Learning how to cook offers a variety of benefits. Knowing how to create meals provides many benefits to many areas of your life, including socially, financially and nutritionally. This article is packed with valuable information about cooking, from A straight to Z.
It is extremely important to prepare your ingredients before you begin cooking your meal for a group. Save yourself time and trouble by having all your ingredients ready. Plan out your cooking the day before. Make sure all the necessary utensils are clean and ready to use.
If you have everything ready, you won’t be as worried about preparing the meal, and it’s more likely to turn out well.
Pie crusts and tart crusts should be cook a bit past the point that you think they should be cooked. Rather than pale blonde, they should have a golden caramel color. When the crust is a golden color then you know the sugar has caramalized and you will have a sweet and crispy result.
It’s very important to have good, sharp knives for cooking. Dull knives make it harder to cut and are more dangerous to use. A cut is more likely when you push down hard on a dull knife that when you cut easily with a sharp one.
Slice meats into thin strips on the bias when prepping for stir-fry. This can take a lot of time and be hard to do. Remove the meat when it is firm (but not frozen) and slice at a 45 degree angle across the grain of the meat.
To reduce fat and calories in mashed potatoes without sacrificing texture or taste, replace some of your potatoes with an equal amount of cauliflower. Cauliflower does not have a strong taste and will be virtually undetectable when mixed with the potatoes and other ingredients. Additionally, mashed cauliflower has the same texture and color as mashed potatoes, so no one will know that you’ve boosted the veggie content of the dish while removing calories.
Are you going to prepare food with fresh basil? Take a bunch of it and place in a glass. Then cover the stems of the basil with water. Keep it on your counter and it will stay fresh for weeks. By changing the water every so often, your basil will develop roots. If you maintain the basil by trimming the outgrowth, you can get quite a lot of free basil using this method.
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. 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. No worries, because the sauce is still quite edible after being frozen in ice cube trays.
The mushrooms will just absorb the water. Instead, you want to wet a clean cloth and use that to wipe the mushroom off.
When you make chicken stock make as much as you can. Make a giant pot and store what you don’t use in your freezer. Stock is perfect for many dishes like stew, soup, and even casseroles. Make certain the stock is cooled, and then you can portion it into heavyweight Ziploc freezer bags and place in the freezer.
Garlic is a delicious ingredient that has a place in many recipes, but it has no place 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, while preventing any odors from being transferred to the next food item you touch.
You need to soak wooden skewers in water for approximately thirty minutes prior to using them. That way, they will not burn during the cooking process. If you have issues with food falling off skewers, make it a double. Food is much more stable when you use two skewers parallel from one another instead of one.
That way, fruit can stay crisp and fresh all year. You will also have fruit handy that is not normally available during that season.
Before cooking pumpkins, cut them up and place them on a baking sheet flesh side up. Place them upside down on different baking sheets. Sprinkle or spray a bit of water on your baking sheets, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The pumpkin takes about an hour to bake.
Many liquids are interchangeable within a recipe; try replacing the water or milk with something new. If the recipe has called for water, you could easily use chicken broth, beef broth, or juice when suitable. Buttermilk, yogurt and sour cream can be great substitutes for milk. Using different liquids can add nutritional value, while at the same time punching up bland, old recipes.
If you are cooking with garlic, you want to use the freshest clove that you can find. In general, garlic tastes sweeter when it is fresher. Truly fresh garlic will not be bruised, shriveled or overly soft.
When you are planning to prepare a salad for guests, leave the dressing on the side. It is much better to let guests add the amount of dressing that they prefer according to their needs. Your guests will also enjoy having a variety of dressings from which to choose.
Try making your own dried tomatoes. You can do this by slicing your tomatoes about a half an inch thick, or Romas in half. Put them facing upwards onto a cooling rack and add a little salt. Place the cooling rack on a cookie sheet and dry in a 190 degree oven for up to 10 hours. The tomatoes can then be placed in plastic bags and stored in the freezer. For flavored olive oil add some dried tomatoes and fresh herbs in a good quality extra virgin olive oil and store out of direct sunlight. Put your canned tomatoes in the fridge and be sure to use them in the next two weeks.
Organization is key to cooking efficiently and not letting anything burn. Being organized with your cooking station can make it more productive. Unorganized cooks can easily make mistakes, lose or overlook buying important ingredients, and waste good money and food that could be used.
Place any unripened fruit that you buy in a plastic bag that is perforated. As fruits ripen, they produce a gas called ethylene. When air is allowed to reach the fruit, the gas will not escape, thereby maintaining its flavor and freshness for a longer period of time.
Even if a meal looks irresistible, let it sit for a few minutes after it has finished cooking. This is very important for the juices to be absorbed back into your meat. It has become almost habit now to serve up a meal as it comes right off the stove. If you do this, you’ll miss out on the meat’s full flavor. Instead, allow the meal to cool and rest for a few minutes.
Before preparing any sort of dish, you must ensure that your utensils are clean. Bits of food on your utensils could contaminate the dish you are cooking. This can be costly because it might allow for bacteria to spread.
