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How do you mince garlic?

Place garlic clove on cutting board. Lay knife on it's side on top of garlic clove and press down to smash the clove. This makes it easy to remove the skin from the garlic clove. Remove the skin. Roughly chop the garlic. *Here's the tip: Add a pinch of salt to the finely chopped garlic and chop it again.

Drag your knife at a 45 degree angle over the finely chopped garlic, smashing it down, chop it again.

Continue to drag and chop until you have perfectly minced garlic!

This is fantastic for sauces, dressings, and marinades where you really want the garlic to melt into the flavors and not have the shock of a garlic bite.
How do you make Crispy Tortilla Strips?

Crispy tortilla strips make the perfect garnish to Mexican and Southwestern soups and chowders. Although you can buy them at the store, they are loaded with salt and who knows what else! Instead, why don't you make your own? It's really very simple, here's how:

To make crispy tortilla strips, you will need 6, 6" fresh corn tortillas and 1/2-1 cup canola oil. Cut the tortillas into 1/4-1/2" wide strips.

Line a plate with paper towels. In a small high-sided saucepan, heat about 1" of the oil over medium heat. When it reaches 375 degrees, or when a strip of tortilla sizzles immediately when dipped in the oil, add a handful of the tortilla strips. Fry until the strips aren't bubbling much and are pale brown, about 1 minute.

Using tongs, transfer to the paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining strips.

How do you make perfect hard-boiled eggs?

Carefully place your eggs in a pot and fill with cold water. Bring the water to a full boil. As soon as the water is boiling, turn off the heat, put a lid on the pot and wait for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them into ice water to cool.

When cool, peel the eggs. The eggs will be cooked through and the shells will peel off easily.

How do you peel and devein shrimp?

Click here for a link to an excellent video from epicuriousdotcom showing you just how to do it!

How do you roast a head of garlic?

Preheat you oven to 400 degrees. Remove the loose outer layers of the garlic bulb skin. Cut off 1/4-1/2" of the top of the garlic bulb, exposing the individual cloves. Set the garlic bulb, cut side up, on a double layer of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Wrap the foil up and around the garlic bulb.

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until you smell the garlic and the cloves are soft when pressed.

Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning your fingers.

When ready to be handled, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves right out of the skin.

You can mash the roasted garlic with a fork to make a smooth paste, perfect for spreading on bread or any other recipe that calls for roasted garlic! Yum!
How do you remove corn kernels from the cob without making a huge mess?

Take a very large bowl and place a smaller bowl, upside down, in the bottom of the large bowl. This allows you to cut down the entire ear of corn, letting the kernels fall into the large bowl. When done, just remove the small bowl! Brilliant!

How do you poach chicken and make a quick delicious stock?

To poach chicken, cut up, or parts (e.g., bone-on breasts, bone-on thighs, etc.), place the chicken in a stockpot with 1 carrot, 1 rib celery, 1/2 onion, 1 bay leaf, a couple sprigs of parsley and/or thyme, and about 6 black peppercorns.

Add enough chicken broth to cover the chicken and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and continue to  simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until fully cooked. While the chicken poaches, use a slotted spoon to remove any foamy stuff.

When done, remove the chicken to cool, then strain the delicious stock through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Reserve the chicken and stock for whatever recipe you choose.

How do you cut and wash leeks?

When using leeks, you only want to eat the white and pale green parts. Cut off the root tip and the tough outer green leaves, and discard.

Slice the remainder of the leek into rings.

Place the rings into a large bowl of warm water. Break the rings apart with your fingers, and let the silty bits sink to the bottom of the bowl.

Lift the leeks out of the water with your hands and drain. Now they are good to go!
How do you easily remove ramekins from a water bath?

You know those heat proof rubber bands that come with store bought asparagus? Save them! Wrap them around the ends of a pair of tongs, and you can very easily remove hot ramekins from a hot water bath! Ingenious!

How do you make a bouquet garni?

