No matter who you are, cooking is an essential skill to know. You can reap many social, financial and health benefits from mastering the fine art of cooking well. The following information contains a variety of tips to help improve your cooking skills.
If you are learning to cook for yourself or your family, pick up a cookbook from your bookstore or library. Look for one that has basic, easy recipes that will be fun to cook. Try some recipes and be patient as you develop your skills.
Being properly prepared is key to success in cooking for your family and friends. Always have all ingredients before starting to cook. Get everything set to cook the next day. Determine if you have you got the right utensils, etc. Having everything ready will take some of the stress off and increase the chances of your success.
Many use a good number of apples for baking and cooking throughout fall and winter, but if improperly stored, they will spoil quickly. To keep apples at the peak of perfection, store them in your refrigerator or basement. One rotten apple will spoil the bunch so keep a close eye on them while stored.
Slowly stir corn starch into simmering sauce to thicken. Take one tablespoon corn starch, and combine with two tablespoons water in a mixing bowl. In order to create a thicker sauce, add the mixture to the sauce, while it is cooking on low heat. For a sauce that’s too thick, add more liquid.
If you want crispier and crunchier French fries, then soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for a period of at least half an hour before use. Doing this increases the strength of the fiber in the potatoes, which means that they don’t break down as quickly during the deep frying phase.
Many people find slicing meat into thin strips very difficult; however, if you partially freeze the meat, the task is much simpler. This technique is especially useful for the meat slicing styles typically used in Asian cuisine. The meat holds a tighter form when the it is partially frozen making the strips clean cut with out any stretching of the meat. Then don’t forget to let the meat strips completely thaw, so it will cook evenly.
Regardless of what you cook, it is always better to use fresh ingredients as opposed to those that are dried or frozen. Use fresh foods any time you can, as they bring out the best flavor of the dish, and can be real money-savers too.
When adding seasoning to meats, try some before cooking the whole thing. A lot of dishes require you to season the meat with care. Spices and seasonings added when the meat is fully cooked are unlikely to stick. Cook a small piece of it first. Taste the cooked patty, and cook the remainder of the meat if the seasoning is just right, or make any necessary adjustments to the seasonings.
Garlic is a popular ingredient that has one notable downside; its trademark scent transfers easily to your skin. Rub your hands thoroughly on the interior of a stainless steel sink after working with garlic or other odoriferous cooking ingredients. This handy trick cleanses your hands so the smell will not be transferred to what you are going to touch next.
Many times your burgers can stick to your grill and it could be nearly impossible to free them without destroying them. Brush the grill with oil so that food does not stick to it. Vegetable oil works great and will not make your grill greasy.
For crispier French fries, let raw potatoes stand for 30 minutes in a cold pot of water. A cold water soak helps the potatoes stand up to the rigors of deep fat frying.
If you want to make chicken stock, you might as well make a lot of it. If you make a large pot of stock, you can freeze it and store it for future use. You can use that delicious chicken stock in stews, casseroles, and soups. Just cool your stock and freeze it in heavyweight Ziploc freezer bags.
Garlic is one of the best-loved of all the spices. However, that wonderful aroma can really stick to your hands. After you have finished doing your prep work with the garlic, run your hands along the stainless steel interior of your sink. This process removes the odors from your hands and keeps you from transferring them to the next piece of food you work with.
If you want to eat healthier and lose weight, it’s really important to use fewer oils in your cooking. Butters and oils contain unnecessary fats. To achieve the same results as oil without the unhealthy fat, try using a nonstick spray.
If you have sauce left over after a meal, store the remainder in one or more ice cube trays and let it freeze. You can easily take them from the freezer when needed for a meal, and quickly reheat in a saute pan. The frozen sauce will keep extremely well until the next time you need it!
Tofu and beans are excellent sources of protein. Both are readily available in grocery stores. For a meat alternative, try pan frying seasoned tofu. Boil beans with a sauce or herbs, or add them to a salad to serve up some additional protein.
If your burgers tend to stick to your grill, it might be hard to cook them while preserving their shape. To prevent your burgers from sticking, brush the grill with oil prior to cooking.
When making a meal that needs milk or water, try a different substitute to make the dish taste different. Substitute plain water with juice, broth, or the water that you cooked your vegetables in. If a recipe calls for milk, try using buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. Varying the liquids that are in your recipes is an excellent method of adding nutrition and variety to a dish.
When storing baking ingredients, such as flour and sugar, be sure to store them in air-tight food containers. Airtight containers will keep your foods safe from bugs, and allow them to stay fresh longer because they are not exposed to air. Almost every store has some form of them, and they are usually inexpensive.
Make your own dried tomatoes. Drying them is easy – simply cut Roma tomatoes in half, or cut larger tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. You should place them on cooling rack, and salt them lightly with the cut side up. Use a cookie sheet to hold the rack and set it in the oven at 190 degrees for at least 10 hours. Once done, you can store them in your freezer in plastic bags. Another option is to store dried tomatoes in a jar that contains fresh, flavorful herbs and olive oil. Use them within two weeks of refrigerating.
