21 cooking tips for anyone who burns pasta water

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to: Nadia Rodig

split, rip

Cooking tips for beginners. © Westend61 / Thomas Vonier / Imago

Cooking for Dummies because we need it.

You have to learn to cook, it sounds stupid, but unfortunately it is true. If you think of the agonizingly long line of pictures of spoiled dishes, we’re both in the same boat. But rejoice, even if you don’t have an iota of talent, you can still make it happen. So let me show you some simple yet effective tips…thanks to my 7th grade home economics teacher, the internet, and my personal failings…

1. Preheat the oven and make the pan really hot.

If you love to cook and you’re good at cooking, you’re probably scratching your head right now (…but hey, what are you doing here?) It can just be a very embarrassing and personal knowledge gap…but the light on the oven next to the temperature dial tells you When the oven is preheated, you should not ignore it. If they run out, bring food and not 10 minutes earlier because you are hungry now. *sigh*

Note: Same goes for pans, you have to wait for them to heat up anyway, so don’t toss your food with cold oil or butter.

butter in a frying pan
Bubbles are a good sign. © Cromorang / imago

2. Don’t deviate from the recipe if you have no idea.

Especially when baking! Freestyling is for professionals or at least people who don’t let pasta water burn. Portions are there for a reason, and if they aren’t that important, the recipe will likely say “to taste” instead. And while it’s annoying, the ingredients in the pot or pan have to be in a certain order.

A frying pan filled with crossed out vegetables.
It’s all just in the pan…nope. © Thomas Faunier / Imago

3. You may not be salting enough.

Despite the recipe, you often have to season it with feel. If you don’t have it, you probably don’t dare eat salt. The dish can use a lot of it. Salt brings out the flavor of other ingredients and reduces the flavor of bitter ingredients. If you are not sure, add 1/2 teaspoon at a time, tasting each time.

4. Fry the spices in the oil and watch.

In fact, adding spices at the end can be a waste rather because you’ll need more of them to stand out. Adding them to onions or oil right at the start of cooking is a good trick to intensify the flavor. But be careful: the seasoning burns quickly, so keep an eye on it.

5. If you can’t find an ingredient in the supermarket, search Google for what you can substitute with it.

Did you know for sure: once you are in the real mood for that one dish and at Aldi there are no snow peas. This is a shame, but not the end. Instead, Google what you can substitute for the component or print out a handy list.

Replace snow peas with peas.
No snow peas? Then use regular peas | © YAY Images / PhotoAlto / Imago

6. Learn some standard recipes and stock up on basics.

Having to find a recipe for cooking is like going to the gym: an almost insurmountable hurdle. But if you eat a few basics, you’ll memorize very quickly and you can always make them instead of ordering food. It is best to also have the ingredients available in stock: rice pudding, long-life milk, apple juice. Zack, it’s over.

Small pantry with ingredients arranged in jars.
Well stocked store thing. © agefotostock / Imago

7. Kitchen gadgets can be of great use. (Not in the name for nothing).

After all, there is a difference whether you just have a grandma’s spoon or spoon, a ladle, a real peeler, etc. And since all of these things cost a lot of money, I recommend your luck with the Simply Tasty contest. ! Not only can you win a Tasty set of kitchen appliances, but you can also win a Fackelmann voucher worth 1,500 euros. You can find the terms of participation here.

8. Speaking of useful tools, get a rice cooker if you have the money.

Rice is more difficult to cook than pasta. I really hated it before I had a rice cooker. The problem is eliminated if you do not have to do anything and the instructions for the ratio of water to rice are included. Which is important by the way!

9. Wash the rice beforehand!

Unfortunately, a rice cooker doesn’t do that for you, but luckily you can still wash it. By the way, rice should be washed to remove impurities, but also to prevent rice from sticking or becoming rubbery. Few exceptions: Milk and risotto rice, for example, remain unwashed.

10. Do not rush to get rid of leftovers. You may still be able to use it.

In fact, we have a whole list of tricks for cooking with kitchen scraps.

Someone throws leftovers into the trash.
Don’t throw away! © Panthermedia / Imago

11. Write down the different cooking times.

Eventually you won’t need it anymore (unless your memory is as trivial as mine). For starters, it will definitely help you to have a cheat sheet when grilling or cooking. You can find a table with cooking times here, for example.

12. Don’t bet everything on one oil.

There is always one person who uses olive oil for everything: salads, vegetables, grilled meat, desserts…joking. But seriously, good olive oil is great, but it shouldn’t necessarily be used for everything. If you have to heat the pan a lot, other fats such as rapeseed or sunflower oil are more suitable. Because the aromatic substances of olive oil evaporate at high temperatures. So it is better to save it for something else.

13. Sharpen your knives!

Any trained chef will tell you this, but: cuteness. for you. a knife. Using sharp knives, you make your way unnecessarily and you can still hurt yourself with it. Probably easier than sharp ones… after all, they don’t require you to use your entire body weight.

14. Place a damp cloth under the slippery cutting board.

Thanks again for the home economics teacher from that time. At some point she must have felt sorry for me or worried that I might lose my finger.

15. Leave the roots out when chopping onions.

Let’s shed light on my home economics from my school days: A to chop onions. (Yes, laugh. I’m still proud of that.) In fact, the best trick I learned is to leave the roots out while peeling the onions. Then cut in half, into slices and cubes without damaging the root. This is how it puts everything together, which makes everything so much easier.

The man cuts an onion with a root on it.
Let it work! © Westend61 / Imago

16. If you can, grow some fresh herbs and use them in place of dried herbs.

At least that’s what a professional chef would recommend. Of course, you have the following problem: How do I keep herbs alive in the kitchen? If I know the answer to that, I’ll let you know.

17. Take your time and let your pasta or potato salad soak.

It’s probably what your mom, dad, or grandmother always advised you about, but it’s also true: It tastes better if it’s allowed to soak for a while. Do I have scientific evidence? No. But that’s still true.

18. Cut the chicken into strips before frying.

Again a very ordinary thing, but of course it is difficult to cook an irregular piece of chicken meat evenly! Instead, cut it into equal slices and hit it several times with a schnitzel hammer.

19. If you find potatoes taking too long to cook, chop them up.

For example, if you want to trample them later anyway, you can at least save some waiting time. Also important: do not forget about the salt, for once you can put it in cold water and only then heat it. You should actually cook potatoes just like this.

20. Your pasta water is literally burning because the whole pot is sudsing?

Then grab a wooden cooking spoon and put it in the pot. It really couldn’t be easier.

21. And if things go wrong…make loaves of bread. This counts as cooking, too.

What cooking tip has helped you as a beginner? Tell me in the comments.

And if you want to take it slow with your cooking, try the yellow summer punch.

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