Cooking is a skill that can always get better. Even the best chefs can learn new ideas to make their dishes turn out better. Those new to cooking can really benefit from learning the short cuts that simplify the process of cooking. This article is full of tips you will find helpful in getting you started as a cook.
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. Store them in your fridge or basement, in plastic bags that are loosely tied, as they tend to spoil in dry warm areas. One bad apple will quickly ruin the other apples.
Keep all spices stored out of the sunlight. Shelf life can be significantly decreased for those spices which have been exposed to too much light, dampness and heat. Storing your spices in a cool location far from direct sunlight will help them last longer and taste better. Using fresh spices will make your food taste better.
Be careful when using garlic because the flavor and aroma can be transferred to a variety of surfaces, including your hands. To get rid of the odors that garlic and other pungent ingredients leave on your hands, rub them around the inside of your stainless steel sink. This removes the scent from your hands; it also prevents the odor from being transferred to other foods.
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 helps to bring out the flavor in your food.
If you have made sauce, put the leftovers into an ice cube tray and freeze. This way, the next time you want some sauce, all you need to do is saute it in a pan. The sauce will remain edible even after being in an ice tray.
There’s something you can do to save your effort and your sauce. In a separate bowl, blend 1 Tbs of corn starch with 2 Tbs of water. Stir this solution into the thin sauce to thicken it. Be sure to slowly add the starch solution to your sauce until you achieve the desired thickness.
Have you ever had a hard time figuring out the grilling time of your meat? You need to use a good meat thermometer so that you can be sure that the inside of the meat is cooked properly. If you are cooking thicker cuts of meat on the grill, for instance thicker than one and a half inches, close the lid to cook it faster.
Partially chill meat so it becomes easier to slice into thin strips. If you are making Asian dishes, such as Thai or Chinese food, this is a great idea. If you freeze the meat, it will make it easier to cut into strips as the meat fibers will not stretch or tear as easily. However, to ensure that the meat cooks evenly, make sure that the meat is thawed before you cook it.
Chicken broth is a great cooking base for vegetables. Chicken broth is a great way to add flavor to your vegetables while keeping them from sticking to your pan. There is not a lot of expense when buying chicken broth, and most grocers carry it.
Prolonged boiling of vegetables destroys many of the nutrients contained within them. To preserve their nutrition, choose to cook foods in quick methods like steaming, sauteing or even just eating them raw.
Substitute water for other more flavorful liquids, in order to spice up your meals. When a recipe calls for water, you can try chicken or beef broths. You may even want to try something like juice. Instead of milk, try sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk. Using different liquids can add nutritional value, while at the same time punching up bland, old recipes.
Read the labels for any product that you buy to use in a recipe. Many often-used ingredients contain hidden, unhealthy ingredients. You need to see to it that the ingredients are not high in sugar or sodium because both may cause complications to your health if consumed in large quantities.
If you need to cook a dish with garlic, you should get the freshest garlic that is available. Garlic that is fresh is sweeter than garlic that is not. If your garlic is not shriveled up or soft and has a nice and firm skin, your garlic is fresh.
You can dry out your own tomatoes. Dry your own by slicing ripe tomatoes 1/2″ thick, or cut Romas in half, lengthwise. You should place them on cooling rack, and salt them lightly with the cut side up. Put the rack on a baking sheet, and slow-bake in an oven that is set to 190 degrees for about 10 hours. Keep the tomatoes fresh by storing them in freezer bags. You can also pack dried tomatoes in a jar with some fresh herbs and olive oil. The jar can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
If you’re cooking pumpkins, cut them in half by positioning them upright and slicing down the middles. On a baking sheet, put one of the halves face down. Use a different baking sheet for the other half. On both sheets put a tiny amount of water, then at a temperature of 350 degrees bake the pumpkin for about an hour.
If you enjoy utilizing herbs and spices, keep them fresh and flavorful by storing them in an area that is dark and cool. Storing spices and herbs in cabinets above the stove or in other warmer locations will result in a loss of flavor and a loss of money.
By doing this, your fruits will remain fresh for the entire year. You will also have fruit handy that is not normally available during that season.
It is necessary for all cooks to organize their cooking supplies. If they’re not organized, you’ll waste time looking for needed items. Place the cooking supplies that are similar in one place. For instance, place parsley and basil in one cabinet, since both are spices.
Always measure your cooking oils! This will help you lower the fat content when you cook as opposed to just pouring directly into the pan without measuring. This way, you know exactly how much fat you are adding to your dish.
Many veggies and herbs leave strong scents and plant oils on your cutting board that are very difficult to remove completely. Use permanent ink to mark one end of the cutting board to identify which is which.
Always purchase the freshest garlic available if you plan to be cooking with this wonderfully aromatic seasoning. Garlic that is fresh is sweeter than garlic that is not. As garlic ages it becomes bruised, shriveled and less firm.
While you are cooking, it’s a great idea to clean the dishes as you go. To make it easy, just have one sink filled with soapy water and fill the other side with rinse water. If you wash while you are cooking, the dishes and pots will be easier to scrub and you will save time on cleaning up after dinner. Plus, they will be immediately available to use again.
