Cooking is not an easy skill to learn. Find tips below that give you a few steps to take in mastering the art of cooking well.
Protect your spice and herb collection by storing your jars at room temperature in a dark 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. It has been found that ground herbs and spices maintain their flavor for roughly a year. Whole spices can stay fresh for up to five years. Store your spices correctly to make them last.
Always bake pie and tart crusts for longer than the recipe specifies for best results. They should be golden caramel in color instead of pale blonde. This color means that the sugar has caramelized within the pie crust and will have a crunchy and sweet flavor.
When baking pie or tart crusts, bake them longer than you think you should. Let the crust go beyond light tan to a deeper, golden shade. When you see the golden color it indicates carmelization, which lends a crisp, sweet flavor to the pie crust.
Consider freezing your meat a bit so that it will be easier to slice. This method is great for oriental meals that require small strips. Partially freezing the meat will help the fibers to stay together when it is being sliced. The strips should be allowed to fully thaw before they are cooked so that they can cook evenly.
Freezing meat will make it more solid, and easier to cut into thin strips. This technique for thin cut meat is ideal for specific types of recipes, especially Asian cuisine. By partially freezing meat ingredients, slicing is cleaner and the fibers do not stretch and tear as easily. 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.
Does pitching moldy fruit into a trash can upset you? Should you save the moldy fruit and cut away the bad parts? Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to salvage fruit that has begun to rot. You need to throw them away, as mold tends to grow deeper than the eye can see, and eating moldy foods can make someone quite ill.
If you boil your vegetables or cook them for too long, they will lose a lot of nutrients. If you are not serving the vegetables in their raw state, consider steaming, sautéing or even roasting your vegetables to protect their vitamin and nutrient content.
Many individuals enjoy cooking with apples when it is cooler outside, but if stored improperly, they will no longer be usable. Warm dry air causes apples to rot, so put them in plastic bags with loose ties in a fridge or cool basement. Check your apples regularly. If one apple starts rotting, the whole bag will be spoiled.
Prepare dishes that you’re an expert at when you’re cooking for someone important in your life, such as a supervisor or a new partner. Do not attempt to whip up a new dish or use an ingredient you have never used before. This can make cooking less of a chore.
Are you a fan of using fresh basil? You can cut basil by the stems, bunch it together, and put it in a glass. Add some water to cover the stems. This way it will stay fresh for days, even weeks, right on your countertop! If the water is changed periodically, the basil may even sprout roots. Cut or trim basil occasionally so it grows more and you get fresh herbs every time.
Soaking raw potatoes for 30 minutes prior to frying will produce the crispiest French fries. Soaking potatoes accomplishes two important things for your French fries; it takes out sugar and starch during the soaking process.
You can also use this seasoning on foods other than meat. This type of seasoning can be applied to pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and even roasted peanuts to create a great on the go snack. Just be sure not to use too much seasoning, because you don’t want to completely overpower the natural flavor of your food.
For healthier, lower-calorie mashed potatoes, add some cooked cauliflower to your tubers. Cauliflower has little taste of its own, so it will blend right into your potatoes and pick up flavors from whatever other ingredients you use. At the same time, cauliflowers mash into the same color and texture as potatoes, giving you a fail-proof way to add vegetables and subtract calories from a classic mashed potato dish.
Figuring out how long meat should be grilled can be tough. Investing in a top-notch meat thermometer, such as an ultra-precise digital one, will let let you make sure that the meat is cooked correctly inside and out. If the meat is thicker than an inch and a half, it may be a good idea to close the lid of the grill to cut down on total grill time.
Before purchasing items to prepare any type of dish, it is important that you read the labels of the item. A lot of items you purchase at the grocery store will have a laundry list of unwanted substances in there. It is a good idea to verify that ingredients not contain high levels of sugar or sodium. Over-consumption of these can create health issues.
Use airtight containers to store all of your spices, seasonings and fresh ingredients. When you transfer these foods to airtight containers, you are not only protecting them from bugs and bacteria, you are also helping them remain fresh longer. These containers are easily purchased online or at your local department or even grocery stores. Wherever you get them from, the freshness of any food you intend to store in them is well worth the investment.
When serving a salad for guests that accompanies a meal, avoid pouring dressing on it. Leave the dressing on the side instead. Let people add what they want to their salad. Make sure you have a selection to choose from.
To prepare a pumpkin for baking, you should first prop up the pumpkin so that it is upright. Next, use a large knife to bisect it evenly. Put each half on a baking sheet, with the cut side facing downward. Sprinkle some water onto the baking sheets, and proceed to bake the pumpkin at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes.
If you’re overwhelmed with dinner prep for the family, try to do some food prep the night prior. You can dice, slice and otherwise prepare vegetables in advance. Stir up some sauce prior to your bedtime for a stress-free pasta dish the next evening. With far less work left, you’ll be eager to pick up where you left off at dinner time.
