Any cook worth their salt has a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to preparing the perfect dish. When it comes to hacks, shortcuts, and all-around inside info on dealings in the kitchen, the real experts are armed to the teeth. Think you’re one of them? Then you might already have these tips in your arsenal:
1) Fruit Ripening: Nothing is more frustrating than getting ready to make a great meal, only to find out your ingredients aren’t ready. Bananas are an example of such an ingredient. The window between green and too-ripe seems to be microscopic.
If you have a bunch of bananas that are too green to be eaten just yet, there are a number of ways you can bring them up to perfection.To ripen them overnight, stick them in a bag or in a bowl of uncooked rice. Both methods trap ethylene gases so that the bananas will ripen quickly and evenly. Need a batch of fully ripe bananas in a hurry? Roast them in the oven for about 40 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit and you will have perfectly, fully ripened bananas.
3) Searing meat is also a pro skill that only takes one ingredient: patience. One important tip for meats like beef is to make sure they’re dry before hitting the pan- a simple way to do so is to pat your steak down with a paper towel to remove moisture. If you’re the type to fret, resist the urge to touch it and allow the meat to sear properly, keeping in mind not to crowd the pan and using a thin layer of oil on your hot pan. Remember: once the meat is on the pan, do not move the meat for about four minutes. Once seared, it will move freely from the pan. Flip and repeat.
2) Baking is also a process that requires a bit of ingenuity. Burned cookies? Just scrape off the bottom with a box grater or a microplane zester. Don’t feel like putting frosting on those cupcakes? Add a marshmallow before they’re due out of the oven and you’ll have a hot s’mores-like topping. Need a creative bowl? Cover the bottom half of a clean balloon with melted chocolate and let dry. You’ll have a creative, tasty bowl for your treats.
If you’ve already checked off every one of these tips on your list, consider yourself a Kitchen Wiz. If not, then you’ve just been given your first lesson, young grasshopper. Go forth and spread the knowledge.