Understanding how to cook can be an invaluable skill. Eating food you prepare yourself not only tastes great, but it is better on your wallet as well.
If you want to start cooking more, go to the bookstore or library and get a cookbook of simple and basic recipes that appeal to you. Be patient, and try several recipes. Like any skill, cooking can take practice.
If making stir-fry, meat must be cut on the bias and sliced thinly. This can take up much time and is also somewhat tricky. 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.
Always keep your spices away from light in a cool place. Your spices will not last as long if they are exposed to light, heat or humidity. Storing your spices in a dark location with a lower temperature will help preserve them longer. Meals prepared with fresher spices are simply more delicious.
A little-known tip for cooking with oil is to introduce it into the pan from the side; this will allow the oil to heat on its way down. This will help keep the foods flavor locked in and make for a tasty meal.
Make sure that the knives you are using are very sharp. Dull knives make it harder to cut and are more dangerous to use. It is easy to cut yourself if you are using a dull knife than slicing it with a very sharp one.
Add cauliflower to your mashes potatoes to make this dish healthier and tastier. Cauliflower does not have a strong taste and will be virtually undetectable when mixed with the potatoes and other ingredients. Cauliflower has the same texture and color as mashed potatoes, so the dish will be transformed into one that has more vegetables and fewer calories.
When you cook vegetables for a long time, like boiling them, a lot of essential nutrients will be cooked away. To retain these nutrients, rely on cooking methods that don’t take a lot of time, including steaming or sauteing. You can even eat them raw if you have the taste for it.
When you are cooking, it is important to remember that a fresh ingredient is always better than a frozen or dried ingredient. Your recipe will be more flavorful if you use fresh ingredients, and the cost can be lower as well.
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. Warm air is the enemy of apples; store them in a cool area or even the refrigerator. Watch out if you are storing a large number of apples, one bad apple ruins the bunch.
There are many things you can do ahead of time to save time during your meal preparation. Peruse your recipes and look for things you can do ahead of time. Choose items that will not spoil. A lot of the preliminary work can be done a day before you cook the meal. This can turn even the most complex recipes into quick, fun and fast cooking jobs.
If you are going to be making chicken stock, it is best to go big or not at all. Make a giant pot and store what you don’t use in your freezer. Good chicken stock that you make at home makes a great starter for soups, casseroles, stews and other dishes. To preserve your stock for future use, just simply make sure that it is stored in heavy duty freezer bags and frozen solid. This way the stock should keep for several months or so.
There are few things more frustrating in grilling than going to flip a burger and finding that it has stuck to the grill. If, however, you brush the grill with oil, this will help prevent sticking.
When you are planning to use skewers for your cooking, always soak wooden skewers for at least thirty minutes in water prior to use. This step will stop the skewer from burning while it is being used. Use two parallel skewers instead of one skewer to avoid food falling off.
Always soak skewers in water for 30 minutes before loading them with food and cooking. If you do not do this, your food may cook faster than you want, causing it to burn. You can keep food on the skewer when you use two parallel skewers instead of one.
Anytime you are cooking a dish that calls for substantial seasoning, try to add spices gradually throughout the process rather than all at once at the very start. If you do it in this manner you can flavor your food the best way and use your ingredients in the best way.
When you cook a pumpkin, the first step is to slice in in half vertically. Take each half cut side down and place on different baking sheets. Sprinkle a little water on to your baking sheets, then you can bake your pumpkins for an hour in a 350 degree oven.
Don’t use any wine in your meals that you wouldn’t drink. If you use a wine that you are not familiar with or do not enjoy, you are risking culinary disaster when it comes to the flavor of your food. They make wines that can be used only when you’re cooking food.
When you purchase garlic for cooking, find the freshest head possible. Usually, fresher garlic will have a sweeter taste. You can see fresh garlic when it is not shriveled, soft, bruised and the skin is firm.
You can prepare some of the ingredients for a dish the night before so that you can avoid becoming overwhelmed when you have to cook your family dinner. You can marinate the meat, make a sauce and cut up some vegetables and onions before going to bed. This way, your next meal will only require a modicum of effort, making dinner stress-free.
If you only have a short time to cook a roast, leave the bone inside the meat. This will speed up cooking time substantially. The bone absorbs some of the heat and distributes it inside the meat and roaster. Once the roast has finished cooking, it is easy to go in there and remove the bone.
Make your own sun-dried tomatoes. You can use Roma tomatoes cut lengthwise, or ripe tomatoes sliced about a half inch thick. Next, lightly salt the open sides and place them salt-side up on a wire cooling rack. Heat your oven to 190 degrees and place the tomatoes inside for as long as ten hours. The tomatoes can then be placed in plastic bags and stored in the freezer. Another option is to place the tomatoes in a jar and cover them with fresh herbs and olive oil. Tomatoes stored in this fashion will last for two weeks in the refrigerator.
