Back to Basics

Back to Basics

Whether you’re a gourmet chef or a hopeless disaster in the kitchen, there are a few techniques that everyone should master. As someone who falls in the latter camp (like Carrie Bradshaw, I use my oven to store sweaters… not to make culinary masterpieces), I’ve recently become obsessed with perfecting the simplest of cooking skills. Luckily, I have a professionally-trained chef in the family who is not only a total foodie genius, but also possesses the patience to school me on everything I should already know by now.

Below are the two techniques I’ve found most useful–especially since cooking healthily doesn’t always produce uber-delicious food. And don’t forget that your juicer and blender can be extremely helpful tools in your arsenal. With the possibility to produce soups, nut butters/milks, salsas and more, make sure you keep these workhorses handy.

How to Boil an Egg

Yeah, yeah, roll your eyes. But making the perfectly boiled egg is an art, my friends. None of that overcooked, green-rimmed yolk business. Once you master the art of the perfectly boiled egg, you’ll wonder how you went so long doing it the old way.

Start with cage-free organic eggs. They taste better – I swear it. Just keep in mind that brand new eggs are harder to peel. It’s better to let them sit in the fridge for a few days before boiling.

Fill a large pot with cold water, place the eggs in the bottom of the pot and bring it all to a boil. Let the eggs cook in a rolling boil for 9 minutes and then remove them immediately and immerse them in ice water. Once they’re cool, peel and eat. I like to keep a bowl of hardboiled eggs in my fridge all week for a quick snack or to make egg white salad (see last week’s recipe).

How to Brine

Want to know the best kept secret in restaurants? Brining! In a nutshell, a brine is a mixture of water, salt, and flavor. When you immerse a lean cut of meat in a brine, osmosis goes to work, some crazy chemistry happens, and you’re left with a super flavorful and tender piece o’ protein. I recently brined pork chops (organic and humanely raised, duh) and was BLOWN. AWAY. No offense to my mom, but her chops never tasted like this. Try it this weekend for your fam.

  • ¼ cup Kosher salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • Pinch sugar
  • Seasoning of your choice (fresh herbs are best – i.e. Rosemary sprigs or smashed garlic cloves)

In a sauce pan, bring all ingredients to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar. Cool in the fridge before using. Then submerge a lean cut of beef or chicken in the mixture for 1-1.5 hours. Remove from the brine and rinse with water to remove excess salt. Pat dry and get cooking!

Photo credit: Pontus Edenberg

 

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