To make pasta sauce even more delicious, save some of the water you boiled the pasta in. Save around 1/4 cup of water and put it aside. When the time comes to add the sauce to the pasta, add this water as well. The water from the pasta contains starch, which can thicken your sauce.
Make sure you follow directions to the letter whenever you make macaroni and cheese. Your macaroni will turn out wonderful if you do it this way. It will also taste so good when you melt cheese over your noodles. To serve the macaroni and cheese, a solid faced spoon works just fine. Give the macaroni some spice with pepper.
Sprinkle salt on your cutting board before cutting fresh herbs. The salt will give the herbs more flavor and prevent them from sliding of the board as you cut. Make sure to avoid over-salting by not adding additional salt directly to what you are preparing. The salt will stick to the herbs and make their flavor stronger.
Keep your kitchen clean by washing your dishes when you are done with them. If you have a double sink, keep hot soapy water and clear, fresh rinse water in each side of the sink. Utensils and mixing bowls are easiest to cleaned directly after their use, and can be used again during the same meal preparation.
Having the prep work done a day in advance will make the cooking process less stressful. Gather your ingredients, chop and measure the herbs or spices and double-check that you have everything you need. Then all you have to do is put everything together when you get ready to cook the meal.
A sharp knife is the cook’s bosom companion; spend the money for top-quality cutlery. You can save time not having to sharpen or deal with dull knives and sharper knives are safer to use. Dull knives actually cause more cut fingers and accidents than sharper ones.
For an improvement to your pasta sauce, save some of the water used to cook the pasta. Save approximately 1/4 cup of water after cooking your pasta. When you mix the pasta with this sauce, add the water as well. Amalgamation will help the starch in the pasta to add a creamy quality, and extra body to your sauce.
When you saute food, try to avoid filling the pan with oil. Too much food adds extra moisture and will lead to a steaming effect that will defeat the purpose of sauteing, which is to create a little crispness in the food. Also, make sure that this is done at a temperature that is low.
Even a simple sandwich is a chance to wow your diners. To craft a perfect sandwich, spread the condiments evenly across the entire surface of the bread. Most people put the mayo or condiment in the middle of the sandwich. If you have the mayonnaise spread throughout the sandwich, every bite will taste amazing!
The safest way to make sure your meat is cooked is using a meat thermometer. Follow the recommended guidelines for the correct internal temperature for each kind of meat. There is a lot of bacteria that lives on meat, so cooking it to a high enough temperature to kill it off is important to avoid food borne illnesses.
If you plan to make salsa ahead of time and it won’t be eaten immediately, you should rinse raw onions off and make sure to dry them off. Raw onions emit sulfurous gas when they are chopped. The salsa can be ruined by this gas. If you rinse the raw onions and dry them well, it will remove this gas.
Save some time on the preparation step of cooking. One of the things that you can do is create components of your meals in advance. There are many cases when the meal will have more flavor if the ingredients are prepped a few days in advance. After you experience the benefits of preparing in advance, you may well make it your standard practice.
Be careful to neither over-bake nor under-bake your cake! The cooking times suggested in recipes are good guidelines for an inexperienced baker, but these suggestions can be misleading; other factors, like elevation, can have an effect on how long it actually takes a cake to cook. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake instead. If no undone cake batter remains on the toothpick, you can consider it ready.
Do prep work in advance to cut down on cooking time. Often times, you can prepare food prior to cooking by at least a couple days in advance. There are certain instances in which using this method can help you create a wonderful meal. You may never go back to cooking the old fashioned way once you see how much time advanced prep saves.
Set a watch timer in parallel with the oven timer. If you engage in another activity away from your oven, you will hear your watch timer beep.
Fresh and exciting ways you can prepare oysters. One of the best things about oysters is that they can be prepared in many different and delicious ways. Open the oyster shells, stick them on a pan, and then put cream on top. Add Parmesan cheese and pepper before broiling. Sauteing the oysters is another tasty technique. Coat the oysters with seasoned flour, then fry them up in butter for around two minutes, or until the oysters are golden. The oysters should be baked within their shells. Put them in a casserole-style dish, add a little butter and breadcrumbs to the top of each oyster, and cook them in an oven heated to 425 degrees for approximately five minutes. Serve hot on toast points or a baguette when your butter is bubbling.
Cooling racks that stack on top of one another can be a handy thing to have in your kitchen. If you are baking more than a few cookies, they can quickly take over your counter space when it comes time to cool from the oven. Therefore, stackable cooling racks allow you to capitalize on your limited counter space. Allowing your cookies to cool down on this vertical space gives you more room to do your work that needs to be done.
Replace the water in a recipe with beef, chicken or vegetable broth to add flavor. You can also dissolve cubes of bouillon into the required amounts of water. This will give your food the right amount of liquid and add a complex layer of flavor to the meal.
Great benefits can be gained from the ability to prepare meals at home. As these tips have shown you, cooking can improve many aspects of your life regardless of whether you prefer haute cuisine, soul food, or down-home favorites. You will rarely be tempted by fast food again if you use this advice to cook well at home.
Using a baked potato instead of a small one can help you to have nice thick skins to use to make twice baked potatoes. Varieties such as Yukon Gold or red potatoes have thin skins that aren’t sturdy enough for heavy fillings.