How many times have you dreaded going into the kitchen to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner? You might need a new perspective. Cooking can be enjoyable and relaxing if you try to see it in another way. Here are a few cooking tips that are sure to get your taste buds tingling and entice your inner chef to come out.
Protect your spice and herb collection by storing your jars at room temperature in a dark place. If they get exposed to any light, humidity or heat, their flavor will begin to weaken. Herbs and spices generally keep their taste and flavor for about one year. Whole spices have a longer shelf-life and can hold their flavor for about three years. Storing spices in glass containers with a tight-fitting lid will keep them best.
If you can, do all the preparing of the meal’s ingredients in advance. The wise cook prepares as much as possible before starting to cook. Having a deadline for an important meal or event can become quite stressful when you are starting from scratch. Preparing some of the ingredients ahead of time can reduce the amount of stress you feel when it is time to prepare the meal.
Cooking processes like boiling can remove most of the nutrients from food. For the most nutritious vegetables, employ fast cooking methods or, better yet, consume raw veggies.
You can start cooking simple meals out of a cookbook you can borrow from the library. That way you can try different meals that you can prepare and when you are done you can take it back. Create at your own pace and allow for patience as you get the trick of cooking down.
Apples are a popular ingredient for cooking during the cool autumn and winter months. However, if they are not stored correctly, apples can spoil very quickly. Air that is dry and warm tends to make apples rot, and you can slow down this process by loosely placing them in plastic bags that are tied shut. Store them in a cool area, such as a refrigerator, garage or basement. You must still keep an eye out on the apples because one apple that is rotten can spoil the whole bag.
When cooking a large meal for a family gathering or dinner party, preparation is key. Be certain that you have every ingredient you will need on hand. It is not too much to get your meals ready the day before. Make sure you have the necessary utensils. Did you think of everything? This will help to alleviate your anxiety and maximize your potential.
Garlic can easily stay on your hands. After touching garlic or another strong-smelling ingredient, stop and rub your hands on your stainless steel faucet. This will clean your hands and keep the smells from permeating whatever food you are handling next.
Cook your vegetables quickly to preserve flavor. Vegetables that are cooked slowly lose a lot of their taste and nutrition. These quick cooking techniques will produce generally, healthier vegetable sides. Only cook vegetables as much as you have to, in order to preserve their taste and nutritional value.
It is important to keep your items fresh, so always store your perishable items, sugars, flours, etc, in sealed, airtight bins. Bugs can creep into your food, and most food items will become stale if exposed to the open air. These are just a couple of solid reasons that you need solid containment. Airtight containers are your best friends in the kitchen. You can find this type of container easily and at a good price: consider it an investment since you will be able to eat left overs more easily.
When buying ingredients for recipes make sure you read the labels. Some cooking supplies will contain unhealthy ingredients. Make sure the food does not have a lot of salt or sugar, these can both be harmful to your health.
If you have made sauce, put the leftovers into an ice cube tray and freeze. All you need to do next time you want to use it, is reheat in a saucepan. Nothing to worry about as the sauce will be fine even after it’s been sitting in ice cube trays.
Keep tabs on the amount of cooking oil you use. If you take the time to measure how much oil you use when cooking, you can better control how much fat is incorporated into your dishes. Use a measuring cup instead of just pouring straight out of the bottle. This is the best way to know the amount of oil being added to your food.
Sometimes when someone’s grilling a hamburger, it will get stuck to the grill which makes it difficult to get off the grill. Before you put the burgers on the surface of the grill, you should brush it with some oil.
Make your own sun-dried tomatoes. Start by cutting full-sized tomatoes into 1/2″ slices or by halving Roma tomatoes. Set them on a rack cut side up and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place the rack on top of a cookie sheet, and bake the tomatoes in an oven set at 190 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 10 hours. You can store your dried tomatoes in your freezer. Another way to preserve your dried tomatoes is in olive oil, with herbs for added flavor, in a glass jar. Kept in the refrigerator, these tomatoes will keep for a couple of weeks.
Make a lot of stock if you are going to make it ahead of time. If you prepare a large pot of stock, it can be frozen and stored for future use. Good homemade chicken stock is a wonderful base in soups, stews, casseroles and more. Once your stock is finished, cool it and put it in heavy freezer bags.
To maintain the flavor and freshness of spices and herbs, make sure you keep them stored in someplace that is cool and dark. Do not store herbs and spices in cabinets over the stove, and avoid storing them in other warm areas, as their flavor will dissipate and you will have wasted your money.
Then you can have fresh fruit anytime you wish. Plus, you will have fruits which are not available during certain periods of the year.
Make a habit of washing your dishes as you use them when you cook. Make sure that one side of the sink always has soapy hot water in it and the other side has clear water for rinsing in it. Your utensils and containers wash up easier the sooner you get to them, and washing them as you go also allows you to re-use them while preparing the same recipe.
Be certain to use only wines that you enjoy as ingredients in your recipes. 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. Cooking wines are available.
When you have a large or complicated meal to prepare, you can eliminate a lot of the stress by doing any prep work the day before. Gather your ingredients, chop and measure the herbs or spices and double-check that you have everything you need. When the time comes to make the meal, all you need to do is put it all together and cook it!
