Even if your only cooking task is feeding your household, there is plenty that you can learn to improve your cooking talents. When you feel comfortable with the basics, you can start trying to create your own recipes. Try some of these tips to make your meals interesting and exciting!
Prepare as much of your recipe as you can ahead of time. Before you start making your food, it is a good thing to have everything prepared. Trying to cook a meal that has to be on the table by a certain time can be stressful. You can spare yourself a great deal of hassle by doing prep work in advance.
Spices should be stored in a dark and cool place. Humidity and heat, in addition to light, will cause spices and herbs to lose their flavor. Ground herbs and spices will retain their flavor for about a year. Whole spices, on the other hand, can retain their freshness for 36-60 months. When spices are stored in the correct manner, they will stay fresh for much longer.
Stir-fry recipes require meat to be sliced very thin and at an angle to the grain. This is rather difficult to do, and can take a lot of time. Take the meat out as soon its gets firm (not frozen), then cut it across the grain at a forty-five degree angle.
When you season meats, try cooking a little piece prior to the entire piece. You may have to use caution when you season foods such as meatballs, meatloaf or hamburgers. Don’t cook the whole thing after seasoning it. Rather, set aside a small bit of the meat and cook it the same way you will make the rest. You are then able to decide whether to cook the rest of the meat that way, or adjust your seasoning accordingly.
To slice meat with ease, you should place it in the freezer for a bit. Certain dishes require thin strips of beef, chicken or pork. It’s easier to slice meat that has been partially frozen because the fibers don’t tear and stretch, so you can make clean cuts. For the most even cooking, you should let the strips thaw before you cook them.
If you are cooking an important meal for a significant person, such as a boss or a date, you should not serve a dish you’ve never attempted to cook before. You should never attempt to cook some new dish or even a new ingredient you’ve never attempted. This can make cooking less of a chore.
When trying out a new marinade or seasoning, test it on a small piece of meat before you cook the entire meal. It is important not to over-season foods such as hamburger, meatballs and other meat-based dishes. Avoid cooking the entire batch immediately after seasoning the meat. Just cook a small piece formed into a patty. Taste the cooked patty, and cook the remainder of the meat if the seasoning is just right, or make any necessary adjustments to the seasonings.
For healthier, lower-calorie mashed potatoes, add some cooked cauliflower to your tubers. Cauliflower’s bland taste makes it easier for it to blend with the potatoes, so that you can’t taste it, and it picks up other ingredients. In addition, cauliflowers can blend into the same texture and color as potatoes, which makes cauliflower an excellent method of adding vegetables and decreasing calories from a mashed potato dish.
If you are cooking for an important event, it is a good idea to make a meal that you have made before. Do not attempt to whip up a new dish or use an ingredient you have never used before. You will have a more relaxed and less anxious cooking experience.
Regardless of the recipe, you can always bet that a fresh ingredient is better than its dried or frozen counterpart. Fresh ingredients will give your dish extra flavor, and can turn out to be less expensive over time.
To reduce fat and calories in mashed potatoes without sacrificing texture or taste, replace some of your potatoes with an equal amount of cauliflower. Cauliflower’s subtle flavors blend in with the potatoes and other ingredients easily. 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.
Complete as much of the preparatory work as possible for your meals ahead of time to speed up the process of cooking. Peruse your recipes and look for things you can do ahead of time. Choose items that will not spoil. You can prepare a lot of food the day prior to actually cooking. This can turn even the most complex recipes into quick, fun and fast cooking jobs.
Are you going to prepare food with fresh basil? Store the basil in a jar. Add some water to cover the stems. Leave it on your counter and it will stay fresh for a very long time! Frequent changes of the water might even encourage the basil to spread out some roots. Trim or cut the basil periodically to provide for added growth so you can partake in some fresh basil for a while!
They will act somewhat like a sponge that soaks up all the water. Instead, get a wet, clean cloth and wipe off the mushroom by hand.
If you want the cooking process to be both faster and easier, prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Check recipes to find out what can be prepared ahead of time without risking spoilage. You can prepare a lot of food the day prior to actually cooking. This can make even the most difficult recipes fun and easy.
Ice trays can be a great tool for freezing sauces. When you’d like to make a quick and easy meal later on, you just have to pop out a few cubes of sauce and reheat them in a pan. Nothing to worry about as the sauce will be fine even after it’s been sitting in ice cube trays.
