First of all, I owe you all a big fat apology for my absenteeism. We’ve been having a little bit of technical difficulty around the Heyday household, and other things have taken priority to getting the computer fixed… which is kind of awesome, actually. I love me some blogging, but it has been kind of nice to get up in the a.m. and work on some other nagging projects before finding an alternate way to check emails and social media. I’ve pretty much developed a new routine of drinking a giant glass of lemon water while I water the landscape and my tomato plant and ponder life’s wonders in the shade of the morning before the day turns sweltering. It’s been a nice change of pace. But alas, I come to you today from the iPad, (which is mildly annoying, but works, so, whatever) while the MacBook is in the hospital. Not sure how many of these posts I’ll be able to tolerate before requiring an actual keyboard, so bear with me in case you don’t hear anything for another week.
Today’s post is brought to you by: your culinary fears! You know you want to be a wiz in the kitch, but something’s holding you back. You’re overwhelmed, you’re afraid to try something new, you burn toast… Whatever it is, it’s time to let it go and embrace your inner chef! Here are 5 ways to step up your game and start killing it in the kitchen.
- Get out of your comfort zone! Try new things! Pick up a vegetable you’ve never tried before (Sunchokes? Kohlrabi, anyone?). Use a new pantry staple like grass-fed gelatin or fish sauce or ghee or coconut butter. Get out an appliance you never use (Maybe your food processor or crock pot or double boiler?).Things get boring really fast when you’re serving up the same ol’ chicken breasts, roasted sweet potatoes and salad night after night. It doesn’t have to be complicated… just try a new side dish, an unusual marinade or a new sauce that will add some spice to your regular favorites. What about some braised red cabbage with sherry vinegar or some sunshine sauce (a great substitute for peanut sauce). Get out some cookbooks and get creative! But with that said…
- Don’t be a slave to your cookbooks! Sure, follow a recipe exactly the first time… Make notes on what you loved or didn’t love so much, and make it your own the next few times you make it. Maybe it needed more spice or maybe it was too spicy? Maybe it would’ve tasted a bit better with a touch of acid from a lemon or a splash of vinegar? Whatever your changes, write them down, but then commit your favorite recipes to memory so that you can whip them up sans cookbook.
- Clean as you go, it’s the sign of a pro! This is seriously one of my favorite tips. I hate messes and clutter, and when my countertops start filling up with tools of the trade during a batch-cooking session, I start to have an anxiety attack – scratch that – I used to have an anxiety attack. Now I avoid that mess all together and just clean up as I go. It saves me the headache of having to clean up a huge mess after the meal and keeps me sane during the process because my workspace is clutter-free. It’s not hard to do, just be mindful to make it a habit!
- Make it pretty! By now we all know that we eat with our eyes first – so why limit that visual stimulation to only the meals you eat at restaurants? Start making your plates Instagram-worthy and a few things will happen: the ones eating off those plates will take note (and eat up), and you’ll find yourself getting greater pleasure from the fruits of your labor in the kitchen. We all have a little artist in us, this might just be your new creative outlet.
- Learn to laugh at yourself. Pretty sure this one is a must. Once you’ve turned on the blender after forgetting to make sure the blade was fully screwed on (done) or accidentally let a cracked egg slip down the crevasse between the oven and the kitchen counter (done that, too), you’ll quickly realize that having a sense of humor is a necessity in all areas of life, including the area where you cook. It also helps to have a pet who doesn’t mind cleaning up your kitchen floor from time to time.