General Cooking Tips

Here are some basic conversions and general tips for cooking.


  • 1 onion = 3 shallots
  • 1 Table spoon = 3 teaspoons
  • Making Roux (gravy): 1 part flour to 1 part butter
  • Vinegar and Oil Dressing: I part vinegar to 3 parts olive oil
  • Meat needs to get to an internal temp of at least 165 F until its a special cuisine

Thawing foods – Best to do it 24 hours in advance in the fridge. Microwave as a last resort

Aging Steak – An aged steak will not only taste better, but will have a better texture. To age a steak, first thaw it out completely. Then, salt and pepper both sides and leave in frig for 2 to 24 hrs. Remove from fridge 1 hr before cooking to warm.

Resting Steak – Never slice or serve meat when done frying/grilling/roasting/baking, let it rest. This lets the inside of the meat a chance to finish and gives the juices time to redistribute. If you slice a roast or other cut of meat when too hot, all the juices will run out leaving you with a dry entree.

Resting Cheese – Never serve something with melted cheese without first resting it, cheese retains high heat and can burn your mouth. Let your food cool a bit so it can be enjoyed.

Grated Cheese – Best to buy block cheese and grate it yourself. Pre-grated cheese is coated with corn starch to prevent it from clumping in the bag. However, this prevents the cheese from melting with a smooth consistence, it will be lumpy and not coat anything (like pasta).

Butter – Butter is good for you and helps you lose weight, so don’t substitute cooking oil (unhealthy) for butter in your recipes and never use margarine (unless you’re a huge fan of the chemical industry). Salted butter is best with bread. Use unsalted when baking or cooking so you can control the salt in the recipe better.

Bread – Bread is life so don’t buy those perfectly sliced layers of sugar and chemicals that stores call bread. Best to make it yourself from fresh ingredients. Bread is my passion and you can spend your life perfecting bread-making skills. The general rule is the longer you let bread proof, the longer it will last and the better the taste and texture will be. You can always put dough in the fridge between the first and second proof to slowly mature up to 24 hours (or overnight for fresh morning bread). Once in your life go to France to experience what real bread is all about.

Salt: Best to add salt in stages as you cook to prevent over salting. Kosher salt is best for cooking as it is pure sodium without iodine, so you get a consistent taste. Yuppie salt has minerals and other things mixed in so you don’t know how much salt you’re actually getting.

Mushrooms – don’t salt mushrooms while cooking, it drains their moisture. Wait until shrooms are done then salt to taste.

Cooking Onions and Garlic – Many recipes call for sauteing onions and garlic together, don’ t do this. Start the onions (and whatever else you are sauteing, like carrots) until ~1min till done (translucent), then add the garlic. If you cook the garlic too long, you will lose both taste and aroma.

Oils: There are a lot of different different oils out there. Best to use olive oil when you can, moderately priced and very healthy. However, olive oil has a relatively low smoke point (heat at which it burns). For high heat things like Blackened Fish, use avocado oil, it has a high heat point (although butter will get you a blacker fillet with more flavor). Butter has a low heat point so you have to cook things like onions and mushrooms at a lower temperature.

Rice – Rise rice before cooking to not only wash off the chemicals, but to wash off the surface starch, unless you want super sticky rice. There are three ways to prepare rice, steam, boil, and saute. I prefer to saute my rice unless I’m in a hurry or whatever I’m serving with the rice is to provide all the taste (like stir fry), then I use a rice cooker. Basmati rice is best for most recipes, but also the most expensive. Jasmine is a good substitute and is less expensive. For general rice, like with stir fry, the cheap long grain stuff is fine.

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