So you want to throw a dinner party, plan a picnic or make a family feast but don’t know where you should begin? This article will provide you with plenty of simple clues and fancy tips, and you will be in the kitchen cooking up a storm in no time.
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.
While most seasonings are added at some point during the cooking process, there are certain spices that are considered good after cooking options. These spices are garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper and salt. Set these on the table, and let your guests decide on their personal preference to add a little kick to their plate.
Understand that the smaller the item, the higher temperature that you are going to need to cook at. This will help to maximize the way that your food tastes during the meal. Cook your smaller foods at very high temperatures and larger foods at lower temperatures for the best results.
When you are chopping herbs before your meal, a tip that you can follow is to throw a little bit of salt on the chopping board. This will give you extra friction so that you can maximize your cuts. Quality cuts of herbs will lead to a great meal when everything is complete.
Cooked turkey freezes beautifully, as does stuffing. When making a big holiday meal, be sure and make plenty so you not only have enough for turkey sandwiches, but to enjoy another turkey dinner in a month or two, without all of the work. Use a spare 9″ X 13″ pan that you line and divide with aluminum foil into two or three compartments. Cut some turkey for one compartment, add some stuffing in another and if you would like, leftover mashed potatoes can be put in the third compartment. Drizzle some gravy over everything you desire, cover with aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to enjoy turkey again, or perhaps when pressed for time and out of ideas for dinner, grab the pan from the freezer and place in the oven at 350 degrees. Remove the foil from the top of the pan after 45 minutes, bake uncovered for another 15 to 20 minutes and enjoy!
If you would like to bake a berry desert in the winter (when most berries are out of season), use frozen berries as a delicious and more eco-friendly alternative to fresh ones! Thaw your frozen berries for 45 minutes, drain the excess, then use as you normally would when making a berry pie or cobbler.
Herbs and spices have a powerful impact on the quality of your cooking. To preserve these important, expensive ingredients, keep them in a cool, dark place with minimal humidity. All too often spices are left near ovens and sinks. The heat, light and moisture in such places leach the flavor out of high-quality spices.
Don’t be afraid to over season your meat. Most people actually under season, because the cooking process will weaken the flavor of some spices. With the exception of salt, most seasonings will better enhance the flavor if you use about twice as much as you think you should.
Now that you’ve got some basics and some insider secrets down, you can’t help but have the confidence to start your adventures in cooking. Follow the tips that you have learned here, and you will soon be receiving high praise not only from loved ones, but also from your fellow want-to-be cooks.