You need a few basic fundamentals to be a better cook. The following article will teach you the secrets behind what is involved in being a good cook Follow the tips provided in the article and you will know exactly what things you need to do to be the best cook that you can possibly be.
If you keep herbs and spices handy, make sure you are keeping them in a dark, cool area. Elements such as light and heat can cause your herbs to lose flavor quickly, resulting in less taste being added to your favorite dishes. In general, herbs and spices that are ground will retain their flavor for up to one year. You may retain your spice’s flavor for about 5 years. Proper storage will enhance the flavoring for a longer time.
Always store your spices in a cool and dark place. Exposure to humidity, light and heat all affect the flavor of your spices. Herbs and spices that are ground usually remain flavorful for a year. If kept whole, spices can keep their flavor for up to five years. Proper storage is essential to maintaining fresh, robust flavors.
There are many things you can do ahead of time to save time during your meal preparation. Complete as many steps in advance as you can without risking spoilage. You can prepare a lot of food the day prior to actually cooking. This can make harder recipes easy, and complicated ones a fun, fast experience.
Prepare to cook before you actually start cooking. The prep work should be done before you even start cooking. Having a deadline for an important meal or event can become quite stressful when you are starting from scratch. You can save yourself a lot of stress by doing as much preparation ahead of time as you can.
Garlic’s only disadvantage is that it transfers smell onto your hands. To remove it, rub your hands along the inside of a stainless sink or bowl . This removes the scent from your hands; it also prevents the odor from being transferred to other foods.
If you are looking for new ideas for meals to prepare for yourself or your family two great places to look are the library and the internet, where you can find a vast array of options. Try your hand at some of the recipes, remembering that patience is key during the learning process.
If you find yourself with leftover homemade sauce, freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays. For a quick and easy sauce on another night, simply remove as many cubes as you need and reheat in a pan. Sauce cubes made this way are safe and will taste great!
When you are baking pastry crusts, try increasing the cooking time a bit. Wait until the crust turns golden rather than pale blond. The golden color indicates that the sugar in the pie crust has caramelized and this will give a sweet and crisp flavor.
Tofu and beans are great sources of protein that can easily be added to your diet. Both can be found at any grocery store. You can fry tofu or add it to soups, seasoned well, for a yummy protein alternative. Boil the beans with herbs to make a tasty protein-filled dish.
When you are cooking a stir-fry, ensure the meat is sliced to be very thin, and cut it on the bias. This can sometimes be a tricky undertaking and very time-consuming. You should take the meat out when it reaches a firm state yet not frozen, and slice across the grain at an angle of 45 degrees.
Rather than using water or milk in a specific recipe, try a different liquid to add a new flavor. For instance, you can use broth, stock, juice or a bit of wine to replace the water in a recipe. Substitute sour cream, buttermilk or even yogurt in place of regular milk. Varying the liquids that are in your recipes is an excellent method of adding nutrition and variety to a dish.
When you have an upcoming dish that has garlic as an ingredient, go out and get the freshest available garlic that you can find. Usually when the garlic is most fresh, that is the point when it tastes the sweetest. Fresh garlic usually has a firm skin and no bruises or soft spots.
To make slicing meat into thin strips a little easier, partially freeze it. This is helpful for Asian dishes you may try that call for thin strips of meat. Uncooked meat is easier to cut when it is partially frozen. To ensure the meat cooks evenly, you must let the meat strips thaw thoroughly before cooking.
If you’re overwhelmed with dinner prep for the family, try to do some food prep the night prior. Cut up ingredients the night before you plan on cooking a meal to save some time. This will take a great deal of stress off of your shoulders when it is time to cook.
As you are seasoning your meats, you should make a little piece first before you cook the entire piece. You have to use caution when seasoning certain meats, such as meatballs, meatloaf and hamburgers. Do not try and cook the whole piece of meat right after adding seasoning. A better option is to season the small piece and allow it to cook. You can adjust the seasoning if you don’t like it.
Spices should be stored in a cool, dark area so that they stay as fresh as they can for as long as possible. The quality and freshness of spices and herbs will diminish when locked in warm areas.
Make sure you are using sharp knives to prepare your food. Dull knives, in addition to being ineffective, are actually very dangerous. It is easy to cut yourself if you are using a dull knife than slicing it with a very sharp one.
Head to the store and replace your unused spices every six months. If spices are kept open for too long a time, they will eventually lose their flavor. If you do not think you will use all of the spice within six months, split it with a friend.
Fresh ingredients are always preferable to dried or frozen ones in all of your recipes. Your recipe will be more flavorful if you use fresh ingredients, and the cost can be lower as well.
While cooking or baking, wash the dishes as your sauce simmers or your cookies bake. To make it easy, just have one sink filled with soapy water and fill the other side with rinse water. It’s easier to wash cooking utensils right after their use.
