Prep Like a Pro

I don’t profess to know everything about cooking, but I have been at it a long time. If experience counts, I have much to tell. First and foremost, I believe in a well-stocked pantry so you can pull a jar or can out in a pinch if the fridge is empty. Most chefs have sauces of every type to spice up any dish without the need to go to the supermarket. What if you like to cook in the middle of the night and experiment with what is on hand? You get up with sudden inspiration. A full pantry will give you the opportunity to experiment.

Mine contains more than sauce. There are six or more varieties of pasta from rigatoni and spaghetti to elbow macaroni and corkscrew shapes. Using the right one makes a dish extra perfect. Meanwhile, I have all the spices in the world. A basic kitchen will house at least ten: oregano, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, all spice, powdered garlic and parsley flakes. Of course powdered mustard and paprika should also sit on the shelf in the company of onion and anise. The more, the better. Remember that some things come in a tube these days.

I am not done. The pantry contains shortcuts like cans of tomato sauce, tomato paste, and whole and/or chopped tomatoes. Soup in packets or cans is plentiful for emergencies and also as the basis of a quick at-home sauce. I line up like items together to make it easy to see what I need at the moment and what I need to restock.

Now that I have covered pantry supplies, it is time to mention another principle that lets you cook like a pro. Doing your prep work beforehand makes it easy to look like a restaurant chef. Here, quality—and I mean expensive—knives are a must or you might as well pack it in. Over time, you will learn to chop with the best of us. Keep produce fresh in the fridge until ready to use. Plastic bags are a godsend; I keep dozens on hand in the afore-mentioned pantry. Everything is visible and in good order. Be sure to wash your fruits and vegetables in the sink. A good Kohler faucet, helps as the new models are adjustable and flexible. You can turn them this way and that, handy if you have a double sink. The spray can be controlled with the state-of-the art nozzle. Choose the length of neck that best fits your sink. Kohler has a multitude of options. My last piece of advice is never let the pots and pans pile up in the sink. Your Kohler will work overtime and handle it, but the mess is unsightly and eliminates progressive rinsing as you work. Plus you won’t be able to access the garbage disposal.

I hope I have helped you think about kitchen organization. It should get you in the mood to start an exciting and appetizing new dish.