all the tips mentioned are great, i do some of those too!
here are mine:
- a spoonful of cocoa powder to red chillies.
- a bit of cream of tartar when whipping egg whites to a stiff foam (make sure the bowl and beaters are free of oil and not plastic).
- you don't need high heat to brown food in a pan, medium heat is fine, just let the food sit there a bit longer and don't keep tossing it around.
- cream cheese should always be softened to room temperature before making cheesecake, a pan of hot water in the oven with the cheesecake prevents cracking.
- to thicken a sauce/soup, you can add a few spoons of flour (or cornstarch, use less); these actually can clump when mixed into hot liquids so first dissolve them in cold water.
- flip pancakes only once, they're ready to flip when you see a lot of bubbles rising to the top.
- never overmix muffins or biscuits or they will be tough, lumps are okay!
- old ovens have uneven heat distribution and lose a lot of heat when opened, putting a pizza stone in while it preheats will slow the preheat time but result in a more even temperature (learned this from alton brown!)
- watch alton brown's Good Eats show, he will teach you a lot about cooking. =)
- add a bit of oil to boiling water before you blanch veggies leaves them looking nice and green (my family does this all the time).
- salt your pasta water after it boils, otherwise it takes longer to boil; always salt before the pasta cooks or else the pasta won't absorb the salt.
- when making an omlette: if the bottom is cooked but the top is still very runny, lift the edge and let the extra egg run to the bottom of the pan - this will speed up cooking time (i personally love runny eggs but my bf likes them crispy).
- i buy sticks of butter for baking when they're on sale, then keep them in the freezer until I need them, just plan for extra defrost time; same for shredded cheese: i buy in bulk, portion them into ziplock baggies and keep them frozen.
hope these help, i listed so many because i'm really bored at work.