Cooking Tips

Since I can remember, I have been honing my skills in the kitchen.  It started even before I entered The Balsams Culinary Apprenticeship Program.  When you love food and food preparation the way I do, you find it hard NOT to share what you might have learned the hard way.  

Following are a few tips that I thought I’d share with you.  They might even save you a flop or two in the kitchen...

- Kendra
Veno's Tip #1

Hot Pan/ Hot Fat/ Cold Product—the only way to saute. It can be hard to wait, but let the pan get hot; add whatever fat you are using; give it few seconds to get hot; then add whatever you are sauteing. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan, and keep it moving. Saute means to jump in the pan!

Veno's Tip #2

Did you know that you can temp meat using your hand? Make a fist between your pointer and thumb. In the fleshy piece of your hand, loose fist means it’s rare; tighter fist means it’s medium; and, tightest fist means it’s well done.

Veno's Tip #3

Always use sharp knives. Yes, there is always the possibility that you can cut yourself, but a clean cut will heal. Dull knives are dangerous and the reason why people often cut themselves.

Veno's Tip #4

If you want an amazing meal, always start with quality products. Finding a deal is nice, but if you want great results, you have to start with great product.

Veno's Tip #5

Brining pork and poultry infuses flavor and insures moist meat. Come into the retail store, and ask me how to do it.  I am happy to answer you questions and give you step-by-step instructions!

Veno's Tip #6

Low and slow cooking scrambled eggs will produce the best eggs ever. Make sure your pan is hot, then turn down the heat to low; add butter and let it melt; add shelled scrambled eggs; and using a rubber spatula, gently stir until fully cooked; serve immediately.

Veno's Tip #7

Top all cooked meats with a finishing salt, like a himalayan pink salt. Just use a sprinkle, especially on carved or sliced meats.

Veno's Tip #8

Add customized flavors to your food with flavored butters (yes, we carry them in our store). Great to melt over a cooked meat, cooked vegetables, roasted potatoes, cooked rice, with bread or add dimension to a sauce.

Veno's Tip #9

Fresh garlic, ginger and fresh herbs are my favorites to cook with. Since I don't always have time to prep them, I prepare them ahead. I blend each item separately with a little oil in a food processor and press flat into a freezer bag.  Label and freeze the bag; then, just break off a piece, and put it into the dish that you are cooking.

Veno's Tip #10

Make rice in the oven. Put recommended liquid and rice quantities in an oven-safe dish, covered.  Let cook alongside the rest of your meal. Time varies depending on grain, but most rice takes 35-45 minutes to cook. Instead of using plain water, try steeped tea water (make ahead and remove tea bag), or add herbs, sauteed onions, or minced ginger, to any wholesome liquid to make your rice.