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Tips and Tricks

Our editors enjoy dining out as much as we like cooking at home. And because this is what we do for a living, we've got lots of experience at both. In this column we're sharing the ins and outs of dining in and out. Bon Appetit!


The Water Trick

Having an infrared thermometer handy is a good way to tell how hot a pan is, but who’s got time to keep checking when there’s other things to do for the meal? Let water be your guide. When you place the pan on the burner, place a few drops in there. Once the water cooks off you can be certain your pan just reached about 300 degrees F. Works every time.


Turn on the Fan – First

Roasting a turkey or prime rib? Making up a batch of stock? Sure, the house is going to smell great, but in smaller homes cooking odors can become overpowering, causing the house to get hyper-stinky and embed themselves into your clothes and furniture. To avoid smelling like Christmas on New Year’s, be sure to turn the fan on over the oven or stove before you start cooking

Food Prep

Chop or Press

Onions? You gotta chop 'em. Shallots? You gotta chop 'em. Garlic? Rather than chopping little tiny guys like garlic cloves, you may find it a lot simpler to press them in a garlic press. Be sure to get a press that’s also easy to clean.

Food Selection

Get proteins in season

Believe it or not, many proteins are caught or slaughtered only at certain times of the year. Take for instance lamb. They are typically slaughtered between spring and early fall. If you’re buying it outside that time it may have been on ice for a while. Most fish and seafood are caught at certain times only as well. Do your homework based on where you live so you ensure the freshest proteins on your table.

Food storage

Store Herbs Upright in Water

You know how it goes. A recipe calls for an item like cilantro, mint, basil, or parsley. So you buy it at the store, use what you need and few days later the rest is a brown goo of muck. But you can get a few more days of life out of herbs like these when you place them in a small glass of water and store them in the fridge.

Have you got a tip or trick you'd like to share with out readers? Send it to If we use it, we'll send you a copy of our Cooking with Class cookbook.

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