You can make a lot of preparations when you are cooking to make it easy and fast. Look at your recipe and decide which steps you can do in advance without worry of food spoilage. You can simplify the cooking process by doing your prep work well in advance. By doing this, your cooking task will be quick and easy – even for very complex recipes.
Let your food rest a bit before sitting down to eat. Many individuals don’t know it’s important to let your meal sit for a bit before dishing it up. It has become almost habit now to serve up a meal as it comes right off the stove. But if you do, you miss out on the full flavors of the dish. Let your food rest for a while, and you will enjoy tastier meals.
When you want to chop herbs, sprinkle some salt on your cutting board. This will add some flavor and the herbs will stay on the board. Don’t add to much salt when doing this. The salt that has been sprinkled onto the board, will also have the extra benefit of adding a little bit of extra flavor when it adheres to the herbs.
When boiling or sauteing veggies, use chicken broth instead of water. Cooking vegetables in chicken broth is a low-fat, flavorful option. Chicken broth can be found at any grocery store, and is very low priced.
There are various ways to heat up tortillas properly. The first way is to turn your oven on at 350 degrees and place the tortilla on the rack directly until it’s as crispy as you want it. Or you can place a tortilla directly over the flame when you are cooking with a gas stove top. These methods make delicious and fresh tortillas.
If you choose the wooden versions of cooking skewers, it is a good idea to immerse them in water, and leave them there for about half an hour before using them. This will prevent them from burning while you are cooking. Use two parallel skewers as opposed to a single skewer to keep food intact.
Keep your spices and herbs stored in a dark, dry, and cool area. Flavor loss occurs when they are exposed to heat, light and humidity. This makes it more likely that your spices will not retain their distinct flavors and properties.
Proper preparation can save you a lot of time when you are cooking. Often times, you can get ingredients ready up to several days in advance of when you will be making the meal. Sometimes, this can actually let the flavors of what you are making become more “married”. Once you develop this habit, you may never go back.
Always purchase the freshest garlic available if you plan to be cooking with this wonderfully aromatic seasoning. Older garlic tends to smell and taste woody, while fresh garlic ensures a sweet, yet savory flavor. Fresh garlic usually has a firm skin and no bruises or soft spots.
The vast varieties of potatoes do not easily substitute for each other in recipes. Waxy potatoes are best used for things like potato salad but would not work well if made into a French fry. For those culinary exercises, you should use potatoes that are fluffy, such as Russets.
Choose a bone-in roast if you are short on cooking time. Leaving the bones in will significantly reduce the joint’s cooking time as bones are nature’s alternative to metal skewers. Simply cut the meat from around the bone when the roast is done cooking, and serve it to your family or guests. No one will be any the wiser.
In order to eliminate some strong odors caused by items such as garlic or other pungent foods, just use stainless steel on your hands for a few seconds prior to washing them. You can purchase a small bar made for this purpose, but you can also use a spoon or rub the basin of your stainless steel sink. Doing this will kill the strong odor on your hands.
Make your stressful family or holiday dinner more relaxing by completing most of the prep work up to 24 hours in advance. Before retiring to bed, you can do things like preparing a sauce, chopping up vegetables and onions, or marinating meat. You will be a much happier cook if you do not have to do as much the next day, resulting in less stress.
To take the stress out of cooking time, pull out all of your ingredients beforehand. That way, you won’t be halfway into a recipe and lack something you require. It takes the same amount of time setting up the ingredients beforehand rather than doing it along the way, and it keeps the headaches away.
Don’t waste the leftovers when you cook a turkey, whether it is for Thanksgiving or any other meal. Place the remains in a container and store in the freezer for preservation. Frozen turkey will keep for weeks in the freezer and can be unfrozen and used for a variety of dishes.
Use cooking oil to measure sticky foods easily. Give measuring spoons a light coat of an oil without much flavor (e.g. canola oil) before measuring. Sticky foods and ingredients will come off the spoon like a charm, making clean up easier and waste less likely. Peanut butter and honey can be measured this way as well.
Wait a few minutes before you serve a meal to allow the food to sit for a bit. It is a new idea to many, but allowing your food to rest can be quite beneficial. It is very tempting to serve the meal from grill to tabletop. If you do this, you will really be missing out. Always allow your meal to rest and cool down a little.
Make a flavored butter to add a new twist to staples like dinner rolls or ears of corn. Soften the butter in the microwave, or let it soften to room temperature. Stir in seasonings like herbs and spices or a sauce to add some zing. Barbeque sauce is good, so is honey or lemon juice.
As previously stated, there are some tips and tricks you should learn to cook well. As with any other skill, it will come naturally for some people, while others will need more practice and advice. After reading this article, you should be on your way to becoming a great cook.
When you are making a salad to take somewhere or just making one ahead of time, make it in layers. Place juicy ingredients and the bottom and place the lettuce at the top.