Whether you’re a brand new cook or an experienced one, there are plenty of sources of frustration in the kitchen. No matter what your cooking skills are like, little annoyances can make preparing a meal much more stressful. Here are some cooking tips that will help preparing your meals go a little more smoothly.
Make sure to keep your spices and herbs sealed in airtight containers, protected in a dark, cool place. Exposure to excessive heat, humidity, or light will affect the flavor of dried seasoning. A lot of the time, you can expect an herb or a space to retain flavor for about a year. Spices that have not been ground may still be worth using for three years or a little more. They can remain fresh longer if stored properly.
Add flavor to boring roast chicken. Rather than using a roasting rack, place thick slices of onion in the bottom of the pan, and place the chicken on top of them. The chicken juices will be absorbed by the onion, creating a caramelization on the bottom of the pan. After roasting, remove the chicken, add a little water to the pan and cook on high heat for a few minutes. This will create a tasty sauce for your chicken.
Freezing meat slightly before cutting it will help you to get a nice, even thin slice. This works great when you are cutting steak thin for philly’s or if you need to cut pancetta into thin slices or strips. Do not freeze it solid; freeze it just enough that it is slightly firm.
Saute tired salad greens. If your salad greens have seen better days, don’t discard them – saute them! Salad greens such as radicchio, arugula and endive make a tasty side dish when sauteed. Cook them quickly in olive oil, chopped garlic and sea salt. Sprinkle with a little bacon and goat cheese, and you will be happy that you didn’t throw away those unused salad greens!
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.
Know the gender of your eggplant! There are both male and female eggplants, and it pays to know the difference. The seeds of an eggplant can be very bitter. A female eggplant’s seeds have a tendency to be more bitter than those of a male eggplant. You can identify a male eggplant by its base – it will be smooth and round, whereas the female base is more oval in shape and deeply indented.
You should use nonstick cooking spray when cooking a meal or snack. The nonstick cooking spray keeps food from sticking to a pan without adding unneeded fats and calories. There are some sprays that are flavored, so that you can get the same flavor as if you had used butter.
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.
There are plenty of things you can do to take the stress out of cooking. Now that you’ve read this article, you have plenty of advice you can apply the next time you head to the kitchen. Now that you have these tips, you may find you’re willing to try cooking something a little more challenging.