Doing things right is important to most people. Hardly anyone likes to be wrong, but getting things right, or more accurately doing things the correct way, isn’t always about doing it my way. Not that I don’t consider my way the best way, I generally do, though I am very open to finding a new and improved way through any number of channels. Recently I made a lattice-top peach-blueberry pie with a very wide lattice top. I would estimate that in my life I’ve made over one hundred lattice top pies, all of them with a very traditional 1″ lattice. Last week I saw a Martha Stewart segment on the Today show, and there was a beautiful blueberry pie with a wide lattice and I thought it looked better than what I usually used, so now- new best way!
Some things however are right for a reason, and not because I like that way best. Here are some of tricks and hints I’ve gathered over the years:
•Always cut tomatoes parallel to the stem end, or all the seeds will spill out, and your slices won’t look nice
•Never cook hot dogs or any other sausage-type meat in rapidly boiling water, or they will get tough and rubbery, simmer them instead
•Don’t wash your chicken before you cook it- you aren’t getting it clean, and you are spreading bacteria all over your sink, and anything in it
•Only flip a pancake once— the more you flip it the tougher it gets
•If you make your coffee in a drip coffee maker, remove the grounds as soon as the coffee is finished dripping. If you leave the grounds there they will continue to drip into the coffee making it more and more bitter
•If you want evenly cooked bacon with little or no mess, line a sheet pan or cookie sheet with heavy duty foil, and cook your bacon in the oven at 375f it will take about fifteen minutes, longer if you like it extra crispy
•If you burn food in the bottom of a pan take about 1/3 cup of baking soda and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan about 1″ deep, and simmer for about ten minutes, the burned stuff should come right off
•The best place to defrost food is in the refrigerator overnight, if you don’t have time put the wrapped food in a bowl with cool water running over it until it is defrosted, using hot water will cook the outside of the food
•When you sauté onions or other vegetables adding salt will help keep them from browning
•When searing meat, it is ready to be turned when you can do it easily with no resistance, after cooking always let meat sit for a few minutes before cutting into it to allow the juices to redistribute into the meat
I keep coming across kitchen hacks, some are really cool, some that look like almost as much trouble as doing what I already do, and some not really hacks, just good suggestions. I’ve given you a list of ten things, some you may already know, some may be new information. If you’ve got some to add to the conversation, please do! I’ve picked these up over years of working in kitchens, and I stand by all of them. I’m sure there will be another installment of Doing Things Right, and I hope you’ve gotten something from this one.