Learning how to cook is not an easy skill to learn. In the text below, you will learn various tactics to help you prepare great-tasting, high-quality meals.
Spices should be stored in a dark and cool place. Elements such as light and heat can cause your herbs to lose flavor quickly, resulting in less taste being added to your favorite dishes. You can plan on ground herbs and spices retaining their potency for a year. Spices that are raw, or whole, can keep the original flavor for as long as five years, though it usually falls somewhere between three and five. When spices are stored in the correct manner, they will stay fresh for much longer.
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. Along with the ingredients, you need to make sure you have the correct utensils for cooking the next day. This can seriously reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Stir-fry recipes require meat to be sliced very thin and at an angle to the grain. Getting the perfect cut can sometimes be a challenge. When you remove the meat from the freezer, it should be firm, not frozen. Slice across the meat’s grain while holding the knife at a 45-degree angle.
Garlic can easily stay on your hands. Rub your hands along the metal rim of your sink in order to get the odor off your hands after handling pungent food ingredients, such as garlic. The steel will clean your hands and remove the smell. You can buy stainless steel “soaps” at your local kitchen store to keep on hand.
To easily slice meat thinly, place it in the freezer until firm but not frozen. This is especially helpful if you are preparing an Oriental dish. When you partially freeze meat, its fibers don’t tear as easily so slicing is cleaner. Allow the meat strips to completely thaw before you throw them in the cooking pan, so you can be sure that the strips all cook evenly.
A good cook takes pride in keeping a set of well-sharpened knives. Dull knives make it very difficult to cut with and also extremely dangerous to use. Attempting to force a blunt blade through a tough root vegetable is much more likely to lead to an accident, than quickly dicing and slicing the same tough root vegetable with a sharp blade.
If you want to make chicken stock, you might as well make a lot of it. If you make a large pot of stock, you can freeze it and store it for future use. Many great recipes including soups, casseroles and stews call for a base of chicken stock. Just cool your stock and freeze it in heavyweight Ziploc freezer bags.
Have you found yourself regretting disposing of moldy fruits? Ever thought if you could just pick out the mold and salvage the fruit? It is impossible for you to save fruit that has already begun to rot. These foods can cause you to become ill, as mold goes much deeper than the eye can see.
Use extra virgin olive oil when necessary instead of oils that are high in saturated fat. These types of foods contain many unnecessary fats you can live without. You can use non-stick cooking spray as an alternative to get the same results without the extra fats.
Give pre-cut, raw potatoes a cold water bath for a half-hour prior to frying for crispier French fries. Allowing the sliced potatoes to soak up more cold fluids helps to reinforce the fibers that are in the vegetable, that way when they are deep fried, they are better able to stand up to the heat and won’t completely break down.
When you plan on using wooden skewers for cooking, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to cooking. This helps them avoid burning when you cook. You can keep food on the skewer when you use two parallel skewers instead of one.
This seasoning can also be utilized on various other ingredients. You can use it when you roast pumpkin or sunflower seeds or in any number of egg dishes. People will want you to tell them your secret ingredient.
Measure out your cooking oil! To cook with less fat, measure specific amounts of oil instead of pouring oil into the pan straight from the bottle. This way, you know exactly how much fat you are adding to your dish.
When buying a recipe’s ingredients, read the labels. May times common cooking supplies will contain some hidden ingredients which are unhealthy. Look for hidden amounts of sodium and sugar that will contribute over time to reduced health.
Consider drying your very own tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in thick slices or in half, depending on their size. Place them cut-side up on a rack that you use for cooling, and add a little salt. The next step is to put the rack on an old cookie sheet and then place in an oven set at 190 degrees for at least 10 hours. After the tomatoes have cooled, place them in plastic bags, and store them in the freezer. Also, you can put those dried tomatoes straight into a jar or can filled with fresh herbs and olive oil. Put your canned tomatoes in the fridge and be sure to use them in the next two weeks.
This way, you’ll have fresh fruit to use for cooking all year long. In addition it will give you access to fruits that aren’t always in season.
To add another dimension to homemade pasta sauce, use a little leftover pasta water. Set aside about one-fourth cup of the pasta water. When you are getting ready to mix the pasta and sauce together, pour in some of the water. The pasta water contains starch, which will infuse your concoction with the thickness and body you are looking for.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with preparing dinner for your family, do some of the preparations the night before. Try slicing up some vegetables and onions, then make a sauce or marinate the meat before going to sleep. Your stress levels will be lessened, and you will be more ready to whip up your meal!
Purchase quality cutting utensils for the kitchen. This not only saves you time from having to deal with knives that are dull, but it’s safer to use utensils that are new and sharp, rather than ones that are old and dull. Dull knives actually cause more cut fingers and accidents than sharper ones.
Save leftover meat and bones from poultry. Instead, cut it into slices, store it in an airtight container, and place it directly in the freezer. Turkey will stay fresh for a couple weeks and you can use it in sandwiches or a salad.
