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THAT YOU’RE JUST SUPPOSED TO KNOW

Written & Designed by Katie King Rumford


MAKE MISTEAKS Dedicated to those who aren’t afraid to make mistakes and are willing to laugh at themselves, especially when it comes to cooking. No one is perfect, but it’s the trying that makes you better—so enjoy the process and don’t take yourself too seriously. Part of a greater graphic design thesis project: CounterIntuitionProject.com


T WE N T Y FI V E THINGS NO ONE T O LD YO U A BOUT COOKING Written and Designed by Katie King Rumford COUNTER : INTUITION A graphic design MFA thesis project Graduate student of the Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street Fifth Floor San Francisco, California 94108 USA Find us on the web at www.counterintuitionproject.com To report errors, please send a note to: katie@katiekingrumford.com Copyright Š 2012 by Katie King Rumford Designer: Katie King Rumford Illustrator: Katie King Rumford Advisor: Gaston Yagmourian Copy Editors: Dave King & Lisa King Printing: Blurb Binding: Blurb

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Printed and bound in the United States of America


THAT YOU’RE JUST SUPPOSED TO KNOW

Written & Designed by Katie King Rumford


NOTICE OF RIGHTS All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author. For information on getting permission for reprints and excerpts, please contact katiekingrumford@gmail.com. NOTICE OF LIABILITY The information in this book is distributed on an “as is� basis without warranty. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of the book, neither the author nor publisher shall have any liability to any person or entity with respect to loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the instructions contained in this book or by the computer versions or products accompanied with the book. DISCLAIMER This book provides information about cooking and the basic knowledge needed in order to begin the cooking process at home. This is not an all-encompassing account of everything you need to know and should not be taken that way. Each person who reads this book and decides to cook enters the kitchen at their own risk. Although care has been taken to make sure the information in this book is accurate and useful, it is recommended that you think through your decision to cook before you begin. Nor the author nor publisher hold any legal fault for any hardships caused either directly or indirectly from the information in this book. TRADEMARKS Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book, and Katie King Rumford is aware of the trademark claim, the designations appear as requested by the owner of the trademark. All other product names and services identified throughout this book are used in an editorial fashion only and for the benefit of such companies with no intention of infringement of the trademark. No such use, or the use of any trade name, is intended to convey endorsement or the affiliation with this book.


FOREWORD

The following pages include the words of home cooks who have been in the same place you are. Everyone has to start somewhere, so why not learn from the mistakes of others and heed their helpful advice?!? The twenty five concepts listed in this book were straight from the mouths of others, all things they wish someone would have told them when they were beginning. So what does that mean for you? It means that you don’t have to make the same mistakes they did. You can cook with confidence because others have done the same thing you’re doing. What a relief, right? Simply read through the book, skim if you must, but take away the 25 points and keep this in your kitchen as quick reference guide, should you need it. Keep your head up and make some delicious mistakes, that’s the best way to learn how to cook. Get in the kitchen and start cooking!


THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW also known as the

TABLE OF CONTENTS


page 20

page 18

page 16

page 14

page 12

page 58

page 68

page 70

page 36

page 54

21 22 23 24 25 page 100

page 84

page 76

page 78

page 64

page 364

page 42

page 38

page 72

page 66

page 28

page 24

page 22

page 6260

page 486

10 06 07 08 09

20 19 18 17 16

15 14 13 12 11

02 03 04 05 01


before you begin —JULIA CHILD Chef, author, and television personality recognized for introducing French cuisine to the American public.


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THINK BEFORE YOU START STOP AND THINK FIRST, COOK SECOND.

You would be surprised how many people overlook this seemingly obvious and simple step. “Thinking” can, and should, include considering these things before you start cooking: Do you know what you’re cooking? No? Look at our app for some delicious inspiration. Yes? Have you read the recipe all the way through? Do you know how to cook what you’re cooking? Can you envision what the end product will look, smell, and taste like? Do you have all the tools you need ready? Do you have all the ingredients?


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MAKE A PLAN BEFORE YOU BEGIN DECIDE WHAT YOU’RE UP AGAINST FIRST.

It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you start cooking. Again, it seems obvious, even more so after 01, because you’ve already decided that you’re going to think through the meal before you’ve started, right? Good. So what does having a plan entail? It means you need to know what’s coming in order to prepare for it. You’ve already envisioned the end product (your delicious meal), what will it take to get that to the table? How much time do you need (and do you have the time to do it)? Do you know how to do the cooking methods it’s asking for or do you need to do some quick research before beginning? You’ll learn what mise en place means, but this would be the time that you would begin getting everything in place before you begin cooking. Once you start cooking, it’s difficult to stall the process without throwing off the dish.


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SET UP YOUR MISE EN PLACE HALF THE BATTLE IS THE PREPARATION.

Knowing what mise en place (a French term, pronounced meez ahn plass) is not only makes you sound like a pro in the kitchen, but it gets you in the right frame of mind when you’re cooking. Essentially it means having “everything in its place” before you begin cooking. Ever see chefs with pre-cut ingredients in small bowls? This is essentially what you’ll want to do to prepare for cooking. This includes everything from having the necessary tools and utensils out, pre-heating the oven, ingredients out and chopped/diced/minced, and everything in between. It also means you should have read through the recipe or gone through it in your head, prepared for what’s to come and how you’re going to get there. Half the battle in the kitchen is simply getting everything ready, the cooking is the simple part. Take your time and make sure your mise en place is all done before you begin cooking, this will save you time and mistakes (therefore money and frustration).


