This month, we're doing a mini series on our podcast. Each of the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen editors will be sharing their top 10 cooking rules: the techniques they swear by, the ingredients they can’t live without, and the mindsets that keep them going. First up: the man who spends all his time fermenting miso, tending to his knives, and cooking outdoors, Brad Leone.
1. Buy a quality chefs knife. It’s an extension of your arm. Not only does a good knife make cooking easier, but it makes it safer too. An 8-inch is the sweet spot when it comes to the perfect everyday size.
2. Learn to sharpen your knives. Do some research on YouTube, which has a lot of great videos. Or at least take them to a drop-off service—as long as you know it’s a good one. This way, your knives will last for generations.
3. Buy wild salmon. People love salmon—but not all salmon is created equal. Farmed fish can be fed yucky things, with harmful side effects to both the fish themselves and to the waters they call home. I like salmon from Alaska. Check out Taku Salmon, Alaska Home Pack, or Drifters Fish, all of which allow you to buy online.
4. Invest in olive oils and vinegars. Nice olive oil is fairly easy to find at your standard grocery store, but there are fewer options of nice vinegars. But you can order some of them on the internet, right from the maker. One of my favorites is Katz. Once you do get some good vinegars, it’s hard to go back.
5. Refresh your spices. So many spices die in spice cabinets. They are subject to years of oxidation and drying out where you lose their color, aroma, and flavor.
6. Prep for parties. Having a game plan isn’t just for Thanksgiving. Even if you don’t have everything done, have most of the prep done. You want to be able to enjoy yourself.
7. Season your beverages. We season everything, so why not our drinks? Just a little pinch of salt will make a world of difference.
8. Try new recipes. Whether you’re pulling inspiration from restaurants, or simply tweaking the dishes you already like, it’s important to change up your rotation, even if it’s only every once in a while.
9. Take notes while you cook. When you’re deep into cooking, especially if you’re riffing, you may not remember what you did. And if you nailed it when all is said and done, you’ll want to be able to go back and remember what you did. I keep a journal in my home kitchen for jotting down notes.
10. Keep it simple. Especially if you go all out buying a nice piece of meat, or some beautiful produce, less is more. If you have eight ingredients, stop and think about what you could do with six.
Listen to the full discussion on the BA Foodcast:
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit