Simple Things Every Woman Should Master
There are just some things every woman should know how to do, and cooking a basic meal is one of them. Regardless of your age, culinary expertise or place in life, poaching an egg, grilling a steak and making homemade stock are easy basics you can master. No white coat or fancy appliances necessary!
You heard us! You don't need a fancy immersion blender, expensive stand mixer or strange poachers to tackle these cooking basics. And trust us, with the size of some of the kitchens out there, who has the space anyway!
10: Roast a chicken
Roasting a chicken is one of the easiest and most flavorful ways to prepare this popular poultry. To begin, you need a basic, yet mouth-watering recipe, like this one. To make sure your chicken stays moist and tender, baste it every 20 minutes with its own juices. To ensure the chicken has flavor in more than just the skin (a common problem) stuff it with citrus, like lemon, orange or lime and a bold flavored herb, like rosemary or basil. Also be sure to liberally salt the inside. Photo by Brandy Clabaugh.
9: Cook with herbs
Nothing adds flavor to a dish without unnecessary calories or fat like fresh herbs. If you're worried about cooking with the fresh stuff, begin with dried. When using dried herbs, always remember to add them at the beginning or the middle of cooking so they release their flavor. If your recipe calls for fresh herbs and you only have dry, remember this; three tablespoons of fresh herbs is equal to about one tablespoon of dry.
8: Grill a steak
When it comes to grilling a steak, there are a few key things to remember. For one, know your cut and buy it fresh (red with fat marbled throughout). The best cuts for the grill are the rib-eye, top sirloin, top loin, T-bone and tenderloin. Secondly, preheat your grill! Last, but not least, invest in a meat thermometer. Medium rare steaks should register at about 145 degrees F, medium should reach 160 degrees F and well done should reach 170 degrees F.
7: Peel and saute garlic
Garlic is one of the best ways to enhance the flavor of anything. To remove the peel from the garlic, simply press your knife's blade sideways onto the clove. Carefully press down until you hear a slight snap. This will remove the peel from the clove so you can easily tear it away. Then simply chop or mince. To saute, always add garlic after you've added the onions since it cooks in half the time. Always cook over medium heat since it burns easily. Photo by Gretchen Powell.
6: Poach an egg
This is one of the most intimidating cooking skills on this list. To poach the perfect egg, the most important thing to keep in mind is the water temperature. Your water needs to be rapidly simmering, not boiling. Secondly, add a dash of vinegar to your water. This will tighten the egg making the whites less prone to scatter everywhere. Third, crack your egg carefully into a shallow bowl first, it's easier to slowly add to the simmering water. And fourth, use a slated spoon to carefully move the egg whites over the egg yolk once it is in the water.
5: Prepare homemade stock
Nothing cures an upset stomach or broken heart quite like a bowl of your grandma's chicken noodle soup. So what is it that makes her soup so good? The answer is the stock! Making this stuff is simple, just put a whole chicken (omit this if you're making veggie), whole onion, garlic, carrots, celery, fennel, water, leeks and fresh herbs into a large pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for at least two - four hours. Then strain the liquid with a cheesecloth and store for up to three months.
4: Bake with yeast
Yeast is a very intimidating ingredient, we whole-heartedly get that. The most important thing to remember when using yeast is proper water temperature. The water you add needs to be no warmer than 110 degrees or it could kill the yeast. You also need to be patient when using it. Most recipes will ask you to let the dough rise at least three or four different times. Skipping one of these steps could mean a flat or stale end product.
3: Pit and peel an avocado
There's an art to pitting and peeling these luscious fruits, but don't worry, it's not hard to grasp. Simply slice your avocado in half around the pit. Then carefully twist the two sides apart. To remove the pit, hold one side of the avocado then firmly tap the center with the blade of a chefs knife (hard enough so the knife sticks into the pit). Then pull the knife and the pit should come out. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh (or insides) of the avocado out of the peel.
2: Use a slow cooker
This is one cooking tip that will not only give you better tasting meals, but it'll give you more time to spend with your family. All you do is put your ingredients into the basin, add liquid, cover and set the temperature! Most stews and meats cook best on low for no less than four hours while many soups can be cooked on high for just two hours. This is one appliance you absolutely can not live without.
1: Properly chop vegetables
Of all the tips mentioned above, this is by far the most important. Grasping the skill of properly cutting, slicing and chopping your vegetables will dramatically save you time (and agony) in the kitchen. You first need a good chef's knife. After you have your knife, you begin by cutting the vegetable in half. Place each half cut-side down then slice the vegetable length-wise starting at one end. Then, cut through the vegetable at right angles to the board (or going the opposite way you cut the strips).
More basic cooking tips