Cooking is something that is so beneficial and useful in a number of ways. One thing that can be guaranteed is that everybody enjoys eating, and knowing it was home-cooked makes the meal that much better. But everyone would like to become a more skilled chef in the kitchen. Read below to find great advice to improve your skills.
All of the prep work can be done ahead of time. Having your preparation done ahead of time is very important. That way, when you’re ready to cook, it takes some of the stress out of it, especially if you have a deadline to meet. By doing all of your preparation in advance, you avoid the stress and just enjoy your meal.
When you shelve an herb or a spice, make sure it’s dark and cool. Your spices and herbs will lose some of their flavor when exposed to light, humidity and heat. Ground herbs and spices retain their flavor for 12 months under normal circumstances. Whole spices may retain flavor for up to five years. They’ll last longest when stored properly.
A great tip to follow if you use oil to cook is to put it on the sides of the pan while cooking, so it’s already heated by the time it reaches the food. This will enhance the flavors of the food.
Try adding oil to foods from the sides of a pot or pan in able to jump-start the heating process. This helps to bring out the flavor in your food.
If you need to slice meat into thin strips, then partially freeze it beforehand. This is great for various Oriental meals, such as Thai or Chinese dishes. There’s less tearing of the semi-frozen meat as it’s cleanly sliced. However, to make sure that the meat cooks evenly, take the time to let it thaw out prior to cooking.
Apples are a popular choice for eating in autumn or winter, but they will spoil if not properly stored. To properly store them, you should keep them in a plastic bag and in a cool temperature. Be sure to remove any spoiled apples as soon as you spot them, or the entire batch will end up rotten.
If you want to slice meat into thin strips, freeze it partially before bringing it to the cutting board. When you are making stir fry Asian dishes, this technique for thinly sliced meat is ideal. By partially freezing meat ingredients, slicing is cleaner and the fibers do not stretch and tear as easily. Before you cook the sliced meat, however, you must first allow the strips to thaw.
If you want crispier and crunchier French fries, then soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for a period of at least half an hour before use. 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.
Replacing some of your mashed potatoes with equal amounts of cauliflower is a healthy alternative, reducing fat and calories. You will not taste the blandness of cauliflower, but notice a new interesting flavor instead. As a bonus, cauliflower is the same texture and color as potatoes, so no one will be the wiser when you improve the nutritional content and lower the caloric content of your mashed potatoes.
It is possible to do a lot of preparation beforehand in order to speed up the cooking process and make it easier. 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.
Are you planning to use freshly picked basil in a recipe? Place the basil in a container that is glass. Then cover the stems of the basil with water. Put it on top of your kitchen counter and it will be fresh for weeks! If you occasionally change its water, it will sprout roots. Also trim the basil every now and then to facilitate growth. Enjoy fresh basil on a regular basis.
When you make chicken stock make as much as you can. If you prepare a large pot of stock, it can be frozen and stored for future use. A rich chicken stock makes a savory base for soups, stews and other dishes. Once your stock is cooked, let the leftovers reach room temperature, then portion them into freezer bags.
Whatever you may be cooking, using fresh foods is always better than canned, dried, or frozen. Your recipe will be more flavorful if you use fresh ingredients, and the cost can be lower as well.
Beans and tofu are great sources of protein if you need to add some to your diet. You can find these ingredients easily and incorporate them to many different recipes. Frying the tofu in a low-sodium soy sauce is a tasty alternative to eating meat for dinner! The beans can be boiled with some herbs for a flavorful protein source.
If you have made sauce, put the leftovers into an ice cube tray and freeze. Take them out to use on another night when you’d like a no hassle home cooked meal. Simply reheat the sauce cubes slowly in a medium pan on your stove top. Not to worry, it freezes well and is perfectly edible when stored this way.
If your dish calls for a bit of garlic, make sure the garlic is as fresh as possible. By having fresh garlic, it will taste sweeter. Fresh garlic is hard, not wrinkled, or mushy-feeling.
When burgers and other foods become stuck to the grill grates, it can be hard to loosen them without damaging the food. To avoid this possibility, you can apply a light coat of vegetable oil to the grill before cooking.
Make your own sun-dried tomatoes. Dry your own by slicing ripe tomatoes 1/2″ thick, or cut Romas in half, lengthwise. Take a cooling rack and place the tomatoes on it. Sprinkle them with salt. Then place that on a baking sheet and dry them in an oven that is 190 degrees for 10 hours. Place them in the freezer in plastic bags. You can put the dried tomatoes with fresh herbs in a jar with olive oil to preserve them. Dried tomatoes should be stored within the refrigerator and used within two weeks.
When trying to eat a healthier diet or lose weight, you should decrease the portion of oils used in cooking meals. Butter and oils have fat that you do not need! Try cooking with a cooking spray so that you will use less oil but the same effect.
