Celebrity Chefs Share Their Best Cooking Tips Ever02/25/2020
Fry an Egg to Perfection
Even if you’re using a nonstick skillet, use a little olive oil or butter when frying eggs. Carefully tilt the skillet so the oil or melted butter pools at front edge of pan, and use a spoon to baste the tops of the eggs as they cook. This adds flavor and helps your eggs cook evenly.
—Trisha Yearwood, host of Food Network’s Trisha’s Southern Kitchen
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Peel Mangoes Without a Peeler
Take a slice of mango, and place the fleshy side against the rim of a drinking glass. Press gently and slide the slice down the glass—it should remove the skin cleanly!
—Ayesha Curry, lifestyle expert, who will launch her own magazine in May
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Season like a Pro
Since you can’t add flavor to the center of the meat, the outside of the steak has to do all the work. Sprinkle salt and pepper from high up over the meat—it’ll fall in an even layer—and use more than you think you should. Then add a pinch more.
—Curtis Stone, chef-owner of Maude and Gwen restaurants in L.A.
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Make Cleanup a Breeze
On baking days I keep a large bowl of hot, soapy water in my sink and plop utensils into it as I finish using them. By the time I’m ready to do the dishes, I don’t have to worry about dough or batter sticking to them.
—Molly Yeh, host of Food Network’s Girl Meets Farm
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Declutter Your Cookware
Don’t buy a ton of different pots and pans for your kitchen. All you need are something for boiling, braising, sautéing and roasting—anything else is too much. Also, most important, keep your knives sharp.
—David Chang, star of the upcoming Ugly Delicious season 2, and author of the upcoming memoir Eat a Peach
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Fix a Broken Sauce
Have a chocolate or cream sauce that has separated or become grainy? My mom always added more cream or butter, but it didn’t work. The easiest fix is to balance the excess of fatty ingredients: Just stir in a few spoonfuls of warm water.
—Alex Guarnaschelli, chef of Butter in N.Y.C.
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Add Oil at the Best Time
It’s better to heat your pan first and then add oil. The longer oil sits on a hot surface, the more time it has to break down. Following this method, you’ll use less oil, food will be less soggy, and you’ll get a better sear.
—Adam Richman, chef and travel host
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Make Better Burgers
You can’t taste your burgers before they’re cooked, but you can test the seasoning. Make a little patty about the size of a quarter, and place it in a hot skillet—it’ll cook in less than 30 seconds. Now you can make sure the burgers have the right balance of ingredients before cooking them all.
—Rachael Ray, host of Rachael Ray Show
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Choose the Best Dried Pasta
When looking at pasta in the package, make sure it isn’t broken or chipped, doesn’t look dusty with flour or have white spots—all those things mean the pasta is old and has been sitting on the shelf for a long time. Look for pasta with a golden-yellow color and a rough texture. Sauce doesn’t stick to shiny pastas very well.
—Lidia Bastianich, author of Felidia: Recipes from My Flagship Restaurant
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Simplify Your Kitchen Tool Kit
If you don’t have a fish spatula, get one immediately—it’s my favorite. It has a thin, almost-sharp edge, so it’s great for flipping, stirring, cutting and getting that first brownie or piece of lasagna out of the pan.
—Ted Allen, host of Food Network’s Chopped
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Give Any Recipe a Boost
Put grated ginger and chopped garlic and scallions into a large bowl and cover with water. Let it sit overnight to let the liquid soak up the flavors. Strain out the solids, and use that flavored stock as a base for noodles, soup, dumpling filling or anything you like.
—Simone Tong, chef-owner of Little Tong Noodle Shop in N.Y.C.
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Peel Garlic Faster
I like to throw whole, unpeeled garlic cloves into the microwave for 10 seconds. It makes the peels slip right off. This blanching method is also a great way to reduce the harsh flavor of raw garlic in uncooked recipes, like salsas, salad dressings, chimichurri and guacamole.
—Lorena Garcia, executive chef and partner of Chica in Miami and Las Vegas
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Stop a Cutting Board From Slipping
Place a damp paper towel underneath your cutting board before chopping. It acts as a grip so the board won’t move around on the counter. I do this at the restaurant and at home.
—Stefano Secchi, chef of Rezdôra in N.Y.C.
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Save a Burnt Soup
If you scorch a soup or sauce, transfer it into a new pot without scraping the burnt bottom. Wrap an English cucumber in cheese cloth, crush it with the back of a knife, and drop it in the new pot. Let it sit for 15 minutes; the cucumber will act like a sponge and suck up the burnt flavor. Then remove the cucumber, simmer, and adjust the seasoning.
—Fabrizio Schenardi, executive chef of Four Seasons Resort Orlando
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Add a New Layer of Flavor
The hard Parmesan rind is a quick and cheap way to add lots of flavor with minimum effort. Drop it in a soup, risotto or stew, and the rind melts and permeates the dish with its cheesy, umami characteristic. The rinds freeze incredibly well, so you’ll have them whenever needed.