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RECIPES ARE GUIDES, NOT RULES DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO STICK TO IT.

Often times, people feel limited or restrained by a recipe. This simply should not be the case. Recipes are creative guidelines meant to help you create something delicious. The truth about cooking is that it is subjective and everyone has different tastes, so it’s up to you to find out what you like. If a recipe has ingredients you don’t have or don’t like, feel free to release the chains of the recipe and substitute it for something you like. Use similar style items. You might not like tofu, if that’s the case, don’t use it (or find a preparation that you do like and pat yourself on the back). You could substitute mushrooms, potatoes, or squash in its place. Try to use ingredients that have the same weight in the dish (meaning same texture and importance for flavor in the dish). Recipes shouldn’t cause you to not make something, rather, they should encourage you to try something new and to venture out on your own when you feel ready.


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A SIMPLE PANTRY Items you should have on hand at all times: EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) Flour Sugar (brown or white, not powdered) Salt Pepper Vinegar (red wine or balsamic) Stock/Broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)

Wine (a red and a white) Spices

KEEP A WELL STOCKED PANTRY

QUICK FIX STAPLES* Make a quick meal in a pinch: Canned beans (whatever you like) Canned or frozen produce Pasta Pasta Sauce Salsa Tortillas Citrus (limes and lemons) Onions (white and red) Garlic *Remember these are only suggestions, you should store what you like and what you’ll use.

STOCK UP WITH YOUR GO-TO ITEMS.

Having a “well-stocked pantry” doesn’t mean you have to have a huge closet to store all the items you may need at any point in time. At this stage in your life you may or may not have a “pantry” to speak of. Not a problem, having a pantry is simply your back up plan, and your pantry might vary from other peoples’ pantries because you may use some things more than others. The list on the left is a good place to start, but by no means the rule. Once you start cooking a bit, see what you use most and stock up a small supply of it. Having items around is much easier than going to the store constantly, and it’ll help you when you need to whip something up really quick without the time to go to the store. Having a pantry is good practice, but what you have in your pantry is up to you and what you like and use.


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KNOW BASIC RATIOS RATIO To read more about the twenty six basic cooking ratios, check out Michael Ruhlman’s insightful book, Ratio. This is one of the most freeing concepts when it comes to mastering the art of cooking. Give yourself the freedom to be released from the chains of recipes.

RATIOS ARE THE BACKBONE OF COOKING.

Michael Ruhlman, a chef, writer and storehouse of cooking knowledge, wrote a book called Ratio where he breaks down cooking to 26 basic ratios. The concept is absolutely ground breaking and freeing. Much like the concept of a recipe and its flexibility in idea 04, ratios are the backbone to recipes. Ratios are constants that produce good or standard products, but if you want to make it a recipe or food great, you have to use your own creativity to push the boundaries of the expected. Ratios are unchanging constants that you can rely on. Like Ruhlman said, “knowing a single ratio is like knowing hundreds of recipes”. Much like drawing or anything else in life, you have to know the basics before you can advance to the more complex stuff.


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KEEP CALM AND COOK ON COOKING CAN CHANGE IN AN INSTANT.

Cooking is just one of those things in life that can change in an instant. This is a glorious thing, but it can also be frightening if you’re not anticipating the change. It’s important to be able to keep your cool in the kitchen. If you freak out the second something goes wrong, you’re never going to progress. But if you take every mistake as a lesson to be learned, you’ll be less harsh on yourself. Give yourself a bit of grace (make sure to laugh at yourself when necessary), and you’ll be happier with the process as well as the results. Much like mise en place, being flexible is a way of cooking. Don’t let mistakes rattle you. Mistakes are inevitable, everyone makes them and it’s a part of learning. Maintain a positive attitude in the kitchen and keep going even after you feel like you failed. Only by trying again can you make it better and learn from your mistake.


prep work —TRUMAN CAPOTE Prolific American author and comedian. who enjoyed cooking’s uncanny ability to ease the mind and satisfy the belly.


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GET TO KNOW YOUR KITCHEN KNOW YOUR TOOLS & APPLIANCES WELL.

Everyone’s kitchen is different. There are different layouts, different kinds of appliances, different looks and feels. Some people have amazing gourmet kitchens with gas range stoves and dual ovens, while others of us have electric stoves, a leaky faucet and a fridge that freezes things and a freezer that melts things. No matter where you’re cooking or what you have to cook with, there is hope. Cavemen cooked with sticks and stones, so pretty sure we can make do with electricity and automatic fire. Cooking is similar from kitchen to kitchen, from generation to generation and continent to continent. What changes is the way we approach it, who we are, what we cook and what we enjoy to eat. Cooking is wonderful because you have the freedom and ability to make things that you enjoy to eat. But before you can cook, you must know the lay of the land. The following are some recommended basics that every cook should have.


