Some tasks should never be done in the home kitchen. This is a list of the opposite, things you should try. Some things, you’ll just never make as well as the masters can, whether because you can’t get your stove hot enough (for stir-fries in a wok), you lack the temperature control (to deep fry french fries twice at two different temperatures), or your oven doesn’t have steam injection (to make the perfect baguette). Yes, I have quick fixes, like stir frying on a barbecue fire or spraying my oven with water five minutes into baking bread, but it isn’t worth while. These are a few things not to miss out on. These are the things that changed my cooking when I started to do them.
- Making your own pasta For me, this is number one. The texture, the flavor, the meaning of pasta can only be felt when you are mixing, kneading and rolling pasta using your own hands. Truly makes for a much better noodle too. You also get to add your own little twists, my personal favorite being whole wheat noodles. 30 minutes of time from start to finish, this is actually on our list of quick dinners.
- Making your own cheese Like pasta, cheese is enhanced by special little twists. Using a simple cheese recipe, three ingredients can become a blank, cheese canvas. Start by mixing in the basics: Herbs, pepper, etc. but then you can get creative. Bacon cheese, anyone? Impress your friends at parties or drain and cut into blocks and add to a vegetarian dish.
- Butcher a bird You can save a ridiculous amount of money by purchasing your chickens whole, but you also have the added advantage of getting to divide it up. Grill the breasts on the barbecue, serve them over a salad. Turn the drumsticks into chicken curry and the wings into jerks. You’ll still have enough meat and bones leftover to make a soul-warming, cold-curing chicken soup.
There are oh so many more, but for me, these were the things that changed my kitchen life. I’d love to hear what your essential kitchen skills are!