Cooking Rules that No One Told You
Posted on January 16 2015
If one of your goals this year is to learn to cook, we can help! You’ll get a lot of advice, tips, and rules to follow when coming up with that perfect recipe but what about the rules that no one told you? Let’s go over them!
Recipe Language Matters!
All bake ware is not the same. When a recipe calls for a pan and a dish, there is a difference! Pans are metal and dishes are glass. Dishes are more flexible in size and shape than pans and baking pans are used when you want a nice browned baked goods or for broiling. If you decide to substitute a glass dish for a pan, you’ll want to reduce your baking temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit. If your recipe calls for acidic ingredients such as lemons or if it’s made with eggs, you’ll want to choose a dish. Baking pans made of aluminum and other metals can interact with the food, causing them to taste different or discolor. By the way, if you’re roasting vegetables remember to pre-heat the pan. A preheated pan means you’ll end up with less stickiness and better, more even browning – this rules especially applies to spring and summer vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.
Don’t Automatically Toss Expired Food
Did you know that expiration and use-by dates are a huge contributing factor to millions of pounds of wasted food per year? Prematurely throwing out your food can cost you time and money and have a detrimental effect on the environment, in the long run. Mistakenly, many believe that expiration and use-by dates are an indication on how safe the food is to eat but that’s not always the case. These dates only indicate freshness and that’s not a good marker on if whether a food or product is safe to eat, or not. Especially for foods that are not refrigerated, there is probably no difference in taste, texture, or safety.
For example, your eggs might indicate a use-by date ten days after the product is purchased but in reality, you can use your eggs up to five weeks after the use-by date passes. Making your own decisions about whether or not a food product is safe to consume will save you loads of money and since there is no national regulation over the use-by and expiration dates, these dates are less about public health and more about consumer purchasing. If you’re still concerned, check out this article to learn more about expiration and use-by dates.
What about common cooking rules, like washing chicken before roasting it? Well, you don’t have to do that either! The ovens high temperature will kill any germs or bacteria and washing chicken only deposits those bacteria into your kitchen sink (and any dishes you might have in there). Splash back from this process can also land on other surfaces and your chef coat, contaminating your kitchen and work area. Plus, you’ll just wind up with wet chicken that won’t taste any better than if you’d just left it unwashed. When cooking with wine and chocolate, higher quality is better! Wine doesn’t have to be the most expensive bottle on the shelf but it also shouldn’t be the cheapest. The same principle goes for chocolate. When using chocolate in baking, select a mid-priced chocolate, instead of something from the convenience store. It really will affect the taste!
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