It is a fact that people need to eat if they want to survive. But there’s more to food than just the need to survive. Cooking a great meal can be even more rewarding than eating a good meal. Here are a few tips to take your cooking skills to the next level.
It is extremely important to prepare your ingredients before you begin cooking your meal for a group. Be certain that you have every ingredient you will need on hand. Get all of the items you need prepared the day before so there will be no rushing. Taking the time to prepare yourself will guarantee that the meal will be a success.
Your spices should be stored in any area that is dark and cool. When spices are exposed to light and heat, they lose their flavor and it reduces their storage life. Spices stored in a cool, dark location will taste better and last longer. If you use fresh spices, your food will taste better.
Always keep a set of sharp knives in your kitchen. Dull knives make cutting very difficult, and this makes them much more dangerous than sharp knives. Use a sharp knife and it will glide right through the items you wish to cut, without you having to put a great amount of force behind the blade.
However, there is a way that your efforts can be saved and the sauce still used. Put some corn starch into water and mix it in your sauce. Stir it into your sauce as it simmers and it will get thicker. To prevent the sauce from getting overly thick, pour the corn starch and water mixture into the sauce very slowly and be sure that you are stirring it constantly.
If you are cooking for someone you want to impress, cook something you already know how to make. New recipes can be difficult to make and can create unnecessary stress. Doing this will take some of the stress out of cooking.
Boiling and other long preparation methods tend to eliminate key nutrients in vegetables. You can keep all those healthy nutrients by using a quick method of cooking like steaming or by eating the vegetables raw.
Do you want to cook with fresh basil? Place a few fresh sprouts in a glass. Next, put water on the stems until they are covered. Set the glass on the kitchen counter or windowsill to maintain its freshness for weeks. Frequent changes of the water might even encourage the basil to spread out some roots. You should also cut the basil so that it keeps growing.
This seasoning can also be utilized on various other ingredients. For example, sprinkle it over roasted nuts or seeds, or use a dash when cooking eggs for breakfast. Your guests will be clamoring to know the secret to your delicious food.
Store your supplies of flour, sugars, pancake mixes, and similar dry ingredients in airtight containers. These sorts of containers will help keep all of your foods fresh and safe from bugs. You can find them on sale often at discount stores and the investment is worth every penny.
If you’ve made sauce, you should place any that is leftover in an ice tray and freeze it. For a quick and easy sauce on another night, simply remove as many cubes as you need and reheat in a pan. Freezing the sauce in this manner will keep it fresh and ready to be reheated.
If you are looking to lose weight, then you need to decrease the quantity of oil that you use when you cook. Lots of unnecessary, and unhealthy, fats sneak into meals made with oils and butter. If you want to prepare your food in essentially the same fashion, substitute a non-fat cooking spray for the oil. These sprays are non-stick, and many have the flavors of your favorite oils infused.
Tofu and beans can serve as great sources of protein that can be easily added to any diet. Both are readily available in grocery stores. A delicious alternative to meat is tofu pan fried with your favorite seasonings. Boil kidney, navy or pinto beans with seasonings and you can enjoy a protein-rich side dish.
Always soak skewers in water for 30 minutes before loading them with food and cooking. This will help to prevent burning when they are cooking. Also, use two skewers through your food to help secure it, so it doesn’t end up on the ground.
When preparing a dish that calls for garlic, purchase garlic that is as fresh as possible. By having fresh garlic, it will taste sweeter. As garlic ages it becomes bruised, shriveled and less firm.
When buying ingredients for recipes make sure you read the labels. You might be surprised how many common cooking implements have ingredients concealed within that are unhealthy. Check the sugar and sodium levels in the ingredient, as over consumption of these items can cause health problems in certain people.
Every cook knows how important it is to organize their cooking supplies. If they’re not organized, you’ll waste time looking for needed items. Consider storing similar things together. As an example, parsley and basil are spices, so they should be stored in a cabinet together with all of the other spices.
When you are going to make a dish that requires garlic, be sure to buy the freshest garlic you can. Fresh garlic tastes much sweeter than does garlic that is not fresh. You will also find that fresh garlic has firm skin and is free of bruises.
Always make sure that the cooking utensils you are about to use are clean before starting any cooking. This is a basic but very important rule for any cook. You need to make sure there is no residue left on the utensils, it could ruin your food. Another concern is the potential cost to your health, as you could possibly be exposed to bacteria.
If you’re feeling stressed at the idea of making dinner for the family, consider doing much of the prep work the evening before cooking. Chop veggies, prepare a sauce, or marinate meat before heading to bed. You will save a lot of time, and feel much less stressed when you have to cook.
Try drying your own tomatoes. Simply cut them into 1/2 half inch slices, or cut lengthwise for Romas. Lay your tomato slices across a cooling rack with the cut-side facing up, and salt them lightly. The rack should then be placed on a baking sheet in an oven set to 190 degrees for no more than 10 hours. Store in plastic bags in the freezer. You can pack dried tomatoes in a jar stuffed with organic olive oil and your favorite freshly cut herbs. Use them within two weeks of refrigerating.
