Friday's Top Ten

Top ten summer cooking secrets:

10. Punch your thumb in the middle of a meat patty before grilling to make a little indent. Keeps the patty level and promotes even cooking.

  9. Hold the ends of asparagus spears in each hand and bend until they snap. Discard the tough base.

  8. If you're making pastry, grate cold butter on the large side of a grater.

  7. Always let meat sit 5-15 minutes before cutting to seal in juices.

  6. Add lemon or lime zest to salads or sauces for extra zip.

  5. No matter how you cook fish, don't turn it.

  4. Use the freshest vegetables possible.

  3. Add herbs and spices early in the process for a subtle taste. For more pop, add just before serving.

  2. Keep your knives sharp.

And the #1 summer cooking secret:

  1. Cook with wine - and don't forget to save some for the food :)


Joanne said…
Definitely love #4, the fruits and veggies are one of the best parts of summer. There are several farmstands near my house, and I think I'm there more than the grocery store in the summer months ... De-lish!
Hart Johnson said…
Ha! I knew a couple of these, but several are new, so thank you! And that #1 is key... (it was one of the ones I knew...)
Colette said…
Wow -- never heard of some of these -- gotta try the asparagus trick!
Talli Roland said…
Cooking with wine! Now that's a top tip indeed.
Carol Kilgore said…
Joanne - Not a veggie, but we had our first peaches the other yummy.

Hart - My fave, too :)

Colette - It works. Point your thumbs toward the middle of the stem.

Talli - I think so.
LR said…
I wish I could eat vegetables but there's a weird virus going around where I live.

Guess we'll have to stick with steak and cocktails for now. :)
And when all else fails, let someone else do the cooking!
Laura Eno said…
#1 is very important! ;) I didn't know half of these.
Liz Fichera said…
Oh, I'm totally with you on #1!

Nice connecting with you today, Carol! :-)
notesfromnadir said…
Thanks for these cooking tips, & I didn't know you weren't supposed to turn fish!
Thanks for these, Carol. Some I knew, some were new - all are great tips!
Lydia K said…
#10 took me years to learn. Now my burgers look like proper hockey pucks.
Talei said…
Oh, definitely #7 and #6 - I always follow those rules, but my fav is of course #1! Cheers! x
Carol Kilgore said…
LR - I've been reading about the nasties attacking the veggies over there. Take care.

Alex - Or make reservations!

Laura - #1 is my favorite :)

Liz - Same here!

Lisa - Actually, if you're grilling something like swordfish steaks it's OK. But most is delicate and cooks quickly.

Elspeth - Happy to add to you knowledge :)

Lydia - Funny how that works.
Carol Kilgore said…
Talei - We crossed. It's edging closer to wine time here in San Antonio.
I'd never heard of #10 before!

Great list. :)
Yes, very important to sample the wine before cooking with it! Have to make sure the flavor will blend well with the food...something like that. :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Golden Eagle - Try works.

Elizabeth - And if you mistakenly open a bottle that won't blend ....
Julie said…
I love the #1 rule! I'm the world's worst cook, so this might be the only one that I can follow. :D

Just reading this list made me hungry!
RaShelle said…
Hey Carol! These are great tips. Question: Why don't I flip my fish? I usually bake in the oven, so I don't flip it, but now I'm dying to know why... LOL
Carol Kilgore said…
Julie - #1 is easy - just drink up :)

RaShelle - The reason for not flipping fish is because most of it is extremely delicate and becomes more so as it cooks. And it cooks quickly. It will cook all the way through in minutes. If you have a denser fish, like swordfish or halibut, and you're cooking thick steak cuts instead of fillets, then you would flip those. Or if you're lucky enough to have fresh tuna, you'd want to sear that on each side. But otherwise, skin side down and don't turn. Also if you fry with breading, have the oil deep enough the fish can float. Drop it in. When it floats to the top, it's done. Very quick.
RaShelle said…
Carol - Thanks for letting me know. I'll remember forever now! =D
Medeia Sharif said…
I don't cook, but I'd love a list of takeout secrets. ;)

Have a great weekend.
Carol Kilgore said…
RaShelle - Happy to help.

Medeia - I'll have to really think about those!
Summer Ross said…
I have never learned how to cook with wine- great tips!
Carol Kilgore said…
Summer - First you pour a glass making sure to save a little to deglaze the pan.
I really like the 2nd part of the #1 tip!

I hadn't heard the hamburger tip one. Thanks!

Happy summer!
Carol Kilgore said…
Theresa - Happy Summer back!
Janet, said…
Well, I learned something today. My husband loves to keep the knife sharp. He says you won't get cut with a sharp knife, so why do I always get cut with his sharp knives?
Arlee Bird said…
This all sounds like some pretty gourmet stuff. I can understand the fish thing since most would probably fall apart easily. I've only grilled salmon and it flipped okay. I don't really grill much although I love stuff cooked in that way.

Tossing It Out
Carol Kilgore said…
Janet - The theory is you don't have to work the knife so hard when it's sharp. You do need to learn to keep your fingers out of the way. I don't think anyone is successful all the time :)

Arlee - I broil salmon and don't turn, but the other member of my team does all the grilling. I don't know what he does. Probably puts it in the fish thingie he has that holds it in place no matter what he does to it.