Many people want to learn the culinary arts but are intimidated by the skill set required. The thing with cooking is that progress can be charted in baby steps, and if you follow the advice below, you will be convinced that you have what it takes to be the next top chef.
If you are just starting out with cooking, consider doing your research at your local library. There are plenty of cookbooks with simple recipes available. Experiment with a few, and be patient; remember, you’re learning new skills.
When cooking with skewers, be aware of some important facts. Squared or twisted metal skewers secure the food better than rounded ones.
Try to add the oil into your pans from the sides, so that by the time it touches the food, it will be hot. This will optimize the flavors in your food in your final dish.
If you are going to use oil, make sure you add it at the edge of the pan so it can warm up before getting to the food. This helps to enhance and maximize the taste of your cooking.
Sharp knives are an important component of any kitchen. Dull knives are dangerous and difficult to use. When you use a dull knife, you often have to force the blade through whatever you are cutting. Using a sharp knife is much easier and safer.
Slowly stir corn starch into simmering sauce to thicken. Mix 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch into a bowl. Stir this solution into your simmering thin sauce until it thickens. For sauce that is too thick, add liquid until your sauce is at the desired consistency.
If you are cooking for someone you want to impress, cook something you already know how to make. This is not the time for testing new recipes or new ingredients. Doing this will take some of the stress out of cooking.
For optimal safety, use only sharp knives when preparing food. If your knife is dull, it’s obviously tougher to use, but it is also much more dangerous in general. It’s easier to hurt yourself with a dull knife by forcing it to cut through something than by using a sharp knife to easily slice through it.
Add cauliflower to your mashes potatoes to make this dish healthier and tastier. The taste of cauliflower will blend nicely with the potatoes. Cauliflower is also the same texture and color of potatoes when mashed so it’s a great way to add more veggies, while lowering calories from classic mashed potatoes.
Are you partial to using fresh basil in your cooking? Place a fresh bunch of basil in a jar or glass. Then cover the stems of the basil with water. Now, just sit this glass on your window sill or counter and the basil should stay fresh for a few days to a few weeks. In fact, if you periodically freshen the water, the herb may even sprout roots. Plant the fresh basil in a small pot with rich soil to have fresh basil available at all times.
Do you cook often with fresh basil? Put a some of it in a cup. Make sure the stems are in water. You could let it sit on your counter and it will stay fresh for weeks. With some care, you may even be able to encourage the basil to grow roots. Trim or cut the basil periodically to provide for added growth so you can partake in some fresh basil for a while!
Mushrooms will absorb the water like a sponge. A better option is to use a clean, damp cloth to hand-wipe each mushroom.
By doing so, the mushrooms will absorb the water like a sponge. Wipe them off with a damp cloth to clean them.
Garlic is a wonderful ingredient in recipes, but the smell is quite difficult to remove from your hands. After you are done working with garlic and any other odoriferous ingredients, try rubbing your hands firmly on the inside of your stainless steel sink. Hands will then be clean, and odors will not be transferred on.
If you’ve made sauce, you should place any that is leftover in an ice tray and freeze it. When you do this, making a quick meal can be accomplished by simply reheating by using a saute pan. Have no fear, for the sauce will taste great even after being frozen in the trays!
When preparing chicken stock, it is best to make a large batch. Instead of making a single serving, make a whole stock pot and save the leftovers so you can freeze them. Good homemade chicken stock is a wonderful base in soups, stews, casseroles and more. Allow your stock to cool, then put portions in heavy-duty Ziploc bags made for freezing.
This will help to keep your fruits fresh for much longer. Also, you’ll have certain fruits on hand that can’t be grown during certain periods of the year.
Always make sure to read labels on any ingredients you are purchasing for a recipe. A lot of ingredients could turn out to be unhealthy. Keep track of the amount of sugar and sodium in the staple products used for your recipe, and make adjustments by omitting additional sugar or salt, to avoid diet-related health issues.
If it can be hectic getting dinner ready in time, try preparing ingredients the night before. Try cutting up onions and vegetables, making a sauce or marinating the meat before you go to sleep in the evening. You will save a lot of time, and feel much less stressed when you have to cook.
Make sure that you never use a wine in your food that you would not normally drink. If you use a kind of wine you’ve never tasted before, you may mess up the flavor of the dish you’re working on. You could try wine that is specifically formulated for cooking purposes.
Find a convenient cool dark place for storing herbs and spices. Avoid storing them in places that may become warm, such as cupboards located above a stove. This will cause them to lose their flavor, and the money you spent on them will essentially be wasted.
Save the delicious taste of summer by drying tomatoes yourself. You can use Roma tomatoes cut lengthwise, or ripe tomatoes sliced about a half inch thick. Put the sliced tomatoes onto a cooling rack, and lightly salt the cut-side. The next step is to put the rack on an old cookie sheet and then place in an oven set at 190 degrees for at least 10 hours. Once done, you can store them in your freezer in plastic bags. Dried tomatoes can be placed into a jar that is filled with fresh herbs and olive oil. Keep it refrigerated and use it within two weeks.
