Cooking can seem like something that only professionals can do. But if you have some good information and tips of the trade, then even those who burn toast can make a delicious meal. All it takes is the right techniques and a little bit of knowledge to turn you into a chef.
When cooking any recipe, use the best ingredients that you can afford. Splurge a little on imported cheeses or better quality meats when you can, so that you can experience a restaurant, quality-tasting meal at home. To enhance the experience even further, try to creatively plate up the meal with a little thought, for something different every now and then.
When you are making stock, make a lot of it. Then save it in a plastic zip bag, date it and freeze it. That way you can pull it when you would like to make a soup. You can use it to boil some veggies in. Having some in the freezer will make preparing healthy meals very much easier.
Have you ever wondered how your neighbor’s pie crusts turn out to be golden brown and glossy while yours is always pale? There is a trick to learn which guarantees the desired result every time. Beat some egg whites and brush it over the pie. You will take out beautiful, glossy, golden brown pies from your oven.
A good thing to remember regarding cooking is to store your ingredients and spices in a cool dark place and not on top of your stove. This is because humidity and light tend to cause spices and herbs lose their flavor. This is one of the things new cooks tend to forget.
When storing ingredients that you will use for cooking it is a good habit to stock them in large quantities and freeze them in plastic bags. This will make preparing food easier and faster. For example, when preparing vegetables, you can just pull them out of the freezer and simply boil them.
You can save a lot of money by buying potatoes for your favorite dishes in larger quantities. Make sure you store them in a cool dark place (preferably in a root cellar). Place them in a crate loosely and keep the storage temperature between 45 and 50 degrees F. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator as they become sweet.
Cooking a big meal? Do the preparations the day or night before! This way, you will have less to do on the day you are going to make your meal. For instance, if a salad will be part of your meal, make it the night before.
When you have a recipe that calls for wine, you may be tempted to use a cheap wine or cooking wine. Avoid this mindset when you approach your cooking. A good rule of thumb is to consider whether or not you would drink the wine. If you wouldn’t drink it, do not use it to cook.
Don’t use prepared seasoning mixes when you cook, especially if you have high blood pressure. These mixes often have a high sodium content. Instead, use fresh herbs and spices, or make sure you choose a low-salt mix. For more flavor, try adding lemon or lime zest or a few chili peppers to your meal.
Trying to deep fry at home? Whenever your food is ready for the fryer, use tongs to gently hold the item just below the surface of the oil so that it has a sealed exterior and then let it go. If you toss it in without holding it for a few seconds, you might see your food stick to each other or to the fryer itself.
Now that you have read some of these great tips, you should be ready to tackle making something delicious. Practice will make perfect though, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time around. Just like in anything else, let failure be your teacher.