It can be fun to play it fast and loose in the kitchen, using recipes as a vague guide while flowing to the beat of your own whisk. However, this can also result in some horrific (and inedible) cooking fails. If your cooking adventures are regularly turning into disasters, read on to discover the five essential steps to always getting the recipe right:
1. Get the Right Cookware
Sometimes it can be fun to stretch your resourcefulness by coming up with clever ways to get around the fact that you don’t have the cookware a recipe calls for. However, when you’re elbows-deep in dough and the realization strikes that this just isn’t working, all that fun will rapidly dissolve into a sweaty puddle of stress. Ensuring you have the exact kitchen equipment called for in the recipe will not only boost your chances of a successful cook but will also make the entire experience far more enjoyable.
2. Measure Twice, Cut Once
This old woodworker’s saying applies just as much in the kitchen as it does in the toolshed. When it comes to cooking, “measure twice” means reading over the recipe twice before you even think about picking up that wooden spoon. While this may seem like unnecessary extra work, you’ll be surprised at the little details you skipped over or misread the first time. This trick will save you from putting a tablespoon of salt in when the recipe called for a teaspoon or putting two cups of butter instead of two ounces!
3. Make an Ingredients Checklist
Recipes are all about timing, so if you forget to pick up a key ingredient, having to drop your tools and run to the nearest supermarket could lead to yet another cooking calamity. To avoid this stressful misadventure, make a checklist of all the ingredients. Tick off the items you already have, but check first to make sure you have as much on hand as the recipe calls for (having one cup of coconut flour when the recipe calls for two is as bad as having none). Once your pantry has been scrutinized, you’re ready to hit the shops.
4. Ensure You Have the Time Required
Another thing you’ll want to pay careful attention to is the timing of the recipe. If it’s your first attempt, you’ll also want to add an extra 10 or 15 minutes to account for the fact that you won’t be able to whip through it as quick as an experienced hand can. Recipes are usually broken down into “prep,” “cooking” and “resting” time. It’s crucial to ensure you have time for all of these. If the party is today, you don’t want to be launching into a recipe that requires the final product to set in the fridge overnight.
5. Respect the Natural Order
It sometimes feels like the people writing recipes are adding unnecessary extra steps to make their creation seem more impressive. Separating dry ingredients from wet when they’re going to end up together anyway, making a flour moat to stir eggs into – is all that fuss really necessary? In a word, yes! If you want your kitchen creation to look as good as their picture does, you need to trust the recipe writer and follow the steps they’ve laid out.
Start your kitchen adventures with the right cookware, a thorough understanding of the recipe, an ingredients checklist, ample time, and respect for every step of the process, and you’re guaranteed to arrive at the other end with picture-perfect edible creations.