When you’re on vacation at our beach house rentals in Newport Beach, having to cook a dinner for the whole family (or even just yourself) can sometimes put a damper on your relaxation. After all, you came to Newport Beach to get away from it all, so cooking can easily feel like an unwelcome chore, especially if you’re cooking for a crowd. That’s why we always recommend keeping it simple when cooking on vacation! A simple meal doesn’t have to be boring or bland and we’ve got the tips to prove it. These simple tricks can help you keep things simple yet delicious so you can get back to enjoying your beach vacation.
A common mistake people make when cooking is not getting a good sear on their meats and veggies. A higher heat can be intimidating, but most stoves should be set to medium-high or so to make sure you’re getting a crispy, flavorful sear on your grilled foods. You can also achieve a great sear by putting meats and veggies over direct heat when you fire up the grill, then moving to indirect heat to complete the cooking process.
That nice sear is important not just because it looks appetizing, but also because it’s the source of a ton of additional flavor that really makes grilled foods shine. The browning of meats, veggies, and other foods is called the Maillard reaction and it’s responsible for a lot of flavorful compounds that can take a simple meal from bland and boring to packed with flavor.
To further promote that delicious sear, avoid over-stirring or over-flipping foods while grilling. In general, vegetables and meats can stand to sit in a hot pan with a little oil (or over direct heat on the grill) for a couple minutes before they need to be stirred or flipped.
Using fresh ingredients can make all the difference in the world, especially when you’re working with a simple recipe. As often as you can, use fresh, not frozen ingredients and make sure your spices, cooking fats (like butter and oil), and other pantry items aren’t past their best by dates.
In the case of spices and other seasonings, the freshness of the ingredients can make a particularly big impact. Dried herbs are convenient because they keep for longer, but fresh rosemary, oregano, or sage can transform a dish visually as well as in flavor. Fresh parsley or basil can be added just before serving for additional flavor and color.
Speaking of seasonings, it’s important to season at multiple steps in the cooking process in order to ensure you’re getting the flavor payoff you want. A generous amount of salt should always go in water used to boil pastas and grains or poach eggs, chicken, or veggies. Salt and pepper are the essential seasonings for meats before they go into the pan or baking dish. Hardy herbs like rosemary can be added early on, while citrus or vinegar is an excellent tangy addition that should be saved for the end.
Whenever possible, taste your meal as you go and add seasoning to taste. Not tasting as you go is the easiest way to end up with bland, boring meals without knowing where you went wrong.
With these tips in hand, we hope you’re feeling excited to whip up some simple but delicious meals while on vacation at our beach house rentals in Newport Beach! If you appreciated this post and would like to see more of our tips, recommendations, and features, be sure to bookmark our blog page for easy access to future posts! And make sure you’re follow us on Instagram so you stay in the know about special offers and seasonal updates for guests at our Orange County beach house rentals.
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