How many times have you dreaded going into the kitchen to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner? You might need a new perspective. Cooking can be enjoyable and relaxing if you try to see it in another way. Here are a few cooking tips that are sure to get your taste buds tingling and entice your inner chef to come out.
Make sure to keep your spices and herbs sealed in airtight containers, protected in a dark, cool place. Exposure to humidity, light and heat all affect the flavor of your spices. Ground herbs and spices retain their flavor for 12 months under normal circumstances. If kept whole, spices can keep their flavor for up to five years. If you keep them correctly, they will last a lot longer.
You should bake crusts for a longer period of time than you think. Go past the usual pale tan color and take them to a caramel gold. The color on your pie signifies that the caramelizing process is complete in your crust, yielding a scrumptious dessert.
Do not throw away the product of your hard work. Try mixing in 1 tablespoon corn starch and another 2 tablespoons water in a container. Add this mix to your sauce to thicken it. Be sure to gradually stir in the solution, and frequently stir the sauce so that it does not become too thick.
Being organized is a key step when planning to prepare a meal for family or friends. Gather all of your ingredients well in advance. Put everything you need to cook the dish out the night before. Make sure you have all the cooking equipment and ingredients required. Being prepared will settle your anxiety and ensure that you are ready to create a fantastic meal.
If you put your meat in the freezer to make it a little hard, it will be easier to cut into thin strips. This method is great for oriental meals that require small strips. The knife can cut the partly frozen meat with less damage than if it were thawed. This is because the partially frozen meat fibers are not as easily stretched or torn. However, to ensure that the meat cooks evenly, make sure that the meat is thawed before you cook it.
It is a good practice to place cut potatoes in a bath of cold water for about half and hour, before frying in order to get crispy fries. Vegetables fibers can breakdown under high heat conditions. Soaking reinforces these fibers to produce better results.
If you need to slice meat into thin strips, then partially freeze it beforehand. Certain dishes require thin strips of beef, chicken or pork. Partially freezing the meat will help the fibers to stay together when it is being sliced. However, to ensure that the meat cooks evenly, make sure that the meat is thawed before you cook it.
If you love using fresh basil, try growing it on your own to always have it on hand. Take a bunch of the basil and set it in a glass. With water you then want to cover the stems. Put it on the counter of your kitchen in order to maintain its freshness for many weeks. If you are sure to add fresh water, your basil will even form roots and become a plant. Trim your basil plants once in awhile to promote more growth, and enjoy your fresh basil for quite a long time.
You can use this on a variety of foods, not just meat. Blended seasonings add a delicious flavor to any food, from pumpkin seeds to scrambled eggs. You can cultivate a reputation as a mysterious wizard of flavor just by using a judicious dash of such seasonings.
If your burgers seem to be sticking to the surface of your grill, it may be hard to take them off without breaking them. The way to prevent this is to coat the grill with some vegetable oil prior to putting any food on the grill.
Garlic’s only disadvantage is that it transfers smell onto your hands. Rub your hands on the inside of a sink made of stainless steel after using garlic. Doing this cleanses your hands and won’t allow the aroma to transfer to whatever you handle next.
Make a lot of stock if you are going to make it ahead of time. When you prepare stock, make a large amount, so it can be frozen for later use. That tasty chicken stock is very versatile and can be perfect for your next stew, casserole or soup. To preserve your stock for future use, just simply make sure that it is stored in heavy duty freezer bags and frozen solid. This way the stock should keep for several months or so.
Do you want to take the guesswork out of deciding how long to leave your meat on the grill? You may want to consider investing in a meat thermometer so that you know when your food is properly cooked. 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.
Try lowering the amount of oil you cook with if you are trying to lose weight and eat healthier. Oil and butter provide a lot of un-needed fat. As an alternative, try using non-stick cooking spray as it works the same while containing less unhealthy ingredients and fats.
When you are going to be cooking pumpkins, the first thing to do is to stand your pumpkin upright. Then you can cut in right down the middle so you have two halves. Put each half with the cut side facing down on their own baking sheet. Pour a little water on some baking sheets and bake the pumpkin for about 1 hour at 350 F.
When you make chicken stock, a good piece of advice is to make it in a big quantity. Fill a large pot of stock and freeze it for later. You can use your homemade chicken stock for soups, casseroles and stews. Once your stock is cooked, let the leftovers reach room temperature, then portion them into freezer bags.
This allows the fruits to stay fresh throughout the year. You also have the added benefit of having fruits out of season whenever you want them.
