Learning how to cook requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to eat the batches that aren’t quite ready for prime time. Learning new techniques for cooking is a life-long learning experience and your education begins here. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you on your way to cooking success.
When seasoning your food, remember that it is much easier to add more seasoning if needed, but you cannot take it away if you add too much. That is why it’s important to go light when seasoning with herbs and spices. You want to compliment the flavors of the food and not overpower them.
Make sure that you defrost your vegetables before you put them in the microwave if you are planning to cook them this way. This will allow you to achieve the best texture, while not sacrificing the taste of your vegetables. After cooking, add your vegetables to a main plate as a side dish.
It is extremely embarrassing to have lumps in your gravy. It happens to everybody from the beginner cook to the master chef. There is a simple trick you can use to eliminate them. Drain the gravy through a fine strainer and discard the lumps. This technique can be used for other sauces or soups too.
It’s nice to have a pie quickly when unexpected guests arrive. When you don’t have time to create the crust from scratch, use a quality pre-made mix. Add a few tablespoons of sour cream to make the crust flaky so no one will notice that you didn’t create the pie from scratch.
For pasta that is cooked perfectly all the way through, do not place it the in water until the water is boiling. Pasta cooks from the outside in, so to keep your pasta all one texture you need to cook it at the same consistent temperature from the beginning to the end.
As your cooking prowess grows, you will learn to appreciate the versatility of stocks and broths. Rather than buying these useful ingredients at the store or wasting your time cooking them in small batches, prepare stocks in large quantities. You can store surplus stock in plastic bags in your freezer, ready for quick use in future recipes.
It is possible to cook healthy without abandoning all of the rich, creamy dressings that can contribute so much flavor. One method is to use Greek-style yogurt as a replacement for mayonnaise. Half of the mayonnaise called for in the recipe should be replaced with the yogurt. This will give the same great taste while cutting down on the unhealthy effects of the mayo.
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.
Next time you make a dressing at home, swap half of the amount of mayo with an equal portion of Greek-style yogurt. This increases not only the richness of the dressing, but it gives it the creamy and smooth texture that we all love to see on our salads and other dishes.
The best part of cooking is that you can eat your mistakes. Don’t be scared about trying something new. Even Julia Childs and Wolfgang Puck have made complete failures of dishes at one point or another. Cooking is all about learning and experimentation until you learn what works for you, so give it a shot!