Pick a place that will not compromise the quality of your cooking spices; try somewhere that is non-humid and light free. Spices quickly lose their flavor when they are exposed to excessive light, humidity, or heat. This will ensure your spices will not be as good to use.
Prepare your meal ahead of time so you can leave it sitting for a few minutes. Few people understand how important it is to allow the meal itself to rest before serving it. You may think it is better to serve the food immediately. Doing so actually causes you to miss out on some extra flavors. Instead, allow each dish to cool briefly before serving it.
Prepare the meal the night before to reduce any stress when you’re going to have a complicated meal. There are a lot of things you can do ahead of time like chopping vegetables, measuring seasonings and gathering all the utensils you will need. Also verify that you aren’t missing any ingredients. When cooking time arrives, you’ll need only to be concerned with assembling and cooking the meal.
If you are preparing a recipe with an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable, enhance your skills as a chef by taking a moment to educate yourself about it. By performing some research, you could be surprised at how versatile a new 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.
Spice up your cooking with a little creativity. Following a recipe is not fun if you do not add a personal touch. Change up the recipe until you perfect your own variation. That makes a person a great cook!
If your meal has oil in it, make sure to reheat it by using the oven, not the microwave. Microwaves heat oils faster than solids which will cause your food to separate. If the food is baked, however, the heat is spread more evenly throughout the dish. This prevents the oil from separating, locking in the ingredients and flavor.
For an improvement to your pasta sauce, save some of the water used to cook the pasta. Set aside around a quarter of a cup of water. As you begin to add your sauce to the pasta, slowly mix in the water. The addition of the starchy water will bulk up your sauce and make it creamier.
Use beef or chicken stock as a substitute for water, in order to give extra flavor to a variety of dishes. Alternatively, you can still use water but add some bouillon cubes to it. Your dish will still have the required amount of moisture, but it will have a better overall flavor.
Keep your wood cutting board in tip-top shape. Excessive moisture, dryness, or heat all affect wood cutting boards and can cause them to split and change shape. You should never put the board fully underwater, instead just use a sponge with some soap for spot cleaning. Restore damaged boards by applying oil to it regularly, and be sure to use products specially designed for wood chopping boards. Make sure it is completely dry before you use it.
Select potatoes with a thick skin if you are going to make twice baked potatoes. Varieties such as Yukon Gold or red potatoes have thin skins that aren’t sturdy enough for heavy fillings.
Make sure to take care of all of the preparation beforehand to maximize your cooking experience. Often times, you can get ingredients ready up to several days in advance of when you will be making the meal. Sometimes the longer prep time results in deeply flavored dishes. You may never go back to cooking the old fashioned way once you see how much time advanced prep saves.
When you are cooking with Teflon coated cookware, you must use silicone, nylon or rubber utensils. Utensils made from wood or metal can scratch the coating on your pans, which reduces the non-stick properties and may cause the coating to peel or flake while you cook. This doesn’t taste great, and can also be dangerous.
You can cook oysters in a variety of fresh, exciting ways. Oysters are typically eaten raw with maybe a splash of lemon, but there are other ways to prepare them. Cover open oysters with cream and place them, including shells, onto a broiler pan. Sprinkle them with some freshly ground pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and then broil them until they start to bubble. You can also choose to saute the oysters. Lightly coat the oysters in seasoned flour, and then fry them in melted butter for two minutes, or until they are a light golden brown. Bake the oysters while they are still in their shells. Put them in a baking dish, add fresh breadcrumbs and a small dab of butter on each oyster, then bake four or five minutes at 425 degrees. When you notice the juices and butter bubbling, serve it hot with a baguette that is toasted.
If you will have a busy day tomorrow, you can always get some of the ingredients of your dinner ready today. If you have a labor intensive meal planned, such as a stir-fry or lasagna, do a little of the preparation work beforehand to lessen the stress a little.
Try using beef or chicken stock to replace water in any recipe! Alternatively, you can drop bouillon cubes directly into the cooking water. This will give your food a good flavor, while providing the needed amount of moisture.
Use soft butter not melted butter when creaming sugar and butter to make cookies. Melted butter can be re-hardened by putting it in the freezer for a few minutes. Alternately, go ahead and mix all the ingredients and then refrigerate the dough. If your dough is cooler, it won’t spread too much.
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 use your stainless steel sink or a spoon to quickly remove the odor from your hands.
When you’re cooking with nonstick cookware, you should always make use of silicone or nylon spoons, spatulas, and rubber. The harder metal or wooden utensils can gouge or scratch the coating, which both reduces its effectiveness, and allows its coating to flake off into the food. This is dangerous, as well as unappetizing.
In conclusion, you can become better at cooking if you use the above advice. Now that you have a bunch of knowledge, all you need to do is get into the kitchen and start cooking up some great meals! Your meals will please your loved ones.
If you have a hectic day coming up, take care of some of the components of your meal ahead of time. You can chop and prepare meats and vegetables for fajitas or refrigerate a casserole the night before. When you get home tired and weary, you can pop a great meal in the oven and still make your family happy!