Top 10 Kitchen Musts…

This is a guest post from personal chef and culinary instructor Kathryn Furman

10 – Make friends! Find a good butcher, spice shop, seafood supplier in your neighborhood and get to know them. They will make your cooking adventures easier. Also find out which of your friends has a good stash of kitchen equipment and will actually let you borrow it.
9 – Ask questions. When do shipments come in? How long has the seafood been sitting? Even cooking times and temps. Suppliers know their product better that you do.
8 – When it comes to age, in beef, cheese and wine its good… seafood, herbs and vegetables its bad. Don’t be afraid to buy frozen seafood either, the beautiful looking product in the grocery store that is on ice has done nothing but age.
7 – Plan your menus a week in advance whenever possible. This will save you time when shopping since you will be making less trips. Money, since you are creating 1 list and utilizing those pesky leftovers. Nothing is better than taking leftover chicken and making a caesar salad. You will also spend less on takeout since you won’t be spending time standing in front of an open fridge before getting frustrated and ordering Chinese.
6 – Read your recipes completely before you start cooking. The only thing worse than getting half way through cooking and realizing that a key item is missing is that you need to let something proof for 2 hours and you have planned on serving dinner in 1.
5 – Mies en Place! This is French for everything in its place. Basically to have all the ingredients necessary for the dish being prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking. You should get all your equipment together as well.
4 – Clean out your refrigerator and cabinets periodically. I would suggest at least every 3 months. If you have marinades that you don’t even remember buying, throw them out!
3 – Invest in a book called “Food Lovers Companion”. It is a comprehensive dictionary of over 6000 food, drink and culinary terms. Very helpful when you come across a food item that has you scratching your head.
2 – Don’t be afraid to try new things! Use those relationships you developed to explore new foods and tastes. The clerks in my local spice shop will mix herbs and spices for me as well as suggest recipes.
And the number one kitchen must…
1 – Start off your day reading the latest post on Bacon and Other Bad Habits! Especially on the day when you are planning your menus!

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