Don’t use bitter, sour, or tasteless wine in your recipes. Using a wine that you dislike could ruin the taste of the food. Several wines suitable for cooking purposes are readily available in the market.
After purchasing fruits that are not quite ripe, store them in a plastic bag that is perforated with holes. As the fruits get ripe, they’ll give off 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.
When you prepare a turkey for Thanksgiving or any other time, don’t ever toss the leftovers. Instead, cut it into smaller pieces, and place in the freezer in airtight containers. This will keep the turkey fresh, so it can be reused for salads or sandwiches.
When you have a large or complicated meal to prepare, you can eliminate a lot of the stress by doing any prep work the day before. Gather all your ingredients together, chop what needs to be chopped, measure out all the required herbs and spices and make sure you have everything that you need on hand. When the time comes to prepare the meal, you will now only need to assemble the ingredients and cook it.
Allow the food to sit for a little while before serving. Lots of people don’t take advantage of this important step for food. You may think it is better to serve the food immediately. Doing so actually causes you to miss out on some extra flavors. Always allow your meal to rest and cool down a little.
To add another dimension to homemade pasta sauce, use a little leftover pasta water. Remove approximately a quarter of a cup and set it aside. Put in some of the water when you mix the pasta and the sauce. Amalgamation will take place in your sauce when you add the pasta water. The starch will give it the “creaminess” you desire.
When you have a large or complicated meal to prepare, you can eliminate a lot of the stress by doing any prep work the day before. Make sure you have every ingredient you need, and measure out spices or herbs. Cut veggies as necessary. When the time comes to actually cook the meal, you will just have to combine the ingredients in the right order and cook them at the proper temperature for the correct amount of time.
Do all your cooking prep work well ahead of time. If you do so, you’ll save on electricity by not running an oven that you aren’t yet using. You are also adding a measure of safety by not getting distracted with another task and forgetting about a hot pan on the stove.
You should save some water from the pan in which you cooked the pasta so that you can add it to the pasta sauce later. Save about one-fourth of a cup of water after draining the pasta. When you’re ready to combine the pasta and sauce, pour in a bit of the water. Residual starch in the water adds volume and creaminess to the sauce of your choice.
When you are cooking for someone for the first time, always stick with a recipe that you are comfortable with. Whether you are looking to impress a boss, the in-laws or a potential mate, it is not the time to be daring. Make sure you can offer your guests a pleasing, satisfying meal by preparing a menu of items you have experience preparing very well.
Before chopping fresh herbs sprinkle some salt on the cutting board. This gives the herbs a little flavor. Mostly, though, a little salt keeps the herbs from flying off the board. Don’t over-salt your foods. The salt sprinkled on the board adheres to the herbs, which takes the flavor up to 11.
Using a cooking rack is good, but using a stackable cooking rack is better. With a large number of baked goods coming out of the over, the ones laid out to cool can use up all the counter space that you otherwise need. To get the most of your space, use some racks that stack. If you use cooling racks that can stack up you will have more working space.
If you are cooking for an important guest, resist the urge to experiment with a new recipe. You don’t want to risk a culinary disaster in front of people you hope to impress. Make sure you please them by cooking something you know you can cook well.
A dish that has a lot of oil can be baked instead of microwaved to avoid creating a greasy mess. Microwaving can cause oil to splatter. As the oil heats, it moves away from the rest of the ingredients in the dish, resulting in a mess. Baking will keep the ingredients more cohesive.
Brining is a technique for preparing poultry. Soak any poultry in a brine 1 hour before cooking to get a great taste out of it.
Use a thick-skinned baking potato for firmer-shelled twice baked potatoes. A red potato’s skin is too thin to hold together if you are using a dense filling.
If you want to reheat a greasy dish, bake it again instead of making a mess in your microwave. Because the oil heats the fastest out of the ingredients, the heat that comes out of the microwave can make it separate from the rest of the meal. Baking produces a more even and consistent heat that can better keep flavors and ingredients together.
To make cooking as stress-free as possible, gather all the ingredients you need before you get started. You will also have all the ingredients you need on hand. Checking and laying out all of your ingredients at the start doesn’t add any extra time to cooking, and it can head off a lot of potential problems further down the line.
When you follow this advice, cooking homemade food will come easy to you. You will realize as you cook healthy and tasty food at home that you are saving money and feeling better. Home cooked meals will help your family learn better eating habits. Go ahead and put these fabulous tips to good use and start cooking up some fantastic meals.
When frying food, include ketchup in your batter ingredients. Dip the food in ketchup immediately before covering it in seasonings and bread crumbs. Ketchup adds a flavor that you might find surprisingly delicious. If you use this for guests, do not be surprised if they ask you for your secret recipe.