21 Things Every Home Cook Needs to Know How to Do
From making a roux to chopping an onion
Whether you're a culinary pro or just getting to know your way around the kitchen, here are 21 skills every home cook needs to have master.
1. Cooking rice. It’s all about the rice to water (1:2) ratio. And the final fluffing with a fork.
2. Making pasta. That pinch of salt isn’t merely a suggestion.
3. Cooking dried beans. Better flavor and texture than their canned counterparts.
4. Searing a steak. Add oil and sear in your cast iron skillet. Then, add butter a few minutes before it’s done to give it a nice glaze.
5. Roasting a chicken. Always let the bird come to room temperature first before sticking it in the oven.
6. Roasting vegetables. Whatever you do, don’t crowd the pan.
7. Or blanching them. For a perfect balance of tender and crisp.
8. Chopping onions. Without cutting your fingers. Or crying.
9. And caramelizing them. Oil, salt, sugar and simmer.
10. Scrambling eggs. You’d be surprised what a little milk can do for fluffiness.
11. And hard-boiling them. Give them an ice-cold bath right after boiling so the shell peels off easily.
12. And frying them. What else are you going to top your breakfast sandwiches with?
13. And poaching them. Silky smooth on the outside, golden and gooey on the inside.
14. Making tomato sauce. To smother your noodles and meatballs in. Duh.
15. And a marinade. The difference between a dry, flavorless chicken breast and a juicy, tender one.
16. And stock. It serves as a base for just about everything--from a sauce to a glaze.
17. Making a roux. To thicken your sauces and soups so they’re less watery and more creamy.
18. And aioli. Like mayo, but better because you can spread it on your sandwiches and dip things in it. Like veggies (if you’re being healthy) or onion rings (technically veggies).
19. How to taste before serving. Seems like a given, but it’s often forgotten.
20. How to clean as you go. That 12-minute simmer is the perfect time to wash the stockpot.
21. How to improvise. Oops, you bought cilantro instead of mint. Time to get creative!