Learning how to cook is a great way to take control of your life. Cooking skills can improve your health, shrink your food budget and impress friends and family. Whether you are a stranger to the kitchen or an experienced stove-top jockey, there are always new cooking tips and techniques to learn. This article has a few such tips to get you started on sharpening your cooking skills.
Before attempting to prepare food with skewers, take a few things to heart. Metal skewers will work better if they are twisted or squared.
Learn to use your hands when cooking (after washing them thoroughly first of course!). Hands are the most sensitive yet versatile cooking utensil you will own. They can be used for mixing, measuring and testing whether a product is cooked enough. A cake, for example, will show that it is done by springing back when touched lightly with a finger on its top.
When sauteing ingredients in a fry pan ensure that you don’t overcrowd the pan with too much food. Trying to cook too much at once will only lower the temperature of the pan and lead to steaming instead of browning. It is wiser to saute the ingredients in two separate batches, if necessary, and this will maintain the quality of cooking.
When you are cutting garlic, one of the things that you can do is to put it in a plastic bag before you cut. Then, slice the garlic cloves inside the bag to protect your board from smelling. This will help to reduce the pungent odor that garlic can give off.
When you feel like your dish is missing something but it isn’t salt, consider something acidic. Lemon, wine, and vinegar can all be great ways to add acid to a recipe. Healthy acidic balances out the flavor of anything sweet. It can also be a wonderful way to add a “salty” flavor if you’re on a low salt diet.
Substitute water for other more flavorful liquids, in order to spice up your meals. Substitute plain water with juice, broth, or the water that you cooked your vegetables in. As an alternative to milk, try using thinned sour cream, yogurt, soy milk or buttermilk. 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.
Place fruit that is not quite ripe in a plastic bag with a few small holes to allow it to ripen. The plastic helps retain the gases used by ripening fruit while the holes allow fresh air to circulate across the fruit. This also helps you keep your fruit fresh longer!
Marinate meat in a bag. A lot of recipes call for meat to be marinated in a dish for a few hours, turning occasionally. This can be frustrating, as the meat is never completely coated by the marinade. A better way is to throw the meat and marinade in a ziploc bag, remove as much air as possible, and shake well to coat the meat. Place it in the fridge and simply flip the bag occasionally.
A great grilling tip to improve flavor and consistency is to try to cut similar foods into the same size pieces. This ensures that foods stay moist and grill evenly. A nice side benefit is that it also makes your workload a little easier. By cutting out the hassle of constantly monitoring foods for doneness, you have the peace of mind of knowing your foods will all be ready right about the same time.
Feel free to make use of the tips that appeal to you. One of the greatest things about cooking for yourself is that it puts you in control of your diet. You are free to cook the way you want to. As you refine your cooking skills, keep looking for recipes and techniques that will help you to make the kind of food that you want to enjoy.