Thursday, October 22, 2015

12 Kitchen Skills To Master Before You Turn 30

Can you cut up a chicken or frost a cake? Sure, learning to cook is an ongoing process, but these are the techniques we think you should know and use now. Every day in the kitchen will be easier once you have these basic skills.

1. How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken
When you need chicken pieces, don’t buy precut. Save some cash and cut up a whole chicken for braises and stews. This is an easy technique to learn; do it a couple of times and you’ll master dividing a chicken into eight (or ten) tidy pieces.
2. How to Properly Measure
Know this: Not all measuring tools are created equal and not all ingredients –- whether it be a liquid, something dry, or a sticky in-between substance –- can be measured using the same tools. It’s essential you can tell your measuring cups from that glass measuring jug (cup).
3. How to Season with Salt
Yes, there is a correct way to do this, and it’s probably the easiest technique to master. Prepare to have more deliciously savory meat and fish and perfectly seasoned vegetables.
4. How to Dice Vegetables
What does it mean when a recipe calls for the onion or a carrot to be diced? And how do you get all the pieces the same size?
5. How to Fill and Frost a Cake
Do your baked desserts end up lopsided and uneven? Or are you too scared to even try frosting? With the right tools and tricks, you can cut, layer, and decorate a cake that looks perfectly Pinterest-worthy. Hint: We suggest a rotating cake stand, a long serrated knife, an offset spatula, and an ice-cream scoop (the last one is for a secret trick).
6. How to Make Pie Crust
The best pies all start with a flaky, homemade crust. Here’s how to make buttery pastry.

7.How to Make Stock
The base for great homemade soups and a vital ingredient in risotto and so many other dishes, stock takes time to cook but is easy to make. (Just be sure to save the bones from that roast.)
8. How to Cook Pasta
Another essential skill, and no, there’s no credit for all those packages of ramen you’ve cooked! Proper pasta cooking boils down to three things: salt, sauce, and timing. Here’s what you need to know.
9. How to Gauge When Meat Is Cooked
And you don’t even need a meat thermometer!
10. How to Make a Vinaigrette
Another transformative element. Think about lettuce leaves naked, and lettuce leaves tossed with your own homemade vinaigrette. And it’s not just crisp greens that are elevated by vinaigrette, use it on beans, steamed vegetables….
This is another easy skill to achieve: Vinaigrette is a simple blend of oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add in mustard or honey and your favorite fresh herb.
11. How to Make a Roux
For soups (like the cream of leek soup pictured here) and sauces this is the essential thickener. It’s a starchy base, equal parts butter and flour.

12. How to Mix the Perfect Cocktail
Shaken or stirred? On the rocks or served neat? In a highball or a collins glass? And do you know how to make signature drinks like a Mint Julep, a French 75, a Bloody Mary? Knowing these bartending basics will ensure that everyone has a blast at your next party.

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