It seems like such a simple thing, but I like to employ a certain method to my madness when reading a recipe that I might like to execute. Pardon me for sounding like machine code. If recipe = good, then execute = Y. Being prepared is the number one piece of advice that I give when executing a recipe. I stress this all the time, because it is a big lesson that I have learned in my kitchen adventures.
Read and Reread
Take a few minutes and read the recipe through once. Then read it again, this time take note of any ingredients that you will need to purchase or any cooking utensils you will need. It is never a good idea to be completely linear when executing a recipe. Sometimes the recipe calls for a certain type of bakeware in the last paragraph that you didn’t know you needed.
Also, make notes or mental notes about what ingredients need to be prepared a certain way, and where the instructions tell you to do so. For instance, one recipe might read One Medium Onion, Chopped. But another recipe might say One Medium Onion, and then two paragraphs below tell you to chop the onion.
Check to see if the oven needs to be preheating. Some recipes don’t actually say “Preheat Oven.” One time I did an hour’s worth of preparation only to get to the last paragraph telling me “place dish in a 400 degree oven.”
Check off ingredients
Go through your kitchen or pantry and check off the ingredients you have and make notes of ones that you know you can do without or you can substitute. You’d hate to be ready to light the grill and realize you have no charcoal.
Start your Mise
Begin preparing the ingredients you will need. Chop, mince, dice, measure, preheat. Retrieve mixing bowls, skillets, or whatever utensils you will need to prepare your dish.
Take a moment to glance over the recipe before you begin cooking to see if you missed anything crucial. Did the oven need to be preheated? Does the recipe require a water bath, for which you need to boil some water? Do you need to heat some oil in a skillet? Do you need to let the wine breath?
Hope this will help you when preparing the food with recipes. And now execute the rest. A little forethought and preparation will go a long way.