For most people, cooking is nothing more than a daily chore they have to take care of. Shouldn’t cooking be a more enjoyable activity? Cooking can also be used as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle. Every good cook constantly looks for ways to improve their cooking skills. Use the tips in this article to learn more about cooking and to start seeing cooking as an enjoyable activity.
Always store your spices in a cool and dark place. Light, heat, and humidity will cause their flavor to weaken. You can plan on ground herbs and spices retaining their potency for a year. Whole spices, on the other hand, can still be bursting with flavor five years down the line. They can remain fresh longer if stored properly.
If you keep herbs and spices handy, make sure you are keeping them in a dark, cool area. Moisture, light and heat can affect the flavor of your spices. Most ground spices will keep their flavor for at least one year. Though if you have whole spices, you will notice the flavors are strong for 3-5 years. If the spices are stored properly, they will stay fresh for a longer period.
When making a stir-fry dish, the meat needs to be cut into very thin slices, always on the bias. This can require some time and some effort. Remove the meat before it is frozen, but still firm, and slice it at 45 degrees against the grain.
When baking pie or tart crusts, bake them longer than you think you should. The color should be a darker caramel instead of the pale blond so many people do. This is because the golden color lets you know that the sugar from the crust has caramelized, which give it that sweet, yet crisp taste.
Sharp knives are essential in any kitchen. Dull knives are more dangerous to use and they are less productive as well. Attempting to force a blunt blade through a tough root vegetable is much more likely to lead to an accident, than quickly dicing and slicing the same tough root vegetable with a sharp blade.
Meat should always be thinly sliced and cut on the bias if you are adding it to a stir-fry. Some people find it difficult to cut the meat thin, but it is very important. Then take the meat of out the freezer when it has firmed up a little, but has not frozen yet, and cut the meat at 45 degrees with the grain.
People tend to use a lot of apples for cooking in the fall and winter months, but if they are stored incorrectly they will quickly spoil. Apples are extremely perishable. In a warm, dry environment, they will quickly go bad. Store your apples in an airtight container in a cool, preferably humid place. Keep checking on them though, otherwise one rotten apple will spoil the bunch in no time at all.
When not in use, put your spices in an area that receives the lowest amount of light and heat. If the spices become too hot, or moist from humidity, it can shorten their shelf life. Too much light exposure also does this. To keep your spices spicy and fresh, store them in an area that is cool and dark. Make sure that your spices are fresh to add taste and flavor to any meal.
When preparing chicken stock, it is best to make a large batch. Make enough so that you can freeze it and use it in your recipes. That tasty chicken stock is very versatile and can be perfect for your next stew, casserole or soup. To store your homemade stock, let it cool, pour it into a freezer bag, and stick it in the freezer.
Cooking with apples in autumn and winter is popular, however they must be stored correctly to prevent spoiling. Keeping your apples in a cool, dry place will keep them from rotting. But remember that one bad apple really does spoil the bunch; check on them regularly.
Try cooking your vegetables in chicken broth. Try cooking your veggies in chicken broth. It adds a nice flavor, and the veggies will not stick to the pan. There is not a lot of expense when buying chicken broth, and most grocers carry it.
Beans and tofu are great sources of protein if you need to add some to your diet. Most grocery stores stock these items. Tofu can be pan-fried with some seasonings, and makes a tasty meat alternative. You can boil the beans with some herbs to have a flavorful protein packed meal, side or snack.
Always soak skewers in water for 30 minutes before loading them with food and cooking. This keeps them from burning up while the food is cooking on them. Also, use two skewers through your food to help secure it, so it doesn’t end up on the ground.
You can add new flavors for your meals by trying different liquids when recipes ask for milk or water. In place of water, try adding beef or chicken broth, juice or even water used to cook vegetables. Instead of milk, try sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk. Using different liquids is an easy way to make an old dish more interesting and more nutritious.
A healthy way to cook vegetables is to saute them with a little bit of chicken broth. The vegetables will take on the broth flavor, and reduce the oil that is used when sauteing. This is a healthy and tasty, vegetable cooking technique.
