Although most people want to be able to prepare meals that amaze others, the process to becoming a great chef can often seem overwhelming. If you are a beginner cook, you too can become a wonderful chef by following the techniques taught in this article.
If you can, do all the preparing of the meal’s ingredients in advance. This is why it’s called prep work, because this is what you want to have done before you begin cooking. Trying to cook a meal that has to be on the table by a certain time can be stressful. Preparing some of the ingredients ahead of time can reduce the amount of stress you feel when it is time to prepare the meal.
It is extremely important to prepare your ingredients before you begin cooking your meal for a group. Make sure you have all the ingredients ready. The day before the big event, get everything ready to go. Make sure you have all the utensils and cookware you will need. Being prepared will settle your anxiety and ensure that you are ready to create a fantastic meal.
When making a stir-fry dish, the meat needs to be cut into very thin slices, always on the bias. Cutting meat thinly can be difficult and time-consuming. Take the meat out of the freezer just as it is beginning to freeze and slice diagonally across the grain at an angle of 45 degrees.
If you are going to stir-fry meat, be sure to have it cut on the bias and finely sliced. This is not easy to do and could take some time. Once the meat has become more firm, you should slice against the grain at 45 degrees.
Let raw potatoes soak in some cold water for a half hour prior to frying them to increase the crispiness of French fries. Doing this increases the strength of the fiber in the potatoes, which means that they don’t break down as quickly during the deep frying phase.
Every cook needs access to a set of sharp knives. Dull knives don’t get the job done, but in addition, are actually dangerous. If you are putting too much pressure onto the knife due to its dullness, the likelihood of having an accident is increased.
That way, fruit can stay crisp and fresh all year. This also gives you the advantage of having fruits available off-season.
If you want to reduce the amount of calories and fat in a mashed potato dish, substitute cauliflower for some of the potatoes. Cauliflower’s neutral taste means that it blends easily with the flavor of the potatoes, butter and milk. 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.
In recipes that call for milk or water, try substituting more flavorful liquids. As a substitute for water, try broth. Juice can work as well. Some people use the water left over from boiling vegetables. Some great replacements for milk are sour cream, yogurt and buttermilk. Using liquid substitutions in your cooking can increase nutrition and give a standby dish a new flavor.
This procedure will keep fruits fresh throughout the year. Additionally, you’ll have fruits available to you that aren’t for sale in the markets when they’re not in season.
When preparing dishes that require heavy seasoning, you should add the seasoning gradually over the total cook time. When you use this method, you will be more in control of the flavor and can limit over using your ingredients.
Substituting another liquid for milk or water can help give your meals a new flavor. If the recipe calls for water, try using chicken or beef broth, or even the water that you used to cook your vegetables in. To replace milk, yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk can make good substitutes. Substituting the liquid in a dish can add nutrient content, flavor or both.
When serving salad to guests, always offer the dressing on the side rather than pouring it directly on the salad. Some people like more dressing on their salad than others do, so it is better to let them add the dressing themselves. It is also a good idea to offer several dressing choices.
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 season your food this way, you can bring out the flavors of your ingredients a lot better.
Always check to see if your utensils are clean if you are about to cook. If there is food leftover after washing, this could ruin whatever you are going to cook. This could lead to problems from bacteria being spread.
When serving salad to guests, you should never put salad dressing directly on it. You should have it to the side so that each person can use as much or as little as they want. It is much better to let guests add the amount of dressing that they prefer according to their needs. Offer your guests a variety of dressings.
Fresh herbs in a meal are delicious. Bunch them together and then use a pair of scissors to snip them. This is preferable to chopping the herbs because they will be less moisture laden, making them lighter and fluffier.
Let your food rest a bit before sitting down to eat. Lots of people don’t take advantage of this important step for food. Many people are tempted to rush food to the table when serving a meal. Unfortunately, serving your meal immediately can take away from the taste and quality. Instead, allow each dish to cool briefly before serving it.
Make your own sun-dried tomatoes. Simply cut them into 1/2 half inch slices, or cut lengthwise for Romas. Using a cooling rack, lay the sliced tomatoes with the side that is cut facing upward, and then sprinkle them lightly with salt. The next step is to put the rack on an old cookie sheet and then place in an oven set at 190 degrees for at least 10 hours. Put them in plastic bags for freezer storage. You can also pack dried tomatoes in a jar with fresh herbs and olive oil. When refrigerated, they will last a minimum of two weeks.
To make your pasta sauce a little better, use some of the water that you cooked your noodles in. Use around a quarter cup and put it aside for your sauce. Before adding the sauce to the pasta, mix in the cooking water. The water from the pasta contains starch that, when mixed with your sauce, will create a creamy texture.
