Take Your Food to the Next Level with These Cooking Methods

Update how you slice, roast and sear your food for best results

Knife Pepper Pepper

One of the easiest ways to make your home cooking better is by updating your basic cooking techniques. Sometimes our dishes are vastly improved by using our knives differently or applying heat to our produce and protein in new ways. Especially as we go into the holiday season when we tend to cook the most and also utilize a wide variety of cooking methods — anything from roasting to broiling and simmering to poaching — it helps to go in with confidence and an arsenal of techniques. Here are a few tips to take your cooking methods to the next level and wow your guests or family.

1. Create Cooking Magic with a Chiffonade

This knife technique will help you slice herbs or leafy vegetables into elegant, ribbon-like pieces that you can use as a garnish or inside a dish. You can use this method on anything leafy like basil, lettuce, spinach, andmint, and while the effect is quite eye-catching the technique is easy. Begin by stacking your leaves on top of each other, then roll them into a tube with a sharp knife ready to go. Once you’re holding them in a cigar-like shape and securing your batch with one finger, you can start slicing in a perpendicular motion which with result in thin pieces. Pull the fine strips apart then use them as you please. Once you get the hang of it you could even apply this method to crepes or tortillas to use in soups or stews!

2. Roast Then Rest

One of the most important tips when it comes to roasting meat involves doing nothing at all. When you cook a cut of meat in the oven, such a steak or rib roast, make sure you don’t immediately cut it once you remove it from heat. Firstly the meat will continue to cook for a little bit (keep that in mind for your allotted cooking time) and also the juices contained in your desired cut are redistributing when it comes out of the oven. Giving it ten to 20 minutes prevents all of the juices flowing out which would make your meat drier and significantly less tender.

3. Sear Salmon the Right Way

Salmon is a great addition to salads or as a standalone dish, but searing this protein the right way can make it a hit or a miss. To begin, start with a room temperature piece of salmon. Place your filet skin down in a very hot skillet and let it cook while pressing down with a spatula. The skin should be fully browned before you move it to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. This way you’ll easily move your filet off your pan with a tasty crispy skin cooked to perfection.

4. Sauté then Make a Pan Sauce

After you cook meat in a pan, utilize the flavor you’ve created by whipping up a sauce that goes perfectly with your protein. Use a liquid — broth or wine are popular picks — to deglaze your pan and loosen any brown bits stuck to your pan. These will dissolve to give your sauce flavor as you bring the temperature to a boil and allow it to reduce. To add even more depth to your sauce, stir in herbs, cream or butter.

5. Poached Pears for Dessert

Most people think of eggs when they think of poaching, but poached pears make for an aromatic, delicious dessert especially in the colder seasons. You can cook these fruits in red or dessert wine, a simple syrup mix or juice. To unlock even more flavor, add spices like vanilla, cinnamon or anise to the liquids and sweeten with sugar or honey. Top with ice cream and you have a tasty hot-meets-cold dessert dish that’s a crowd-pleaser.

Want to improve your skills in person? Learning new cooking techniques is easy with our Adult Class Series!
Click here for more information on our session starting on Sept. 19th!


White Wine Poached Pears with Vanilla-Cardamom Caramel Sauce

Caramel Sauce

Makes 1 cup caramel

2/3 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Water
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 C. Heavy Cream or half-and-half
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Cardamom seeds, gently crushed to release oils

In a medium-heavy saucepan, mix the water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow the mixture to boil, without stirring. Cook's Note: Swirl the pan, if needed. Boil until the sugar mixture is pale golden brown, approximately 7 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, and stirring vigorously add the butter and cream. The mixture will bubble. Add the cardamom seeds and stir to incorporate. Return the pan to the heat and bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from the heat and allow to cool a few minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and strain the sauce before drizzling over the pear tart

Poached Pears

Makes 4 pears

1/2 tablespoon Cardamom pods
2 C. Dry White Wine
3/4 C. Sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
Pinch of kosher salt
4 firm Pears, peeled, cored, stems intact


Gently crush cardamom with a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet to slightly crack open pods without releasing seeds. Combine cardamom, wine, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer. Add pears; add water if needed to completely submerge pears. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer, turning occasionally, until pears are tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool enough to handle the pears, but still warm.


Place the pears in a bowl, drizzle with cardamom caramel sauce, and serve warm with vanilla ice cream for optimal deliciousness!


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