Any ground meat that you buy should be blotted prior to cooking. Before preparing ground meat, you should blot away excess moisture. Any moisture remaining will be released upon cooking. The water will be cooked away. This is especially important when your trying to sear meat, because it will steam instead.
You should consider replacing your spices about twice a year. Quite often, spices pass their sell-by-date before you use them up, losing their flavor. If you don’t use a spice very often, and it will go bad before you have to replace it, give some to family and friends.
Make all the preparations for your food before you begin to cook it. You will save gas or electricity, and you will be able to focus on one thing at a time.
Make certain all your utensils are cleaned prior to cooking. Any leftover food post-washing can ruin whatever you plan on cooking next. This can also spread harmful bacteria.
If you saute a food, don’t overload the pan. The excess moisture can steam the food versus sauteing, minimizing the chances that you will get that crispness you want. This should also be done at a lower temperature.
Make homemade stock to create tastier dishes. Make a large amount and store it in the freezer. This ensures that tasty, homemade stock is always available when the time comes to prepare soups and other recipes. Creating your own stock can reduce preservatives in the concoction that you cook.
There are quite a few ways that tortillas can be heated. For example, place the tortillas directly onto a rack in a oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Remove the tortillas from the oven when they are sufficiently crispy. You can also cook your tortilla via stove top on a gas stove. Using these methods your tortilla will taste fresher and crispier.
Before you cook any ground meat, blot up any excess moisture. You should always blot up extra moisture before cooking ground meat. If you leave the moisture on the meat, it’ll release when the meat is cooked. If excess moisture is present during the cooking process, the end product of your meat will be altered. This is undesirable, since the meat will technically steam, instead of searing.
To truss a turkey means to tie it up with string. Trussing helps to keep the legs and wings next to the body so that cooking is done evenly. If they are untied, the tips of its legs and wings can burn while the remainder of the bird cooks.
It is important to take proper care of wood cutting boards. Keep a wood cutting board away from heat and too much or too little moisture, as this can cause warping and splitting. It is never smart to immerse your board in water. Instead, sponge clean it with soapy, warm water. Restore damaged boards by applying oil to it regularly, and be sure to use products specially designed for wood chopping boards. Be sure to let your cutting board dry completely before you use it again.
When you are baking a cake, do not overcook or undercook it. Recommended baking times are just that, recommendations, and can sometimes be misleading because simple things like elevation can change the baking times of the cake. A better idea is to insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick has no batter on it, then the cake has finished baking. If it does have batter on it, then put the cake back in the oven.
Make sure to use fresh herbs and seasonings whenever cooking a simple dish. Dried herbs aren’t quite as conspicuous in more complex or layered dishes. However, stronger, better overall taste is produced by using fresh herbs. To keep yourself always supplied with herbs you might want to grow some of your own.
If you are trying a new fruit or vegetable that you are not accustomed to, take a little time to learn some things about it. By reading up on it, you might be surprised at how versatile a new type of food can be. By taking some time to educate yourself before starting anything new in the kitchen, it will certainly pay off in flavor and experience.
Do prep work in advance to cut down on cooking time. Many recipes include ingredients that can be prepared a few days in advance. In some cases, you will find the longer preparation window will make your end result a flavorful masterpiece. Once you start advanced preparation, you might not ever return.
You should always use nylon, silicone or rubber cooking utensils when using nonstick cookware. Metal and wood utensils may gouge or scratch the Teflon coating and cause your cookware to be both difficult and dangerous to use. This could not only be dangerous, but also very unappetizing.
Buy a rack that you can stack. When you bake a big cookie batch, you might have no room from all of the cooling racks. Therefore, stackable cooling racks allow you to capitalize on your limited counter space. The cooling racks will take up vertical space and will still accomplish the same end goal. It is a great way to allow baked goods to cool properly while still allowing you to have the counter space you need to accomplish other projects.
Although leafy green vegetables are very nutritious, prepping them for cooking can be a bit difficult. The stems can be hard to remove. A simple way around it is to lengthwise fold the green in half and try to break the stem at the middle. Or, you can use a knife and cut out the stem from the folded leaf. Once you unfold the leaf, you will have a green that is perfectly de-stemmed.
Fruit grills really well. You can slice nectarines, melons or peaches and place them on a prod or skewer. Place them on a grill that is clean, and cook until you see grill marks on the fruit. They are yummy over ice cream or angel food cake.
If your family is bored with eating frozen corn night after night, vary your recipe. Kids and adults will enjoy the Thai-inspired taste of coconut flakes mixed into corn.
Learning how to cook can be just as exciting as eating. Use the suggestions outlined above and pick and choose what will work for you, and add your own little tricks along the way. With each new meal, you will be a better cook and people will clamor for more.
Try mashing potatoes using hot milk instead of boiling milk. You will get an airier result than would be possible using chilled milk. They’ll be so much better than lumpy, heavy mashed potatoes.