5 Culinary Class Basics You Should Learn Today

Written by on November 7, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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Culinary Basics

Here are some cooking school basics that all cooks should add to their skill sets.

1) Cutting properly

One quick way to ruin a dish is to make it look horrible by cutting up the pieces of food in an uneven and unappealing manner. While the oddly-shaped pieces may not affect the taste of the food, your guests might not even want to give it a chance after the first glance. Learning how to cut and hold a knife the right way is an essential skill that all cooks need to learn. If anything, it’s for your own safety.

The correct way to hold a chef’s knife is to position the hand right over the point where the blade meets the handle. Pinch the base of the blade with the thumb and pointer finger on opposite sides of the blade, and wrap the remaining fingers around the handle. To cut, lift the bottom half of the blade up just enough to get over the food, then come down. Never let the tip of the blade leave the cutting board.

2) Cooking an egg many ways

Almost every culinary school out there will expect you to know how to cook an egg a number of different ways before you can graduate. The most common ways are hard-boil, soft-boil, pan-fry, and poach. Hard-boiled eggs are cooked in a boiling pot of water until the yolk becomes solid. Contrarily, soft-boiled eggs are cooked in the same manner until the white and yolk solidifies just enough to keep its shape. Sometimes, the yolk will still be a bit runny.

Pan-frying an egg refers to cooking in a lightly-oiled skillet on a stove top. The egg can be cooked with the yolk facing up or down and until the yolk is either solid or still runny. Finally, poaching means cooking an egg by simmering in water. This is different from boiling because the water never gets that hot. Instead, precise timing in lower temperatures allows the egg to come out just barely solidified with a runny core.

3) Searing meat

Meat can be cooked in many different ways, but very few can match the amount of flavor that searing gives it. Searing meats refers to cooking every side and edge of the meat at high temperatures to form a browned crust that seals in the juices. The sear gives the meat a great look, a crispier texture, and plenty of extra flavor. Searing can only be achieved at temperatures over 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

4) Prepping vinaigrette

Vinaigrettes are one of the simplest and tastiest salad dressings you can make. Hand mix different types of cooking oil, vinegar, and your choice of herbs and spices in a container. Common recipes call for 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Vinaigrettes are also quite versatile and function as cold sauces and marinades very well.

5) Tasting as you cook

Always taste your food while cooking. Tasting let’s you know how things are going so that you can make changes to your dish before it’s too late. When you fix your mistakes early on, you will save yourself the embarrassment of serving bad food to your guests.

This is a guest post.  Mark Lynch is a blogger for Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

Image courtesy of satit_srihin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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