Cooking is a skill that gets better the more you use it. Not even the most experienced chef is so educated that a few new tricks would not be of use to her. Cooks who are new to the kitchen should also learn tips that help to make cooking simpler. For handy cooking advice that can apply to cooks of any skill level, read on.
If you are baking crusts for a pie or tart, you will probably need to bake them for a while longer than you thought. Your objective is to cook them past the point of being pale blonde, to the point where they become a golden caramel color. When the crust is a golden color then you know the sugar has caramalized and you will have a sweet and crispy result.
Meat should always be thinly sliced and cut on the bias if you are adding it to a stir-fry. This can get a little tricky and does tend to take up some time. Then take the meat of out the freezer when it has firmed up a little, but has not frozen yet, and cut the meat at 45 degrees with the grain.
Keep spices tucked away in cool, dry and dark areas. If you leave them out somewhere, you will expose them to light, wetness, and heat, and it could ruin them. Your spices will have a longer shelf life and retain their good taste if stored in a dark, cool spot. You can prepare tastier meals if you use fresher spices.
Apples are a popular choice for eating in autumn or winter, but they will spoil if not properly stored. Dry warm air will cause them to rot, so make sure they are stored in a loose plastic bag in the fridge or in a cool basement. Make sure you check them periodically, however, because even one spoiled apple can cause the others in the bag to rot very rapidly.
Let raw potatoes soak in some cold water for a half hour prior to frying them to increase the crispiness of French fries. When your potatoes soak up cold fluids, their fibers are reinforced. This means that they will hold up better to the heat necessary for the frying process.
It is possible to do a lot of preparation beforehand in order to speed up the cooking process and make it easier. Look through your recipes and determine whether or not certain steps can be completed beforehand. Much of the preparation can be done the day before it is needed. This can turn even the most complex recipes into quick, fun and fast cooking jobs.
Do you enjoy preparing dishes that contain fresh basil? Take a bunch of the basil and set it in a glass. Cover the stems with water. You can keep it on the kitchen counter for several weeks. Frequent changes of the water might even encourage the basil to spread out some roots. Trim your basil plants once in awhile to promote more growth, and enjoy your fresh basil for quite a long time.
Ice Cube Trays
Garlic can add a tremendous amount of flavor to your food. However, when you are cutting and chopping fresh garlic, it can also leave its odor on your hands. If you have a stainless steel sink, simply rub your hands vigorously on the inside of it, when you are finished handling the garlic. This will clean your hands and keep the smells from permeating whatever food you are handling next.
Freeze sauces by pouring leftovers into ice cube trays. When you feel the need to create another meal, you will have them handy to heat up. Do not worry, the sauce will still be edible after it has been in the ice cube trays!
Do you know grilling times for meats? You can purchase a meat thermometer to ensure that the inside of your grilled meat is cooked to satisfaction. Meat thicker than 1.5 inches should be cooked under a closed grill.
Make a lot of stock if you are going to make it ahead of time. Instead of making a single serving, make a whole stock pot and save the leftovers so you can freeze them. Stock is perfect for many dishes like stew, soup, and even casseroles. Make certain the stock is cooled, and then you can portion it into heavyweight Ziploc freezer bags and place in the freezer.
Optimize your efforts when making your own chicken stock. Make enough so that you can freeze it and use it in your recipes. You can use the stock as a base for all kinds of soups or even casseroles. Allow the stock to cool, then split it up into heavy duty Ziploc freezer bags.
Soy products and beans are a wonderful place to get protein if you need to add some to your diet. Most grocery stores sell both items. Make a yummy meat alternative by pan frying the tofu with some seasonings. Boil the beans with herbs to make a tasty protein-filled dish.
When trying to eat a healthier diet or lose weight, you should decrease the portion of oils used in cooking meals. Oil and butter is mostly fat. A great alternative to oils is a nonstick cooking spray. Not only does it provide the same results as cooking with oils, it also contains less unhealthy ingredients.
One of the healthiest ways to cook your vegetables is to cook them on high with a low sodium chicken broth. The broth will add to the flavor of the vegetables and cut back on the amount of oil that is typically needed to saute them. This is an easy, delicious way to prepare veggies for you meal.
When trying to add protein to a diet, you need to remember that beans and tofu are great sources. Most grocery stores stock these items. Make a yummy meat alternative by pan frying the tofu with some seasonings. The beans can be boiled with some herbs for a flavorful protein source.
When buying ingredients to cook with, always read the label. There are many common supplies in cooking that contain unhealthy ingredients that are hidden. You must make sure that your ingredients are not high in either sodium or sugar because these may cause health problems if consumed in large amounts.
If serving salad, keep the dressing on the side, rather than pouring it on the salad. Some people love dressing in great huge globs, while others like a lighter taste. Some folks don’t like any dressing at all, (or are watching their weight) so leave the dressing of salads up to your guests. Also, try and include different types of dressings.
