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Jen shares her top ten cooking pet peeves and how to do things right in the kitchen.

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Transcript

- Today I'll be sharing my top 10 cooking pet peeves and how I think you should correct them. Peeves. Despite its meaning is a really fun word to say, like I wonder if we named my dog Peeves so that when people come over, be like, yeah, go ahead, pet Peeves. Please don't click away. Number one, holding a knife dangerously. It drives me insane when people hold knives with such instability. It looks like they're gonna cut off their fingers at any moment and I'm over here wincing as if I'm about to witness a bloody scene in a horror movie. They hold the knife with their pointer finger over the spine of the blade, making the knife moving so wobbly or they grip the handle like they're about to push a stroller. The worst part is that they spread out their fingers like knife bait. Instead, hold the knife like this. Notice that these three fingers are gripping the handle while the index finger is wrapped around the bolster, that's this part here and the thumb is pressed just on the opposite side on the blade. Imagine a line extending from the spine all the way to the rest of your arm. This creates stability, it's like an extension of yourself. You can prevent cuts by curling your fingers so that the first part of your knuckles acts as a safety guide for the blade as you work across an ingredient. No more injured fingers. I know, it's just the tips but we all know that's the most important part. Number two, washing mushrooms. It breaks my little heart to see these guys being rinsed under water before sauteing. Mushrooms are already made of 90% water so absorbing more is just gonna make them even more rubbery. Instead, take a cloth, paper towel or brush and just wipe away the dirt. You'll brown up a much better mushroom this way. So the lesson here and I'll only say this once, the drier the better. Number three, wasting vegetables. You always wanna get the most out of your money right so why waste it by cutting off precious veggie real estate? When prepping veggies, I see folks slicing off way more than necessary, why, why? Like why? Avoid loss by trimming as close to the stem or roots as possible. When it comes to peppers, don't just slice off the tops and bottoms. Stand the pepper up and slice around the seeds. Your peppers will be ready for your fajitas or your salad and your pitas. Number four, disorganized cooking. I can't stand it when a person gets so excited to start making a meal but then they get frantic because they're pulling out ingredients at different times and their onions are over there burning before they can chop up their other vegetables. The solution to this is simple. Prepare your mise en place. This is a French term that simply means everything in its place. Organize your kitchen tools and ingredients out on the counter before you start. That way your focus is all on the steps. You could play your favorite tunes and just jam out and have an enjoyable experience. Number five, messy cooking. You'd be a little hesitant to eat at a restaurant with a dirty kitchen so why do that to yourself at home? Even if you have your mise en place, you can screw everything up by leaving your messes for later. Do yourself a favor and do a light cleaning between each step. Wipe down your counters, wash up some utensils. At the end of the meal, you'll be glad that you did. Number six, too scared to cook without measurements. I get messages all the time from people who are too worried about measuring. They'll read a recipe and then see that ingredient doesn't have specified quantities and they freak out. You gotta let loose a little and practice new dishes and methods and then eventually you'll learn to trust your own senses. Number seven, heating oil past its smoking point. You'll place a pan on a burner, add some oil, walk away and forget about it, and then what happens? Your kitchen is full of smoke. You can avoid this problem by waiting for your pan to heat up, then add in oil just before you're about to start cooking. Number eight, constantly checking on rice. Checking and opening a pot of rice every couple minutes is the same thing as looking down a tunnel to see if your train is approaching. It's pointless. Every time you lift the lid, you're letting steam escape which will lead to longer cooking times and undercooked rice. Just like you, your rice needs space so respect it. Number nine, throwing pasta on the wall. You might have learned this trick sometime in your life where you fling pasta on the wall to check for doneness. If it slides off the wall immediately, it's not ready. If it sticks too long, it's overcooked. If it sticks for a little bit and then falls off, it's perfect. Stop, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It's simple just to grab a strand, take a little bite or pinch it with your fingers to check for hardness. So please no more throwing, okay? Save your noods, they're precious. And finally, number 10, fear of trying new things. If you only know how to cook one thing or are too afraid to test new flavors and techniques, how can you enjoy the process? If you're fortunate enough to obtain different ingredients and have a little bit of time to play around in the kitchen, do it. This is how I've been able to learn more about the world and all its delicious opportunities just with food and without leaving my house. It sounded a little depressing but what I mean is that you will have the world at your feet if you're more open to new flavors and techniques. So there you have it, these are my top 10 cooking pet peeves and as a bonus, I'm gonna tell you my biggest one, all right. When people send me messages saying, "Hey, you're Asian. "You shouldn't be cooking food from other countries." You know what I say to them? I say, "Take this eggplant and slice it. "Then season it with different things, make new dishes, "and learn more about the world."