Many people have a natural inclination to be a cooking pro but find that they are intimidated by various aspects of great cooking success. Cooking is so accessible because you can go at your own pace, and if you try applying these tips, you can be a master chef faster than the blink of an eye.
When trying to cut strips of meat, partially freeze it for a more firm cut. This works well for Asian dishes, like Chinese or Thai. With meat that is somewhat frozen, the fibers tend not to stretch or tear as much when they are sliced, making for much cleaner cuts. Though before cooking the meat strips, make sure you let them thaw completely. This allows for even cooking.
If you are just beginning to cook more of your meals, go straight to the nearest bookstore or library to find a cookbook that has simple, fun recipes. Try making three or four of the recipes that appeal to you the most, and give yourself plenty of time to perfect your newly acquired skill.
If you are preparing a meal for a boss or new date, cook something that you are familiar with. Do not attempt to whip up a new dish or use an ingredient you have never used before. Cooking will become less stressful.
If you are baking crusts for a pie or tart, you will probably need to bake them for a while longer than you thought. Let the crust go beyond light tan to a deeper, golden shade. The darker color results when the sugar from the crust has started to caramelize and will have a much sweeter and crisper flavor.
Did you ever feel bad for throwing old, moldy fruit away? Have you ever thought to just remove the moldy section by cutting it out? Saving half-rotten fruit in a healthy way is not possible. Mold goes a lot deeper than you see and it can make you ill.
You must prep well if you want to cook a large, festive meal. Save yourself time and trouble by having all your ingredients ready. Plan your meal a day in advance to make sure you have everything you need. With a good plan and everything in place, you will feel far less anxious.
The quality of vegetables improves when cooked. Slow-cooked vegetables lose nutritional value and taste. These methods usually create healthier vegetables. Cooking better vegetables is all about cooking them for the least amount of time possible.
Many use a good number of apples for baking and cooking throughout fall and winter, but if improperly stored, they will spoil quickly. Dry warm air will cause them to rot, so make sure they are stored in a loose plastic bag in the fridge or in a cool basement. Keep an eye on them though, because one rotten apple in the bag will spoil the rest of them in no time.
Are you cooking using fresh basil? Place a few fresh sprouts in a glass. Make sure the stems are covered with water. Keep it on the kitchen counter and it should stay fresh. Frequent changes of the water might even encourage the basil to spread out some roots. Encourage new growth by occasionally pinching back or trimming your basil.
Like many types of delicious ingredients, there’s a downside to using garlic: its scent can transfer to your hands. One tip is to utilize the stainless steel feature of your sink; swipe your hand across it when you’ve been handling garlic or other ingredients with strong odors. Not only does this clean your hands, but it also stops the unwanted smells from getting into other foods you are about to handle.
Do you want to use fresh basil in your dishes? Place the basil in a container that is glass. Fill the container with enough water to cover the stems. 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. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh, and you might even see your basil leaves sprouting some roots. Trim your plant on occasion and you will encourage future growth. This means you will have fresh basil in your kitchen for a long time to come!
If you are left with extra sauce after a meal, find a clean ice cube tray to pour the leftovers into and store the tray in the freezer. For a quick and easy sauce on another night, simply remove as many cubes as you need and reheat in a pan. Nothing to worry about as the sauce will be fine even after it’s been sitting in ice cube trays.
When you do this, the mushroom will become absorbent and soak up the water. Try using a clean, wet cloth and wiping them off instead.
Have you ever struggled to determine the time it takes to grill your meat? It is always a good idea to use a quality meat thermometer (preferably a digital one for precise reading) to make sure the inside is also cooked properly. If your meat is thicker than 1.5 inches, consider closing the grill lid to reduce grilling time.
If you want to cook a pumpkin, cut it vertically in half. Place each half on a baking sheet. Sprinkle some water onto the baking sheets, and proceed to bake the pumpkin at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes.
Tofu and beans are excellent sources of protein. Most grocery stores sell both items. Frying the tofu in a low-sodium soy sauce is a tasty alternative to eating meat for dinner! Boil beans with a sauce or herbs, or add them to a salad to serve up some additional protein.
When serving salad to guests, you should never put salad dressing directly on it. You should have it to the side so that each person can use as much or as little as they want. Let people put on their own dressing. Also, give a variety of different dressings.
When you are going to be cooking pumpkins, the first thing to do is to stand your pumpkin upright. Then you can cut in right down the middle so you have two halves. You then want to get two baking sheets and put the halves on their cut side down. Place a tiny bit of water on each sheet, then bake the pumpkin for about an hour at 350 degrees.