FRIDGE & FREEZER Once a luxury, the refrigerator (or “fridge”) is now the most common household item. Even if you don’t have a stove or oven, most people have a fridge to keep things cold. The fridge and freezer store food and preserves it longer. This is the first of three holy grail kitchen “must have” appliances.

MICROWAVE

OVEN & STOVE TOP

Now more common in small apartments than stoves, a microwave has immense power. For a quick fix, instant rice or reheating your dinner from last night for lunch, the microwave has a place in the kitchen. Just try not to rely on it with premade meals. The ones you’re cooking are so much better and healthier for you.

Stoves and ovens offer the widest variety of style in kitchen appliances. There are gas and electric (gas is great because it’s more fun to cook with real fire), the more burners 1, 2, 4, 6 or 8 the better (and the more multitasking you can do). There are also dual ovens to you can cook multiple items at different temperatures. A range hood (the overhead fan) helps to keep the kitchen from getting too smoky. This appliance is the second of the holy grail in kitchen appliances.


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SINK The last of the holy grail of kitchen appliances, the sink is a normal, everyday appliance or tool that everyone uses. It has so many uses outside of cooking that it may seem odd to actually have it in the kitchen. You can wash things in it, store dirty dishes in it, fill it up and use it as a bathtub for babies, use it for a babysitting adventure with plastic toys and a wild imagination.

TOASTER OVEN For ease of moving throughout the kitchen, it’s best to have the sink, stove & oven, and fridge within short walking distance. Often called the triangle of life in the kitchen, chilling, heating and cleaning are the lifeblood of the kitchen. Minimize your steps in the kitchen by looking for functional placement of appliances.

A mini oven, the toaster oven does the job for small items or reheating last night’s dinner. For such a small appliance, it holds the power of your stove and has much less space to heat and therefore can heat much faster. Great for making toast if your oven is already occupied, or toasting nuts if you’re so inclined to do so.


FOOD PROCESSOR

BLENDER

It slices, it dices, it blends, it chops, and is one of those multi-tasking kitchen tools that every kitchen should have, if for nothing else, for saving time.

It chops food and ice, and blends liquids and solids like a whirlwind. It can also be used to add air into a mixture such as a frothy drink—or help make soups, sauces, and drinks. Just make sure to hold the lid on tight if you ever blend hot items—it’ll blow right off and spew the contents all over you and your (once clean) ceiling.


GET TO KNOW YOUR KITCHEN, MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR TOOLS. GO AHEAD, GET COMFY.


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ALWAYS USE A TIMER IT’LL HELP YOU KEEP ON TRACK.

Cooking is a battle against time, among other things, so a timer is one of the most handy tools in the kitchen Counter:Intuition’s app has a built-in timer that is customizable for the at-home cook. It is too easy to lose track of time and burn a dish, forget about the cookies in the oven or have noodles that disintegrate to mush. Since you’ve already thought through how long the meal is going to take to make and you have a general idea of how long each step will take (or if you don’t see the cheat sheet in the app), simply press the start button on your timer at home and avoid losing a great dish.


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IT’S OK TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY.

Of course, the kitchen can be a stressful place, but the cooking experience is what you make it out to be. If you let yourself relax and say that when you cook it is your time to unwind, just let it be. And know, especially when you’re starting out, that no one cares how terrible you are or how many times you dropped the potatoes on the ground. Like Julia Child, a famous chef, TV personality and author, you must maintain a “what the hell” kind of attitude in the kitchen. Meaning that you shouldn’t be afraid of the results, just give it a go and see what happens. If you drop the ingredient on the ground, it’s ok! No one’s looking. Rinse it off and laugh at yourself. No one is perfect, especially when it comes to cooking. There is always more to learn, and therefore more laughs to be had and more lessons to be gleaned with a glass of wine.


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SHAKE, DON’T CHOKE YOUR KNIFE CHOP, DICE, MINCE, BRUNOISE, JULIENNE.

Knowing how to hold your knife won’t make or break you in the kitchen, but it will save you from countless injuries (some more serious than others). One thing to keep in mind is that you want the most control you can have so that the sharp blade won’t injure you, but be used to carve up the ingredients on the chopping block. In culinary school they teach you to shake your knife with a firm, yet loose grip. You want the knife to feel natural in your hand, and not too stiff, an extension of your arm. Don’t hold a finger on the top of the blade, it actually makes it more wobbly and difficult to command. With your thumb and pointer finger, hold the base of the blade (with smaller knives you may not be able to do this, but use the same style of grip), resting the base of your hand on the top of the handle. Go ahead, see how it feels.


cutting line of knife

folded back fingers

ingredient gets cut, not fingertips

Keeping the tip of the blade on the cutting board will help to keep the blade from sliding too much or cutting things that weren’t meant to be cut (i.e. your finger). A good thing to practice is to chop (roughly) some fresh herbs by keeping the tip of the blade on the board and moving the base of the knife up and down, with a simple chopping motion. You’ll find this to be a natural motion the more you do it. Another thing you need to know is how to properly chop. If you watch Food Network you may notice that most (not all, because not all were formally trained...and well, neither are you, so this is a real gem here), create a barrier with their non-cutting hand, holding the item they’re cutting. Imagine a line where your knife will cut and fold your fingers back so the blade only touches the second section of your fingers (see illustrations on the right).

