10 Cooking Tips from Chef Einat Admony
By: Bluma Gordon, Lubicom Marketing Staff
You can’t expect to go from being a novice cook to a top chef overnight; mastering cooking takes trial and error. But if we can get some insider tips from a chef to shortcut the learning process, then why not? Master chef and multiple-restaurant owner Einat Admony shares some of her best cooking secrets, plus how she incorporates Mediterranean-style flavors into her dishes.
1. THREE KITCHEN TOOL "MUST-HAVES"
Every chef’s got a few kitchen tools they consider indispensable. Einat recommends you get these essentials:
- A sharp, quality kitchen knife
A sharp knife is essential for efficient food preparation. They cut faster, are less likely to slip, and are more accurate. “I like using Japanese knives, since the blade is softer, making it easier to sharpen,” says Einat. And yes—you can learn to sharpen your knife even if you’re not a connoisseur. “Even my husband sharpens the kitchen knives,” says Einat.
A Microplane is a small hand grater for zesting, but it makes a versatile grating tool, too. “It’s the easiest way to grate just about everything,” says Einat. “You can use it for grating garnishes, garlic, fresh herbs like ginger, and cheese.”
If you’re thinking of buying a new blender, go for the Vitamix. “It’s the quickest, strongest, and most efficient one out there,” says Einat.
2. THE RULE OF THUMB FOR ADDING MEDITERRANEAN FLAVOR
“Vegetables like eggplant and cauliflower go well with Mediterranean spices,” says Einat, “but you can incorporate these flavors into almost any dish.” Just remember that moderation and balance are key. If you’re experimenting with new flavors for the first time, add a little at first, to taste.
3. TWO SPICES THAT ADD MEDITERRANEAN FLAVOR
The secret to sprucing up your dishes with Mediterranean-style zing? Start with two of Einat’s favorite food add-ons:
An Egyptian blend made from nuts and spices, Dukkah adds a vibrant, tangy taste and crunchy texture to recipes. It pairs well with fish, chicken, meat, and vegetables. “You can use Dukkah to upgrade almost everything. I especially love adding it to salads,”, says Einat.
Harissa is a seasoning blend or paste made from paprika, garlic, coriander, chili, and other ingredients. It works well as a base for pastes and adds punch to soups, stews, and meats.
4. THE SECRETS TO TENDER, JUICY MEAT
When it comes to cooking meats that are flavorful and tender, it’s not easy to get it right. Grab some of these tips for softer meat:
- Don’t scrimp on quality - With meats, you get what you pay for. Invest in a higher-quality cut, and you’ll taste the difference.
- Sear it first - Searing or browning the meat in oil before cooking helps seal in the moisture as it cooks.
- Use pineapple juice - Besides adding a sweet, slightly tangy flavor, pineapple juice has natural enzymes that soften the meat.
- Be patient - “One of the most common mistakes people make with meat is not giving it enough time in the oven,” says Einat. “Sometimes, all the meat needs to tenderize is another half hour of cooking time.”
5. WHICH COOKING OILS SHOULD YOU USE?
There’s so much confusion around the subject of healthy cooking oils, it’s hard to know which oil to use for what.
“Buying quality olive oil that doesn’t get ruined by the cooking process is tricky,” says Einat. Olive oil is best eaten raw and when added to salads, dressings, and dips.
Grape-seed oil is a healthy go-to oil for all methods of cooking. It won’t alter the flavor of the food and can be cooked at high smoke points (high temperatures)”, says Einat.
6. TIME-SAVING COOKING HACKS
Cooking faster and smarter is learned mainly with experience, but here are a couple of shortcuts Einat shared:
- Use a blender - “If you have a lot of chopping to do, just blend it all at once in a food processor,” says Einat. You can also use a blender to easily whip together sauces and pastes.”
- Plan before you cook - “If you have a dinner to prepare, start cooking the foods that take the longest first and work as you wait for some of the dishes to finish cooking,” says Einat. “Boil water as you cut potatoes, and cut potatoes as the onions fry.”
- Buy prepared and pre-cut - If a recipe entails a lot of preparation, you can save time by buying pre-cut or prepared foods. “Get pre-cut veggies instead of whole vegetables and get broccoli florets as an alternative to slicing whole broccoli,” says Einat.
7. TIPS FOR COOKING DELICIOUS VEGETABLE SIDES
The trick to limp-free, blah-free cooked veggies? Vegetables come out nice and crispy when they’re grilled at high temperatures, and mixed every so often. “I like seasoning the vegetables with herbs like thyme and rosemary, and adding soy or honey, plus garlic and diced onion for great subtle flavor”, says Einat.
8. HANDY GARNISHING TIPS
“Some of my favorite garnishes are dukkah, seeds, crispy shallots, herbs, and baby sorrel, a bright green leafy vegetable,” says Einat.
But not every garnish works for every dish. When garnishing for taste and looks, it’s important to factor in the taste, texture, and color combinations it’ll create.
9. HOW TO COOK FOOD EVENLY
Watching and stirring the food is essential if you want the food to cook evenly. Einat recommends using a Dutch oven for even cooking of foods with sauce, like meat or chicken.
10. THE #1 MISTAKE TO AVOID
Whatever you do, don’t just toss in the salt. “It’s very difficult to correct the mistake of adding too much salt,” says Einat. Start by adding a bit at a time, to taste.
Even if you’re a novice at cooking, have no fear! Becoming a pro doesn’t require special genes. With a little trial and error, experience, and tips, you can go from being a beginner to an expert.