Five great tips to help you become a better cook

One of the things I noticed since I went almost vegetarian is that I cook more. Certainly, with less processed food in our diet, this was to be expected. And, certainly all the chopping of all those vegetables, these was to be even more expected!

So there I am, cooking away. When I tripped across this article entitled "Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Cooking: Little things can make a big difference."

Hey, I'm cooking all the time, so anything I can do to make this better is certainly welcome.

Those funky editors over at Fine Cooking put together this really handy list of little things you can do to become a better cook. I picked the best ones for the vegetarian cook and listed them, below.

1. Buy the best chef's knife you can and when you use it, put "your thumb and the side of your index finger onto the side of the blade right above the handle." This should give you good control which helps when chopping vegetables.

2. Use the very, very best ingredients you can. Certainly, you know I harp on this all the time. And "Fine Cooking" agrees with me!

3. Use kosher or sea salt because it has a "much better flavor than ordinary table salt." These days, we're using a Portuguese flor de sal from Zingerman's which wasn't at all expensive ($9) and which I quite like, but which reminds me, I am almost all out!

4. We sauté vegetables all the time, and we agree with their tips to dry the food, make sure the pan is really hot, and don't overcrowd the pan because this "will lower the temperature of the pan, creating a lot of steam, meaning you won’t get good browning."

5. Add a splash of something acidic, like vinegar or lemon juice, to almost any dish. You do this at the last minute to "perk up the flavor." Personally, I keep lemons (sometimes purloined from the neighbors, alas!) in the house all the time.