If you prefer to use spices and herbs, make sure they are stored in a cool, dark place, so their freshness and flavor is preserved. You are destroying your herbs’ flavors and wasting your money when you store them in a warm area or where they are exposed to sunlight.
When boiling or sauteing veggies, use chicken broth instead of water. Chicken broth is great for preventing sticking of vegetables and incorporating some great flavor with them. Chicken broth is cheap, and can be bought anywhere.
Directions should be followed closely when you are making macaroni and cheese. You will want the macaroni to have an ultimate consistency and firmness prior to melting the cheese over it. Serving this dish can be enhanced by using a simple spoon with a solid face. You can even add some pepper to give you macaroni a little kick!
Take a look at the nutrition facts when you buy ingredients to cook with. There are many common supplies in cooking that contain unhealthy ingredients that are hidden. Make sure the ingredients you get don’t contain too much sugar or sodium, because each may account for certain health problems if overused.
The night before you are scheduled to prepare a large, multi-course meal, complete as much prep work as possible. Start by getting all of your ingredients in one place to make sure you have whatever you need. Have all ingredients chopped and measured. You will only have to get everything put together when it’s time for you to cook.
When you do this, you can enjoy your favorite fresh fruits all year. Also, you’ll have certain fruits on hand that can’t be grown during certain periods of the year.
One great cooking tip is just be flexible and creative; do your own thing. You need not follow a recipe exactly. Give the recipe your own personal twist by leaving an ingredient or two out, substituting, or adding something. These little changes can result in an exceptionally good dish that is better than the original recipe! Then you can consider yourself a real cook!
Measure the amount of cooking oil you use! Use only the required amount of oil necessary, and resist pouring straight from the bottle to the cooking pan, to reduce the fat content in your foods. You’ll be able to carefully account for all of the oil that you use.
For an improvement to your pasta sauce, save some of the water used to cook the pasta. Remove approximately a quarter of a cup and set it aside. As you begin to add your sauce to the pasta, slowly mix in the water. The addition of the starchy water will bulk up your sauce and make it creamier.
Impress your loved ones or guests with great sandwiches by spreading the mayo evenly across the corners of the bread slices. Often, condiments are haphazardly squirted onto only the center of the bread. When it is spread out evenly, each bite of the sandwich will be delicious and full of flavor.
When you purchase garlic for cooking, find the freshest head possible. The sooner you use fresh garlic, the better and sweeter the flavor of it will be. Fresh garlic is hard, not wrinkled, or mushy-feeling.
Before you start cooking, it is best to have everything you will need already prepared. This can help you avoid too much heat or gas when you cook, and can also make it safer to cook with a hot pan, oil, or other dangers that could harm you if you’re distracted.
Leaving the bone in is an easy way to decrease the cook time for a roast. The bone acts as a conduit to draw heat to the center of your roast, helping the roast to cook more quickly. Once it’s finished cooking, you can plate up your meat after simply trimming around the bone.
Always take good care of your wooden cutting board. Your wooden cutting board can be damaged by too much moisture or too much heat. The result can be warping or splitting. Do not immerse the cutting board in water, but instead, wipe it off with a sponge using warm water and soap. If your board is damaged you, can restore it by applying oil regularly, using an oil specially formulated for use on wood cutting boards. Allow your board to dry completely between uses.
Don’t use a type of wine in your meal that is a kind you wouldn’t drink regularly. You run the risk of ruining the taste of the dish if you use a wine you haven’t tried before. You can find wines that are made primarily to cook with.
While you may wish to present them with something elaborate, avoid testing new recipes when you are making a meal that really matters. Whether you are cooking for your boss, that special someone or your in-laws, you would like them to enjoy your cooking. The best way to make them happy would be to cook a great meal, so make sure you cook something you are familiar with.
If you’re overwhelmed with dinner prep for the family, try to do some food prep the night prior. You can cut up ingredients, measure spices, marinate meat and prepare sauces 24 hours in advance to avoid the stress of preparing a more complex meal. This will take a great deal of stress off of your shoulders when it is time to cook.
A great way to cook is brining. Soak turkey, chicken, duck and goose in brine approximately an hour before cooking, and you will create delectable poultry tastes in your dishes.
It is vital for cooks to have their supplies organized when cooking. If they are not properly organized, you will wind up rummaging around to find what you need. Try to keep similar things in one place. For instance, place parsley and basil in one cabinet, since both are spices.
Reheating oily dishes should take place in the oven rather than the microwave if you want to avoid a mess. The intense heat of a microwave tends to cause the oil, which heats fastest, to separate from the other ingredients. Instead, baking is slower and applies heat more consistently, which warms the entire dish together for a more cohesive flavor.
Having the ability to cook is very beneficial. The tips you have read should help you improve your cooking skills no matter what your food preferences may be; from haute cuisine to informal home style dining. You will rarely be tempted by fast food again if you use this advice to cook well at home.
Butter should be softened but not fully melted before being creamed with sugar. If it is melted, pop the bowl into the freezer for a few minutes to harden it a bit, or refrigerate the dough after mixing the ingredients. Your cookies will not spread if you make sure your dough is cool.