Fold your fingers back so the second section of the finger is the only part of the finger that touches the blade. The surface should be flat so that the knife simply is guided by the flat section of finger and not cutting it. Make sure the thumb and finger, gripping the item being cut, are behind the imaginary (or real) cutting line of the knife.


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Whenever possible, try to make sure to keep the tip of the knife on the cutting board when cutting.

Fold your fingers back behind the cutting line of the knife to keep your fingertips.

If you don’t keep your fingers behind the cutting line, you’ll lose them. For reals.


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TASTE AS YOU COOK SALT CAN RUIN A DISH, TASTE, TASTE, TASTE.

One of the greatest parts about cooking is that you can make things how you like them. You have a particular set of taste buds and you appreciate certain flavors more than others. One of the reasons is seasoning. Season has the power to entice, surprise, please or disgust the palette. When seasoning, make sure you taste as you go if at all possible (don’t taste the raw meat of course, but season generously), and remember that the longer you cook liquids, the more condensed the flavors will get so don’t season to taste at the beginning. Taste everything before you serve it. Make sure it is to your liking. If it’s not, perhaps you need to season it still. Salt and pepper add simple flavors but can compliment a dish. Acids, such as a squeeze of lemon or lime, can lighten and awaken a dish. Taste, taste, taste.


now you’re cooking —HARRIET VAN HORNE American newspaper columnist and film & television critic.


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COOKING METHODS EXPLAINED THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COOKING METHODS.

There are two main categories for cooking, dry heat and moist heat. Moist heat, or wet cooking, obviously needs liquid (water, stock, wine, etc.) to cook, while dry heat cooking, is just that, no liquid is added to cook. Dry heat cooking often has fats or oils (not considered to be liquids, even though they may come in a liquid state) that assist the cooking process. Thanks to the Epicurious food dictionary, the following definitions and terms should help to clear up any confusion you may have had about what is what when it comes to cooking methods and how to do them.


Cook using liquid

WET COOKING TERMS

BOIL & SIMMER

B RAI S E (combination wet & dry)

P OA C H

Boil: to cook food in a rapidly boiling pot of water at a high temperature (about 212°F). Simmering is used to cook food gently in liquid at a temperature (about 185°F) low enough that tiny bubbles just begin to break the surface.

A cooking method by which food (usually meat or vegetables) is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time. The long, slow cooking develops flavor and tenderizes foods by gently breaking down their fibers. Braising can be done on top of the range or in the oven. A tight-fitting lid is very important to prevent the liquid from evaporating.

To cook food gently in liquid just below the boiling point (about 160°F) when the liquid’s surface is beginning to show some quivering movement. The amount and temperature of the liquid used depends on the food being poached. Poaching produces a delicate flavor in foods, while imparting some of the liquid’s flavor to the ingredient being poached.


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SHOCK

SOUS-VIDE

STEAM

Using an ice bath to cool food immediately after blanching. “Shocking” the food stops the cooking process, preventing the food from losing its color and texture. More on this in number 20.

A method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times—72 hours in some cases—at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 131 °F to 140 °F for meats and higher for vegetables. The intention is to cook the item evenly, and to not overcook the outside while still keeping the inside at the same “doneness”, keeping the food juicier.

A method of cooking whereby food is placed on a rack or in a special steamer basket over boiling or simmering water in a covered pan. Steaming does a better job than boiling or poaching of retaining a food’s flavor, shape, texture and many of the vitamins and minerals.


Cook using pure heat, often paired with fats & oils

DRY COOKING TERMS

BAKE

BRAISE

BROIL

To cook food in an oven, thereby surrounding it with dry heat.

A cooking method by which food (usually meat or vegetables) is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time. The long, slow cooking develops flavor and tenderizes foods by gently breaking down their fibers. Braising can be done on top of the range or in the oven. A tight-fitting lid is very important to prevent the liquid from evaporating.

To cook food directly under or above the heat source. Food can be broiled in an oven, directly under the gas or electric heat source, or on a barbecue grill, directly over charcoal or other heat source.


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FRY

GRILL

ROAST

To cook food in hot fat over moderate to high heat. Deep-fried food is submerged in hot, liquid fat. Frying (also called pan frying) or sautéing refers to cooking food in a lesser amount of fat, which doesn’t cover the food. There is little difference in these two terms, though sautéing is often thought of as using less fat and being the faster of the two methods.

To prepare food on a grill over hot coals or other heat source. The term barbecue is often used synonymously with grill.

To oven-cook food in an uncovered pan, a method that usually produces a well-browned exterior and ideally a moist interior. Roasting requires reasonably tender pieces of meat or poultry. Tougher pieces of meat need moist cooking methods such as braising (see Braise).


Cook using pure heat, often paired with fats & oils

DRY COOKING METHODS

SAUTÉ

SEAR

To cook food quickly in a small amount of oil in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat. See also Fry.

To brown meat quickly by subjecting it to very high heat either in a skillet, under a broiler or in a very hot oven. The object of searing is to seal in the meat’s juices, which is why British cooks often use the word “seal” to mean the same thing.


