Are you the head chef in your home kitchen, or just still trying to figure out how to chop and boil?
Maybe you've mastered boeuf bourguignon with a baked Alaska for dessert. Or perhaps it's "Friends'" Rachel Green's now-iconic holiday treat - a trifle consisting of a layer of ladyfingers, a layer of jam, made-from-scratch custard, fresh raspberries, more ladyfingers, beef sautéed with peas and onions, a little more homemade custard, some sliced bananas, with a whipped cream topping - that's more your style in the kitchen. ("What's not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Beef, good!" It must be a Joey thing.)
Basics like boiling water and rudimentary knife skills to how to finish a sauce or store leftovers the right way are the building blocks of good kitchen skills and can help you not only produce healthy and tasty food for you and your family and friends but keep everyone safe from injury and foodborne illness. Test your kitchen know-how in our quiz - you know what they say... if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
What temperature does water need to reach to be a 'full' boil?
There are just a few basic steps between you and a pot of boiling water. All you need to reach a full boil - or just a few bubbles breaking on the surface - is a pot, some water and the right temperature: 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
What happens if you crowd the pan while sautéing?
Sautéing requires high heat and minimal fat to get that nice brown doneness on your food. Its name literally means, "to jump," and that's what you should expect from food during the sauté process. There should be at least a half-inch between each piece of food in the pan.
What's the best way to revive wilted lettuce?
Reviving wilted produce is as easy as putting them in a bowl of ice water and letting them soak for about 30 minutes. Through the process of osmosis, your lettuce will rehydrate and crisp back up.
What's the best way to remove food stuck to your cast iron pan?
Water can cause your cast iron pan to lose the non-stick coating you've worked so hard to build up - and if it sticks around, it can cause your pan to rust. For hard-to-remove stuck-on food bits, scrub your pan with a few pinches of kosher salt, paper towels and a little elbow grease.
Where is the correct place to hold a chef knife?
Pinching the blade of a chef knife gives you the most control of the blade for both speed and safety. This grip, "choking up," also helps keep your hand and arm from getting tired as quickly.
When you don't have unsalted butter on hand, how do you substitute salted butter in its place?
You don't know how much salt is in salted butter because it varies by brand. Unsalted butter allows you to control the exact amount of salt that goes into your baked goods. Unsalted and salted butter may be used interchangeably, but with one small tweak to your recipe: how much salt you add. If you're substituting unsalted butter with salted butter, reduce the amount of salt you add by 1/4 teaspoon for every 1/2 cup of salted butter and vice versa.
Equal parts fat and flour, what is a roux used for?
A roux is nothing more than flour and fat, in equal parts (by weight), combined and browned over low heat. There are three types of roux, white, blond and brown, and all are used in gravies, soups and sauces for their thickening power. Short on flour? You can substitute cornstarch.
What's the correct ratio for making a simple syrup?
Whip up a quick simple syrup by simmering 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water, over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. This sweet syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
What is a recipe yield?
In the kitchen, a "yield" is the amount of food you'll have when you've finished cooking it. For example, your favorite muffin recipe may yield 12 oversized muffins or 24 regular ones.
How can you keep an avocado from turning brown after you cut it?
Browned avocado flesh is the result of oxidation and can be blamed on leaving your avocado exposed to the air for too long. Keeping it in an airtight container and sealing with plastic wrap will help slow that process, as will storing it with its pit to reduce how much surface area is exposed or tossing your avocado with an acid like lime or lemon juice.
About how much dry pasta will you need to make for dinner for two?
About 4 ounces of dry pasta will make two cups of cooked, which is enough for two servings. Measuring long pasta, like linguine? Measure a bundle with a diameter of a quarter to get the same yield.
What does the abbreviation 'tsp' stand for?
A teaspoon is a unit of measurement commonly used in cooking and baking, and is typically abbreviated as 'tsp.' One teaspoon is approximately 5 ml.
Because you've forgotten to thaw tonight's chicken, how much longer will the cooking time be?
Remember: cook times will increase when you don't thaw ahead of time. In fact, it will take approximately 50 percent longer than the recommended time for fully thawed or fresh meat and poultry when that meat is not thawed.
A popular foundation for sauces and stocks, which is not one of the traditional three ingredients in a mirepoix?
Traditional mirepoix is composed of one part carrots, two parts onion, and one part celery. The mixture is sautéed in butter or oil, and it's used as the foundation for everything from soups and stews to braises and sauces. It's called "soffritto" in Italian dishes.
Leftovers should be refrigerated in under two hours, but how long can you keep leftovers in your fridge before they need to be tossed?
The 2/4 rule for leftovers is your guideline for avoiding foodborne illness. They may be cooked, but leftovers can make you sick if they sit out too long. All leftovers should be stored and refrigerated within two hours and eaten within four days.
How cold should your refrigerator be?
For the best food safety and storage, refrigerators should be kept at about 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally, the door shelves are the warmest spot in the fridge. Freezers need to be much colder, down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Which is not one of the five 'Mother' sauces?
French Mother sauces are used as a foundation for other savory sauces. There are five main sauce preparations known as the classic five French Mother sauces, including Béchamel, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Velouté, and tomato-based sauces. Rainbow sauce, on the other hand, is a dessert sauce typically made with pineapple, candied cherries, apricot, citrus, pears and pistachio nuts.
