1. The first time I make a recipe, I follow the directions to a T. Many times I second guess a recipe author and I fail to see their vision. If I follow the recipe exactly, I am often pleasantly surprised and learn from the author’s experience. It takes me outside my box.
2. Much like a musician, you have to practice daily. Usually, musicians practice scales — as a cook you can practice knife skills.
3. Learn different cooking techniques: poaching, braising, sauteing, grilling, roasting, and baking. I tend to get hung up on one or two methods and I have to make sure I break away from them.
4. Study cookbooks and do research.
5. Be serious enough to cook things properly, but casual enough to make cooking and eating fun.
Herb Baked Eggs.
Eat it, Don’t Tweet It: People taking smartphone photos of their food at restaurants is now as common as salsa at a Mexican joint. Chef David Bouley, of Bouley in New York City, tackles the problem head-on, inviting diners who are snapping photos to come back into the kitchen where they can take pictures of the plates as they come out, rather than upsetting others in the dining room with the flashes and shutter sounds. “We get on top of those folks [who take pictures of their food] right away or else it’s like a circus,” he tells the New York Times. But not all chefs and restauranteurs are as accommodating; diners at Momofuku Ko, for example, are chastised when they take out their phones to capture their meal, and told that there are no photos allowed. Perhaps those averse to the photos-of-food trend should sign up to get a t-shirt that one of the test cooks here at America’s Test Kitchen is threatening to design, emblazoned with the slogan, “Eat it, don’t tweet it.”
Dirty Pirate Popsicle
2 1/2 cups Coke
1/3 cup Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
1/3 cup Kahlua
- Place all ingredients in a large glass and stir to combine. Pour mixture into popsicles mold.
- Freeze for about 2 hours or until mixture starts to solidify enough to hold a popsicle stick upright. Insert popsicle sticks and finish freezing popsicles overnight. To release popsicles run hot water on the outside of popsicle molds for a 2-3 seconds.*Slightly flat Coke will produce a popsicle that stays frozen longer. To quickly and manually flatten out the carbonation, empty out enough Coke from a 2-liter bottle to leave a 3-inch space from top of bottle to top of coke. Place cap back on and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Set aside to leave bubbles to subside.