Cooking Tip: Try, Try, Try Again

Posted by in Cooking Tips

cooking tip for great saucesFrom reading blogs and books written by chefs, I’ve learned valuable cooking tip. It also is something that distinguishes them from us home cooks. Chefs perfect recipes. They tweak them, refine them, and substitute as necessary. Each one is an opportunity to learn a technique.

Cooking Tip: It’s the Technique, Not the Recipe

As a home cook, it pays to take the time to learn technique. By that I mean learning how to make a basic pan sauce or a master recipe for a vinaigrette. Cooking isn’t an out-of-the-box skill. The practice requires patience, understanding, and observation.

It’s too tempting to scratch a recipe from the rotation if it didn’t turn out. I am not talking about taste. If something tastes good, it is worth trying to fix.

By mastering a technique, you build your cooking toolbox to learn how to fix things. So, the sauce was a disaster? Well, if you remember how to make a pan sauce, all isn’t lost.

Mastering Resourcefulness

Knowing techniques allows you to capitalize on another vital cooking skill–resourcefulness. For example, sometimes you have to make do with what you have. With a bunch of techniques under your belt, you have choices and opportunities.

Resourcefulness helps you stay calm when things don’t go as planned in the kitchen. You don’t panic because you don’t have white wine. You use vermouth instead. No cream for the sauce? Cornstarch with some half-n-half makes a good stand-in.

And think of the benefits to you: less stress, fewer last-minute runs to the grocery store, and the opportunity to learn more.

How to Cultivate a Repertoire

A good source for learning techniques comes from the masters. Julia Child’s books, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, provides a host of master recipes and variations on the theme. This is an excellent book for teaching the concept of a technique with the resourcefulness to make recipes work with what you have.

And there are other ways to improve. Other books follow a similar formula. The Professional Chef by the Culinary Institute of Americais another example of working from the basics.

Online courses offer other opportunities. For example, ChefSteps.com takes it to the next level for the home cook who is ready for more. You’ll learn basic techniques for more advanced methods like sous vide and pressure cooking, among many others.

Even magazines offer opportunities. Fine Cooking, for example, has a wonderful feature called ***. It lays out a basic recipe, with a wide selection of ingredient choices to make it your own. They offer their own suggestions to get you thinking about your own.

If you think about it, cooking with techniques is easier than recipes. Memorizing individual recipes is difficult. When you master a technique, you have many possibilities. For the harried cook, this skill could become your secret sauce and your best cooking tip.

By Chris DR/http://roadtowellness.weborglodgecom

photo credit: Pizza Sauce via photopin (license)