I'd show 40, but here's some of my favorites.
1. Make sure all ingredients in your grilled cheese are at room temp before cooking.
Reason: Butter your bread with softened butter so it’s easier to spread on the bread before cooking. Then use room-temperature cheese because it’ll melt more evenly and you won’t run into the problem of burning your bread.
2. Always cook in stock instead of water to improve flavor and richness.
Also opt for low-sodium stock, since this allows you to control the flavor more easily. Learn how to cook the perfect quinoa with stock here.
3. Choose Kosher salt or sea salt over table salt.
Reason: The main difference between kosher salt and sea salt is size: Kosher is less processed and therefore has bigger crystals. For a wicked flavor in your meats, use sea salt because the large crystals improve texture and taste. However, for most cases, kosher salt works best because it’s flakier than table salt, which makes it easier to control. Plus, it’s much cheaper than sea salt.
4. Before adding juicy vegetables to a salad, lightly salt them to brighten the taste of the salad without making it “salty.”
Reason: Salt will bring out the excess water in your vegetables, which helps them stay crunchy — and a good salad is 100% crunch, 0% sogginess.
5. Tenderize your meat using the velveting method, which involves egg whites and cornstarch.
Reason: Coating meat slices in cornstarch and egg whites gives them a really silky texture that’s never too tough or too dry. By preserving the moisture on the outside of the meat, they keep the temperature down and reduce your chances of burning or over-cooking the meat. You can also add rice vinegar or rice wine to bring out extra flavor.
6. Add a spoonful of peanut butter or mustard to round out the flavors in sauces and stew-like dishes.
Try adding a dab of mustard to your mac and cheese to give it a real kick. For peanut butter (of course be mindful of allergies), add some to thicken your stews, giving them a delicious layer of mystery.
7. Match the temperature of your plates to the temperature of your food.
Reason: Have you ever made hot food for a lot of people only to have it cool immediately after serving it? Warming or cooling your dinnerware definitely upgrades the eating experience. And while you don’t have to do it every time, it’s a nice touch when you have guests over. Warm up your plates by putting them in the oven at 200 degrees for 5 minutes and cool them by placing them in the fridge for 20 minutes or less.
8. Take your snacks and meals to the next level with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Add it to strawberries, roasted vegetables, and especially your noodles. It’s not just tasty, it’s also super healthy too.
9. Upgrade your coffee by adding a pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon.
Add a pinch of salt and some cinnamon to your coffee grounds before brewing. The salt will cut the bitterness and bring out flavor whereas the cinnamon will straight-up change your life.
10. Cooking a bunch of hotdogs for a group? Cook them in a crock-pot.
Reason: This allows the hot-dogs to cook more evenly and you don't need to shove them into a billion saucepans.
11. Sift your dry ingredients together instead of just mixing them, to avoid lumps.
Reason: Doing so gets out any lumps that may have formed in your dry goods.
12. If you have guests over and you’re feeling ~fancy~ you can make a quenelle out of whipped cream.
A quenelle is made by dragging a hot, dry spoon through cold whipped cream and shaping it into a rounded football shape.
Here's how to make a quenelle:
1. Run a spoon under hot water so that the spoon is warm, then dry it thoroughly.
2. Tilt a bowl of very whipped cream away from you, and place your spoon on the bottom side of the bowl, pointing towards you.
3. Drag the spoon up through the cream, towards yourself. The cream will roll over the surface of your spoon, creating a smooth, football shaped spoonful of cream.
4. Pick the spoon up out of the cream, and gently spoon the quenelle onto a dessert of your choice!
13. Frost your cakes with a “crumb coat” (AKA base layer of frosting), then chill it, then frost it again to make it pretty.
First of all, only frost cakes after they’ve cooled completely. Once they’re cool, spread a thin layer of frosting between layers and all over the cake, not worrying too much about what it looks like. This layer is just the “crumb coat”, and it’s what will make your frosting look pretty instead of looking studded with runaway crumbs. Chill the crumb-coated cake for at least an hour, then take it out and frost it again, this time making it pretty.
14. For a really next-level pie, make a “braided lattice” to go on top.
Essentially, you braid strips of dough together, then lay the braids on top of the pie filling before baking.
15. Or, if the thought of braiding pieces of dough gives you anxiety, just crimp the edges.
Instead of crimping with a plain old fork, use the top of an antique key. It’ll make a cool pattern, and literally anyone can do it.
16. BUY A KITCHEN SCALE, for goodness’ sake.
It’s much more accurate to measure dry goods like flour and sugar by weight than it is by volume. Having a scale makes all the difference in ensuring that your desserts come out perfectly every time.
17. The secret to getting perfectly shaped cookies every time? A cookie scoop.
A cookie scoop ensures even portioning, plus it’s just less messy than any other dough-scooping method.
18. When you’re making pie dough, start with cubes of very cold butter and mix QUICKLY with your hands.
You want to mix the butter and the flour together, but you still want the butter to be relatively solid. That’s what makes for a flaky, not-too-tough pie crust.
19. Measure out all of your ingredients in advance.
20. A perfectly baked cake will spring back when pressed in the middle.
21. Before you whip cream, measure it out in a large bowl, then put the bowl in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
If the bowl is cold, it’ll keep the cream colder for longer. Just be careful not to keep it in the freezer for longer than ten minutes, because you don’t want it to actually freeze at all.
22. Brush biscuits, rolls, and crusts with egg wash just before baking, to make them extra shiny.
Make sure you don’t brush your dough with egg wash until RIGHT BEFORE YOU BAKE. Otherwise, the dough will get soggy.
23. Make sure your butter is room temperature, if that’s what the recipe calls for.
Having butter at the proper temperature ensures that your dough or batter, and thus your finished dessert, is the right texture. How do you know if it’s at room temperature? It should dent easily when you press it, but it shouldn’t be liquid around the edges at all.
24. If you’re using an electric hand mixer, spin the bowl instead of moving the hand mixer.
If you’re making a batter that requires a LOT of mixing, it takes less energy to turn the bowl than it does to move the mixer. Your forearms will thank you.
25. You can chill portioned cookie dough for up to three days! It’ll actually make them taste better.
Chilling portioned dough for three days intensifies the flavor and ensures that the cookies spread more uniformly while baking. Scoop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, then wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap before refrigerating.
26. Use two bowls to cut corn off the cob without getting kernels everywhere.
Wrap a small bowl in a paper towel (to keep it from slipping) and set upside-down inside a big bowl. A bundt pan works great for this too, if you have it.
27. Instantly core a head of iceberg lettuce by slamming it down on a cutting board.
28. Pre-soak pasta and it will cook in about 60 seconds.
Sounds weird, but it works! Soak the pasta in water in a sealed bag for a couple hours or overnight. Then you can cook it super super fast in boiling water or just add it straight to a hot sauce in a pan and let it finish cooking there.
29. Use dental floss to cut soft bread and cheese.
Cutting soft foods with dental floss will prevent them from becoming flat.
30 (FINAL) Want a twist on the mocha you order at McDonald's? Ask them to replace the chocolate sauce with hot fudge.