5 ways to simplify your cooking

...and enjoy it more!

1. Use sharp knives

Dull knives are dangerous and a waste of your time. It matters more to use a sharp one than it does to use the "right" one. Have your knives sharpened regularly, or buy yourself a sharpener like this one, which will get your knife slicing tomatoes again in no time. If you're really into it, you might even learn to use a whetstone.

2. Take it easy

Take your time, unless you're really in a jam. The best way to avoid cooking-related stress, which always makes both the process and results less enjoyable, is to prepare in advance; mise en place, meaning: do the basics beforehand. Soups, sauces, marinades, desserts, slow-cooked meats and cut veggies can all be done hours or even days in advance, some will even benefit from it . All I'm saying is, take it easy and plan out what you're going to cook a few days in advance. It will give you more room to enjoy yourself in the kitchen.

3. Choose recipes with less ingredients

Some recipes are loaded with a multitude (a whole shopping list) of ingredients, and the thing is, you don't need a lot. For your cooking to be tasteful, you should focus on one or two key items and build the dish around them. Adding unecessary ingredients just because they're "fancy," usually only confuses the palate. I normally keep my item count under twelve; and butter, oil, salt, and pepper all count as ingredients.

4. Make use of your senses

Temperatures vary from oven to oven; so you should always keep an eye out... you may find yourself saving your turkey from drying up. You can trust your ears to know when the butter is hot enough and you can trust your nose to tell you when it's too hot. Also, don't be afraid to touch food! It's one of the best way to know if your food is any good. Watch, listen, smell, and touch. Oh yeah, and taste.

5. Clean as you go

Everytime I have a minute to kill in the kitchen, I clean my workspace and wash up what's in the sink. Firstly, it keeps you organized so that you know where you're going. Secondly, you won't look like a pig. Thirdly, you won't have a mess weighing on your mind while you eat.