Measure your cooking oil! To lower the quantity of fat you use when cooking, see to it that you measure the oil you are using, as opposed to just pouring it into the pan from the bottle. Measuring the oil will let you closely examine how much oil you are using.
Make sure that you never use a wine in your food that you would not normally drink. Using a type of wine you find unpalatable will negatively impact the flavor of your food. You can find wines that are made primarily to cook with.
Buy fresh cloves of garlic and mince them yourself for use in recipes. Usually, fresher garlic will have a sweeter taste. Fresh garlic is free of bruises and firm to the touch.
Organization is key to cooking efficiently and not letting anything burn. A well-organized cooking area is conducive to great results. If you just cook without a plan, you will waste lots of food, which is the same as wasting lots of money.
To improve the flavor of your dishes, mix your own broth and other stock. If you make it in large quantities, you can store the excess in resealable bags in your freezer. By making the stock in bulk, there will always be some available for your soups and other dishes. Preparing your own stock in advance will reduce your need to use cheap over-salted options instead.
If you have bought fruit that is not ripe, put it in a plastic bag with holes.
As fruits ripen, ethylene gas is released. Placing fruit in a perforated bag allows air circulation in the bag, retaining ethylene gas and keeping the fruit tasting good.
To make your pasta sauce a little better, use some of the water that you cooked your noodles in. Save around 1/4 cup of water and put it aside. While mixing the sauce and pasta, add the pasta water into the mix. The water from the pasta contains starch that, when mixed with your sauce, will create a creamy texture.
For more flavorful dishes, make your own stock. You can cook it in large batches, pour the extra batches into plastic freezer bags, and then simply store them in the freezer. If you do this, you will never be short of stock for soups, stews, and other such dishes. Making the stock yourself will allow you to know that you are using a stock that is not loaded with preservatives.
Even a simple sandwich is a chance to wow your diners. To craft a perfect sandwich, spread the condiments evenly across the entire surface of the bread. People usually just slap the mayo in the center and are done with it. When you spread it evenly, every bite of your sandwich will be unfailingly flavorful.
Let your meal sit for a while. This is a vital step in your cooking process, which can add a lot of flavor to your meal. It has become almost habit now to serve up a meal as it comes right off the stove. Eating it so quickly after cooking doesn’t give the juices or flavors enough time to sink down into the meats, or whatever you may be preparing. Instead, allow each dish to cool briefly before serving it.
Take care of your wood cutting board. Excess moisture, heat and dryness may cause a wooden chopping board to split and warp. A wooden cutting board will be ruined if it is placed into water. To repair a damaged cutting board, use an oil designed to restore this type of board. It should be completely dry before its next use.
Save a little bit of your pasta water when making pasta sauce. Use about a fourth of a cup for this tip. When you are ready to mix your sauce and pasta together, incorporate some of this water. Your sauce will be thicker and creamier due to the starch provided by the water from the pasta.
The act of using string to tie the turkey is called trussing. Tying the legs and wings together keeps the turkey compact, ensuring that it cooks evenly. If you don’t tie down the limbs, the tips of them will likely burn before the body of the turkey is done.
If you are using raw onions to make your salsa and you plan to store it for later use, be sure to rinse the onions in cold water and dry them before adding them to the salsa. Fresh onions contain sulfurous gas. This could ruin your salsa. By running water over the onions and then drying them off, you get rid of the gas.
If you have the time, always reheat oily dishes in the oven as opposed to the microwave. This will keep you from having a greasy mess. The heat of the microwave can cause the oil to separate from your other ingredients, since it heats quicker. However, baking reheats the entire dish, retaining the flavors and keeping the ingredients together.
A stir-fry is a great way to cook up bits and pieces of leftover vegetables and meat. It is best to use cooled off day-old rice, though if you need to make fresh rice, put in less water so that your rice will be on the drier side. Fry the ingredients in oil and add rice with spices and sauce.
Purchase quality cutting utensils for the kitchen. It will help you to save time if you have cutting utensils that are not dull and it also adds safety to your kitchen because dull knives can cause you to cut yourself accidentally. You are taking the risk of getting frustrated and hurting yourself with old and dull utensils.
Cooking oil can be used to accurately measure sticky, semisolid foods. Just dab a little oil on your measuring spoon or cup, and your measured ingredient will slide right off when ready. Peanut butter and honey can also be easily measured out using this method.
No cook can boast they know every secret there is to cooking. There is always something new to learn or find out. And if you are new to cooking, you will need to learn all you can to make your meals special. Use these tips and you will soon see how much fun cooking can be and how comfortable you will become in your kitchen.
If your family enjoys corn, but you find it grows boring as a side dish night after night, change things up a bit. For a Thai-inspired flavor that will be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, try mixing coconut flakes into your corn.