Sometimes, you might be tempted to call the kitchen the dullest room in the house. Enhancing your cooking knowledge can really invigorate you to try new things, and help your kitchen to inspire you, rather than bore you. Your kitchen will transform into a destination, and every minute you spend there will add up to make a wonderful meal that everyone will stop and admire. Here are a few tips to give you a few ideas.
You should know a few things before you cook anything on a skewer. If you are using metal skewers, stick to twisted or square designs, as this can grasp food more effectively.
If you have decided that you might like to cook more food at home, look for a great book that can help you. These books can be found in many places: the library, online or even a family member. 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 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 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.
Spices should be stored in a cool and dark place. The shelf life of spices is greatly reduced if they are exposed to heat, humidity, or light. You can preserve the flavor and freshness of your spices by storing them in a dark, cool spot. Better tasting meals are the result of the ingredients you use, including the freshest spices possible.
If your recipe calls for slicing meat very thin, you can do this most easily by partly freezing the meat first. If you are cooking an exotic dish that requires thinly sliced meat, this is the best way to do it. Freezing the meat prior to slicing immobilizes the fibers and makes for cleaner, more efficient slices. Though, before cooking the strips, they must completely thaw.
One of the best tips that you can follow when you are using oil is to add it to the sides of your pan upon cooking so when it gets to the food, it is already heated. This will enhance the flavor of the dish when it is finished cooking.
Are you going to cook with fresh basil? Take some fresh basil and put some of it in a glass. Make sure the stems are submerged in water. Basil will stay fresh in bowl of water for up to four weeks. If you occasionally change the water, the basil will eventually grow its roots under water. Periodically prune the fresh basil; this will stimulate the plant to continue growing for a week or so.
A nutritious way to reduce the calories from your mashed potatoes is to replace some of the potatoes with cauliflower. You will not taste the blandness of cauliflower, but notice a new interesting flavor instead. Your mashed potato dish will also look the same if you add cauliflower, allowing it to retain its color and texture while taking the calories out of your potatoes.
Store your supplies of flour, sugars, pancake mixes, and similar dry ingredients in airtight containers. Containers that are airtight will help keep your foods fresh a lot longer because they aren’t exposed to air, while also keeping it safe from bugs. You can purchase them at many places, and they are well worth the money.
Quickly cooking veggies is preferable to slow-cooking methods. Slow cooking, and overcooking, vegetables will destroy their nutritional content and flavor. These speed-cooking techniques usually produce vegetables that are more nutritious overall. Learning to give them just a quick steam is the best way to cook them.
If you plan to use wooden skewers when cooking, soak them in water for about thirty minutes prior to use. Being soaked in the water prevents them from getting burned when exposed to the cooking heat. 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.
Mushrooms absorb large amounts of water, and this excess water will go into whatever you are cooking with. Get a soft, clean and wet cloth to wipe the dirt off each individual mushroom for better results.
Tofu and beans are great sources of protein that can easily be added to your diet. Both are easily available to buy at almost every grocery store. Tofu can be fried in a pan with just a few seasonings. It is a tasty and healthy meat alternative. Boil beans with a sauce or herbs, or add them to a salad to serve up some additional protein.
When cooking with garlic, use the freshest bulbs you can find. Garlic that is fresh is sweeter than garlic that is not. Fresh garlic is free of bruises and firm to the touch.
Many liquids are interchangeable within a recipe; try replacing the water or milk with something new. In place of water, try adding beef or chicken broth, juice or even water used to cook vegetables. Substitute sour cream, buttermilk or even yogurt in place of regular milk. Substituting the liquid in a dish can add nutrient content, flavor or both.
Leave the bone in your roast if you are in a hurry. You will have a faster cooking time because the bone will transfer the heat. 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.
If you are making a roast and you need to cook it quickly, do not take out the bone. The bone inside of the meat acts as a conductor of sorts, helping the meat to cook faster. When your cooking time is up, you can easily make your cuts, while avoiding the bone, and serve as normal.
You should try and dry your tomatoes on your own. Just slice them when ripe to about 1/2″ thickness. Place on a cooling rack, cut-side up and lightly salt them. Put a cookie sheet underneath the cooling rack and then set the pair in an oven heated to 190 degrees. Leave for as many as ten hours. The tomatoes can then be placed in plastic bags and stored in the freezer. You can also pack dried tomatoes in a jar with fresh herbs and olive oil. The jar can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Make your own dried tomatoes. You can do this by slicing your tomatoes about a half an inch thick, or Romas in half. Place on a cooling rack, cut-side up and lightly salt them. Set your oven to 190 degrees, place the rack on a baking sheet and let the tomatoes dry in the oven for approximately 10 hours. Keep the tomatoes fresh by storing them in freezer bags. 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. Kept in the refrigerator, these tomatoes will keep for a couple of weeks.
