: cut off top end only. Peel. Slice horizontally 9/10 of way from top toward root. Slice vertically from top toward root. Slice vertically across.
- Best to sharpen knives after each time you use them so they’re always ready.
- Hold sharpening steel upright. At slight angle. Drag knife blade down and across steel, one one side of blade and then the other several times.
42. A metal dough cutter is best for cutting high rising biscuits.
43. "Weeping" is the cooking term that describes the separation of a liquid from a cooked meringue or custard.
44. Weeping is caused by improper beating of the egg whites, undissolved sugar, spreading the meringue on a cold filling, or over-baking.
45. Chicken parts can safely be kept in the freezer for up to 9 months
46. Eat and cook seasonally, especially in spring when things are just coming out of the garden.
47. Can put fresh soft herbs in the pot, but then replace them with fresh ones on serving.
48. Before serving, a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon will brighten the flavor and appearance of many dishes.
49. In Rome, cooked spring vegetables are cooked through, not blanched, for an olive green shade.
50. Cooked spring vegetables can be an afternoon snack or meal in under a half-hour for under $2 per serving.

And one more! Courtesy of Chew guest Marilu Henner.

51. Cut out dairy products if you want to lose weight.