It is common sense that all human beings require food to continue living. But plain “survival” foods can be more than just having food in the kitchen. Cooking something wonderful is better than just eating a good meal. Here are some things you can use to bump your cooking skills up a better cook!
If you are baking crusts for a pie or tart, you will probably need to bake them for a while longer than you thought. Go past the usual pale tan color and take them to a caramel gold. The darker color results when the sugar from the crust has started to caramelize and will have a much sweeter and crisper flavor.
Keep all dried spices in a location that stays room temperature.If light, humidity and heat are present, they will lose much of their flavor. Ground spices will retain their flavor for around a year. Spices that have not been ground may still be worth using for around 3-5 years. Storing spices in glass containers with a longer shelf-life for your spices.
When cooking a large meal for a family gathering or dinner party, preparation is key. Gather all the ingredients beforehand. Plan your meal a day in advance to make sure you have everything you need. Taking the time to prepare yourself will guarantee that the meal will be a success.
Slice your meat on the bias very thin when you are making stir fry. This can be a very time and some effort.
Cooking veggies improves the quality of them. Vegetables which are cooked slowly can lose their taste and valuable nutrients. A plus is that faster cooking methods usually yield vegetables which are, generally, simply better for you health. It is worth it to take the time to use cooking methods that preserve the most nutrients.
This helps to enhance and maximize the taste of your food maximum flavor when it is done cooking.
Though you may not realize it, garlic tends to seep into the pores of your skin during meal preparation. 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. Hands will then be clean, and odors will not be transferred on.
Do you often feel bad about it? Should you save the rest? You should never eat or keep a piece of fruit that has begun to rot. Mold goes a lot deeper than you see and can make you sick so throw moldy fruit in the garbage.
Optimize your efforts when making your own chicken stock. Making more than you need in a large pot can allow you to have some left over to store in the freezer for later use. There are a variety of recipes that call for chicken stock, so having it on hand is always a good idea. To store your homemade stock, let it cool, pour it into a freezer bag, and stick it in the freezer.
You can sprinkle it on other foods besides meat. Try roasted potatoes or mix it in your scrambled eggs. Everyone will love the flavor and ask what you used to make it so good.
If you must use oil in your cooking, choose extra virgin oil to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your dish. You simply do not need the added fat in a healthy diet. A nonstick spray for cooking provides many of the same results as oil; however, it does not add extra calories.
Use fresh foods any time you can, as they bring out the flavor in a dish, and can be real money-savers too.
If a recipe calls for milk or water, try some other flavorful liquid to enhance the flavor of your dish. If the recipe has called for water, you could easily use chicken broth, beef broth, or juice when suitable. Rather than using milk, think about yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream. Try making your recipes stand out and more nutritious by interchanging your liquids.
They will act like a sponge and absorb the water. Wipe off by hand with a damp cloth to prepare them for cooking.
Keep the dressing for a salad off to the side when you’re having guests over for a meal. This will allow your guests to control how much dressing they want to put on their salad. Make sure you have a wide selection of dressings to choose from as well.
Ice cube trays are fabulous for freezing sauces. This makes it easier for you to make a quick meal by reheating the sauce using a saute pan. The sauce will be very edible after it comes out of the next time you need it!
Don’t use a type of wine in your meal that is a kind you wouldn’t drink regularly. If you cook with an unfamiliar wine, you run the risk of disliking the taste of the wine and having it ruin your food. If you want a safe bet, most liquor stores carry cooking wines.
If burgers get stuck to the grill, it may be hard to take them off without breaking them. Try brushing vegetable oil on the grill or pan to keep food does not stick.
You should be as organized as possible when cooking to avoid burning food and other mistakes, which could be costly. When your station is organized, you will be more productive. If you aren’t organized, you will start to forget what you buy and that will make you spend too much money that could have been spent on something you would have eaten.
Plan to make a big pot of stock in order to freeze and store it. Good chicken stock that you make at home makes a great starter for soups, stews, stews and other dishes.