A lot of herbs and vegetables give off an odor that tends to stay in your cutting board, no matter how much you scrub it. Separate the halves by using indelible ink on the cutting board so you know what belongs on each side.
Many popular veggies and herbs have a strong residual odor that can remain on cutting boards well after use. Mark the end of your cutting board with indelible ink to remember which side is which.
To add more flavor to your dishes, try adding some stock that you have prepared. Make a large amount and store it in the freezer. Doing so will give you the best stock for any dish that calls for it. Creating your own stock allows you to avoid preservatives.
It is important to buy new spices at least every six months. The flavors of spices fade just a few months after opening the container. If you have spices that you don’t intend to use any time soon, give it as a gift to someone who will use it.
Once your meat is finished cooking, let it sit before serving it. Many home cooks do not realize how important it is to let the meal rest. It is very tempting to serve the meal from grill to tabletop. If you do this, you aren’t getting the full experience associated with your food. Let the meal be for a few minutes, and give it time it cool off.
If you enjoy using fresh herbs, consider bunching them together and cutting them with scissors while preparing your next meal. This will keep them drier and less heavy than if they are chopped.
Be creative in your cooking. Don’t always stick to the exact recipe. Add things to flavor and shake up the recipe to make it your own. That’s how real cooks do it!
As you cook, try to wash your dishes along the way. If you have a double sink, be sure to keep one half filled with hot, soapy water and the other with clean rinse water. Just after use is the best time to wash up bowls and utensils. So clean as you go and you will always be ready with your next part of food preparation.
Remember when cooking, even if it is just a simple dish, the fresher the better. Many dried herbs, such as oregano or basil, will help make your complex dish pop, as well. Fresh herbs have brighter flavors, though, and will lend a fresher taste to your meal. Cultivating a small, windowsill herb garden ensures that you will always have access to fresh herbs.
Don’t eat your meal right away. It is often overlooked, but it makes a difference when you let the food sit and allow the flavors to be absorbed. 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. The flavors intensify if you let the meal “rest” for a few minutes.
Grilling your fruit can be delicious. Try grilling melons, peaches or even apple chunks. Use a skewer to thread them. Grill them until marks appear. Top some delicious ice cream with your grilled fruit, or try them on a slice of pound cake, which can also be lightly grilled.
Take the temperature of cooking meats with a thermometer. Every meat has a certain internal temperature that needs to be reached in order for it to be safe to eat. Meat that has not been cooked sufficiently can have bacteria growing in it, and these can cause illness if eaten.
To accurately measure and distribute a sticky ingredient, grease your measuring utensils with oil first. Before you even measure, add a little cooking oil to the spoon, such as canola, and the thing being measured will fall off the spoon easier, so that way you won’t have any waste and cleaning up is easier. Peanut butter, honey, and marshmallow are perfect examples of things you can use this tip for.
Instead, set two or more timers, use an oven time and a phone or watch timer. Using the alarm on your watch will help make sure that you hear it go off, and prevent from overcooking your food.
If your family has grown bored with plain frozen corn, try something new. By stirring some flaked coconut into your corn, you can enjoy a Thai-style dish that everyone will love.
Use a flavored butter to make your corn and dinner rolls more interesting. First, bring some butter to room temperature, or soften it using a microwave. Then, give it some zing by adding spices, herbs or sauces. There are many tasty options like honey, salsa and even lemon juice.
Utilize a cooling rack that has the ability to be stacked. Many people find that making large batches of baked goods can take up a great deal of counter space. An easy and effective way to prevent this from happening is with the use of a stackable cooling rack. 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.
Make sure you layer a salad wisely if it going to be eaten at a later date. If you don’t want to send up with a wilted and soggy mess, put juicy ingredients in the bowl first, and then layer upwards to produce like lettuce on the top.
Use the ideas presented here as a jumping off point for your own ideas. You can make great meals that your family will appreciate and you can relax while you cook. Cooking can help you lose weight, save money and create stronger bonds with your family. The kitchen should be the heart of the home.
Prep a fruit for juicing by microwaving it first. Heat your fruits in the microwave for just ten seconds or so. Roll the fruit across the counter until it cools off before juicing it.