With the holidays approaching, I am adding a few more suggestions and applications. Share the wealth to others, because good cooking is a powerful stress reliever.

Buongiorno amici:

1. Buy an instant-read digital meat thermometer.

Unless you cook steaks weekly, you need to invest in a meat thermometer. It takes very little to ruin a nicely marbled sirloin. I have seen people cut into the steak to check the readiness. Once cut, the meat loose, the precious juice which you need for tenderness and flavor.

2. Add valuable notes to your cookbooks

As you cook, keep adding notes to your recipe collection. Take recipes and modify to your taste and need. Whatever addition or removal, record it in your notebook. You will never make mistakes again.

3. The giardiniera test

Italians pickle raw vegetables (giardiniera) while they are cooking something else. It is the snack as you go par excellence. Mix little salt and sugar with apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. Rest for 20 minutes and pour on raw cauliflowers, artichoke hearts, broccoli, or mushrooms. Eat as you cook, with a glass of white on the side.

4. Keep your knives fully sharpened.

Your knife set has some type of sharpener that came with the set you purchased. Often those sharpeners or steel are not of good quality. Once a year is an excellent practice to have knives sharpened professionally. You will chop faster, safer, and much more geometric.

5.Opt for chicken tighs when buying

Dense chicken breast belongs in the past. Today is all about the dark meat of the tighs: Juicer, and much more flavorful. You will be saving money while tasting a better product. A consumer finds comfort in the chicken breast because its easier to cook—Lear to cook tighs, pan-roasted in the oven with all kinds of herbs and spices. The meat will fall off the bone—Cook tighs on low fire at all times.

6. Replace your dry spices whenever possible

Twice a year, smell your dry spices. The color may still be natural, but the taste is deceiving. Ground spices don't last very long. Besides, the storage environment is fundamental. Too humid, too cold will affect the taste. They have lost their value. Replace them.

7. Join a Community Supported Agriculture.

Joining a CSA program is a question of debate depending on who you ask. I have always supported local farmers and producers for a multitude of reasons. If you are into eating quality and healthy, the answer is a logical one. You will expand your culinary horizons while using the very best.

8. Time to replace your non-stick skillet.

In our trade, we usually don't use non-stick anything. Still, for home cooking, they can be beneficial, especially for children that just begin cooking. Always check for scratches and dents, which can occur when using metal to stir. If the pan looks worn, it is time for an upgrade, especially for those eggs in the morning.

9. Herbs, like flowers, are treated similarly.

Keep herbs in freshwater after cutting a portion of the bottom. There is nothing worst in the kitchen than limp herbs. They will last a while. Better yet, if you cover the glass with a plastic bag and store in the fridge.

10. Don't be afraid of a mandoline

Texture in food changes based on the size. If you like different thickness and shape, then you could use a mandoline. Some people fear the blade, but if you are careful, you will be comfortable, and after a few tries, you will love it. Invest in a safety glove until you feel at ease.

11. Cook double batches of rice, quinoa, bulgar and other grains.

For lunch or a light dinner in a pinch, then cooked grains will be the answer. Rice, salads, and grains mixed with chickpeas are some of the dishes you can make effortlessly. When ready at hand, you will save a lot of time. Grains and rice stay well in the fridge for a few days.

12. Lighting is fundamental when cooking.

In addition to the lighting above your head, keep the bulb in the oven in top condition. Buy a good flashlight or a clam light that carpenters use. Good lighting will help in the browning observing process of food.

13. Parchment paper as necessary as your ingredients

When working on a kitchen counter, place a parchment piece on the counter, significantly if you are cutting poultry. Parchment is ideal when roasting vegetables or to wrap a piece of salmon for the baking. Keep it at hand when you bake your cookies or a free-form apple tart.

14. Load up your freezer with inexpensive cuts of meat or fish.

Get in the habit of purchasing cheap amounts of protein for soups, stocks, and broths. Also, less-expensive beef is a treat for the winter months, when good and lengthy cooking is required. Take that old pressure cooker or slow cooker out of the basement and achieve some outstanding home-cooked meals, full of flavors and light on the pocket.

15. Don't discard cheese rinds

I don't expect to give cheese rind to your infants, but I grew up chewing on those tasty babies when I was teething. Save the rinds, or buy them from your grocer if possible. Freeze in a plastic bag, and when you are making a batch of chicken soup or minestrone, add it to the mix. The rind will not completely dissolve, but its chewy consistency is divine.

16. Overused kitchen sponges.

Dirty sponges drive me nuts. How can we cook good food and clean the dishes properly when the sponge is dirty and smelly. Sponges are cheap enough to discard as soon as they are worthless.

17.Lid on pots sounds logical, right?.

Too many people forget to cover the pots or simply don't have them to match the pan. The lid will bring liquids to boil faster, and the steam will not attach to the ceiling or stovetop. Sounds logical to me.

18. Dry your salad greens using a kitchen towel.

I am not a supporter of salad spinners, and I use a clean kitchen towel instead. I gather the ends of the towel and spin it around. The spinning will allow water to stick to the towel—one less spinner to clean and achieve the same result.

19. Save the schmaltz.

Schmaltz is a vegetarian's nightmare. I respect that in full, but the fantastic flavor is irreplaceable. When you roast your chicken save the fat in place in the fridge. Use when you are cooking caramelized onions or starter for a stew with a vegetable base. Bacon fat gets equal treatment. Schmaltz may not be a choice for everyone, and number 19 is simply a suggestion.

20. Use a non-usable ingredient bowl when cooking.

Buy a large bowl and keep it ready to fill up with eggshells and other trash generated while cooking. You will realize that you could have saved much more than discarded.

Thanks for reading. Eat safe and wear a mask! Ciao Chef W

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