To make your cooking experience run more quickly and smoothly, commit some of your time for food preparation the night before a meal. Cut up ingredients the night before you plan on cooking a meal to save some time. You will more prepared to cook your meal the next day, and will experience less stress!
Shake a little salt onto your cutting board when you are chopping up fresh herbs. The salt helps to keep the herbs on the cutting board during chopping and also adds some extra flavor. Remember to use moderation; you don’t want to add too much salt to your ingredients. The salt that has been sprinkled onto the board, will also have the extra benefit of adding a little bit of extra flavor when it adheres to the herbs.
Impress your loved ones or guests with a great sandwich with mayo that is evenly spread from corner to corner on each slice of bread. Sometimes, when people are rushed, they just slap some mayo down in the middle of the bread. If you have the mayonnaise spread throughout the sandwich, every bite will taste amazing!
Try making your own dried 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. Use a cookie sheet to hold the rack and set it in the oven at 190 degrees for at least 10 hours. Once done, you can store them in your freezer in plastic bags. You can store dried tomatoes in an olive oil filled jar. Add fresh herbs for seasoning. Refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.
Use a meat thermometer to make sure that you are cooking your meats properly. Meats have a specific internal temperature schedule that determines they are cooked and safe for human consumption. There is a lot of bacteria that lives on meat, so cooking it to a high enough temperature to kill it off is important to avoid food borne illnesses.
Spices don’t last forever; replace them every 6 months. If spices are kept open for too long a time, they will eventually lose their flavor. If you have spices that you don’t intend to use any time soon, give it as a gift to someone who will use it.
See to it that your herbs are stored in a dry, cool and dark area. Your spices can become less spicy if you expose them to humidity, heat, or light. Being so close to the heat will only cause the flavors of your spices to fade.
When preparing a pasta dish, you should add salt to the boiling water before adding the noodles. The salt will hold better while cooking because it is absorbed by the pasta along with the water. Salting pasta after cooking is often unsuccessful because the pasta will not absorb the salt then, it will only sit on top of the noodles.
Cut down on cooking time by doing your prep work in advance. Some preparations can be done as much as two days in advance of the meal. Some ingredients even benefit from advance preparation, developing a better flavor that will enhance the quality of your meal when you cook it. Once you develop this habit, you may never go back.
Put a little bit of salt on your cutting board before chopping fresh herbs. This adds flavor to the herbs and helps to keep them from sliding off the cutting board. Remember to use moderation; you don’t want to add too much salt to your ingredients. The salt will stick to the herbs, adding some extra flavor to your dish.
Give new ways to prepare oysters a shot. Most people eat oysters raw with lemon juice, but you can serve them in other ways. Put opened oysters in their shells on a broiler pan, and cover with a little cream. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and some freshly grated pepper, and the broil until they are bubbling. You can also saute your oysters. The oysters can be dredged in a seasoned flour, then fried in butter for two minutes until they become golden brown. Bake the oysters in the shells. Place the oysters in a large casserole dish then, add fresh breadcrumbs and a small dab of butter on top of each oyster. Allow the oysters to bake between four and five minutes at 425 degrees. Once you see the juices and butter bubbling you should serve them immediately so that they are piping hot. It is a good idea to eat them with a nice toasted baguette.
Impress your loved ones with even simple recipes, like sandwiches by spreading condiments out evenly over the bread. Often, people are hurried and just drop a dollop of it in the middle. Make sure they get the flavor of your spread in every bite for the optimal sandwich experience.
If you want to reheat a greasy dish, bake it again instead of making a mess in your microwave. Microwaves cook with intense heat that causes the oil to separate because the oil cooks faster. However, baking the dish slowly and evenly reheats the entire dish, thus keeping the ingredients and flavors together.
Keep your spices and herbs in a dry, cool, dark place. Your spices can become less spicy if you expose them to humidity, heat, or light. Such close proximity to these three factors will cause your spices to lose their flavors.
If your family is losing interest in having the same frozen sweet corn all the time, then try blending it with something. If you want a fiesta feel to your corn, put in some onions and black beans, and everyone will love it.
If you have a dish you are looking to reheat that is filled with oil, consider baking it instead of microwaving it to keep away a ton of grease. The intense heat of a microwave tends to cause the oil, which heats fastest, to separate from the other ingredients. Baking will heat the dish evenly, causing it to keep all of its flavor.
Include a variety of colors when you cook. Meals that are full of color are healthy and visually stunning. You can also use a diversity of garnishments to increase color; consider vegetable curls, cherry tomatoes, and small cuts of fresh herbs. The more beautiful the plate, the faster the food will disappear.
Mix hot milk into your mashed potatoes, rather than boiled milk. The mashed potatoes will be lighter and fluffier than if you would have used cold milk in them instead. Avoid mushy, lumpy mashed potatoes by following this tip.
Even cooks with years of experience continue to learn ways to improve their cooking and technique. For the neophyte cook, every little bit of information helps cultivate those fledgling cooking skills. These tips can help you get started and improve on your cooking skills.
Easily cut cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon rolls can be difficult to slice prior to baking. Place the dough over a piece of thread. Then you will want to pull the thread up and around the sides, then cross it on the top, and lastly, pull the ends towards opposite directions. Doing this will make sure that you have the best cinnamon roll slices!