USE ALL OF YOUR SENSES WHEN COOKING. SIGHT, SMELL, SOUND TOUCH & TASTE.


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THE HAND TRICK FOR MEAT ALL YOU NEED IS YOUR HAND AND A BRAIN.

Finding out the doneness of meat can feel like a mystery, especially since you don’t want to cut into the meat before it’s done lest you let all the juices bleed out. Alas, there is a way to find out the doneness of meat without cutting into it, and it’s called the “hand trick”. With one hand make a loosely clenched fist, and with your other hand feel the fleshy part of the hand between the pointer finger and the thumb. The way that part of your hand feels will mimic the feel of cooked meat. Make sure to feel the meat after the it has been flipped to avoid cross-contamination and unsanitary germs. Simply touch the meat, then touch your hand to see what feels closest to the feel of the cooking meat. Let one finger out at a time, starting from your pointer and moving towards your pinky. Feel the difference between the a well-done cut of meat and a rare cut of meat just with your hands!


Use to help determine the doneness of meat

THE HAND TRICK

WELL

MEDIUM-WELL

MEDIUM

Using a loosely clenched fist, touch the fleshy area between the thumb and pointer finger.

Let your pointer finger out and feel it again, this replicates a medium-well cooked meat.

Now let your middle finger out and feel it again, this replicates a medium cooked meat.


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MEDIUM-RARE

RARE

Now let your ring finger out and feel it again, this replicates a medium-rare cooked meat.

Now with a relaxed hand, feel the same fleshy area with all fingers out, this is a rare meat.


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DON’T CROWD THE PAN LIQUID IS THE ENEMY OF CARAMELIZATION.

One of the key parts of creating flavor when cooking is allowing browning, or “caramelization” to occur on the outside of the cooking ingredient. If you add too many pieces at once to the pan or dish, the ingredients won’t have enough contact with the heat source to brown and often times if the ingredient cooking or baking has water in it naturally, the heat causes water to be released before achieving a browned crust on the outside. Once liquid is released into the pan any chance of browning is eliminated. Water or liquid is the enemy of caramelization.


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IN THE PAN, JUST LEAVE IT ALONE DON’T MESS WITH IT, OR YOU’LL MESS IT UP.

One of the most common mistakes that new cooks make is that they fiddle with things too much because they’re unsure whether it’s cooking correctly. The problem with that is, that often times, what the cooking really needs is time to do it’s own thing. That’s one of the joys of cooking, the heat does the work for you, and you just have to be patient and know when to say enough is enough. The Kitchn says it best when they tell you not to mess with cooking because “too much fiddling, flipping, stirring, turning, seasoning, heat adjusting...it doesn’t help, it hurts. What You Should Do: Second nature reaction is something you’ll pick up the more you cook. Stay and listen to the sounds it makes while it’s cooking. They change from minute to minute, and knowing those will improve your timing and your reaction to necessary adjustments, and make you an overall better chef.” (thekitchn.com)


ONE OF THE MANY JOYS OF COOKING IS THAT THE HEAT DOES THE WORK FOR YOU.


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165° Poultry

160°

COOKED MEAT TEMPS˚

Beef, veal, or lamb (ground); pork

WHEN THE MEAT IS DONE

The following are recommended internal temperatures of meat in order to avoid bacteria and get a proper doneness on the meat. Poultry and pork are the most important to cook all the way through. Red meats have flexibility and the proper doneness depends on your taste and palette.

145°

Beef, veal, or lamb (steaks, roasts, and chops)


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CARRYOVER COOKING CONTINUES FOOD CONTINUES TO COOK OFF THE HEAT.

Carryover cooking simply means that meat continues to cook even after you take if off or out of the heat source. Many new cooks don’t know this because no one ever tells you about it, but it’s something that happens more often than not. If you’ve ever ended up with overcooked, dry and tough cuts, it’s probably because the ingredient was left on the heat too long and time for the carryover cooking wasn’t calculated. It’s not a difficult concept, simply pull off the meat when it feels just under where you would have it be. We’ll talk about letting the meat rest later, so keep in mind that foods will continue to cook even after being taken off direct, or indirect heat.


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SEASON Fish, right before cooking. Meat and poultry, season well before cooking in order to let the seasoning marinate the meat.

SEAR

LET MEAT REST AFTER COOKING

CARAMELIZE REST

Fish and shellfish: 2–4 minutes Pork and Poultry: 5–8 min Red meat: 5–15 min The thicker the cut, the more rest needed. Thin cuts need less time.

OR LOSE ALL THE JUICES IN THE MEAT.

There are a few important steps to take in order to ensure meat is the juiciest and most flavorful piece you’ve ever eaten (until you make your next one of course). First and foremost, you need ample seasoning for protein. Red meat and poultry should be seasoned well before cooking, while fish should be seasoned right before cooking. Second, sear the meat in order to caramelize and create a flavorful crust on the outside. And lastly, and probably the most important if you want your meat to be juicy and delicious, is that you must let your meat rest after cooking it. We spoke about the carryover cooking that occurs after you take your meat off of the heat. But in order to let the juices redistribute throughout and allow for a juicy cut, you must let your meat rest anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes after cooking. Fish and poultry need less time, while red meat tends to need around 5 to 10 minutes to rest.