Track how much cooking oil you use. When it is time to add oil to your cooking pan, measure it instead of pouring directly from the bottle. This can ensure you are aware of the amount of unhealthy fat going into your food. Measuring your oil instead of estimating allows you to closely approximate the fat content in your dish.
If you are going to cook a pumpkin, get it into an upright position and then split in half straight down the center. Put each half on a separate baking sheet, upside down. Preheat the oven to 350 F, spray a little bit of water over the surface of the baking sheet, and bake the pumpkin for an hour.
If you are cooking with garlic, you want to use the freshest clove that you can find. A good rule of thumb is that fresh garlic will have a sweet taste to it. You can tell whether garlic is fresh or not by checking for bruising and making sure the skin is still firm and not shriveled.
This procedure will keep fruits fresh throughout the year. An added bonus is that you are going to be able to eat fruit that is not in season and is therefore unavailable elsewhere during certain periods.
If you are cooking a roast and are short on time, make sure to leave the bone in. This will allow your meat to cook faster as the bone will warm up the inside quicker. It is easy enough to cut the meat off the bone once the roast is cooked.
Carefully measure the oil you cook with. To have a lower amount of fat added to your cooking, make sure you measure your cooking oil carefully instead of just pouring right from the bottle to the pan. That way, you will know precisely how much oil is going into the dish you are preparing.
Don’t cook with wines that you don’t enjoy drinking. Wine that you don’t like or haven’t tried can ruin the way you feel about the food. There are cooking wines available.
Many veggies and herbs leave strong scents and plant oils on your cutting board that are very difficult to remove completely. Mark the end of your cutting board with indelible ink to remember which side is which.
Place unripened fruits in a plastic bag that is perforated right after you buy them. As fruits ripen, they produce a gas called ethylene. The holes in the bag allow the gas to escape, which will make the fruit last longer and taste better.
Leftover flavors and scents can remain on your cutting board, even after repeated washing. You should mark your cutting board on the side you will be cutting herbs on.
It is always important to follow a macaroni and cheese recipe very carefully, to ensure you get the best possible results. You will get the best results this way and be glad you did. Use a non-slotted spoon to serve macaroni and cheese. Use one of your favorite spices to add extra flavor to your boxed macaroni and cheese.
To avoid burning your food, stay organized. Just like with anything you do, the more organized you are, the more productive you will be. If you are unorganized, it is easy to lose track of things and waste your money and delicious food that you could have been eating!
Keep your kitchen clean by washing your dishes when you are done with them. Have one side of the sink full of soapy water and the other filled with rinse water. Mixing bowls and your utensils rinse rather easily and can be cleaned and wiped before the next ingredients in your meal.
If you want to make salsa for later, make sure you clean your diced onions thoroughly. Chopping raw onions releases sulfurous gases. Sulfurous gas can completely ruin salsa. By rinsing and drying your raw onions, the gas is released.
When chopping fresh herbs, try sprinkling a bit of salt over the cutting board before you begin. This will add some flavor and the herbs will stay on the board. Don’t add to much salt when doing this. Some of the salt will adhere to the herbs and add flavor to your dish.
Keep your spices and herbs fresh by not exposing them to humidity and light. Heat and moisture can have an adverse effect on the taste of your spices. If you take good care of your ingredients, they will keep their flavor longer.
If you are preparing a recipe with an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable, enhance your skills as a chef by taking a moment to educate yourself about it. Your new food item could be quite versatile in use, so it is good to do the homework. You will be able to find the best way to cook this new ingredient and have more fun.
As was mentioned, ongoing education is the hallmark of a good cook. The best part of cooking is learning about new techniques and methods to use. Cooking is also about sharing your knowledge with others. Cooking is about sharing tips and secrets with your friends and family.
Even though you might want to wow them with a fancy dish, never cook a new dish for the first time when the person for whom you are cooking is important. Whether you are cooking for your boss, that special someone or your in-laws, you would like them to enjoy your cooking. It is much better to show off a meal that you have had success with before.