Leave the bone in a roast when you are cooking and pressed for time. Your roast will be done a lot faster because its bone transfer heat to your roaster. Simply cut the meat off the bone to serve.
Many vegetable and herbs give off a smell that tends to remain in your chopping board, even though you scrub it over and over again. Make a mark with permanent ink on the end of the cutting board, so you always know which side to use for the item that you’re cutting.
If spices and herbs are used regularly in your cooking, keep them somewhere dark and cool in order to keep their fresh flavors. Storing spices in warm locations, such as above the stove, can cause the spices to lose their flavor and you to lose your money.
If you are going to use fresh herbs, such as dill or parsley in your meal, put them together to form bunches and use scissors to cut them. This will keep the herbs drier and lighter than chopped with a knife.
After your Thanksgiving meal, don’t throw away turkey leftovers. The meat can be cut up, stored in separate bags, and kept in the freezer. Cooked turkey that has been frozen can be enjoyed for weeks by defrosting and using for soups, salads and sandwiches.
Always follow instructions to the letter whenever you cook macaroni and cheese. Your macaroni should be cooked al dente, not too hard and not too soft. A solid spoon should be used when serving the macaroni masterpiece. Another great tip is to spice things up a bit with some black pepper.
When using fresh herbs in your cooking like parsley or basil, bundle them together and cut them with scissors instead of chopping. They will be light and fluffy, and won’t have the wetness that chopping would give them.
If you make salsa with raw onions that you plan to save rather than eat right away, rinse the onions using cold water, then blot the onions dry before storing. Fresh onions have sulfurous gas in them. Your fresh salsa can get ruined by sulfurous gas. By rinsing and drying your raw onions, the gas is released.
Always follow instructions to the letter whenever you cook macaroni and cheese. The macaroni will be perfect once the cheese melts over the noodles. Serve it with a solid spoon to get all the cheese from the pot to the plate. A little bit of pepper can add surprising dimension to this simple dish.
Learn about any new foods that you haven’t worked with before. You might be surprised of the possibilities you will learn about for food. If you take the time to learn about the item before heading into the kitchen, the experience will be that much more enjoyable.
Make certain to blot any type of ground meat prior to cooking it. Blotting the moisture away will help the meat cook better. If you just let the moisture sit, it will affect how the meat cooks. It will begin to sizzle. Instead of being seared as it should, the meat may very well steam.
There are a wide variety of potatoes, and they are not always adequate substitutes for each other when cooking. Waxy potatoes are great for boiling and potato salads while other potatoes are better for making french fries, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes. For that type of side dish, Russets are a good choice of fluffy potato.
You may have heard master chefs on TV say, “Let the meat rest before serving it.” Most people are unaware that it’s a good idea to have a meal sit out for a few minutes before eating. You may be tempted to serve people as soon as the meal comes out of the oven. However, you are missing out if you do so. Always let the meal cool and sit for a little while.
While it may be tempting to try something new, always cook something you know. It may be a boss, new in-laws, or a new love interest that you want to astonish with your cooking. Ensure that they enjoy their meal by cooking a dish that you are familiar with.
To make an improvement to pasta sauce, save some of the pasta’s cooking water. Save about one quarter cup of this water. When you combine the sauce and the pasta, add this little amount of water to the mix. Residual starch in the water adds volume and creaminess to the sauce of your choice.
Set a timer that you can easily carry with you as well. An athletic stopwatch hanging from your neck or a watch timer on your wrist both offer the advantage of proximity, assuring you will hear them go off regardless of your physical location at the time.
When chopping fresh herbs, try shaking a small amount of salt on your cutting board first. This adds some extra flavor to the herbs while also keeping them on the board. Don’t add to much salt when doing this. Salt is known to boost the flavors of the items you use in your recipe, including herbs.
You can use leftover vegetables and meats to create a delicious fried rice mixture. For drier rice, make it the night before you plan to use it or decrease the amount of water you use to cook it. Fry the ingredients in oil and add rice with spices and sauce.
It does not matter if you just want to make a dish for your family to enjoy or if you are cooking for a date, cooking is a skill that will always come in handy. Every culture in the world values mealtime with loved ones. If you follow these ideas, you can begin on a journey of becoming a cook, and everyone’s favorite person at dinner parties.
Use silicone, nylon, and rubber spatulas and spoons when cooking with nonstick cookware. Harder utensils, like wooden or metal ones, will scratch the coating, which will reduce the quality of your pan and get in the food. This can prove to be unhealthy and will also reduce the appeal of your food.