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BLANCH AND SHOCK STOP THE COOKING WITH AN ICE BATH.

If you’ve ever had overcooked, mushy vegetables, it’s quite likely that blanching and shocking were not employed for the dish. Blanching and shocking simply means cooking, and then suddenly stopping the cooking process with an ice bath. Blanching is the boiling of the vegetables. During this step, you’re cooking the vegetables to a nice crisp, yet cooked texture. You’ll want to make sure not to overcook during this part of the process. Boiling vegetables generally takes only about three to five minutes. Shocking is when you transfer the vegetables from the boiling water, still vibrant and colorful, to an ice bath. The ice bath immediately stops the cooking process (not allowing for carryover cooking, #18) and retains the nutrients of the vegetables. The ice bath has both ice and water. Strain out the vegetables and dry them off before dressing, mixing or serving.


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DEGLAZE THE PAN FOR MORE FLAVOR A SIMPLE SAUCE 1. Remove the meat/poultry/fish from the pan. 2. Add a liquid to the pan while still on the heat. (wine, stock, water, or a combination is good). The liquid should be twice the amount of sauce you want to make. 3. With the heat on high, bring liquid to a boil. 4. Scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan, season as you like, and continue to stir till the boiling liquid reduces by half. And there you have it, you’ve just made a delicious sauce that will go perfectly with your dish.

THE BITS AT THE BOTTOM ARE PURE GOLD.

Have you ever cooked something on the stove and after cooking you had some dark bits or crust at the bottom of the pan? If you have, you probably were annoyed that you “burned” the pan or made the clean-up more difficult for yourself. But what you may not have known (because most non-cooks don’t), is that the bits at the bottom of the pan hold tons of flavor. All you have to do is “deglaze” the pan by adding a small amount of liquid to the pan. Simply scrape the bits off the bottom and stir. This is perfect for making sauces that pair well with your meal (I mean, you’re literally using the same ingredients as the dish).


other things to note —GWYNETH PALTROW Actress, author and singer. A woman who loves to cook and cherishes good food.


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CLEAN UP AS YOU GO SAVES TIME AND MAKES IT EASIER LATER.

One of the simplest things you can do to make the most annoying part of cooking (the clean-up) less, well, annoying, is to clean as you go. There will be times when you’re cooking that you have some time to kill and nothing to do. You could pour yourself a glass of wine or crack open a beer, but why not take a load off and clean a few dishes before you do that, and think of it as a reward?!? Wash things like the cutting board, pots, pans or knives you won’t be using anymore, anything you’re done with. Don’t go overboard, or feel like you have to keep your kitchen clean at all times! One of the best parts about cooking is that you have the power, freedom and authority to make a mess in the kitchen. Just make it easier on yourself after, by doing small favors and cleaning up along the way. You’ll thank yourself later!


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BEER & FOOD PAIRING KEEPING IT CLASSY WITH PROPER PAIRINGS.

We all know that not everyone loves beer, but you can make believers out of non-believers by serving the right beer with the right dish. Bud Light cannot be paired with every meal (it can, it just won’t highten the dish or make you look like the pro that you’re training to be). Beer has many different flavors and each has its own personality. Much like wine or any other beverage that you’re serving with a meal that you’ve taken so much care, time and love to prepare, you want the beverage to be great, but not overpower or underwhelm the palette. What does this mean? It means that you should pair lighter beers with lighter fare and heavier beers with heavier fare. By serving a Mexican beer with Mexican food, Japanese beer with sushi or Japanese food, you can make yourself look like you know what you’re doing...that’s right, with beer!


WHAT A NOVEL IDEA, GOOD THING YOU THOUGHT OF IT.


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BEER IS A GREAT PAIRING WITH ALL SORTS OF FOODS. THE IDEA IS TO PAIR THE FLAVORS SO THEY COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER. THE BEST BEER TO DRINK WITH MEAT

Want to grill a big steak? You can’t go wrong with a nicely caramelized beer. Something like a nice porter. Or you have a nice German lager, like a Dunkel, which is a dark beer. Or even a brown ale. Everybody knows Newcastle. That’s a great, easy beer for people to get into. That’s a good starter. That goes great when you’re grilling. Beef, venison, pork, lamb — any of those things (www.esquire. com, Craft Beer Week). THE BEST BEER TO DRINK WITH VEGETABLES

Amber ale goes really good with a lot of vegetables that you would grill or a classic ratatouille. Then if you’re doing any of the other things that vegetarians get stuck with — things like soy products, things that are grilled imitation burgers — you can just imitate the beers that are recommended for meat products and they come into play really nicely because they’re imitating the flavor profile (www.esquire.com, Craft Beer Week).