Leftover flavors and scents can remain on your cutting board, even after repeated washing. This can save you from eating garlic strawberries.
Wooden skewers should be soaked in plain water before each use for an absolute minimum of thirty minutes. This helps them avoid burning when you cook. To ensure that your food stays on the skewers, use two skewers instead of one to hold the food firmly in place.
Allow your cooked food to sit a bit before it is served. This is very important for the juices to be absorbed back into your meat. We are inclined to serve meat and other foods as soon as they are cooked. However, your meal could be much more enjoyable if you wait. Let your meal sit and cool off for a couple minutes before serving.
If you wish to eat more protein, try one of the many varieties of beans or tofu available. Most grocery stores sell both items. Seasoned tofu is a wonderful alternative to meat, and can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as pan frying. Soak and cook the beans with herbs, seasonings, and bits of meat for a flavorful soup, burrito filling, dip or other protein-rich application.
One great cooking tip is just be flexible and creative; do your own thing. You need not follow a recipe exactly. Adapt recipes to your tastes by adding or removing an ingredient, or even creating something from scratch. That is a sign of a true cook!
When preparing dishes that require heavy seasoning, you should add the seasoning gradually over the total cook time. In this way you will give your food all the flavoring you can as well as using your ingredients more efficiently.
Before chopping fresh herbs sprinkle some salt on the cutting board. This adds some extra flavor to the herbs while also keeping them on the board. Just make sure you don’t add salt to your dish afterwards as the herbs already contain it. The salt sprinkled on the board adheres to the herbs, which takes the flavor up to 11.
If your time is short when making a roast, speed up the process by leaving in the bone while cooking. The bone acts as a conduit to draw heat to the center of your roast, helping the roast to cook more quickly. When the meat is finished being cooked, you can avoid the bone when you cut and serve it.
If you are preparing homemade salsa that won’t be consumed immediately, rinse the cut onions with cold water and thoroughly dry off any excess water before using them. Onions that are fresh have sulfurous gas. Your salsa can be ruined by this gas. Rinsing and drying the raw onions gets rid of the sulfurous gas.
Organization while cooking is necessary in order to avoid disasters, like under done or burnt food. Just like with anything you do, the more organized you are, the more productive you will be. Get organized to cut back on unnecessary food waste.
A meat thermometer is a great way to show you are cooking meats properly. Meat must reach a minimum temperature to be safe. This temperature varies for each kind of meat. If your meats are not cooked to the proper temperature, bacteria can stay alive within the meat and make you and your family sick if they are consumed.
To quickly cut herbs, bind herbs together and snip with scissors. This will keep them drier and less heavy than if they are chopped.
Don’t ever try a recipe for the first time when you’re cooking for someone that you want to impress. Depending on whether it’s a boss, date or your new in-laws, you will want to make sure you cook something amazing so they are impressed. Sticking to something you know how to make will ensure things go smoothly.
To improve the flavor of your dishes, mix your own broth and other stock. You can make this in large batches, and freeze some for later use in resealable freezer bags. You will have stock on hand for soup and other things. Making the stock yourself will allow you to know that you are using a stock that is not loaded with preservatives.
Reheating oily dishes should take place in the oven rather than the microwave if you want to avoid a mess. By placing your food in a microwave you’ll find that the oil will separate from everything else, drying your food out. Baking slowly and consistently can reheat your whole dish and keep all its parts cohesive.
A simple sandwich can impress your family and friends if you make it perfectly by spreading the mayonnaise in a smooth, even layer across the entire surface of the bread. Often, through rushing, many people just put a smear of mayo on the bread. It is much more enjoyable to have mayo in every bite.
For more flavorful soups, mashed potatoes, and other dishes, replace the water in the recipe with stock–chicken, veggie, or beef. Alternatively, you can stir in bouillon cubes with the water. In this way, you will be adding the right amount of liquid to your recipe, along with a little extra flavor.
Buy good-quality knives and other cutting tools for your kitchen. Not only will you save time by not having to mess with dull knives, but it is also much safer to use a sharp utensil than a dull one! Many cuts and accidents are caused by dull utensils.
To ensure that your shells stay firm when making twice baked potatoes or loaded potato skins, use thick-skinned potatoes, such as russets. Red or new potatoes have too thin of a skin to hold the filling.
As you can see, cooking can be easy. With the right techniques, creating delicious dishes for family and friends can suddenly become a breeze! Now that you have been introduced to these great tips and tricks, you just need to make the time to go and give them a try!
One way to eliminate odors when working with fish, garlic or onions is to use stainless steel as a base to rub them, and then wash them. It doesn’t matter whether you use a spoon, one of your sink’s corners, or a stainless-steel soap bar. Performing this particular action will eliminate the odor and freshen your hands.