What is the ratio for making a vinaigrette when you're serving a salad for four?
The standard ratio of oil to vinegar is three parts oil to one part vinegar when making this salad dressing, although you can add a little less or more vinegar depending on your tastes and needs. The most effective way to emulsify your dressing is in a blender. Don't forget the salt, pepper and herbs!
How long can you safely keep store-bought eggs in the refrigerator?
Raw and in the shell, eggs can be kept for quite a long time - as long as three to five weeks - if you keep them refrigerated. Refrigerated raw egg white and yolks, though, can only be used for a few days before going bad.
What's the best method for peeling tomatoes?
Blanching tomatoes is the key to easy skin removal. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the tomatoes into the boiling water. Remove them when the skin begins to peel, after about 30 seconds, and cool them down in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes. Once they cool, you'll be able to peel them with your fingers.
What's the secret to softening rock-hard brown sugar?
First, be sure you're storing your sugar in an airtight container. Storing brown sugar with a few slices of apple or a slice of bread helps to soften a hard lump overnight. But for those who didn't plan ahead, microwave hard brown sugar in a bowl covered with a damp towel - just 20 seconds should do the trick (and not melt the sugar).
What does it mean to cook pasta 'al dente'?
Pasta's not the only thing cooked to al dente - you can also describe vegetables and rice this way. Look for a firm but chewy bite that's more meaty than mushy.
Why should you always pierce your potatoes before baking them?
To poke or not to poke your potatoes? Unpoked baked potatoes run the risk of exploding - it's because of how much water is in a potato. The high baking temperatures turn that water into steam, which the potato's sturdy skin traps. Too much steam build up, and the risk of busting open rises. It also helps the potato stop "squealing" during baking.
At what temperature is steak cooked to rare?
Meat cooked to a rare doneness should have an internal temperature of about 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. To gauge meat's doneness without a thermometer, try learning the touch test.
Dull knives can mean accidents in the kitchen. Which is the best way to keep a sharp edge?
Sharpening or "honing" knives requires the right tool for the job, but there's more than one way to get the job done. A honing rod, a sharpener or a whetstone can all be used to hone your knives.
Which is the right way to dispose of used cooking oil?
The thing about used cooking or frying oil is where to put it when you're done. Hands down, the worst thing you can do with your oil is to pour it into your pipes. Pour it into a resealable container, allow it to cool and solidify, and toss it in with your regular trash, and if there's an opportunity to do so near you, used cooking oil can be recycled. Always allow hot oil to cool before tossing.
How many quarts of water should you use to boil 1 pound of pasta?
Always follow the instructions on the package. But in general, you'll need to prep 4 to 6 quarts of water for every one pound of dry pasta you're cooking. Add the pasta, stir, and return to a boil.
How long will pasteurized butter stay fresh in a crock on the counter?
Because it has a lower water content than other dairy products, pasteurized butter is less susceptible to bacterial growth and safe at room temperature when it's kept in an airtight container. It may begin to develop a rancid flavor after about a week or two. Above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, all butter should be refrigerated.
To get the perfect sear on your meat, cook it at what temperature?
Pan searing is a technique used to brown a piece of food over high temperatures, causing the sugars in the food to caramelize and the proteins to brown. It's typically something you'd do with meat, poultry or fish.
Which sweetener is a natural preservative and will never spoil?
It's true; honey doesn't go bad. It can, though, with time and temperature, become cloudy and thicker, which can be cured by placing the jar in a pan of warm water.
Which isn't a good way to clean your wooden cutting board?
The material your cutting board is made of will dictate the best way to clean and disinfect it. When it comes to wood, stay away from detergents that can dry them out as well as soaking, which can cause it to warp or crack. Stick with acids such as vinegar or lemon, and scrub away particles with baking soda.
What's the safest way to thaw a frozen turkey?
Thawing meat and poultry in the refrigerator is the safest way to go, although it's the most time-consuming method. In fact, meats stored this way can be refrozen without cooking them first. Slightly quicker is to submerge the frozen turkey in cold tap water - and expect it to take about 30 minutes per pound. In a rush? Frozen meat and poultry can be thawed in the microwave, too.
Beware when storing your fruits and vegetables: what type of gas do certain produce emit that spoils other vegetables?
Known gas releasers such as avocados, bananas and tomatoes emit a natural gas called ethylene, which is actually a hormone they produce. Storing them around other fruits and vegetables that don't produce the gas can make that produce turn soft and spoil faster than usual.
What two ingredients make up an egg wash?
You need a whole raw egg and a tablespoon of water when making an egg wash. Whisk until smooth, and brush on top of breads and pastries to give them a glossy look.
What's the best way to clean a garbage disposal?
All a garbage disposal needs to be clean and odor-free is nothing more than water - cold water and ice cubes, to be exact. The ice will knock any debris loose while running cold water flushes any leftover food down the drain.
About HowStuffWorks Play
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!
Get smarter every day! Subscribe & get 1 quiz every week.
Playing quizzes is free! We send trivia questions and personality tests every week to your inbox. By
clicking "Sign Up" you are agreeing to our
years old or over.