Glasses and beer pairings

BEERS

LIGHTER

DARKER

GLASSWARE

BEER

PILSNER & PALE ALES

LAGERS & BROWN ALES

PORTERS & STOUTS

SUGGESTED PAIRITNGS

lighter, spicier foods

most meat & fish

heartiest foods

hefeweisens are a lighter beer with lots of sweet flavor

fried foods

IPAs would also fit in well here


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PILSNER GLASS

There are tons of different types of glassware for beers, but in all honesty there are 3 main glasses you should have (illustrated on the left). The first is a pilsner glass. This is great for lighter beers (Pilsners of course) and has a sophisticated feel to it, nice for any table setting. YOUR STANDARD PINT GLASS

The middle glass is a pint glass, something you are probably aware of. This is a standard glass for most any beer, from a pilsner to a Guinness. Of course there are those that would strongly disagree with this statement, but for all intents and purposes, we are trying to make your life easier here, not more difficult. So, paring it down, the pint glass can contain any beer you would like. The glass is a bit more pedestrian, but oh-so-much better than the Red Solo cup you have in the back of the top cupboard. BEER STEINS AND MUGS

And the last of the three glasses is the hearty and manly beer stein or mug. Put these in your freezer and pull them out right before you pour your beers and you’ll look like a professional bartender who has perfect glasses on hand. These mugs tend to be a bit sturdier for the longer nights of indulging in beer.


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WINE & FOOD PAIRING WHITE WITH WHITE MEAT AND RED WITH RED MEAT.

So you’re throwing a small dinner party and are trying to figure out what wine you’re supposed to pair with each dish, or you just want something to guzzle down with the scrumptious food you’ve prepared, or perhaps you’ve botched the meal and have decided that wine will make the meal go down easier. Any way that it goes down, wine is a perfect companion to any dish, it’s just finding the right wine to serve. Think of it this way, white wines typically go well with lighter dishes (chicken, pork, vegetables, buttery sauces, fish and shellfish) as well as spicy dishes, while red wines typically pair better with heavier dishes (think hearty meals, red meats, tomato sauces, barbecues).


WINE AND FOOD PAIRING JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT EASIER


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HERE’S SOME HELPFUL WINE TRIVIA THAT WILL MAKE YOU SOUND LIKE A SOMMELIER (a.k.a. professional wine drinker)

OLD WORLD WINES VS. NEW WORLD WINES

People who know their wine will often talk about old world and new world wines, comparing the two. Simply put, they’re just talking about how long the areas have been producing wine. It is quite logical to guess that Europe has the older vines, thus, European wines are considered “old world”. While North and South American wines are considered to be “new world” because the vines and wine culture have not been around as long. BURGUNDY WINES ONLY COME IN TWO VARIETALS

The French have a certain je ne se quois attitude about their wine. They know their wine, so much so that they don’t feel the need to put varietals on their wine labels. In the U.S. it is mandatory for wine makers to put the varietal on the label, but France has no such law. So here’s a helpful tidbit, there are only two varietals (or types of grapes) grown in Burgundy, France. The only red wine that is a “Red Burgundy” is Pinot Noir, while the only white wine that is considered a “White Burgundy” is Chardonnay.


Stemware and pairing for white wine varietals

WHITE WINES

CHAMPAGNE

RIESLING

SAUVIGNON BLANC

CHARDONNAY

ROSÉ

creamy cheeses mild cheeses lobster shellfish salads fruits toasting

smoked meats sausages spicy dishes rosemary & ginger chutneys curries sushi

goat cheese feta cheese chicken turkey seafood shellfish sushi citrus dishes

cheese chicken turkey seafood shellfish buttery dishes creamy dishes

creamy cheese medium cheeses spicy dishes seafood barbecue


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WHITE WINES RANGE FROM SWEET TO DRY (NOT SWEET), AND ARE A GREAT MATCH FOR LIGHTER FOODS.

WHITE WINE WITH LIGHTER DISHES

Wine is a wonderful companion for any meal. Wines have such a range in aromas, flavors and mouth feels, that there’s always a nice pairing for any dish. The hardest thing is choosing which wine to pair with what dish. Wine should never overpower the main meal, but compliment the food and bring out flavors that otherwise stay dormant. LIGHT, FRUITY WINES WITH SALTY MEALS

To balance out a salty meal, a lighter wine cuts the salt on the tongue and freshens the palate for the next bite. WHITE WINE WITH WHITE MEATS

STEMWARE (GLASS)

Pairing white meats with white wine is an easy way to pair meals. Chicken is a versatile meat and can be paired with reds also. Pork, turkey, chicken, quail and vegetables are great white wine pairings.

VARIETAL

SWEETER WHITE WINE WITH SPICY MEALS

SUGGESTED

To offset the spiciness of a meal, a sweeter white wine such as a Riesling or Gewürztraminer are a great way to go. The sweetness of the wine brings out the bright flavors of the meal while mellowing out the intensity of the heat.

