Cooking is a necessity but it can become a hobby that you enjoy. Anyone can become a good cook when they have the tools and knowledge to learn. Keep reading to maximize your potential for success in your kitchen.
Keep a few pointers in mind if you plan to attempt cooking with skewers. Avoid round metal skewers and stick to square or twisted types.
When possible, complete all of the prep work in advance. It is essential that the prep work is completed before cooking commences. Cooking can get stressful when you’re working to deadline. Prepare early to avoid later stress.
When you shelve an herb or a spice, make sure it’s dark and cool. Moisture, light and heat can affect the flavor of your spices. Generally speaking, spices that have been ground will keep their flavor for about one year. Spices that are whole will retain flavor longer, closer to 3-5 years. Store your herbs and spices correctly, so that they will stay fresh and keep their full flavor!
Get a cookbook with easy recipes or a specific theme you find interesting to get you started. Try looking online or to your local library or bookstore. Create at your own pace and allow for patience as you get the trick of cooking down.
When making a stir-fry meal, meat should always be thinly sliced, and cut on the bias. This can be quite tricky and time-consuming. Retrieve the meat after it has firmed a bit, and cut thin slices across the grain, holding your knife at a 45-degree angle to the cutting board.
When adding seasonings to meat, test a small amount before seasoning the whole batch. Foods like meatloaf, meatballs, and even hamburgers can require careful seasoning. Season it mildly before you make the entire meal. Instead, form a small patty and cook that first. If that piece turns out well, you can continue with the rest. If not, you can make adjustments to the spices.
Improper storage techniques won’t ensure they will last from harvest through the winter months, which is when they are most often desired for inclusion in recipes. To avoid rotting, store apples in open-mesh bags or baskets in a cool basement or in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. Watch your apples so that you can catch any rotten ones, a rotten apple will make the others spoil.
If you do any lengthy cooking process like boiling, many of the nutrients will be cooked out. Use quick cooking methods instead to maintain their healthy quality. Examples of these methods are steaming, sauteing, or the best one is to eat them raw.
It is possible to lower the fat and calorie content of mashed potatoes without impacting the taste or texture by replacing some of the potato content with cauliflower. You will not even taste the cauliflower in with the potatoes, because it is so bland. 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.
It is possible to do a lot of preparation beforehand in order to speed up the cooking process and make it easier. Look at your recipe and decide which steps you can do in advance without worry of food spoilage. A lot of the preliminary work can be done a day before you cook the meal. More complex recipes become quicker and more fun this way.
Do you enjoy the flavor of fresh basil? Take some fresh basil and put some of it in a glass. Make sure the stems are saturated with water. When you do this, it easy to store and stays fresh for several weeks. Refresh the water quite often, and you will notice that the basil starts to grow roots. You should also cut the basil so that it keeps growing.
If you’re pressed for time and are making a roast, it helps if you fix a bone-in roast. If you leave the bone in, the meat will cook quicker. This is due to the fact that once the bone is heated it will help cook your meat from the inside out. Cut the meat around the bone before serving.
When you are cooking, use fresh ingredients instead of frozen or dried ones for the best results. Use fresh ingredients whenever possible, as they make the food more flavorful, and they may cost less over the long run.
If you desire to keep your spices fresh, preserve them in a chilled, comfortable area until your next meal. Warmer areas will cause your spices to lose flavor.
Garlic is a great ingredient but it can leave a strong smell on your hands and utensils. If you have a stainless steel sink or other utensil, rub your hands over the inside of the sink to remove the smell. This works for onions as well. Doing this cleanses your hands and won’t allow the aroma to transfer to whatever you handle next.
For the best cooking results, spices have to be replaced after six months. Many times, spices are kept for too long, and they lose their flavor. If you know you will not use the whole spice bottle, give some of it to someone you know.
When you purchase fruits that are not quite ripe, put them in a paper bag to ripen. As a fruit ripens, it produces ethylene gas. With holes fitted in the bag, the gas is allowed to escape. The air will circulate, and the gas will not harm the fruit’s natural taste.
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. Do not worry, the sauce will still be edible after it has been in the ice cube trays!
Always check to see if your utensils are clean if you are about to cook. Bits of food on your utensils could contaminate the dish you are cooking. Beyond that, dirty utensils allow bacteria to grow which could make you ill.
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. Having this delicious chicken stock on hand will be useful when you are making soups, casseroles, stews and so much more. Just cool your stock and freeze it in heavyweight Ziploc freezer bags.
You can chop fresh herbs quickly by bundling them together in bunches and cutting them with scissors. This is preferable to chopping the herbs because they will be less moisture laden, making them lighter and fluffier.
To improve the flavor of your dishes, mix your own broth and other stock. Making it in huge quantities can allow you to store the leftover in some resealable bags in the freezer. This way you will always have flavorful homemade stock on hand when you want to make soups or other dishes. When you prepare your stock from scratch, you will be certain that it is 100% natural, not loaded with preservatives.
Add some chicken broth to your pan when cooking vegetables. Chicken broth is an excellent base to use when preparing vegetable dishes that helps keep them from sticking and gives them some flavor. Chicken broth is cheap, and can be bought anywhere.
