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What you need to know to get better kitchen savviness as a vegetarian

Every cook should know from the start that they can’t always get things right. From one part of the country to another and from one season to the next, foods are different. There are different kinds of stoves and different ways that pans move heat. Besides that, your taste is different from mine. Instructions like “season to taste” recognise that things change all the time. Does your salt taste like sea salt or mild kosher salt? Do you need a lot of salt, or do you like it? Are the herbs you have fresh or dried? New or old? You are the only one who can answer these questions. Because of this, you have to start cooking and use your senses of smell, touch, and taste to make changes as needed, even if the recipe tries to be very specific about measurements and cooking times. Like when you first start learning a language, you may make mistakes at first, but all of a sudden, your ear (or palate) becomes more sensitive, and you start to notice sounds or flavours you hadn’t before.

Shopping list

If you don’t have a specific dish in mind, don’t stick to a shopping list. Instead, pick items that look fresh and appealing. Watch out when you shop for food, because it gets messed up a lot, and it’s annoying to find a bad spot on your pepper after you get home. But the product doesn’t have to be perfect. The food industry sets arbitrary standards for things like size, uniformity, and lack of flaws. There is a wide range of vegetables and fruits on display that aren’t all the same size. Some may be undersized or oversized, twisted instead of straight, or marked by hail or bird pecks. All of these are still fine to eat.

Menu Options

Before you start cooking, look over your menu one last time to see what might go wrong (this may not be necessary for everyday meals, though). Make sure you haven’t accidentally chosen the same ingredients or styles for more than one dish, and don’t pick four dishes that need your attention at the last minute.
Check each recipe to see if there is a step that can be done ahead of time and another step that needs to be done right before serving. Also, write down how long each dish needs to cook. If you’re not an intuitive or experienced cook, or until you learn how to be one, picture yourself cooking and write down the steps you need to take and when you need to do them. Making these plans ahead of time can really help the cooking process go more smoothly.
Try to only do one or two things at the last minute, like making a salad or timing a soufflé, especially if you are having a dinner party. Meals during the week can be easier, though.

Getting the Table Ready

Setting the table is an important part of dining and goes well with what you’re doing in the kitchen. When you sit down to eat, try to have everything you need there. Getting up all the time to add salt and pepper breaks up the conversation. Not only do cloth napkins feel nice, but they also cut down on paper waste. If you give each person a serviette ring, the napkins can be used for more than one meal. Putting food on heated plates helps it stay warm during the meal, especially soup and pasta. If you haven’t already, you might also want to turn off the phone and TV during dinner.

The Role of Accompaniments:

The purpose of accompaniments is to improve the main dish by adding to its taste or texture, make the meal more enjoyable than just eating, and provide a range of textures and tastes. A lot of the time, the choice of side dish is clear because it provides contrast and balance. For example, serving a salad with a gratin or a starchy side dish with a vegetable main dish. This is often done by vegetables, beans, and grains.

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Repetitive dishes(avoid at all costs):

Watch out for repeating words in your menu. Are most of your dishes white or based on onions? Do all of them need last-minute planning? It’s surprisingly easy to use the same ingredients and methods over and over again during a meal, especially when the dinner is bigger and more complicated. When making your menu, look at the whole meal from a distance to see if anything is being served more than once. You can always call such a meal a “onion festival” to make people laugh if it’s too late to change anything.

Composition:

Changing Levels of Intensity: Appetisers and first courses are usually small but rich or intense, giving you a few bites to satisfy your hunger and get you interested. The next course should have a little less of a challenge while still covering more material. A simple soup is often a good step in between, making a transitional pause like a comma or dash. After that, move on to heartier dishes that aren’t too rich so you can enjoy a typical serving. After the main course, you can have a salad as a break before the sweet ending of dessert.

This order works for a traditional meal. If you’re just having a few small dishes, these things don’t matter as much. It’s possible that all of the dishes are about as intense as appetisers, but the portions are small and vary. For everyday meals with your family, you can remember these tips, but know that they are not as important as the practical task of putting dinner on the table. To do that, you’ll need to plan ahead, use up leftovers, include some quick recipes, and make meals that you know everyone will enjoy.

What is the most important thing for vegetarians to have?

The knife

Anyone vegetarian who cooks needs to know how to use a knife, but people who prepare a lot of vegetables need to know how to use a knife the most because they have to peel, trim, chop, and slice the vegetables. People use food processors all the time, and they are useful, but they tend to damage vegetables like onions and parsley. Most of the time, cutting something by hand is faster, easier to clean up, and lets you make more interesting shapes, like a roll cut. Plus, food that is processed in a machine doesn’t have the personal touch of a cook. Watching someone cut vegetables is more interesting, and this is one of the things that makes cooking by hand so fun.

When I see people cooking at home, I can see why they might not enjoy it: they use a dull knife that’s not made for cooking and a small cutting board that was probably made for cheese. It gets hard, slow, and frustrating for them to do their work. But as long as they had a well-sharpened knife and enough space, they could get their work done quickly and easily.

Things You Need

There is a huge selection of cutlery, but you only need three or four knives: some cheap paring knives for peeling, a 6-inch knife that can be used for both peeling and some slicing, and a 10-inch chef’s knife for chopping and slicing. For cutting winter vegetables that are hard to cut, a heavy cleaver can be helpful. A small serrated knife is good for slicing tomatoes, and a larger serrated knife is used to cut bread.

How to Pick the Right Knife

A lot of people like stainless steel knives because the blades don’t rust and the metal doesn’t react chemically with food. Carbon steel knives are great for slicing and are simple to sharpen, but some foods can get stained on them. Also, they need to be washed and dried right away after use. Ceramic knives are very sharp and great for small tasks, but they can be pricey and break easily.

