Top Tips From The Best
We asked our team for their favorite food and cooking advice. Now we’re sharing it with you!
Top Tip #10
What do Indian, Mexican, North African and Middle Eastern cuisines have in common? You guessed it, cumin!
While here in the U.S. we might associate the flavor of cumin with Mexican food like tacos, the spice is actually native to southwest Asia. Cumin has a nutty, smoky flavor that works well with other spices like various chili powders, cinnamon and coriander. You will often find cumin in chilis, stews, tacos, fajitas, curries, spice rubs and vegetable seasonings.
Curious to experiment with cumin? Try this!
Top Tip #9
Looking for a simple, quick-cooking weeknight meal? Salmon fillets are a great source of protein and omega-3’s, plus they go great with an assortment of vegetables. To cook the perfect salmon, bring your fillets to room temperature (about 15 minutes). Next, use a paper towel to pat your fillets dry (top and bottom) to prevent sticking to the pan. Heat a stainless steel or cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat for a couple minutes. To tell if your pan is ready to go, flick a few drops of water on it – if it sizzles and evaporates, it’s ready. If not, let it go a little longer before testing again.
Once your pan is hot enough, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Tilt to distribute a thin layer of oil across the surface. Heat the oil until you see a few ripples, but not so much that it smokes. It is at this point that you will add your seasoned fillets to the skillet, skin-side down. Since most of the cooking takes place skin-side down, it is crucial that you resist the urge to poke, prod or move your fish. Instead, leave it be until you see the color of the fillet begin to lighten.
Without touching your fillets, cook the salmon until the light color has moved about three-quarters of the way up the fillet (about 4 minutes for each half-inch). After this point, flip the fillet and cook for an additional minute (or two for thicker fillets). Let your fillets rest about 3 minutes on a paper towel before serving!
Top Tip #8
The age old debate continues – how to ease the tears caused by onions? Before addressing how to fix the issue, it helps to understand why it happens in the first place. Onions produce a chemical irritant called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. When you cut into the onion, this chemical is released into the air, stimulating (and irritating!) our lachrymal glands resulting in tears.
The reason Joe’s fix works so well is that wetting the peeled onion draws out this chemical from the skin and into the water. While it does add one extra step, it’s definitely worth it to avoid the burning sensation and tears from chopping onion!
Top Tip #7
If you have ever followed a recipe, you have probably encountered this issue. That 30 minute cook time ends up taking much longer!
Just like getting ready in the morning or running errands, how long you take in the kitchen depends on you individually. You might not be as experienced at preparing vegetables as the recipe writer, nor do you have the same equipment or ingredient accessibility. Things as little as softening butter for a recipe could throw off your timing! Allowing an extra 10-20 minutes for your recipes helps to avoid mistakes caused by rushing, plus you can enjoy the cooking process rather than getting it done as fast as possible. Rushing also leads to more mistakes – ingredients being forgotten, spills and accidents – so take your time to do everything right the first time.
Whether you’ve been in the kitchen for 1 year or 20, we’ve got a lot going on in our day-to-day lives. Taking the time to set a timer could mean the difference between al dente or mush! Invest in a kitchen timer or use your phone to stay on top of cooking times in the kitchen. (Yes, even for just a minute or two!)
Top Tip #6
If pan searing or sautéing is part of your meal, than you have been given a golden opportunity to make a simple yet oh-so-delicious sauce!
Those browned bits aren’t just a nuisance to scrub off – they are also the perfect fond (French for “foundation”) to making a tasty pan sauce. Deglazing is the process of adding a cup or so of liquid to those leftover browned bits while the pan is hot and reducing it by half. You can then add spices, herbs or a cream to make a thick sauce that can be added to whatever you’d like!
Check out how to do it here!
Top Tip #5
Sometimes after a long day the last thing you want to do is go through all the steps to cooking a quality dinner. We have all been there, but with a little bit of forethought you can make your life easier!
As much as we wish they did, groceries don’t magically appear and prep themselves into an awesome dinner; it takes work. Cut that work in half by preparing any foods that need it ahead of time. If you know sausage, onions and peppers are on the menu, slice up the veggies the night before you plan to cook so you just throw it together and get cookin’. Preparing meats, vegetables and even whole meals like casseroles ahead of time make home cooked dinners much more manageable. This gives you more time to relax while proudly avoiding calling out for pizza.
Top Tip #4
With the average American eating 7 pounds of avocado per year, more and more people have had their breakfasts, lunches or dinners ruined when they cut open their avocados only to find it browned and overripe.
Give this tip from the Best a try: right when you realize your avocado might be ready before you are, put it in the fridge. This slows the ripening significantly, giving you some more time before you have to enjoy that green, buttery treat.
Top Tip #3
It doesn’t matter if you’re grilling for 5 or 50, one of the largest challenges as a grillmaster is timing. (If you have a trick to getting all components of a meal out at the same time, we’d love to hear it!) Priority of what goes on first and comes off last is entirely dependent on who is grilling. Because vegetables are typical done faster than meats, it makes sense to take care of them first. We don’t need those asparagus piping hot to enjoy them, but a lukewarm burger? Not so much.
Skip this issue altogether with this easy #GrillHack!
Top Tip #2
For any passionate chefs out there, one step you cannot skip when cooking up any type of delectable beef, pork, lamb or chicken is searing. It’s the reason you might pan fry a steak before finishing off in the oven. When meat hits a scorching hot surface, caramelization occurs. For a stew, braise or roast, that means an enhanced deep, savory flavor that can’t be beat.
A crucial step in completing the perfect sear is patting your meat dry with a clean paper towel. Failing to do so means evaporating whatever moisture there is between your steak and the pan, steaming it and missing out on that awesome caramelization. Pat it dry, season it up and immediately get to cooking before salt draws out any other excess moisture.
Top Tip #1
Cutting, slicing and chopping is inevitable in the world of cooking. For this reason, building your skills with a chef knife is valuable to your experience in the kitchen. Follow these top tips whenever using a knife in the kitchen (or anywhere else!).
The best protection is not needing it. Keeping your fingers out of harm’s way is priority number one when using any sharp equipment. One failed judgement could lead to an emergency room visit or a lifetime of trouble. For this reason, knowing the basics of holding the knife and feeding food toward the blade is crucial.
Sharp = safe. Where a dull knife can slip off of surfaces while requiring physical effort to cut, a sharp knife cuts where it sits with the sharpness of the blade doing the cutting.
Get a grip. When cutting, muscles should be relaxed. Your bottom 3 fingers should loosely hold the handle snug against the edge of the place. Your thumb should rest on one side of the blade with index finger pinching the other.
Don’t get too comfortable. Even experienced chefs have accidents when they cut corners on knife safety! Always pay attention, always keep your fingers out of the way.
What are your top cooking tips? Share them with #BestMarket, we’d love to hear it!
August 16, 2017