Cooking tips, aka, How to not screw up a recipe

Archived: September, 2011

I was talking to my dear friend Julia today and she was telling me about making scones. She commented that it wasn’t difficult to make, she just thought it would be because she doesn’t bake often. I hear a lot of people say things like, “It seems overwhelming when I look at a recipe. I’m afraid I won’t know how to do something.” Now, there are some recipes out there that make no flipping sense, but for the most part a recipe is nothing more than assembly instructions. And we all know from putting together IKEA furniture, that there is a right and wrong way to assemble something. Here are some tips that will make your cooking experinece so much easier, and hopefully get you spending more time in the kitchen.

Read the recipe from start to finish.

I can’t tell you how many times I have screwed up a recipe because I didn’t read it through. It’s not enough to read the ingredients, sometimes important things are hidden in those awful long-winded instructions. For example, you may get half way through something and realize you need a blender and it’s 2am and you don’t have one. You’re screwed and hungry. Boo.

Rewrite the recipe in a simplified way that makes sense to you.

Recipes tend to be big on instructions. A lot of that stuff will only confuse you and make it harder to remember where you are in a recipe. If you’re brand new you may need most of the info, but as you get more confident you can change: “Now, taking the ground beef, put it in the pot at medium high temp, break up with a spoon and brown for 12-15 minutes” and shorten it to “beef, med-high, brown 15 minutes.” Easier, right?

Prep your ingredients!!

If you look at my videos, all my ingredients are in their own cute little bowls. There are so many reasons to do this. First, if you focus on each item, you’re less likely to mess up the amount. Any professional cook or baker will tell you that this is an indespenisble step. You gotta do it. Secondly, when you begin cooking you’re not going to burn the onions because you forgot to chop the garlic that needs to go in next. Nor will you discover half way through that you don’t have something necessary for the recipe. Finally, it keeps your kitchen so much cleaner! By the time I start cooking my kitchen is clean and I can focus on making the dish correctly, and I can enjoy myself more, which is really the point.

Take notes

I’ve said it before, but if you want to make something good, you need to do it a few times. I have a handful of recipes that I’ve made enough times that I know they are going to be good. It’s nice to build up a collection this way, but if you don’t take notes on what worked or didn’t, you’ll have to start from scratch every time. I like to write notes on the recipe that I rewrote from the original (see above.) Sounds a little time consuming, but you have to do something while the onions brown, so jot things down. It helps, promise.

Become friends with Google

If you get to some part in a recipe and you don’t know what they’re talking about, google that sh*t! No matter what it is, someone has made a video, written an article or has a blog that explains how to do it. You can search on the top right of my website for something, but if it’s not there look it up! (This is another reason reading the entire recipe helps.)

There’s a million more things, but I promise you that these four, simple things will make a huge difference in your next kitchen adventure. Now go have fun! xoxo

Fancy cupcakes!

Archived: September, 2011 | Related topics:

This is what I did this weekend:

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