A bouquet garni is an herb bundle (a few sprigs of parsley, a few sprigs of thyme, and a bay leaf), wrapped in cheesecloth, tied with kitchen string, and used to flavor soups and stews. By wrapping the herbs in a bouquet garni, it makes it easier to retrieve from the pot after cooking.

How do you cook a perfect steak using the palm of your hand?

With practice, you can tell when a steak is done by pressing it with your finger and comparing it to your palm, like so:
  • Very Rare - compare the texture of the meat to the firmness of the muscle at the base of your thumb of your completely relaxed hand,
  • Medium-Rare - touch the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb of the same hand, feel the firmness of the muscle at the base of the thumb, compare to the texture of the meat,
  • Medium - press the tip of the middle finger against the tip of your thumb of the same hand, feel the firmness of the muscle at the base of the thumb, compare to the texture of the meat,
  • Medium-Well - do the same, but use the tip of your ring finger to the tip of your thumb,
  • Well Done - use your pinky finger as above. (Don't ever cook your steak this long!)
It really works, and prevents loosing juices from the steak by stabbing it with a meat thermometer.
How do you cook a perfect steak using a meat thermometer?

Steaks must rest at least 5 minutes before serving, and the internal temperature will continue to rise. Use the following temperatures as a guide:
  • Rare - Internal Temperature - 130 degrees / Remove from heat (oven, grill, or pan) - 122 degrees
  • Medium-Rare - 140 degrees / Remove from heat - 132 degrees
  • Medium - 150 degrees / Remove from heat - 142 degrees
  • Medium-Well - 155 degrees / Remove from heat - 147 degrees
  • Well Done - 160 degrees / Remove from heat - 152 degrees (Don't ever cook your steak this long!)
How do you make garlic confit?

Confit is a generic term for various foods that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and presentation. Sealed and stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and is a specialty of southwestern France. There are several ways to make garlic confit, but this is the easiest from Anthony Bourdains' Les Halles Cookbook.

2 heads of garlic, broken into unpeeled cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sprig of thyme
coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Leaving the skins intact on each clove, gather the cloves together into a bunch and wrap with foil, adding the oil, thyme, and salt before sealing the packet.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes (you may want to agitate the bunch a few times during cooking to ward off uneven roasting, i.e., brown spots).  Set aside and allow to cool before popping the garlic cloves from their skins.

How do you peel tomatoes?

Using a small knife, remove the core from the top of the tomatoes.  Then cut an X across the bottom of the tomatoes.

Next you want to set up a deep pot of boiling water, a slotted spoon or strainer, and a large bowl of ice cold water.

Once the water is at a good boil, using your slotted spoon or strainer, gently lower about 5 tomatoes at a time into the boiling water.  Let them sit for about a minute until you can see the skin start to wrinkle.  Don't let them sit too long, you don't want to cook the tomatoes.  Then strain them out and lower into the ice water.  Repeat with the remaining tomatoes.

When the tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, just wipe the skins away with your fingers.

It's very simple!

How do you roast a chile?

If you have a gas stove, turn up the heat and place the chilies directly over the flames. Turn occasionally using tongs (obviously) until the skin blisters and burns. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool. This makes it easier to peel later. 

If you don't have a gas stove, you can easily do this under the broiler until blackened on each side. Probably about 3 to 5 minutes a side.  When done, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  At this point, don't forget to appreciate the delicious smell of freshly roasted chilies while allowing them to cool.

When cool enough to handle, remove them to a cutting board.  Using a knife, cut the stem off and slice them open down the side.  Scrape off the blistered skin and scrape out the seeds.  At this point you can slice them into strips.  This is known as "rajas".  Or you can continue to chop them into even size pieces. 

That's how you roast a chile!



  1. Great tips! Every home chef should know these techniques. Thank you sooooo much!

  2. You are very welcome! I do this for anyone who doesn't know the basics, (like my sister) and myself when I began cooking!