Consider creating your own stock, in order to add some customized flavor to your dishes. You can cook it in large batches, pour the extra batches into plastic freezer bags, and then simply store them in the freezer. This way you will always have flavorful homemade stock on hand when you want to make soups or other dishes. If you prepare your own, homemade stock, you will be cutting out all of the preservatives of canned versions.
Do food preparations prior to cooking food. That way, you are able to prevent using a lot of gas or heat while cooking, and you provide safety when using hot oil or other dangerous things while distracted.
There are a few ways in which you can reheat tortillas. One is to place them on a rack in a 350 degree oven. Leave them long enough to become just crisp. Or you can place a tortilla directly over the flame when you are cooking with a gas stove top. A hot, fresh, crunchy tortilla is within reach when these simple techniques are used.
When preparing a pasta dish, you should add salt to the boiling water before adding the noodles. Seasoning added while it cooks will “set” in the pasta. Salting pasta after cooking it results in a less flavorful pasta dish.
Make sure to take care of all of the preparation beforehand to maximize your cooking experience. Many ingredients can be prepared a few days before you actually cook the meal for which they’re needed. In some cases, you will find the longer preparation window will make your end result a flavorful masterpiece. Once you start preparing your foods well in advance, you may never want to cook another way.
Stay creative and have fun when cooking. You do not have to follow a recipe to the “T”. When you’re comfortable with the recipe, play within it to see what can be reduced, increased, or added for a better taste or texture. Sometimes that’s the best sort of cooking!
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that every potato is like the others. Waxy potatoes are good for boiling or using in potato salads, but they make poor french fries or mashed potatoes. If you plan on making these types of recipes, you should use Russets potatoes as they are made specifically for these.
When you want to chop herbs, sprinkle some salt on your cutting board. This gives the herbs a little flavor. Mostly, though, a little salt keeps the herbs from flying off the board. If you add the salt to your cutting board, reduce the salt in the recipe by the same amount, so that you don’t add too much salt to your dish. 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.
Even though you might want to really impress guests with a fancy dish, never try out a recipe for the first time when cooking a meal for an important event. The night you meet your in-laws is not the time to experiment, and the way to impress a date or your boss is to serve something you know they’ll enjoy. Stick to dishes that you are confident you can make well, and your meal will be a success.
The smallest touches, such as spreading mayonnaise well from edge to edge of the bread, can mean the difference in making your food “pop” with your guests. Too many sandwich artists hurriedly put a glob of mayonnaise in the center of their bread. When the mayo reaches every corner of the bread, each bite of the sandwich tastes just as wonderful as the last.
Try preparing oysters in new and interesting ways. Oysters are often consumed raw with a dash of lemon juice, but can be prepared several different ways. Place halved oysters, still in their shells, onto a broiler pan, then cover them with a dollop of cream. Drop fresh black pepper and Parmesan on top of them, and place under the broiler until they start to bubble. Another technique is to just saute them Dredge with a little seasoned flour and fry in hot butter for approximately two minutes until golden. Bake oysters with shells still in tact. Place them into a casserole dish, and then place a little butter and fresh, new breadcrumbs on every oyster. Once you’ve done all of this, bake the dish at about 425 degrees for approximately 4-5 minutes. Once the butter and the juices are boiling, serve it along with some toasted baguettes.
If you plan on making a batch of salsa containing raw onions that will not be eaten within about 20 minutes, prepare the chopped onions first by rinsing in cold water and blotting dry. A sulferous gas is contained in fresh onions. Your salsa could be ruined because of this gas. Thoroughly rinsing the onions after you cut them will get rid of the gas.
Try reheating foods that contain lots of oil rather than microwaving them to avoid having a greasy mess. Microwaves have such intense heat that they separate oil, which gets hot the quickest, from other ingredients that heat more slowly. When you use the oven to reheat a dish, the heat will come slower and more consistent, which will keep the ingredients cohesive and the dish flavorful.
Whether you plan to dazzle your family with a well-cooked meal or impress a hot date with a romantic dinner, culinary talent will enhance your life in many ways. It’s common across all world cultures to celebrate special occasions with food. If you follow these ideas, you can begin on a journey of becoming a cook, and everyone’s favorite person at dinner parties.
When your recipe calls for butter and sugar, soften your butter but do not melt it. If you use a microwave to soften your butter and it becomes a liquid, you can wait for it to become more solid as it cools or you can accelerate its cooling by putting it in your freezer or refrigerator in order to regain some of its thickness. Cooler dough will prevent your cookies from spreading too much.