General Cooking Tips for Butlers & Household Managers

  • Prepare what you need before you start; this simplifies the process when you are scrambling to put it all together.
  • When using a broiler to cook steaks, preheat the oven until it’s really hot. This will sear the outside of the meat and keep the juices in. Don’t use a fork to turn the steaks, use thongs or a spatula to prevent juices from leaking out.
  • Buy yourself a potato ricer for mashing potatoes. It is a great gadget to have in your kitchen, it looks like a giant garlic press, but there’s nothing better for smooth airy mashed potatoes.
  • A folding steamer platform that sits in almost any pot works great for your steamed veggies. And be careful not to overcook your broccoli, you want it to be crisp but tender.
  • Invest in a salad spinner; they’re inexpensive and work really well. There’s nothing more unappealing than soggy lettuce.
  • Never cook with any wine you wouldn’t drink! You can substitute 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves with 1 teaspoon of dried, but fresh is better. 
  • Try using a spray olive oil to coat your roasting pan. Any brine-cured black olives can be substituted for Kalamata and remember to tell your guests if there are pits so they don’t break a tooth.
  • To roast garlic, sprinkle the bulb with a little olive oil and white wine, salt and pepper, wrap it in tin foil and roast in a 180 degree oven for about one hour.
  • Try using a hand blender to puree the soup; it’s easier than transferring it all to a food processor.
  • Mushrooms should be wiped off with a damp cloth and not washed under a faucet since they are like sponges and will absorb the water.
  • Make sure your roasting pan is the correct size and is placed on the middle rack. When roasting, save the pan juices for your gravy.
  • Leeks are full of hard to get at sand and dirt. Chop them first, then given them a bath in cold water and drain in a colander.
  • Try using carrots instead of sugar to sweeten your sauces.
    When buying cabbage, look for heads that appear heavier than their size with crisp leaves.

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