You should use chicken broth when you are cooking your vegetables. Not only will chicken broth help to keep vegetables from getting stuck to the pan, but they will add some nice flavors to the dish. Chicken broth doesn’t cost much, and is widely available at most grocery stores.
Replace the standby liquids of milk and water in recipes to mix things up. For example, you might try chicken broth or beef broth instead of water in a meat dish. You might even try fruit juice when cooking certain veggies. Substitute sour cream, buttermilk or even yogurt in place of regular milk. Using different liquids is an easy way to make an old dish more interesting and more nutritious.
Doing this means your fruit will always be fresh. Plus, you will be able to have fruits that are not available at certain times of the year.
If you purchase fruit that is still green and want it to ripen quickly, put it in a plastic bag with perforations. When fruits go through the ripening process, they release ethylene gas. With holes fitted in the bag, the gas is allowed to escape. The air will circulate, and the gas will not harm the fruit’s natural taste.
If you want to cook a roast quicker, leave the bone inside of it. The roast will get done sooner because the bone will direct the heat right to your roaster. When your cooking time is up, you can easily make your cuts, while avoiding the bone, and serve as normal.
When cooking, be creative. It is not always about following a recipe letter for letter. You can add a little of one thing, or take out something else, to suit your tastes and enhance the recipe. That is a sign of a true cook!
Many vegetables and herbs emit aromas that remain in the cutting board, regardless of how many times you clean it. Mark your chopping board using indelible ink in order to keep track of which side you used.
When cutting herbs, sprinkle a little salt onto your chopping board first. This gives the herbs a little flavor. Mostly, though, a little salt keeps the herbs from flying off the board. Do not add any salt to the dish you are making to prevent over-salting. Any salt on your cutting board can stick to the herbs you are chopping and enhance their flavor.
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 buy a certain spice and you know that you are not going to use it all before it goes bad, give half to a friend or family member.
If you are going to have a barbecue, then prepare your grill in advance so that you can start grilling right away. The charcoal will need to burn about 30 minutes before your coals are hot enough to start grilling. The charcoals are ready to cook over once they are ash covered, and at medium heat. This is the perfect temperature to grill.
When preparing a meal, make it part of your routine to wash dishes as you use them. If you have a double sink, keep hot soapy water and clear, fresh rinse water in each side of the sink. Utensils and mixing bowls can easily be washed immediately after they are used. They will then be ready to use again immediately.
Use only a very small amount of fat when sauteing a food. Too much moisture can cause food to steam rather than saute, affecting the crispness of the meal. This should be done at a lower temperature, too.
Allow your cooked food to sit a bit before it is served. Many do not realize the importance of letting their cooked food rest. Many are tempted to quickly serve food hot off the grill or stovetop. However, your meal could be much more enjoyable if you wait. Let your food, particularly meat dishes, rest for a few minutes prior to serving.
Spices and herbs need to be stored somewhere that is dark, cool and dry. Exposing them to light or heat could make them lose their flavors fast. This makes it more likely that your spices will not retain their distinct flavors and properties.
When cutting herbs, sprinkle a little salt onto your chopping board first. This adds flavor to the herbs and helps to keep them from sliding off the cutting board. Do not add any salt to the dish you are making to prevent over-salting. The salt will stick to the herbs and make their flavor stronger.
Measuring and chopping ingredients before you begin cooking can save you time. Many recipes include ingredients that can be prepared a few days in advance. Sometimes, the longer window of preparation time can enhance the flavor of your final dish. Once you get used to prepping in advance, you will probably never go back to doing it on the fly.
Even the simple things can make the family go wow, like spreading mayo evening completely across a piece of bread. Often people tend to hurry and the mayo ends up on only part of the sandwich. Not only will an even spread look more appealing, but it will ultimately taste better if the flavor is inherent in each bite.
Bake dishes that have a lot of oil in them when you are reheating. Because the oil heats the fastest out of the ingredients, the heat that comes out of the microwave can make it separate from the rest of the meal. However, baking in a slow and consistent manner can reheat the entire dish, which can keep the ingredients and flavors cohesive.
Use these tips for your next meal. The delicious results will be well worth the effort of learning to cook. The better your food gets, the more you’ll want to cook. Try out some new cooking techniques and start enjoying the process!
Use a thick-skinned baking potato for firmer-shelled twice baked potatoes. Red potatoes have too thin a skin to hold a thicker filling.