Cooking Tips

Here are a list of a couple time-saving tips that will help ease your cooking experience 🙂

  • Grocery Shopping :
  1. Generally aim for stores with fresh quality produce at a good price.  I mainly enjoy cooking organic so your local farmer’s market would be an excellent choice.
  2. Try to shop for staples once a month (i.e. canned goods, pastas, rice, etc), while purchasing fresh ingredients as needed (i.e. fruits, meats, vegetables, etc).
  3. Plan what meals you want to make for the week in advance.  This will help you plan your grocery list better!
  4. Keep a constant shopping list in your kitchen, jotting down items when you run low.
  • Freezing
  1. To save money on food cost, freeze any ingredients you do not use within 1-2 days.  You can microwave to defrost items or thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Meat and poultry that is partly frozen are easier to cut for soups, stir-fries and scaloppine.
  3. If you have a lot of leftovers, you can store them in the freezer in labeled and dated containers/ziplock bags.
  • Fresh and Refrigerated Goods
  1. Selecting quality produce is crucial to cooking.  A rotten fruit/vegetable is never a tasty thing! When picking fruit, always go with aroma, lack of bruises, and bright in color.
  2. To extract the juice from limes and lemons, roll them firmly on a hard surface.  This  helps extract the water content nestled within the membranes.  Save the peels in a ziplock bag for later usage.  You can add them to water to prevent browning of peeled apples or potatoes, or preserve the rind for flavorings dishes, or household uses such as cleaning tough stains off kitchen counters and freshening up your food disposal.
  3. When selecting melons, smell at the stem end for a sweet aroma– it should yield slightly to pressure.  Berries should also have a fragrant aroma as well and should not be washed until just before use.
  4. To keep herbs from wilting, keep them stored in a tall container of water in the fridge.  Trim the stems as you would flowers.
  5. Store mushrooms in a paper bag so they are able to breathe, or else they become slimy and browned by condensation from the plastic bag.
  6. When selecting chili peppers, red ones will be sweeter than green because they are more ripe.  The bigger the pepper the less hot it is.  (Kind of like scorpions! Random? Maybe a little…)
  7. To test the doneness of a hard boiled egg, simply just give it a spin.  If it does not spin and wobbles, it is underdone, when it continues to spin it is ready to eat.  Also to quickly peel hard-boiled eggs, roll the egg lightly until the entire shell is cracked all over.  Peel from the end with the air pocket and remove the shell in a spiral formation.
  • Dry Goods
  1. If a recipe calls for herbs and spices to be removed before serving, simply put them in a cheesecloth and tie it with a string or if readily available, a wire meshed tea ball.  This will make extracting the herbs easier.
  2. Store commonly used dry goods like flour, sugar, grains, legumes and pasta in large half-gallon, wide-mouth, vacuum-sealed containers.  These jars will allow you to easily measure out your ingredients as well as keep the moisture out.
  3. To shorten the boiling time for water, start with hot tap water.  This will cut your time by almost half.  Thin pastas such as vermicelli and angel hair will call for a much quicker cooking time than a thicker pasta like fettuccine or penne.