Like other things in life, everyone has to begin cooking somewhere. The fact is that even professional chefs had to start somewhere. Once you start feeling more confident in your abilities, try recipes that are more complex and include unfamiliar ingredients. If you want to be a better cook, there are some things you need to know. In this article, we will offer you good advice to get you started.
Your spices should be stored in a place that is cool and dark. If you leave them out somewhere, you will expose them to light, wetness, and heat, and it could ruin them. To keep your spices spicy and fresh, store them in an area that is cool and dark. You can prepare tastier meals if you use fresher spices.
The prep work comes first. It is important to have all the prep work done before you start cooking. Sometimes even when the prep work is done, the deadline for when the meal must be completed can still loom large and become stressful. If all of the prep work is completed well before the actual cooking begins, this will help alleviate some stress later.
Make slicing meat into strips easier by partially freezing it. For Asian meals, such as Thai and Chinese dishes, this technique creates strips that are particularly ideal. With meat that is somewhat frozen, the fibers tend not to stretch or tear as much when they are sliced, making for much cleaner cuts. Allow the meat to thaw prior to cooking though, so that it can cook evenly.
If you are working on creating more home-cooked meals, try the library for cookbooks that offer a variety of easy recipes that will be fun to prepare. Try your hand at several recipes that pique your interest, and forgive yourself for any mistakes you may make along the way.
It’s vital that you always use sharp knives when cooking. Dull knives make it very difficult to cut with and also extremely dangerous to use. You’re less likely to cut yourself chopping up a vegetable with the clean, fast strokes of a sharp knife, than when you are forcing and wiggling a dull knife.
Add oil to the pan’s sides when cooking. Adding oil in this way allows the oil to heat before it reaches the food in the center of the pan. This will help keep the foods flavor locked in and make for a tasty meal.
When cooking for someone that you want to impress it is important to make sure that you are preparing a meal that you have prepared before and know you can prepare well. Avoid the temptation to try a new dish or ingredient. Preparing a meal that you are comfortable with can really help to reduce your stress level.
There’s a neat trick you can use to save your sauce. For every tablespoon of water, add half a tablespoon of cornstarch and mix as much as needed to get the right thickness. You can then add the solution to the sauce and it will become thicker. Be sure to gradually stir in the solution, and frequently stir the sauce so that it does not become too thick.
Vegetables that are cooked more quickly will be of higher quality. If you slow cook vegetables they will lose nutritional value and taste. These methods usually create healthier vegetables. You should only cook them just as long as it takes for them to be done.
If you are cooking for an important event, it is a good idea to make a meal that you have made before. You should never attempt to cook some new dish or even a new ingredient you’ve never attempted. Cooking will become less stressful.
There are many things you can do ahead of time to save time during your meal preparation. Look at your recipe ahead of time and draft up a list of what you can do to get ready, but don’t risk spoiling any ingredients. There are a lot of things you can prep the day before you need to cook. This is a great time saver, and can make that complex recipe into something that is quick and fun.
Popular French fried potato recipes suggest soaking the potatoes in water for 30 minutes before cooking them. Allowing the sliced potatoes to soak up more cold fluids helps to reinforce the fibers that are in the vegetable, that way when they are deep fried, they are better able to stand up to the heat and won’t completely break down.
Garlic is among the multitude of tasty ingredients that offers flavor with a drawback: garlic can transfer to your hands and fingers. Rub your hands along the metal rim of your sink in order to get the odor off your hands after handling pungent food ingredients, such as garlic. Rubbing your hands on the stainless steel, helps remove the odor from your hands, so that every other food you touch does not smell like garlic also.
Are you preparing a dish with fresh basil? Take a large bunch of this fresh herb and place it in a glass. Cover its stems completely with water. Place the glass of basil leaves on the counter in your kitchen, and watch it keep its freshness for weeks. Remember to refresh the water from time to time, and you will notice that the basil starts to grow roots. Periodically prune the fresh basil; this will stimulate the plant to continue growing for a week or so.
Have you ever experienced difficulty in determining how long you should grill a piece of meat? Use a digital or other high-quality internal thermometer to check whether your meat is cooked enough. If the meat is greater than 1.5 inches in thickness, you should close the lid of the grill in order to decrease your grilling time.
Garlic is a great ingredient but it can leave a strong smell on your hands and utensils. One tip is to utilize the stainless steel feature of your sink; swipe your hand across it when you’ve been handling garlic or other ingredients with strong odors. You will clean your hands and stop smells from rubbing off on other foods.
A great source of protein for your diet can be found in beans and tofu. Most grocery stores sell both items. Seasoned tofu is a wonderful alternative to meat, and can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as pan frying. Boil beans with a sauce or herbs, or add them to a salad to serve up some additional protein.
If you choose the wooden versions of cooking skewers, it is a good idea to immerse them in water, and leave them there for about half an hour before using them. This step will stop the skewer from burning while it is being used. Double up on the skewers per kebab to ensure that nothing falls off of them.