You can dry out your own tomatoes. Start by cutting full-sized tomatoes into 1/2″ slices or by halving Roma tomatoes. Put the tomatoes, cut-side up, onto a cooling rack and give them a light salting. 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. You can store your dried tomatoes in your freezer. Another option is to store dried tomatoes in a jar that contains fresh, flavorful herbs and olive oil. The jars can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Keep your herbs and spices in a cool, dark place where they will stay fresh. You are destroying your herbs’ flavors and wasting your money when you store them in a warm area or where they are exposed to sunlight.
If you buy unripened fruits, keep them in a plastic bag fitted with holes. As the fruits ripen, ethylene gas is produced. When they are placed in a perforated bag, the air can circulate, which ensures the ethylene gas is absorbed, so the fruit retains its great taste.
Everyone who cooks needs to have good kitchen organization. If your kitchen supplies are not organized, this can cause confusion in the kitchen because you will be running around looking for the items. Put all the things that are the same in one place. As an example, you may want to keep all of your spices together.
Create your own stock for tastier dishes. Make a large amount and store it in the freezer. By doing this, you’ll always have homemade stock available whenever you are in the mood to cook soup. By making your own stock, you can be sure that it is not full of preservatives.
Blot raw meat before you grill or sear it. Eliminating the moisture off the meat is always good. Any moisture left on the meat will be released when it’s cooked. Instead, it can sizzle away. This causes your meat to steam instead of sear.
Prior to cooking ground meat, blot it. Blot away the excess moisture on all ground meat before cooking. If you leave the moisture in your meat, that moisture will be released when you cook. The moisture will dissolve. This will cause the ground beef to steam, instead of searing.
If you want to cook a complex meal, try doing prep work the night before so you are less stressed. 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. The next day when you have to cook your meal, all you need to think about is assembling and cooking the dish.
It’s important to be creative while cooking. You do not have to use a recipe word for word, add a few steps of your own. 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. Then you can consider yourself a real cook!
There are much better ways to heat tortillas. One way is to preheat the oven temperature to 350, then place the tortillas on the rack. You can use the flame of a gas stove to warm up a tortilla directly. Either of these methods will result in a more crispy and tasty tortilla.
If you’d like to boost the flavors in your pasta sauce, it’s important to save the water you use to cook the pasta itself. Measure out one quarter cup of water, and put it to the side. When you combine the sauce and the pasta, add this little amount of water to the mix. The pasta water contains starch, which will infuse your concoction with the thickness and body you are looking for.
There are several types of potatoes, and they are not all the same. Waxy potatoes are great for boiling and potato salad but do not work as well for baked potatoes, mashed potatoes or french fries. Russets, and other less dense potatoes, tend to work best for baking, frying and mashing.
When sauteing, don’t put too much into the pan. Too much liquid in the pan will result in steamed, soggy food and not the crispy texture you were trying to achieve by sauteing. Make sure you saute foods on a low temperature.
The idea of cooking for a large gathering may leave you feeling stressed. In order to avoid panicking while making the final preparations, do as much as you can the night before. You can get all the equipment you need out, store perishable items together in the fridge, and put the nonperishable ingredients on a spare counter. You may even be able to measure out some of your ingredients ahead of time.
Herbs and spices need to be kept in a dry, cool area, away from light. Exposure to light, humidity, and heat can make your spices lose their flavors quickly. This exposure will only cause them to lose flavor.
If you want your time in the kitchen to be free from stress, create a list of all the ingredients you will need and make sure that you have everything on the list in close arm’s reach. It will speed up preparation time, and you will avoid discovering you are short an ingredient halfway through. It does take a little bit more time to get everything out prior to cooking, however, it will save you time and frustration in the long run.
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 it is for friend, family or employer, you want to present your best effort. Impress these people with a meal that you already know you are good at making.
Here is a simple tip to make preparing those healthy dark leafy greens easier. Removal of the tough stems may take a long time. To make this easier, fold leaves in half along their length, then break or cut out the steam from the middle. If not try using a knife to chop out the stem from the folded leaf. Once your unfold each leaf, you have perfectly stem-free greens.
Here is a fresh take on oysters. Just because oysters are eaten raw usually most of the time, doesn’t mean that’s the only great way to fix them up. Place opened, in-shell oysters onto a broiler pan, then coat them with a dollop of cream. Add some Parmesan cheese along with some fresh pepper, then broil until it bubbles. 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. Use a casserole dish to bake the oysters. Then, dab a bit of butter along with some fresh breadcrumbs on top of each oyster. Set the oven to bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees. Once the butter begins to bubble, enjoy them hot alongside some crusty bread.
If you’re preparing a salad for an event that won’t happen for some hours, do some strategic layering. Tomatoes and other juicy ingredients should be on the bottom layer and lettuce along with any other ingredients which might wilt or get soggy should be on the top.
If you start applying some of the advice contained in the tips above, you can improve your cooking skills very easily. Hopefully you now see that cooking really doesn’t have to be as complicated, and intimidating as you once thought. Your cooking will taste better than it ever has before.
Experiment with saffron in your cooking. Saffron has a taste that cannot be obtained with other spices, and adds a bright, sunny flavor to your food. Saffron is a delightful ancient herb. It’s rarity causes it to be the most costly spice in the world.