It’s a new year, and we bet that your resolutions don’t have too much to do with the time you’re spending in the kitchen. But if you’re like the majority of Americans, vowing to save money by eating in, or to cook more and eat healthier, there are some basic kitchen skills you need to acquire.
We’re making it easy for you. Put these five essential kitchen and cooking skills on your list for 2014, and by the end of the year, you’ll be a pro.
Learn how to peel garlic
Fresh garlic is an amazing addition to almost any meal, with benefits that touch both flavor and health. But many people opt to leave it out because peeling and chopping garlic can get messy and time consuming.
This video from Saveur shows you how to peel a whole head of garlic in less than 10 seconds. Best of all, it’s a great way to get the kids involved with cooking. Check out this amazing little kitchen hack and get your cooking resolutions started off right.
Learn how to separate an egg
When a recipe calls for just the yolk or just the white, do you freeze up? Being able to separate the two is essential not just for cooking but also for health. You can bulk up an omelet without the added calories and cholesterol by using one yolk with two whites, for example. But how do you separate the yolk from the egg without creating a mess?
America’s Test Kitchen shows you how to do it in less than a minute, and with no equipment! Check it out.
Dice an onion into perfect pieces
How do cooks get their onions diced into perfectly-sized squares? The multi-layered bulb can be intimidating, but dicing is really simple once you know the right technique. Tip number 1: make sure you have a sharp knife. Then, watch this video from Good Housekeeping to learn how to dice without cutting yourself or making uneven pieces. The key is to slice down, but not through, the onion!
Cook the perfect pot of pasta
Al dente: the holy grail for pasta. It’s that perfect moment when the pasta still has a bit of bite, but is still cooked through. There’s no one perfect way to do it, and this article from Food52 will teach you three methods—one of which gets the job done in just 60 seconds!
A few secrets: stir that pasta constantly to keep it from sticking, and wait until it’s got the texture of a fresh stick of gum to take it out of the water.
Dominate breakfast with a scrambled egg
Just Add Cooking may be providing you with your dinners, but if breakfast is a cold bowl of cereal it’s time to liven things up. A scrambled egg takes only a few minutes to whip up in the morning, but it starts the day off right. You’ve got to know how to do it right, though. Master this technique for a year of hearty, protein-rich breakfasts.
Check out this three-step recipe from BBC Good Food to see how simple it can be. The keys here are: real butter and cream for the dish, and a wooden spoon to do the stirring.