Category: Yasmin Davis

Mastering Home Cooking: Tips from Professional Chefs

Yasmin Davis Miami

Those who discovered the joy of cooking during the COVID-19 pandemic are not alone.

Home cooking may just be changed forever. During the pandemic, 31% said they tried new recipes, according to an International Food Information Council report. Overall, 54% of people said that they are cooking more at home.

Yasmin Davis notes that home cooking comes with many benefits. Meals tend to be healthier, with more natural ingredients. Cooking with others can be a good bonding experience. Cooking at home is almost always less expensive than eating out.

Cooking is an art — and it takes practice. Want to develop dishes that feel like they’re straight out of a high-quality restaurant? Master chefs are offering their insider tips.

Master Knife Skills

Home cooking is especially challenging when a recipe has multiple ingredients and steps or requires a chef to work at a very quick pace. What’s essential help is honing one’s knife handling technique, from safe finger placement to the strength of the grip.

Prepping is Everything

If the thought of tackling a seemingly difficult dish for the first time is too intimidating, prepping ingredients ahead of time will go a long way when developing cooking confidence. Prep bowls are a home chef’s best friend.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality

Perhaps the most reliable path to cooking restaurant-quality meals is buying good-quality ingredients. That includes finding basics that are standard in revered restaurants, like good finishing salts, organic produce, and higher-quality oils, like flavorful top-chef butter and olive oil. The difference is immediately noticeable.

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Special Sauce

Sauces may feel like an afterthought for a dish, but it’s actually a fundamental part of whipping up high-quality meals at home.

Chef Julia Child called them “mother sauces,” which bring out the flavor essence of any dish. For example, French cuisine has a few of them, including béchamel and hollandaise, that can yield numerous dish possibilities. At the same time, try experimenting with spices and herbs to make dishes singular creations.

Don’t Be Afraid of High Heat

Ovens can be intimidating, and many people just don’t feel comfortable cooking with high temperatures. That can be an issue with an array of dishes from the steak that needs high heat to sear and vegetables that go mushy quickly if they aren’t cooked fast enough.

Professional chefs recommend this rule of thumb when figuring out when to cook on either low, medium, or high heat: think about the texture of the dish. For tender meat, cook low and over more time. If a browned crust is wanted, hot is the way to go.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

A simple home-cooked meal can be just as good as a restaurant meal. Trying fancier recipes is fun and a good way to expand one’s cooking talents, but simple recipes with good ingredients can be just as fulfilling.

Instead, prioritize the balance of flavors, such as combining acid with sweet notes, for a delicious meal that doesn’t need a lot of frills to satisfy.

What happens to be in one’s pantry at any given time may be enough for a delicious meal.

Renovating For Resale: Projects That Add Value to Any Property

Yasmin Davis Miami

Homeownership is still one of the best investments a person can make, but even top investments require some upkeep.

Whether the improvements are age-related (the median age is 39 for a U.S. home) or aesthetic upgrades (hello, bathrooms and kitchens), numerous home projects end up being well worth it in the long run for resale.

Yasmin Davis of Miami notes that with more homeowners than ever spending top dollar on renovations — median spending rose 20% between 2020 and 2021 — it’s essential to plan on the changes that will give homeowners the biggest bang for their budget renovation buck. Here are some of the best projects to consider right now for resale.

HVAC System

First the bad news. Upgrading an HVAC system to be more energy-efficient and eco-friendly is on the pricier side at an average of $17,747. But the good news is really good. HVAC conversions lead to an average resale value of $18,366, giving it a whopping return on investment of 103.5%.

Such a renovation also opens the home to a whole new community of buyers who prioritize using as many renewable sources of energy in their home as possible.

Deck Addition

A wood deck addition isn’t just a practical way to appeal to buyers looking for large outdoor entertaining or play spaces. The average cost recovery of a wood deck project is a substantial 80% to 85%.

Depending on a homeowner’s space and taste, such renovations often run up to at least $10,000 but in areas where sunshine is the norm throughout the year, such as California, Florida, and Hawaii, a wood deck is a top selling point.

Bathroom Remodels

Bathrooms quickly become outdated, but even a minor bathroom model can yield a 102% return on resale on average. Bathroom renovations also offer flexibility based on a homeowner’s budget.

Replacing many bathroom features at once, such as the tub, toilet, floor, and vanity, can get pricey, but smaller cost changes, like reglazing or recalking a tub, adding a fresh coat of paint, or adding updated fixtures, can easily make a bathroom look new and modern.

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Curb Appeal Fixes

A recent survey found that upping the curb appeal can pay off, with buyers spending 7% more on average for a home that doesn’t neglect its exterior.

There are a lot of possibilities here — a new garage door, a stone veneer, new paint for the front door — but even minor curb appeal projects like a well-kept lawn and some landscaping with flowers, plants, and mulch, can have a return on investment of as much as 540% when only spending $300 or $400. And in certain areas, like the Northeast, a mid-range investment of about $3,500 has a resale value of about $14,800.

Kitchen Remodels

On average, a minor kitchen remodel comes with a 99% return at resale, with most projects ranging from $14,000 to $15,000. A homeowner can get a lot with that budget, including new cabinet faces, upgraded countertops, modern flooring, and even new appliances such as a wall oven and cooktop.

Elements like ceramic backsplashes and large islands also make a home stand out from the pack in a competitive market.