When planning to prepare complicated dishes, do the prep work the evening before the actual cooking is to take place to minimize stress. You can double-check the availability of everything required, get your ingredients together, chop herbs and vegetables, and measure out quantities in advance. When cooking time arrives, you’ll need only to be concerned with assembling and cooking the meal.
This allows the fruits to stay fresh throughout the year. This also gives you access to seasonal fruits that might otherwise not be available at the time you want them.
The act of using string to tie the turkey is called trussing. Trussing helps to keep the legs and wings next to the body so that cooking is done evenly. If left untied, the turkey’s legs and wings may burn before the breasts and thighs are done.
Add seasoning gradually instead of putting it all in at the beginning. As such, you are getting the best flavor, and not wasting any of the seasoning.
Avoid overcooking or undercooking a 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. A better way is to test the cake by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it is covered in batter, your cake is not done yet. Wait until the toothpick comes out clean.
Do not dress your guests’ salads. Serve the dressing on the side and allow your guests to dress it to their liking. Certain people prefer a larger amount of dressing on the salad than others. Because of this fact, you should allow people to pour dressing on their own. Make sure you have a selection to choose from.
Eat your oysters in new and exciting ways. While oysters are generally eaten raw drizzled with a little lemon juice, you can prepare them in other ways. Put opened oysters in their shells on a broiler pan, and cover with a little cream. Add some parmesan cheese and some pepper, then broil until the contents of the pan start bubbling. You can also saute oysters. Cover them in some flour and fry them in very hot butter for about two minutes until they appear golden. Another way is to keep the oysters in their shell and bake. 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. Once you see the juices and butter bubbling, serve immediately with a fresh toasted baguette.
Some ingredients can leave a rather strong odor on your cutting board. You can mark your cutting boards with permanent marker to tell which one or which side is for each type of food.
If you are cooking a meal that is meant for a big family gathering, there is a good chance that you will be stressed by the idea. Rather than succumbing to the urge to completely freak out, start preparing your feast in advance. This means setting out any needed ingredients.
It is crucial that you buy new spices around every six months. Often, spices that have sat upon the shelf for a long period of time lose their pungency. If you buy too much of a spice, give it to someone you love!
Rub your hands on stainless steel before washing them, if they have a strong smell. Whether you use the side of your sink, a spoon, or a ready-made stainless-steel “soap bar,” this action removes the offending odor and keeps your hands fresh.
Educate yourself on the potential of colors in your meal preparation. You will increase the visual appeal of your dishes and vary the beneficial nutrients found in different colored foods. Pick nice looking garnishes as well; try tomatoes, cilantro, carrots, or parsley. Be innovative in using color, and watch your food get eaten up quickly.
If you buy unripened fruits, keep them in a plastic bag fitted with holes. As they ripen, they will create ethylene gas. A paper bag allows air to circulate, yet also keeps in enough ethylene gas to help the fruits ripen and enhance the flavor.
If you are cooking a large batch of pancakes or waffles, it is important to keep the food warm until you are ready to serve. First, warm your oven to about 300 degrees. Once you finish cooking the food, put it on a plate, and then place it in the oven so that it retains its warmth.
When chopping fresh herbs, you should shake some salt on a cutting board. Salt will not only add flavor to your herbs, but it will keep the herbs on the cutting board. Do not add any salt to the dish you are making to prevent over-salting. Salt is known to boost the flavors of the items you use in your recipe, including herbs.
Make sure you use the correct potatoes in your recipes. Classifications for potatoes are mealy, all-purpose or waxy. The mealy variety is best for mashed potatoes because of its dryer texture. The russet is an example of a mealy potato. A versatile, all-purpose variety is the Yukon gold. Waxy potatoes are good for steaming or boiling because their shape is maintained. Waxy potatoes include regular white or red potatoes.
Do all your cooking prep work well ahead of time. Doing this will allow you to focus on putting the dish together. You won’t waste electricity by letting something cook just a little longer, so you can prep the ingredients for the next step, or be distracted when cooking with hot oil.
You should only buy meat and fish that are still on the bone. Put the bones away in your freezer until you need them, whether they are cooked or raw.
The are many varieties of potatoes, and some cannot be used as substitutes for other varieties. Some potatoes are waxy and are great for making things like boiled potatoes or potato salad but are not so good for french fries, mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes. Russet potatoes are more suited to those applications because of their fluffy texture.
Add nutritious greens to your diet. When it gets colder, these vegetables taste a lot sweeter. Steer clear of greens that appear to be yellowing or limp. Instead, pick out greens that have a deep and vibrant color. By nature, these greens are more prone to dirt collection, so wash them thoroughly and carefully before consuming them. Put the veggies in water and shake them off. Then rinse them until the water is running clear.
Cooking is much more than setting food on your table. It can be enjoyable and delicious to do. You’ll certainly experience your share of unsuccessful forays into the world of culinary concoctions, but the tips provided here will lessen these disappointing moments. Use the information in these tips to improve your culinary accomplishments.
A common error in cooking is over-salting a dish by accident. But never fear, this can be fixed. Add some raw potato chunks to your recipe, and let it cook for another 15 minutes. These chopped-up potatoes will soak up all the extra salt. If your dish is tomato-based, it is just a matter of adding extra tomatoes and allowing them to cook down, diluting the salt in the sauce.