To get the most out of the recipes on this site (or any recipes you use, for that matter), I’ve come up with a few helpful pointers that have been very useful to me over the years. For specific tips on everything from getting rid of fruit flies to the best way to pit an avocado, check out the ‘Kitchen Tip of the Week‘ archives. New tips are posted each week.
1. Use the best quality ingredients you can afford. If you’re buying a lot of seasonal ingredients and have a well-stocked pantry (see ‘Pantry Basics’), you’re off to a good start.
2. Before trying a recipe, read it through before starting to cook to ensure you have all of the ingredients and enough time. I’ve made the mistake of starting a recipe for dinner only to discover that it was supposed to marinate overnight!
3. When following a recipe, assemble and measure all of your ingredients before you start cooking (chefs call this ‘mise en place’ which is French for ‘put in place’). It will help you stay organized and make the cooking process much easier.
4. When entertaining guests, never, ever make something for the first time the day of your party. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises as your guests are arriving such as a recipe that has inaccurate cook times or has flavours that don’t really work for you. If you do want to try something new, do a test run earlier in the week to make sure there are no glitches in the recipe. Or, to keep your stress level minimal, make something you’re very familiar with.
5. Relax and have fun in the kitchen! Put on some music and pour yourself a glass of wine. The worst thing that can happen is you ruin a few dollars worth of ingredients and have to order a pizza for dinner. Consider it a learning experience and a minor bump on the road to becoming a fantastic home cook. ALL great cooks have had mishaps in the kitchen at some point!
Good Luck & Enjoy!