PAIRINGS


Stemware and pairing for red wine varietals

RED WINES

PINOT NOIR

MERLOT

ZINFANDEL

SYRAH

goat cheese brie cheeses lamb chicken barbecue bacon mushrooms ahi tuna red sauce dishes

parmesean cheese grilled meats red meat chicken caramelized onions tomatoes mushrooms rosemary & mint

brie cheeses aged cheeses pork sausage bacon beef duck peppery dishes spicy dishes

blue cheese sharp cheddar spicy sausage bacon game/poultry roasts stews & braises red sauce dishes sage

CABERNET SAUVIGNON blue cheeses grilled meats red meat chicken bacon tomato-based dishes rosemary stews & braises


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RED WINES RANGE FROM FRUITY TO EARTHY, MELLOW TO BOLD, AND ARE TYPICALLY GREAT FOR HEARTY DISHES. RED WINES WITH HEARTIER DISHES

Think meat, hearty dishes and savory flavors, medium to darker beers pair best with these dishes. Beef, barbecue, chicken, pork, tomato-based dishes are heightened with a hearty beer that can cut through the fat and cleanse the palate mid-meal. PINOT NOIR IS THE MOST VERSATILE RED WINE

Pinot noir is a great compliment to most any meal. It has more acid and less tannins, so it can pair well with most any food. It can be a light and fruity pinot, pairing with a strawberry and spinach salad, or it can be bolder and stand up to a barbecued chicken, fish or meat. Other good filler wines are Chianti (Italian) and Rioja (Spanish and easy on the wallet). STEMWARE (GLASS)

VARIETAL SUGGESTED PAIRINGS

HAVING STEAK? DRINK A CABERNET SAUVIGNON

A cabernet sauvignon is always a safe bet when pairing with a hunk of red meat. The wine tends to be less acidic but higher in tannins, so it can cut through the fat of meat or savory sauces. QUICK NOTE ON DESSERT WINES

Dessert wine should never be sweeter than the dessert or it will make the dessert taste bitter. Dessert wines are made with the grapes that are left on the vine longer to shrivel and concentrate the flavor and sugars.


IT’S OK, MOST PEOPLE DON’T OWN ALL OF THOSE GLASSES...


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THERE ARE REALLY ONLY THREE TYPES OF GLASSES YOU NEED TO KNOW, AND YOU SHOULD HAVE A FEW OF EACH ON HAND.

CHAMPAGNE, BURGUNDY & BORDEAUX

By knowing the three most versatile glasses, you can properly set any table and look like a sommelier yourself. There are two main glasses, Burgundy and Bordeaux stemware, and then a third for sparkling wine, or champagne. We’ve already gone over which two varietals are grown in Burgundy (for a quick review, the only two wines that are Burgundy wines are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), all others go in the Bordeaux glass. That’s so easy it’s almost like cheating.


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CHAMPAGNE FLUTE

champagne sparkling wine champagne cocktails

BURGUNDY GLASS

pinot noir (only red) chardonnay (only white)

BORDEAUX GLASS

all the rest... sauvignon blanc riesling semillon viogner pinot gris/pinot grigio rose merlot

syrah/shiraz cabernet sauvignon rioja chianti zinfandel and the list goes on...


AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT...


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COOKING IS FUN AND SHOULDN’T BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY ENOUGH SAID.

Cooking can be seen as a chore, something that has to be done each day, but why not make light of it and enjoy it. You’re the cook, you can pop open a beer or enjoy a glass of wine if you want. Cooking is a creative outlet for people, and the kitchen becomes a place for conversation after a long day and reconnecting with those you love. Take advantage of the fact that you get to serve people and love them through food. Cooking shouldn’t be taken too seriously (perhaps just serious enough to read a good book about it), or else it takes the fun out of it. Relax, think through your meal, plan accordingly and execute. You can do it, you really can. The only person stopping you, is, well you.

Get out there and make some delicious mistakes.


IT’S OK, TAKE BABY STEPS AND MAKE MISTAKES, JUST MAKE SURE TO KEEP YOUR CHIN UP.


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FAIL ONCE, OH WELL. FAIL TWICE, WHO CARES!

After all, it’s not the end of the world if you burn a meal or have to start over again. It may feel like a major mistake or a setback, but take it for what it is, a simple mistake that a million other people have made before you and others will make after you. Cooking isn’t life or death, just a creative outlet at the end of the day to show people you love them. Making (delicious) mistakes is all a part of the learning process. And that goes for anything in life, you don’t know sweet success unless you’ve tasted the sweat, pain and tears of failure. Don’t let it get you down, take something away from it and make it better next time. You can do this. People have been cooking for hundreds of thousands of years and food isn’t going anywhere. Make yourself proud and surprise your friends and family with your cooking skills. You’ve got what it takes, now take the time to learn and knock their socks off!


THANK YOU TO THE FEARLESS HOME COOKS WHO INSPIRED ME WITH THEIR INSIGHT. I COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO Alaine Anhalt, Branden Bidwell, Sara Renee Forte, Kristyn Grunick, Dave King, Lisa King, Mikey Oster, Sara Tanza, Kristen Libero, Sarah Lloyd, Peter Rumford, and Abby Stolfo.


TAKING A FEARLESS APPROACH TO THE KITCHEN

Cooking at home can seem like an intimidating process to begin. So why not get a head start taking the advice of other cook cooks who were once in your shoes? Benefit from the mistakes of others. Once you get started, you’ll see that there’s really nothing to cooking but a dash of gumption, confidence and fun. Like Julia Child said, “No one was born a great cook, one learns by doing.”

Copyright © 2012 Katie King Rumford For more information visit the website: CounterIntuitionProject.com


25 Things No One Told You About Cooking