Welcome to our site! The purpose of this page is to provide you with a little more context about the way that we cook and the way that we write instructions for our recipes. This page contains valuable tips & tricks that will make it easier for you to follow our recipes and get the recipes right the first time.
Prioritize visual cues over explicit measurements
This is the most important rule you should adhere to when you are following our recipes. You should alway prioritize visual cues over explicit measurements that are written out in a recipe. So what is a visual cue? A visual cue is a statement that tells you what your food should look like when a specific step in a recipe is done. If a recipe says to cook you onions until they are lightly brown, that is an example of a visual cue.
So why is it important to prioritize visual cues over explicit measurements? It is important because different appliances and cookware conduct heat differently and you are almost certainly using different appliances and cookware than we are. If you are cooking your food in a nonstick pan on an electric stove and we are using a cast iron pan on a gas stove then our food is almost certainly going to come out differently. This means that your food may need to cook for a few minutes more or less than our food.
The measurements that we provide in our recipes are great guidelines that you can stick to in order to get you started, but if you find that the measurements and visual cues are not in agreement then you should always trust the visual cues over the measurements. For example, if a recipe says to cook onions for 15 minutes over medium heat until they lightly brown but you find that the onions lightly brown after 10 minutes then you should move on to the next step of the recipe after 10 minutes.
How we measure flour
This next tip is really important if you are following a recipe for a baked good that is made with flour. When we are developing recipes that use flour, we always measure our flour by spooning the flour into a measuring cup then leveling the flour off with a butter knife. We never dip a measuring cup directly into the flour bag and scoop the flour out with the measuring cup.
Why is it important to measure flour the same way that we do? This is important because if you dip your measuring cup directly into your flour and scoop the flour out using a measuring cup, the flour will get compacted and you will end up with extra flour. If the flour gets really compacted then you might end up with up to 30% more flour than we would get measuring the flour the way that we do.
Stovetop heat settings
Heat settings can vary drastically from one stovetop to another. A heat setting of 5 out of 10 can be medium low heat on one stovetop and high heat on another. The best way to determine what each heat setting looks like on your oven is to look at how fast your food cooks. Here are some visual cues to help you determine what temperature we are talking about when we say things like low heat.
- Low. When your temperature is on low heat, you should be able to warm food up but not brown it. For example, you should be able to leave vegetables like onions and carrots on the stove for a long time without them browning.
- Medium low. When your stovetop is on medium low, you should be able to leave food that is cooking unattended for a few minutes without worrying about it burning. Food will brown over medium low heat, but it should brown slowly. For example, you should be able to leave vegetables like onions and carrots in the pan without stirring them for 5 – 7 minutes.
- Medium. When your stovetop is on medium heat, you will need to stir your food every 2 – 3 minutes to prevent the food from burning. For example, if you are cooking vegetables like onions and carrots then you will need to keep a close eye on the vegetables to keep them from burning. This is the highest temperature you will need to cook most types of vegetables on.
- Medium high. When your stovetop is on medium high then vegetables should get a nice sear on them and even start to burn quickly. For example, vegetables like onions and carrots will start to burn if they are left on medium high heat without being stirred for a minute or more.
- High. When your stovetop is on high heat, you should be able to bring a pot of salted water to a boil relatively quickly (within a few minutes). Some stoves do not reach temperatures where this is possible, so be aware that your stovetop might max out at medium high heat.
The kind of cookware you use to make your food can have a huge effect on how your food turns out, especially when you are cooking on the stovetop. In this section, we will tell you about the type of cookware we use in different scenarios so that you can try to use cookware that is similar to ours.
- General cooking. We use stainless steel cookware for most of the general cooking that we do on our stovetop. If we do not give you cues about the type of cookware that you should use, that generally means that we are using stainless steel cookware. Specifically, we use this stainless steel pan by Cuisinart and we highly recommend this pan for anyone who needs a new stainless steel pan. It comes with a lid that fits perfectly so it is very versatile.
- High heat. When we need to cook something over medium high or high heat then we always use a cast iron pan. As a rule, it is best to avoid using stainless steel and non-stick cookware when you are cooking at a temperature that is higher than medium. We use this cast ion pan by Victorinox and we cannot recommend it enough. It is thick and durable, but not as heavy and unwieldy as some other cast iron pans.
- Sticky foods. For foods that are wet or sticky and have a tendency to stick to the pan, we generally use non-stick cookware. Some examples of foods that we would use nonstick cookware to cook are pancakes, english muffins, and eggs. We will generally tell you if you need to use non-stick cookware, but if you are cooking something that you know is going to be sticky then you should use non-stick cookware.