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Chef’s knives have blades that are triangular in shape with a pointy tip and a wide base that keeps your knuckles off the counter. Because of their shape, they are good for chopping. Japanese vegetable knives are great for slicing, cutting, and chopping because their blades are squared off instead of having points on the ends. Because only a small part of the curve touches the cutting board at a time, curved blades don’t cut as well. Cutting knives, on the other hand, can have straight or curved blades. For cutting through surfaces like potatoes or pears, curved blades are helpful. A paring knife shouldn’t cost too much because they are easy to lose. Cheap ones will do the job just fine.
How to Keep Knives Sharp

Because you have to use more force, a dull knife can make your work hard or even dangerous. On the other hand, a sharp knife cuts through food like butter. There are now electric and manual knife sharpeners that make it easier to keep knives sharp. Many home cooks still have trouble doing this. Most of the time, these sharpeners hold the blade at the right angle to keep it from getting too sharp. Don’t wait until your knives are very dull to sharpen them. Fine-tuning them often, like every time you use your main knife or once a week with a steel or magnetic knife sharpener, will help keep them sharp. You can also sharpen a knife with a whetstone, which can be used with either oil or running water. You can make the knife’s edge sharper and keep it that way with a diamond steel.

There are professional knife sharpeners that you can find at cutlery shops or farmers’ markets if you don’t want to sharpen your own knives. This may slightly speed up the wear and tear on your knives, but it keeps the edge sharp and even. No matter how you sharpen your knives, be sure to store them carefully in a knife rack or a container with slots so that they don’t damage other blades.

The Right Way to Hold a Knife

Grip the knife handle firmly enough to stay in control, but not so tightly that your hand feels tense. Hold it comfortably in your dominant hand. Curve your fingers under your knuckles and hold the thing you want to cut with the other hand. This lets you use your fingers to guide the blade instead of having to rely on your eyesight. You probably won’t cut yourself because you’d have to tilt the knife in a very strange way. Do it and see! Once you get used to using your curved fingers to guide your cutting hand, you won’t have to bend your head forward all the time. Instead, you can keep your head straight and only look at your hands every once in a while. This keeps your shoulders and neck from getting strained.

Practice how to use knife daily

Beginners are often scared and move slowly at first. Skill makes you faster, but you have to loosen up your arm and wrist to get there. It’s best to start with something simple, like taking off the lettuce leaves or something that will be pureed. Allow yourself a lot of room and just cut without worrying about how it turns out. The goal is to get your arm moving. You’ll get better at controlling your movements as you practise. Don’t forget to tuck your fingers under your hand.

Boards for cutting

It’s important to have enough space to work. A small cutting board makes it hard to move around and does not let you work in a space that is big enough for what you’re doing. Wood is better for your knife, but it’s heavier. Plastic, on the other hand, is light (place a light board on a damp dish towel to keep it in place). Make sure you have at least two large boards, one for fruits and vegetables and one for garlic, onions, and other vegetables. If you don’t wash a board well between uses, garlic smells can stick to it, and there’s nothing worse than fruit salad that tastes like garlic.

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The best vegetable tools to have in your kitchen

Depending on what you like to cook and what you need, a kitchen can have a lot of different tools. The following are some functional pieces:

  1. Citrus Zester: This tool quickly shreds citrus zest and can also be used to score cucumbers. Microplanes work even better and make zest that is even finer.
    With a double boiler, you can cook things like polenta and sauces made with flour without having to stir them all the time. You can make do with putting a bowl over a pot of boiling water.
  2. The food mill is a simple, old-fashioned tool that is cheap and great for making soups, sauces, and vegetables smooth without having to seed and peel fruits.
    Heavy-Duty Electric Mixer: This is an investment that can be used to make batters, pasta, bread, and other foods by beating and whipping them. Attachments can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks.
  3. Measuring cups and spoons are necessary for accurate measurements, especially for people who are just starting out. Spoons and cups that are strong are best.
    Mortar and Pestle: These tools are great for hand-grinding foods to make them taste better. Pestles work well as hand tools, and mortars made of wood keep the smells of ground ingredients.
  4. You can use a nut and cheese grater to grate cheese and nuts. Fine shreds can be made with hand-held rotary graters.
  5. Pepper and Spice Mills: You need these to grind your pepper and spices fresh every time. You might want to have different mills for coarse sea salt, black pepper, and white pepper.
  6. The pressure cooker is a useful tool for making soups, beans, and hearty vegetables faster. These days’ pressure cookers are safe and work well.
    The slow cooker is useful for cooking while you’re not there, especially for beans and soups.
  7. A salad spinner is a must-have for drying parsley, salad greens, and shredded potatoes. There are different kinds, some of which drain into the washbasin.
    Scale: This tool is useful for accurately measuring ingredients in recipes by weight. It can also be used to change measurements between metric and standard.
  8. You need sheet pans and cookie sheets to bake many things, from croutons to breads. At least two should have sides that are ½ inch thick.
  9. Spoons and Spatulas: Use a spatula to flip pancakes, lift cookies, and smooth icings, and use a wooden spoon to stir and mix. Nonstick pans can be used with nylon spatulas.
  10. The steaming basket is necessary for steaming vegetables and other foods because it fits into pots of different sizes.
  11. Tongs with springs that are loaded with food can be used for grilling, flipping food in a pan, and reaching over hot surfaces.
  12. Sauté and frying pans can be used to cook a lot of different foods, and some models come with a lid.
  13. A timer helps you keep track of the time you spend cooking and lets you focus on other things while you’re cooking.

These tools can help you get more done and enjoy your time in the kitchen, which will help you learn how to cook vegetarian food.

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