Kitchen Techniques for Successful Seasonal Eating
Use sharp knives, and know which knife is used for each kitchen task.
Always set up your mise en place before starting to cook. Take the time to chop, arrange your ingredients, and get out the utensils and equipment you will need. Clean as you go and there won't be as much to do after the meal.
Master a few classic sauces & dressings. A simple, classic vinaigrette is 1 tbsp vinegar + 4 tbsp oil + minced garlic or shallot + 1/2 tsp mustard + a pinch of salt & pepper + soft fresh herbs.
Master simple refrigerator pickles: 1 c water + 1/2 c vinegar + 2-3 tbsp sweetener + 1 tsp kosher salt.
Experiment with ratios for fritters, broth soups, cream soups, stews, and quickbreads that you like. Then swap out similar ingredients to create new and flexible seasonal meals.
Make smoothies. When in doubt, freeze it and blend it. Especially when it is warm, smoothies are a fast way to get some nutrition in your body fast without turning on the oven, and they can help you clean out the fridge and freezer.
Memorize roasting temperatures and times for different vegetables.
Save stems and peels for soup stock. Whenever we roast a pastured chicken or turkey, we throw the leftover bones in the crock pot for 36 hours with any scraps we've saved, then strain and freeze.
Blanching (boiling for 30-60 seconds in salted water, then shocking in an ice bath) both reduces cook time in the saute pan and retains color and texture when freezing. Save the liquid from blanching your vegetables and use as the base for the above chicken stock instead of plain water.