Since we’re cooking at home more than ever we’re whipping up together our new cooking series, Cocinera to Jefa de la cocina. Throughout this series we’ll share tips you can use to be the boss of your kitchen starting with the basics and beyond.
Becoming the jefa of your kitchen starts with the set-up, the steps you take in the set up can make or break your kitchen experience. Before you even turn on the stove there’s a few things you should do in order to get yourself ready for an easy time in the kitchen. I’ve outlined some of the tips I use every time I step into the kitchen that ensures I am ready to be in the kitchen, keeping in mind to maximize my space and time.
Cleaning is the most important part of being a jefa. Clean before you start, clean as you go, and clean after you’re done.
Cleaning before you start is especially important if you have a small kitchen like me. This helps keep countertops (or lack thereof) and sink open for you to use as you cook.
Cleaning as you go means using your down time to clean and put away dishes as you finish up with them. Bottom line… ABC, always be cleaning.
If you’re following a new recipe the first thing you need to do is read. Read everything in the recipe, the ingredients, instructions, notes, all. of. it.
This helps you in the long run because it ensures that you fully understand what you’ll have to do to prepare the dish. By reading you can prevent that too familiar feeling of forgetting to dice an onion or realizing you don’t have any flour while you’re in the middle of cooking.
Once you’ve gotten a grasp of what you’re making this is the time to prepare your workstation. Prepare all the ingredients you’re going to need and measure out everything you’re going to use.
In the culinary world this is called mis en place which means everything in it’s place. Mis en place is important because it ensures that you’ve gotten everything together and makes cooking so much easier.
While you’re doing this keep in mind to set up your garbage bowl, this is a bowl or bag that you use while you’re prepping to collect your waste think vegetables scraps, onion butts, egg shells etc.
While you’re preparing your station throwing all those things in a big bowl helps to keep your area clean and all the trash in one spot. Alternatively, you can just throw it in the garbage but in some homes it’s more of a hassle to go back and forth.
As you’re cooking its important to taste as you go, with a clean spoon each time.
This helps to develop your expertise in the kitchen as well as trust with your own gut. As you get more comfortable with cooking you’ll be able to get a better grasp of what pairs well with the other ingredients and what to add more or less of.
In my house we have a rule, the person who cook doesn’t wash the dishes.
Simple jefa moves like this helps make your life easier by helping to lighten the load on your plate. Think of tasks that you can place on others like setting the table, clearing it, sweeping etc. All those little tasks that we end up doing ourselves can be delegated to others in your home, kids included!
Have fun! The kitchen is a place to be creative, let your hair down (figuratively) and make memories. Things can go wrong and things can go right, at the end of the day do your best to enjoy it.
What’s a jefa move that you make in the kitchen that makes your life easier? Let us know in the comments.