9 Kitchen Techniques Every Passionate Chef Must Master

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Want to kick your kitchen game up a notch? Learn these nine techniques and watch as your food gets even more delicious.

1. Searing

Searing can add a tasty caramelized crust to your favorite dish. Start with a hot, hot pan. Add a thin coat of oil—enough to make the pan gleam—and add what you’d like to cook. Let it hiss and watch the crust form, then flip.

2. Dicing An Onion

Halve the onion from top to bottom and place the flat sides down on the board. Peel off the skin, face the root end away from you, and make vertical cuts. When you’re done, make horizontal cuts. Don’t cut all the way through the root.

3. Make Pan Sauce

After searing, put those extra brown morsels on the bottom of your pan to use. Add wine, stock, or vinegar to your hot pan. Scrape up those leftover bits on the pan let the sauce simmer for a few minutes. Remove it from the pan and stir in some cold butter cubes. Season.

4. Make Roux

Roux will amp up your gravy dishes. Melt some butter in a saucepan until it foams, and then add an equal amount of flour. Whisk until the concoction is smooth and cook for three minutes. Cook longer for a darker, nuttier roux.

5. Tempering

Every cook should now how to blend ingredients that are different temperatures—especially if they work with eggs or chocolate. When chocolate isn’t tempered, unsightly white blotches of cocoa mighty appear. So heat your chocolate, and let it cool by stirring in a solid chunk. When the chocolate is about 88 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the remaining chunks and dip away!

6. Make Vinaigrette

Here’s the secret: One part vinegar, three parts oil. Add a pinch of salt to the vinegar and a little Dijon mustard. Now use both hands—one to pour the oil and one to whisk the mixture. Keep going until it’s all blended.

7. Blanch Vegetables

To soften the taste of your veggies, blanch them! Boil a pot of very salty water and dump the vegetables into it. Once they’re cooked plunge them into ice water. This will stop the cooking process and make your veggies cool and crisp.

8. Make Your Own Stock

Throw some chicken in a pot of water with onion, carrots, and celery. Bring it to a boil, reduce the temperature, and let it simmer for a few hours. Skim off the fat, strain it through a sieve, and put it in the fridge. Your soups and sauces will never be the same.

9. Make whipped cream

Become a master of desserts with this skill! Put your metal mixing bowl and whisk or beaters in the freezer. When they’re cold, pour a pint of heavy cream and whisk aggressively until the mixture becomes cloudy. As it thickens, add some powdered sugar and vanilla for extra flavor.

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Want to see your passions and connections to your friends? Check out Nissan's Passion Genome to create your interactive Passion Portrait and share the passions that make you, you.

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December 9, 2013 - 8:13am
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