When cooking, be creative. Don’t always stick to the exact recipe. When you’re comfortable with the recipe, play within it to see what can be reduced, increased, or added for a better taste or texture. That makes a person a great cook!
If you are including raw onions in a salsa that you aren’t going to be serving right away, use cold water and a paper towel to rinse and blot the onions. Fresh onions have sulfurous gas in them. Sulfurous gas can detract from fresh salsa and ruin the flavor. Take the onions and run water over them and get the moisture off, and you won’t have the smell.
See to it that your herbs are stored in a dry, cool and dark area. Your spices can become less spicy if you expose them to humidity, heat, or light. In this location, the spices are exposed to heat that will cause their flavors to dissipate.
When sauteing food, don’t put too much oil in the pan. Too much moisture can cause food to steam rather than saute, affecting the crispness of the meal. Keep the flame or burner around medium as you saute.
You need to properly care for a wooden cutting board. Wood is prone to warp or split when used as a cutting board. Food juices, plus the washing and drying process, will cause this damage. A wooden cutting board will be ruined if it is placed into water. When a cutting board shows signs of wear and tear, there are special oils that can rejuvenate them. Make sure you let your board dry before using it again.
When you prepare a simple dish, be sure to use herbs and seasoning that are fresh. Dried herbs can work beautifully in complex dishes. Even for these kinds of dishes, use fresh herbs when you can, as they will add punch to the taste. One way to ensure that you have fresh herbs is to plant a herb garden.
Different varieties of potatoes can have specific uses; you cannot always use one type in lieu of another. Waxy potatoes are good for boiling or using in potato salads, but they make poor french fries or mashed potatoes. When preparing these dishes, opt for russet potatoes, which have a fluffier texture.
There are many varieties of potatoes, but they are not created equal. For example, there are waxy potatoes that are ideal for making potato salad and boiled potatoes but are a poor choice for french fries, baked potatoes, or mashed potatoes. For that type of side dish, Russets are a good choice of fluffy potato.
While it’s natural to want to impress guests with a fancy meal, stay away from new recipes when you will be serving someone important. Whether you are cooking for new in-laws, your manager or a date, you want them to be impressed with your culinary skills. You are sure to please them if you cook something you are already familiar with.
The use of brine is an effective cooking technique. Add the brine approximately one hour before preparing any poultry dish to really bring out the flavor.
A good cooking method when working with poultry is to first brine the bird. Try soaking poultry, such as chicken, turkey, goose or duck, for 60 minutes in a brine solution prior to cooking. This makes the flavor of the poultry exponentially more flavorful.
To make sure you know when the food is done, set the timer on the oven, but set a watch timer as well. Then you will know when the time is up even if you are not in the kitchen.
Using beef or chicken stock to take the place of water in potatoes and other foods also adds flavor. If you don’t have stock on hand, go ahead and use the water, but add a bouillon cube or two. Doing this gives your food all the moisture that it needs, but kicks the taste up a notch.
A great way to use random vegetables in your refrigerator is to make some fried rice. Dryer rice that has been cooked previously is preferred, but freshly cooked rice can be used if you simply reduce the amount of water to make it a good consistency for frying. The vegetables and meat will need to be fried in a small amount of oil. The rice and seasonings can be added after the meat and vegetables have had a chance to cook for a bit.
If you are combining sugar and butter for a cookie recipe, it is essential that the butter is soft but not melted. If you do end up having melted butter, place it in the freezer to help it harden. You can also put the dough in the refrigerator once you are done kneading it. When dough is cool, it is less likely to spread haphazardly.
One way to eliminate odors when working with fish, garlic or onions is to use stainless steel as a base to rub them, and then wash them. Try using a spoon, the side of the sink, or a “soap bar,” this can cause your hands to again be fresh and odor-free.
Fruit tastes great when cooked on a grill. Slice peaches, melon or nectarines and place them on skewers. Grill the fruit until you start to see grill marks. Place atop grilled pound cake or on ice cream to serve.
It is important to layer a salad well when it is going to be served a few hours after it is prepared. Put the juiciest ingredients like tomatoes on the bottom, then put the lettuce and other ingredients that wilt easily on top.
Before you start cooking, all your ingredients should be prepared so it isn’t as stressful. This will prevent you from having to go to the store in the middle of your preparation. It does not take longer to get things ready before you start cooking, but it does save you time and frustration.
When you are making mashed potatoes for your dinner and are getting ready to mash them, use hot milk, not boiling, to mix into the potatoes. This will also make your potatoes lighter and more manageable when you prepare them for your family. This will turn your mashed potatoes from dull to delightful with virtually no effort.
Try incorporating a few of these tips into your meals. As soon as you get a taste, you’ll be dying to cook more. As a matter of fact, you may even begin actually enjoying it. Once you begin enjoying it, you’ll discover yourself trying lots of new recipes. You may find that you can be a good cook, if you give it a try!
For a fat-free stew or soup, start your recipe by using fat-free soup stock or broth. Keep fat content to a minimum by loading the soup with lean meats and vegetables. Once it is ready to eat, place your soup in the fridge so it can chill. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top. Remove the solidified fats using a spoon. The calorie savings is around 100 per tablespoon you remove.