When cooking and entertaining, I have come to the conclusion throughout the years there are shortcuts you can take to make your kitchen more user friendly. Here are a few helpful hints:
When cooking with poultry, seafood, meat, and vegetables, I have made clean-up a little more simple by purchasing special cutting boards for each specific use only. They are thin and made out of a strong bendable plastic. When I’m done with each I just rinse them off and put them right in the dishwasher. This way you don’t have to wash the same cutting board everytime That way you can cut down on any salmonella that can occur in other dishes you are making.
Making fresh pasta doesn’t have to be difficult, but can be time consuming depending on what you have got going on in your life. I still believe that anything cooked homemade is a good thing, even though people today seem to not have a lot of time on their hands. If you have the right equipment, you can accomplish anything.
When cooking with wine, you always use a wine that you would drink. Not cooking wine.
When cutting up chicken. I like to save the parts of the chicken (back neck etc.). After I have gathered enough parts, I like to make a chicken stock or broth out of it. Overall, you put everything in a pot that you want in your stock (vegetables, carrots, celery, onion, herbs). The only thing you do after that point is turn the stove on and simmer the pot for about 4/hrs. Simple huh. Remember, if you’re going to buy canned stock, the salt content can be high.
When using herbs, using dried herbs is fine, but what if you can use fresh herbs to get a more robust flavor. All’s you need to do is buy packets of your favorite herbs and plant them in flowerpots in the house during winter months and outdoors during the growing season. This way you can get total flavor in your dishes.
Spices are a great way to add wonderful flavor to dishes as well. Again, you can buy your spices at the market or you can grind your own spices. Coffee grinders are inexpensive, you can also use nutmeg graters and make great spice mills.
When using oils, believe it or not oil does go bad. So if you don’t cook everyday, you may want to keep small quantities of oil at a time, this would pertain to the unstable nut oils, (olive oil, extra virgin, safflowers, oriental sesame, light vegetables, not pepper (chili, peanut, corn, walnut).
Vinegar are different than oil. They will last much longer, but must be kept at a temperature below 65 degrees.
– Clean as you go when cooking main dinners. This will cut down on anything you have to do when all your guests have left for the evening. What I try to do is juggle back and forth.