When trying to add protein to a diet, you need to remember that beans and tofu are great sources. Both are readily available in grocery stores. Tofu is great meat alternative when baked, broiled, or pan-fried with seasonings. Make beans a less boring source of protein by including some herbs when you boil them.
Try to add some broths or other ingredients to recipes that call for liquid in place of what it asks for. As a substitute for water, try broth. Juice can work as well. Some people use the water left over from boiling vegetables. You can substitute buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream in place of the milk. A simple switch like changing a liquid in a recipe can improve the nutritional quality while giving the dish a whole new spin in taste.
Try drying your own tomatoes. Prepare by cutting ripe tomatoes into half-inch-thick slices or slicing Roma tomatoes in half down their long axis. Put them facing upwards onto a cooling rack and add a little salt. Heat your oven to 190 degrees and put the cooling rack with the tomatoes directly onto a cookie sheet, baking for no more than ten hours. The tomatoes can then be placed in plastic bags and stored in the freezer. 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.
Make preparing a complicated meal easier by doing some preparation the night before. Group ingredients, verify that you have all necessities on hand, and do all measuring and chopping tasks that can be done ahead of time. When you are ready to start cooking, all you have to do is combine the ingredients and cook them.
Cooks need to keep cooking supplies organized. If they are not properly organized, you will wind up rummaging around to find what you need. Place the cooking supplies that are similar in one place. For example, keep all of your spices in one cabinet. You can even organize them further by grouping them according to color, flavor, type or any other effective method.
When preparing to barbecue, make sure you light the charcoal in your grill ahead of time. At least half an hour before you plan to cook, prepare the grill in readiness. Make sure that the heat of the coals is medium and that they are covered with ash. This is the best grilling temperature.
If you want your dishes to be more flavorful, try preparing your own stock. Make a lot at once, so that you can divide it into batches and store it in the freezer. This ensures you will have tasty, homemade stock available when you need it for soups, stews and many other dishes. When you create the stock that will be used in your food, you can ensure the quality and avoid unnecessary additives and preservatives.
A good kitchen requires good knives. You will be more efficient when you do not have to deal with dull knives; in addition, sharp knives are safer to use than dull knives. Most of the accidents that happen in the kitchen are due to someone using a dull cutting utensils.
Use a generous amount of salt in your pasta water when making pasta. The seasonings in the water will infuse the pasta thoroughly. If you try to salt the pasta after it is already cooked it will not hold the seasoning as well.
Keep your spices and herbs stored in a dark, dry, and cool area. Heat and moisture can have an adverse effect on the taste of your spices. In this location, the spices are exposed to heat that will cause their flavors to dissipate.
When you are cooking, don’t be afraid to be creative. Following a recipe is not fun if you do not add a personal touch. Experimenting fearlessly with cooking, adding a new ingredient, cutting one out, and changing amounts is how great new recipes are born. That is how a real cook gets it cooking!
A good cooking method when working with poultry is to first brine the bird. Soak your poultry in the brine mixture for at least an hour prior to cooking to enhance the flavor.
If you don’t plan to eat your salsa within half an hour, and onions are on your ingredient list, run cold water over the onions and then use a paper towel to blot the water off. Fresh onions emit sulfenic acid when cut and this turns into a gas. This gas can ruin your fresh salsa. You can remove the gas by rinsing and drying the onions.
Reheating oily dishes should take place in the oven rather than the microwave if you want to avoid a mess. Microwave radiation congeals oil in dishes being reheated. 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.
Tortillas can be heated up in several ways. The first way you can heat tortillas is in the oven. You need to have an oven that is heated to 350 degrees. Place the tortillas on a rack until they are as crispy as you want them to be. You can also use a gas stove top to warm tortillas right on the grill. These methods can make your tortilla taste better.
Make good use of leftovers by throwing together a wok full of tasty fried rice. While cooking a wok of rice is best with day-old rice, fresh rice with less added water can also work. First saute the meat and vegetables in a little bit of oil, then add your leftover rice and season it to your liking with soy sauce, ginger and garlic.
Apply the tips from this article to help guide you towards having a better handle on cooking. The cooking tips described in this article represent examples of the type of information that can improve the way you cook for yourself, your family and everyone else for any occasion.
Don’t overspice the food when you cook it; give people the option of choosing their own spice levels. Popular seasonings, such as garlic, hot peppers, herbs, and salts are desirable additions to any dish. Many people like different things in terms of spices. Don’t add them while cooking; offer spices after you’ve made the meal so everyone can customize the taste for themselves. This way you are sure that every person enjoys their dish.