Category Archives: Cooking Advices

Basic Tools For Every Kitchen – Part Two

In our previous article, we’ve started a list of basic tools every chef needs to have in their kitchen. Here we bring you the rest of it.

Mixing/prep bowls – There’s never enough of these bowls. Very affordable ones can be found everywhere, and it’s recommended to have lots of them, in different sizes and shapes.

Baking sheet – Look for a non-stick, non-dark, rimmed baking sheet, and you’ll find them at a reasonable price. You can use it while roasting vegetables, cooking meat, baking cookies. It can even be used as a sheet for cake. Once you try it you won’t be able to imagine your life without it anymore.

Measuring spoons and cups – While looking for a measuring soon, keep in mind that it has to be practical. Look for ones that have long, detachable handles. When it comes to measuring cup, try to find a large 2-Cup measuring cup for liquids and flat-bottomed cups for dry ingredients.

Basic Tools For Every Kitchen – Part One

Just like workers on a construction site have their tools, chefs in the kitchen need to have their own. No matter if you’re a professional cooker or you just enjoy cooking at home, there are some things every kitchen needs to possess.

Food processor – A food processor is one of those things you could get by without, but then you do get one and wonder why you didn’t get it sooner. A food processor is not a cheap appliance, but it’s definitely a smart investment.

Cutting board – This is so obvious, but it has to be mentioned on this list. Make sure your cutting board is a sturdy one that you will want to reach for again and again. Cheap plastic cutting boards don’t last long, it’s better to buy a nice wooden one.

Skillet – It would be nice to have both a nonstick and stainless steel pan, but if you have to choose between them, go with stainless steel. Again, not cheap, but a great investment.

Knife – A really great knife and some basic cutting tools could be the thing that takes you from being a cooking novice to chopping vegetables with ease.

Cooking Methods – Part Two

In our previous article, we’ve started talking about some basic cooking methods every chef needs to know. We talked about roasting, baking and boiling. Just as a reminder, roasting is a method which uses dry heat in the process of preparing food, baking uses prolonged dry heat, and boiling uses boiling water. Here we continue with this list, explaining frying, steaming and smoking.

4. Frying – This is a method of cooking food in oil or another fat. Chemically speaking, oils and fats are the same. Foods can be fried in a variety of fats, including lard, vegetable oil, olive oil and rapeseed oil. Foods that can be fried include potato chip, bread, eggs and foods made from eggs (such as omelets and pancakes). There are various types of frying, including deep frying, hot salt frying, pressure frying, pan frying, stir frying, hot sand frying and sautéing.

5. Steaming – Steaming is considered to be the healthiest way to cook food. It works by boiling water continuously, causing it to vaporize into steam. The steam then carries heat to the nearby food, thus cooking it. Nutrients are being kept within the vegetable or meal while cooked.

6. Smoking – Smoking is a process of flavoring, cooking or preserving food by exposing it to smoke from burning or smoldering material (most often wood). Meats and fish are the most common smoked foods, though cheeses, vegetables and ingredients used to make beverages (such as beer or smoked beer) are also smoked.

Cooking Methods – Part One

Every chef today knows that different dishes demand different cooking methods. Although there are many cooking methods that can be used and combined in the process of food making, when we summarize them all, there are six basic methods of cooking that every beginner in the kitchen should learn.

1. Roasting – If we go by the book, roasting is a cooking method that uses dry heat where hot air envelops the food, cooking it evenly on all sides with temperatures of at least 300oF (149oC). It sounds complicated but it’s not – barbecuing, grilling/broiling, rotisserie and searing are roasting methods.

2. Baking – Probably the most known one, baking is a method that uses prolonged dry heat, usually in an oven, hot ashes or stones. Heat is gradually transferred from the surface of cakes, cookies and breads to their center. As heat travels through it transforms batters and doughs into baked goods with a firm dry crust and a softer center. Baking Blind and Flashbaking are also categories of baking.

3. Boiling – A method of cooking food with boiling water or other water-based liquids such as stock or milk. The boiling point is 212oF (100oC). Adding the salt or sugar to the water will result in an increase of the boiling point. There are different types of boiling including blanching, braising, coddling, double steaming, infusion, poaching, steaming, steeping etc.

Basic Types Of Cakes

There are so many different types of cakes and many different ways of dividing them into various categories. Professional bakers categorize cakes by ingredients and mixing method, while home bakers tend to categorize cakes by flavoring. Here we will present you with the professional bakers’ categorization.

Butter/oil cakes

These contain some kind of fat—often butter, but sometimes oil—and baking powder to leaven them or make them rise. If the fat is butter, the ingredients are usually combined using the creaming method, which means that the soft butter and sugar are beaten together in an electric mixer to partially dissolve the sugar and to incorporate some air. Then the dry and wet ingredients are added in alternating doses. This results in a light and airy crumb, though not quite as light as that of a sponge cake. The best butter cakes have a moist buttery richness tempered by lightness. Included in this category are:

• Pound cakes
• Butter and oil laver cakes

Sponge and foam cakes

These are notable more for what they are missing than for what they contain: They usually do not include fat, such as butter or oil, and they do not incorporate leaveners, like baking powder. Instead, volume is created by whipping the eggs or egg whites. The air whipped into the eggs expands during baking, causing these cakes to rise on their own without baking powder. However, the success of this method depends on not deflating the eggs after whipping them. To this end, dry ingredients are usually sifted over and gently folded in, and fat is often avoided, as it would weigh down the foamy batter.

This method produces extremely light, airy cakes with a spongy texture but generally less flavor and moisture than butter and oil cakes. The basic types of sponge and foam cakes are:

• Angel food cake
• Genoise
• Biscuit
• Chiffon cake

Low or no-flour cakes

Cakes made without flour (or with very little of it) generally have a creamy or silky texture. They can be baked or unbaked:

• Baked flourless cakes – include baked cheesecakes and flourless chocolate cakes
• Unbaked flourless cakes – include unbaked cheesecakes and mousse cakes.