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.
In order to make the process of cooking easier, you should take to time to make large amounts of meat or vegetable stock and store it in the freezer. Not only is making your own stock less expensive than buying it from a retailer, but it makes it easy to keep a large supply on hand. Simply freeze the stock in small and clearly labeled portions and then take out what you need when you need it!
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 it comes to cooking a good habit to do after preparing garlic is to rub your hands on the stainless steel sink vigorously for about 30 seconds. This will remove the unwanted odor from your hands. Washing them less than 30 seconds will not take all the odor away.
Whenever you are cooking and you feel the need to add more oil, the best way to add oil is to add it through the side of the pan. By doing this, the oil will be heated when it gets to the ingredient that is being cooked. This is a good tip to remember.
Wash your mushrooms off with a damp cloth. Don’t put them under running water to clean them. Mushrooms are like little sponges and running them under the tap will cause them to absorb too much water. This can affect their taste and your cooking time as well.
Always continue to taste test all of your food as you cook them. Cooking a sauce, and you’re not sure if it needs more salt? Just taste it and you’ll know right away. Getting into a habit of testing all of your foods will keep you from accidentally over-spicing or under-spicing it.
An easy way to skin nuts. When used in cooking, nuts such as almonds and pistachios need their skins removed. Blanch the nuts by boiling them in a pan of water for one minute. Drain the nuts, and place them on a clean dishtowel. Fold the dish towel over the nuts, and rub vigorously. The skins will rub off onto the towel.
If you are making a dish where you will need thin strips of meat (fajitas, Chinese) freeze your meet for about 20 minutes before cutting. This will allow you to slice the meat very thinly with ease. You may think this sounds a little strange, but it will definitely do the trick.
Cook small quantities of food at higher temperatures for a lesser amount of time. Bite-size cookies only need a few minutes in the oven if you put it a higher temperature because there is only a small surface area to cover and it will not take long to cook. This way you will be able to enjoy your meal in minutes.
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!