It is common knowledge that human beings require food to continue living. But plain “survival” foods can lead to boredom in the kitchen. However, what’s better than eating a delicious new food is to cook a delicious new food. These tips can help you take those cooking skills to an other level.
The prep work comes first. The prep work should be done before you even start cooking. Sometimes even when the prep work is done, the deadline for when the meal must be completed can still loom large and become stressful. Prepare your food in advance if you want to minimize the stress that you feel.
Protect your spice and herb collection by storing your jars at room temperature in a dark place. Their flavors suffer when they are exposed to heat, light, and humidity. Another little known fact is that ground spices tend to lose their flavor quicker than whole spices. Spices that come in the whole form will keep their flavor for around 3-5 years. The freshness can last longer if they are stored correctly.
When baking crust for pie or tarts, leave them in the oven to bake a little longer than you planned. It will help if you achieve a darker, more delicious golden caramel color, rather than stopping when the crust is still pale. The darker color results when the sugar from the crust has started to caramelize and will have a much sweeter and crisper flavor.
If you are working on creating more home-cooked meals, try the library for cookbooks that offer a variety of easy recipes that will be fun to prepare. Try different recipes until you come up with something that works for you.
If you are cooking a dish in oil and need to add more to the pan, drizzle it around the sides. This way, the oil heats up before it reaches the food. This also maximizes the flavor of whatever you are cooking.
When baking pie or tart crusts, bake them longer than you think you should. Rather than pale blonde, they should have a golden caramel color. The caramelizing of the sugar in pie crust gives it crispness and extra sweetness.
When seasoning meats, try a little piece before cooking the entire thing. Many foods, like hamburgers, meatloaf and meatballs take careful seasoning to taste great. Cook only a portion of the food prior to seasoning the entire dish. Rather, cook a small portion first. Afterwards you can choose to cook the remainder of the meat or adjust your seasonings.
Whenever you are spicing up your meat, consider starting off with a small portion before you cook the whole piece. Take care when seasoning foods like hamburgers, meatloaf or meatballs. Hold off on cooking the entire dish until you have checked the seasoning. Just cook a small piece formed into a patty. You can adjust the seasoning if you don’t like it.
When preparing a meal for an important event, such as a date or a dinner with your boss, cook a dish you are already familiar with. Avoid cooking with new ingredients or a new recipe that you have never used before. This can make cooking less of a chore.
Do you plan on cooking with fresh basil? Gather a small bunch of freshly cut basil and place it in a glass. Add water to cover the stems. This will allow it to stay fresh for weeks! You can even promote the growth of roots if you replace the water from time to time. Trim the basil once in a while so it grows even more and stays fresh.
A sharp knife is indispensable for efficient cooking. It might seem odd at first, but it makes perfect sense. You will struggle with a duller knife and thus may cut yourself easily if your blade or your grip slips. This is because if you are trying to cut using a dull knife you have to exert more force to make the same cut that you could easily make using a sharp knife.
By doing any prep work the day before a big meal, you can make the actual cooking process faster and less stressful. Look over your recipe and determine which items can be prepared in advance and not spoil. You can simplify the cooking process by doing your prep work well in advance. You can turn a fancy meal into a fast, fun meal that can be cooked in a flash!
It is a good practice to place cut potatoes in a bath of cold water for about half and hour, before frying in order to get crispy fries. Soaking the sliced potatoes in cold water strengthens the potato fibers so they will not break down so much when you fry them in the hot oil.
Garlic is delicious; however the pungent aroma will get stuck on your hands. To avoid the lingering, strong odor from working with odoriferous cooking ingredients, thoroughly rub you hands on the stainless steel surface of your kitchen sink. Not only does this clean your hands, but it also stops the unwanted smells from getting into other foods you are about to handle.
Is fresh basil something you cook with often? Place the basil in a container that is glass. Make sure the basil’s stems are covered in water. Keep it on your counter and it will stay fresh for weeks. In fact, if you periodically freshen the water, the herb may even sprout roots. Periodically prune the fresh basil; this will stimulate the plant to continue growing for a week or so.
Do you have a difficult time deciding how long you should grill your meat? Make sure you use quality meat thermometers to ascertain the internal temperature. If you are grilling meat that exceeds a thickness of 1.5 inches, closing your grill’s lid can make better use of the heat and cook through the meat faster.
This seasoning can be used with various foods other than meat. For example, sprinkle it over roasted nuts or seeds, or use a dash when cooking eggs for breakfast. The interesting flavor will leave everyone wondering what the secret ingredient it.
If you are on a diet, try cutting down the amount of oil you use in your food. These products contain a lot of unnecessary fat. Consider giving non-stick cooking spray a shot. The end result is virtually the same, but these sprays are often fat-free and have ingredients that are more friendly to your diet.
When you want to add a bit of protein to your diet, tofu and beans are a great source of it. The vast majority of grocery stores stock both of these products. Pan fried tofu, lightly sprinkled with your favorite seasonings, is a delicious substitute to meat. The beans can be boiled with some herbs for a flavorful protein source.