—Yotam Ottolenghi, chef and author of Simple
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Bake a Flakier Pie Crust
When you’re making a crust, the butter needs to stay very cold so it won’t melt until it gets into the oven. Here’s a trick: Freeze your butter, and grate it on a box grater. It’ll keep the butter cold, and the pea-size pieces are easier to combine with the flour.
—Katie Button, chef and co-owner of Cúrate Bar de Tapas in Asheville, N.C.
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Season with the Proper Salt
Kosher salt should be used to season vegetables, protein, pasta water, etc. Flaky-textured salt, like Maldon sea salt, is more expensive and is best used for finishing. A little goes a long way.
—Cédric Vongerichten, executive chef and owner of Wayan in N.Y.C.
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Bring Out the Sweetness in Tomatoes
If you’re making a tomato sauce or soup and the tomatoes aren’t ripe enough, add a pinch of sugar and a splash of red-wine vinegar. They will help to bring out the natural flavor.
—Andrew Jones, executive chef at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, in St. Lucia
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Use Up Leftover Bread
When your bread is about to go stale, stick it in the freezer to harden. Then run it against the large holes on a cheese grater to make your own bread crumbs. Store it in a bag in the freezer, and you’ll always have a homemade batch when you need it.
—Alon Shaya, chef-owner of Saba in New Orleans and Safta in Denver
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To Save Time
“When you bring produce home, clean and prep everything before you put it in the refrigerator. This is simple but revolutionary: In the middle of a recipe, you can just reach into your fridge and grab already-peeled carrots or already-cleaned mushrooms and quarter them.”
—Ree Drummond, author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier
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For Stress-Free Hosting
“The hardest thing about dinner is getting everything to the table hot at the same time. I plan a menu that has one thing roasted in the oven (like rack of lamb), one thing cooked on the stove (sautéed cherry tomatoes) and one thing made ahead (orzo with roasted vegetables). Easy party and relaxed host!”
—Ina Garten, star of Barefoot Contessa
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For Juicy Turkey
“Roasting turkey always results in dry white meat because dark meat needs to reach 175° to make it tender (white meat is ready at 160°). Give dark meat a head start: Before stuffing, bring 2 inches of stock to a boil in a roasting pan, and sit the bird in it for 10 minutes. Remove the turkey (save the stock for gravy)and proceed with your recipe.”
—Andrew Zimmern, chef and travel host
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For Perfect Steaks
“Reverse-sear your steak: Start in a low heated oven and slow-roast to your desired doneness, then finish in a hot cast-iron skillet. It gives you better internal temperature control and produces an awesome brown crust.”
—Guy Fieri, host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
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Giada De Laurentiis
For Better Pasta
“After you’ve drained your pasta and it’s still hot, grate a little fresh Parmesan on top, wait a few seconds, and then toss it with your sauce. The cheese will melt directly on the pasta, which will give your sauce something to stick on to.”
—Giada De Laurentiis, chef and owner of Giada Vegas
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To Cook Like a Pro
“‘Mise en place.’ Everything in its place—before you turn on your oven. This is the only way to master any recipe or get to really be good at actually cooking as a daily ritual or hobby. You must be prepared and have everything ready and measured out.”
—Geoffrey Zakarian, chef-partner of The Lambs Club New York and Point Royal in Hollywood, Florida
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For Easy Caramel
“When making caramel, cover the pan with a glass lid. The steam washes the sides of the pan to keep the sugar from crystallizing, and because the lid is glass, you can see when the sugar starts to color.”
—Carla Hall, author of Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration
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To Master a Recipe
“Mind the details. If the ingredient list calls for ‘1 cup sifted flour,’ then sift it first before you measure. If it calls for ‘1 cup flour, sifted,’ measure before sifting. It makes a big difference in the final product.”
—Martha Stewart, host of Martha Bakes
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To Avoid the Mess
“Clean as you go! But seriously, don’t just move stuff around. Everything needs a home, even dirty dishes: small bowls inside of large ones, proper rinsing and stacking. We say it a lot because it’s imperative. Cooking is no fun when you have an entire job waiting for you after.”
—Kristen Kish, author of Kristen Kish Cooking
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For Better Bakes
“If you know you’ll be baking, place your eggs on the counter the night before. At room temperature they won’t seize up when mixed with the butter, and egg whites whip up fluffier.”
—Duff Goldman, judge on Holiday Baking Championship on Food Network
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To Peel Garlic Fast
“To peel a lot of garlic at once, break open the bulb and put all the cloves in a large bowl. Invert another bowl over it, hold them together where the rims meet, and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. All the skins will come off!”
—Adam Richman, host of Matchday Meals on Facebook Watch
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To Keep Olive Oil Fresh
“Store it in the fridge! Olive oil is expensive and gets rancid easily, so don’t leave your bottle on the stove. Each time you heat up the stove or oven, the oil heats and cools too—making it spoil faster. ”
—Alex Guarnaschelli, judge on Chopped
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For Better Chicken & Fish
“After you rinse it, wrap it in paper towels for 3 to 4 hours before you cook it. This will remove all excess moisture which contains all the aromatics and liquid that you don’t want in the protein you are cooking.”
—Michael Schulson, chef-founder of Schulson Collective
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