There is a battle waging in people’s kitchens. Day after day, year after year, people sweat and are stressed in front of the stove. WHY? To cook well one needs firstly to relax!!!
One attempts to cook a beautiful piece of sustainable fish in a pan and it never seems to brown no matter how much they move it around? All one needs is to have a hot pan, pour in a splash of oil, and then slide in the piece of seasoned fish over the oil. Next shake pan one to make sure the fish (if multiple pieces do not crowd the pan) is not sticking and then.... LET IT REST. Do not touch it, I repeat, do not touch it. Let it cook; and when browned, then and only then flip it. The same idea holds for roasting vegetables:spread out on a tray, let cook, then flip(see blog post 23 April 2009).
Ah, the BBQ ...Flipping every item on the BBQ as if you are gymnast doing your Olympic floor routine. NO. NO. NO...Let each side cook till nice marks appear before you turn them and not before. How do you think restaurants get the perfect grill marks on an grass fed steak that should be a "rare" treat? Easy, place seasoned steak on very hot grill and turn steak after 2-3 minutes to a 90 degrees angle, then after 2-3 more minutes flip/turn 90 degrees more, and then after 2-3 more minutes turn 90 degrees again and depending on temperature desired you should be complete (see blog posts on grilled pizza 10 July 2010 and grilled sardines 10 July 2010)
Lastly, lets remember what to do after cooking a wonderful piece of sustainable fish, grilled grass fed steak, or a nice free range carving bird.... LET IT REST. Before slicing the occasional steak or serving a piece of fish, let the hot item relax a few minutes (for a large item such as a turkey or large joint of meat one can let it relax for ½ hour covered in foil).
Resting a piece of meat allows its juices to evenly redistribute from the center across all the product and you end up with a more tender/flavourful food on your plate!!! Also, the residual heat in the product actually continues the cooking, so when you think a piece of meat is finished cooking, remember, it will continue cooking as long as it’s hot!!! This is the same for a nice casserole, lasagna, loaf of bread or cake...calm, relax, and let it rest (See blog post 29 July 2009))!!!!
In short, cooking should be relaxing, it should not be a stressful act that looks like karate or gymnastics...if you see yourself or your family member acting as such then you are working to hard and more importantly you are working your food to hard and it will let you know in drier, less tasty meals...
I know many of you may think these steps are nice, but you are also saying, I DON'T HAVE THE TIME!!!! I have to admit, cooking does take time. Fortunately, studies have show that the time we spend at restaurants, drive thru and take away shops is actually more then people previously spent actually cooking real food!!!! So don’t succumb to the billions of marketing dollars the food industry spends every year to convince you that good nutritional health and fiscal freedom comes out of a box. It does not!!!! It comes from you and you can help put it on your plate. Just cook, and remember ... LET IT REST