Every cook needs some method for organizing his cooking supplies. Disorganization will have you rushing around the kitchen in a frenzy looking for your equipment, ingredients and utensils. Keep things that are similar in the same place. As an example, you may want to keep all of your spices together.
If you have bought fruit that is not ripe, put it in a plastic bag with holes.
As the fruit becomes ripe, it will emit ethylene gas. Putting them in a perforated bag will allow circulation of the air and keep the gas retained, thus allowing the fruit to keep it’s delicious taste.
When using fresh herbs in your meal, including dill and parsley, place the herbs together in bunches, and cut them with scissors. They will be light and fluffy, and won’t have the wetness that chopping would give them.
Include some salt in the water when you make pasta. Seasoning added while it cooks will “set” in the pasta. Once it’s been cooked, the pasta will be harder to season properly.
If you want your dishes to be more flavorful, try preparing your own stock. If you cook large quantities, you could store the leftovers in resealable bags inside your freezer. By freezing stock, you ensure that you have tasty homemade stock ready to add to any dish. When you create the stock that will be used in your food, you can ensure the quality and avoid unnecessary additives and preservatives.
Complete your prep work before you start cooking a meal. This way, you prevent yourself from using too much gas or heat when cooking, and you also provide a certain amount of safety when working with hot oil on a pan or other potential dangers when distracted.
Remove Excess Moisture
Good quality knives are an excellent investment for your kitchen. You will be more efficient when you do not have to deal with dull knives; in addition, sharp knives are safer to use than dull knives. Dull knives cause more accidents than sharp ones.
Dry ground meat with a towel before you put it in the pan to remove excess moisture. You should remove excess moisture from ground beef prior to cooking. If there is too much liquid left on the meat, the cooking process will boil it off. The meat is going to sizzle away. Searing of the meat will be inhibited and lead to steaming instead.
Do not overfill the pan when sauteing foods. Just add a little bit. Too much food adds extra moisture and will lead to a steaming effect that will defeat the purpose of sauteing, which is to create a little crispness in the food. Always saute over a low flame or low setting on your stove-top.
When it’s time to chop fresh herbs, you should sprinkle a bit of salt on your cutting board first. This adds flavor and keeps the herbs on the board. Don’t over-salt your foods. Any salt on your cutting board can stick to the herbs you are chopping and enhance their flavor.
Your spices and cooking herbs will last longer if stored in a dry, cool, and dark place. Heat and moisture can have an adverse effect on the taste of your spices. Constant exposure to these elements will ruin herbs and spices.
When you barbecue, get your grill ready before you start. Plan to start preparing the grilling surface about half an hour before you place food on it. Cover the coals with ashes, and allow them to reach a medium heat. This is the best temperature for grilling.
If you are cooking for an important guest, resist the urge to experiment with a new recipe. You don’t want to risk a culinary disaster in front of people you hope to impress. Sticking to something you know how to make will ensure things go smoothly.
An excellent suggestion is to purchase solid cutting utensils for use in your kitchen. Sharp knives are less time consuming, easier, and safer to use. Dull knives actually cause more cut fingers and accidents than sharper ones.
Cooking with brine is a smart cooking idea. You soak your poultry in a this seasoned salt water bath for at least an hour before cooking in order to enhance the natural flavors of the bird.
There are a few ways you can heat tortillas properly. Preheat the oven to 350 and place your tortilla in the oven until it is crisp. You can also use the burner on your gas stove by placing the tortilla above the flame directly on the metal guard. Using these methods your tortilla will taste fresher and crispier.
Grilled fruit is a particularly savory treat. Slice peaches, melon or nectarines and place them on skewers. Cook them on a grill that is clean until you are able to see grill marks. Place atop grilled pound cake or on ice cream to serve.
Try not to under or over cook your cake. The times on the recipe are great as a guide for cooking, but factors like elevation and various oven temperatures can effect the actual cooking time of cakes. Instead, take a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the cake. If batter sticks to the toothpick when it comes out, more baking is needed; when the toothpick stays clean after insertion, it’s time to eat!
When you need to measure foods that are sticky, use a bit of cooking oil. Before you even measure, add a little cooking oil to the spoon, such as canola, and the thing being measured will fall off the spoon easier, so that way you won’t have any waste and cleaning up is easier. This works well for peanut butter and honey too.
It doesn’t matter if you want to cook for fun or as a career; the start of great tasting meals begins with accurate cooking knowledge. Every culture in the world shares family meals. If you use the above tips, you will become an awesome cook and everyone will ask you to cook for the next big family event.
It is easy to keep your cooked pancakes and waffles warm while you finish cooking the batch. Warm your oven to 300 degrees. As you are cooking the pancakes and waffles, place the goods on a plate and put them in the oven to keep them warm.