A really good meal is one of life’s great pleasures. With just a few simple insider tricks and tips, you can bring that “something extra” found at restaurants into your home and avoid the hassle of making reservations, getting ready and finally waiting to sit down to order every time you want a fabulous dinner. The first trick is to turn up the heat. We’re all afraid of burning dinner like Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy re-runs, but it’s time to get comfortable with high temperatures. Think about it, a steak won’t sear on medium heat, and vegetables just turn to mush if you don’t cook them fast enough. Now don’t go to the other extreme and turn up the heat on everything, but you shouldn’t be afraid to use it when you need to. Realtors say “location, location, location.” Chef’s say “prep, prep, prep!” Having all the ingredients measured, chopped and ready to go can make a huge difference. Mise en place is a French phrase that means “set in place,” and it’s one of the first lessons taught to professional cooks. No longer will you be frantically cutting onions while simultaneously trying not to overcook the rest of the meal. Butter is another difference between the home chef and cordon bleu. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil and adds important flavor to meats and vegetables. While butter also adds calories, it’s essential for crafting silky, creamy sauces and makes everything richer. Also, make a commitment to improving you knife skills. It may take a while, but ultimately it will help make your future meals that much more Insta-worthy.
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