When you are cooking, use fresh ingredients instead of frozen or dried ones for the best results. When you use fresh ingredients you can bring out the true flavor of your food, and they can sometimes be cheaper in the end.
You can make meal preparation a breeze by doing part of the food prep in advance. Easy ways to prep in advance include cutting up any ingredients that needs chopping, throwing together the ingredients for any sauces or marinades or assembling a casserole before you head to bed for the night. Your stress levels will be lessened, and you will be more ready to whip up your meal!
After you have prepared some sauce, freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays. You will then have it readily available for when you need to make a quick and easy meal. All that needs to be done is to warm it up in a pan. Don’t worry, your sauce will taste great even after having been frozen.
Do not forget to replace your spices twice a year. When spices are stored for too long, their flavor degrades, resulting in a less potent spice. If you purchase a specific spice, knowing that you probably won’t use it all, split it with someone.
Several times your burgers will stick to the grill, and it is hard or impossible to remove them without destroying their shape. Consider brushing the grill with vegetable oil before cooking to prevent food from sticking to the grill.
Good organizational skills can help you avoid cooking mishaps. Having all your kitchen tools handy and organized will help you turn out a good meal. Being disorganized can make it quite easy to make it impossible to find things when you need them, which makes you miss out on the goodies that you could be indulging in.
Always soak skewers in water for 30 minutes before loading them with food and cooking. That way, they will not burn during the cooking process. Instead of cooking food on a single skewer, opt for two parallel skewers. This prevents the ingredients from sliding off into the fire.
Blot your ground beef with a paper towel before you brown it. Before preparing ground meat, you should blot away excess moisture. Unless you remove the moisture, it may not be released until the meat is cooked. If excess moisture is present during the cooking process, the end product of your meat will be altered. This leads to the meat getting steamed, instead of what you want, which is to sear it.
Place salad dressing off to the side of a salad, instead of on top of it, when serving salad to guests. Certain people prefer a larger amount of dressing on the salad than others. Because of this fact, you should allow people to pour dressing on their own. Give them a choice of salad dressings.
When it’s time to chop fresh herbs, you should sprinkle a bit of salt on your cutting board first. The salt will give the herbs more flavor and prevent them from sliding of the board as you cut. Remember to use moderation; you don’t want to add too much salt to your ingredients. The salt that is added to your dish with the herbs will provide enough flavor.
Keep your spices and herbs stored in a dark, cool place so that their freshness and flavor is maximized. Cabinets located above stoves or other warm corners of your kitchen are bad places to store spices and herbs, as doing so will sacrifice both taste and eventually dollars.
There are several different methods you can use to heat tortillas. One ways is to cook them in the oven at 350 degrees and bake until they are crisp, to your liking. A different, super quick way to heat your tortillas is placing them right on your gas-powered stove top, on the metal grill right over the flame. Either of these methods will result in a more crispy and tasty tortilla.
After a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving or any other occasion, do not discard the leftovers. The meat can be cut up, stored in separate bags, and kept in the freezer. Storing turkey in this method helps it stay fresh for weeks and allows you to use it again in the future for sandwiches or salads.
To ensure that your shells stay firm when making twice baked potatoes or loaded potato skins, use thick-skinned potatoes, such as russets. Red or new potatoes have too thin of a skin to hold the filling.
It is important to completely follow the instructions when making macaroni and cheese. This ensures that the macaroni is cooked to perfection and that the cheese is the right consistency to blend well with the pasta. To serve the delectable macaroni and cheese, using a spoon with a solid face is just the right choice. Use pepper to spice up your macaroni and cheese.
Rubbing stainless steel on your hands before you wash them can get rid of odors such as onions, fish and other strong ingredients. Any stainless steel surface will absorb the nasty odor, and your hands will smell fresh and clean!
Fruit works fabulously on a grill. Load up a kebab with sliced fruits such as melons, peaches, nectarines, and pears. Watch the fruit carefully, and leave the skewer on until your fruit is nicely covered with grill marks. Use the grilled fruit as a topping for ice cream or a grilled pound cake.
Make certain to blot any type of ground meat prior to cooking it. Blotting the moisture off of your ground meat is definitely always a great idea. If the moisture is allowed to remain, it will be released when cooking commences. It will steam off in the hot skillet. While this may not seem like a big deal, it means that the meat will actually steam, instead of sear, which makes a huge difference in the texture.
Put citrus fruits in the microwave first to get the most out of juicing. Heat up your citrus fruits for about ten seconds. Immediately after removing the fruit from the microwave, gently roll it on a flat surface. Now you are ready to begin juicing.
When you know how to cook, it be as entertaining as actually eating. Use these tips and have them be a part of your stock, adding little touches here and there as you go on. Not only will your skills improve, everyone will be asking you to bring over meals and treats every time you visit.
If you should decide to experiment with spices, include saffron in your investigation. Saffron can lend your cooking a bright, sunny flavor that you cannot get in other ways. Saffron is a rare seasoning that has been around for hundreds of years, and yet is still incredibly popular today. Not surprisingly, saffron is a flavor that is sought the world over. Because of this, this herb is considered one of the priciest on the market.