Rather than using water or milk in a specific recipe, try a different liquid to add a new flavor. If the recipe has called for water, you could easily use chicken broth, beef broth, or juice when suitable. Buttermilk, yogurt and sour cream can be great substitutes for milk. Changing liquids can improve the nutrition of the dish and make it more lively.
This way, the fruits will stay fresh all year long. Plus, you will be able to have fruits that are not available at certain times of the year.
When serving salad to guests, leave the dressing on the side. Let people put on their own dressing. Get different kinds of dressings to leave them more choices.
If you want to add flavor to your dishes, use a liquid other than milk or water. Substitute plain water with juice, broth, or the water that you cooked your vegetables in. Buttermilk, yogurt and sour cream can be great substitutes for milk. Using different liquids can add nutritional content to certain dishes and improve their flavor.
If you do not have time to cook for your family, prepare things in advance. The night before the big day, prepare a sauce, marinate meat or chopping up and measuring out vegetables and herbs. With so much already prepared, you will likely be less stressed.
Measure cooking oil out. To lessen the amount of unhealthy fat in your meals, make sure you carefully measure out how much oil you are using. Never pour the oil from a bottle straight into the pan. This technique gives you greater control over the amount of oil you want to use.
If you purchase unripened fruits, place them in a perforated plastic bag. As the fruits get ripe, they’ll give off ethylene gas. Putting them in a perforated bag will allow circulation of the air and keep the gas retained, thus allowing the fruit to keep it’s delicious taste.
When cooking, be creative. Following every recipe to the letter will give results, but it won’t make you a great cook. Sometimes adding or taking away a little extra of this or that can alter the taste so much, that it exceeds the original recipe itself. That is really a creative cook!
It is fairly easy to dry tomatoes yourself. Dry your own by slicing ripe tomatoes 1/2″ thick, or cut Romas in half, lengthwise. Then put them on a rack that you might use to cool cookies and then lightly cover them with salt. Put a cookie sheet under the rack and place in the oven for ten hours at 190 degrees. The dried tomatoes can be put in plastic bags and frozen. You can put the dried tomatoes with fresh herbs in a jar with olive oil to preserve them. Kept in the refrigerator, these tomatoes will keep for a couple of weeks.
Take care of your wood cutting board. Wood is prone to warp or split when used as a cutting board. Food juices, plus the washing and drying process, will cause this damage. The board has to be washed, but just lightly go over it with soapy water. Don’t submerge the board in the dishpan. Cutting boards should be treated regularly with specifically designed oil products. It should be completely dry before its next use.
Add lots of salt to your water for cooking pasta. The salt will hold better while cooking because it is absorbed by the pasta along with the water. Pasta that has been salted after cooking may not retain the flavors used in the seasoning and sauce.
There are much better ways to heat tortillas. You can heat the oven to 350 and place the tortilla right in the oven on the rack. One way to do this is by placing a tortilla on the grill directly. Either of these ways adds a crisp, fresh texture to your tortillas and Mexican dishes.
Spices and herbs should be kept in a dark place that is cool and dry. Exposure to humidity, heat and light can cause your spices to lose their flavor fast. This will ensure your spices will not be as good to use.
Keep your spices and herbs in a dry cupboard. Exposure to humidity, heat and light can cause your spices to lose their flavor fast. Exposing the spices to these kinds of conditions can enable them to lose their flavor.
Timing is a crucial element when baking a cake. The recommended cooking times can give beginner bakers a general idea of how long to bake the cake, but these guidelines can be inaccurate because elevation and other factors have to be taken into account when determining how long to leave the cake in the oven. The best test for a cake being fully cooked is to insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done; if batter comes out with it, the cake needs to be baked longer.
Keep close watch when baking to avoid under cooking or overcooking a cake. Recommended baking times are just that, recommendations, and can sometimes be misleading because simple things like elevation can change the baking times of the cake. Instead, take a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out with no batter on it, the cake has finished cooking. If the toothpick has batter on it when it is pulled out, the cake needs to stay in the oven for a few more minutes or so.
Use beef or chicken stock as a substitute for water, in order to give extra flavor to a variety of dishes. Another option is to add in a couple of bullion cubes into the water as well. In this way, you will be adding the right amount of liquid to your recipe, along with a little extra flavor.
Some people have a natural talent for cooking, but natural talent is not necessary. As long as you can follow a recipe and written directions, you can become a fantastic cook. It is not as complicated as you might think. If you apply the tips you have learned here, you’ll be unstoppable.
Use soft butter not melted butter when creaming sugar and butter to make cookies. If your butter is melted, put it in your freezer for a couple of minutes so that it starts to harden just a bit, or you can finish making the dough, and then put it in the refrigerator for a while. Chilled dough will result in smaller and thicker cookies.