Although macaroni and cheese is considered to be a simple dish, there are steps that must be followed to produce the perfect bowl of comfort. The macaroni cooks perfectly when you do this and is nothing short of spectacular after the nice, creamy, melted cheese is poured over the noodles. Use a solid face spoon when you serve to make sure you get plenty of cheese scooped up with the macaroni. Add some extra flavor with pepper.
When working in the kitchen, make a conscious effort to clean dishes as soon as you have finished with them. If you have a two-bucket sink, put soapy water on one side and keep the other side for rinsing your dishes. Utensils that have been used recently, will be easier to clean if you leave them in this water.
Add some chicken broth to vegetables when cooking vegetables. Chicken broth is a great way to add flavor to your vegetables while keeping them from getting stuck to the bottom of the pan.
When planning to prepare complicated dishes, do the prep work the evening before the actual cooking is to take place to minimize stress. Make sure you have every ingredient you need, and measure out spices or herbs. Cut veggies as necessary. You will only have to get everything put together when it’s time for you to cook.
This step will stop the skewer from burning while you are cooking. Use two parallel skewers instead of one skewer to keep food falling off.
Don’t completely drain the water after cooking pasta, save some to add to the pasta sauce. Save about one-fourth of a cup of water after draining the pasta. When your sauce is also ready, add in the water before tossing or topping the pasta. Through a process known as amalgamation, the starch in the pasta water creates a creamy texture in your sauce.
You should always look at the product labels when you’re purchasing ingredients for a meal. Many of the most common cooking ingredients include substances that may not be very healthy. You want to produce a product that anything you buy is not high in sugar or salt because both can cause major health problems if eaten too much.
Be sure not to overfill your pan when sauteing foods. Excessive moisture can steam food, instead of actually sauteing it. This should be done at a lower temperature, too.
This will allow your food the maximum amount of flavor possible.
You should utilize a meat thermometer, so that you can be sure that the meats are thoroughly cooked. Each meat has minimum internal temperatures that are recommended so that it is safe to eat. Bacteria flourish on the meats, so you need to make sure the meet is cooked properly and thoroughly so the bacteria don’t stay on the meat and cause sickness if you were to consume the meat.
Always make certain to measure the cooking oil you use. This will help you reduce how much fat is present in your foods while cooking. This will allow you to keep track of oil you use.
Not all potatoes are the same, and if you substitute one type of potato for another, your dish may not come out like you expected. Some potatoes are waxy and are great for making things like boiled potatoes or potato salad but are not so good for french fries, mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes. For those culinary exercises, you should use potatoes that are fluffy, such as Russets.
Make good use of leftovers by throwing together a wok full of tasty fried rice. Cold, day-old rice works great, but if you desire to use fresh rice be sure to use less water to make the rice drier. Try cooking the veggies and meat in some oil, the add your rice and put some soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and spices in.
Always seek out garlic available when you have a recipe that is fresh and firm. A rule of thumb is that fresh garlic will have a sweet taste to it. Fresh garlic is free of bruises and shriveled nor does it have bruises.
To remove the odors of fish, garlic, onions or other strong ingredients from your hands, rub them on stainless steel for a minute before washing them. Try using a spoon, the side of the sink, or a “soap bar,” this can cause your hands to again be fresh and odor-free.
Storing herbs and spices in warm locations will lead them to lose their flavor.
You can add a bit of flare to your corn left on the cob and dinner rolls by simply making up some flavored butter. Let your butter come to room temperature, or soften it in the microwave. Include a variety of spices, sauces and seasonings to add a savory kick. Try BBQ, chipotles, lemon juice or honey.
Spices don’t last forever; replace them every six months. The flavors of spices diminishes if they sit around for too long.If you know you will not use the whole spice bottle, give it as a gift to someone who will use it.
If you are cooking pancakes or waffles in the morning, you can put them in the oven so they will stay warm until you are ready to serve them. Turn your oven on to 300 degrees. As you make the pancakes or waffles, put them on a plate, and then keep them warm in the oven.
You need to stay organized when you are cooking, which could be costly. Having all your kitchen tools handy and organized will help you are productive when cooking. If you aren’t organized, it is easy to lose track of things and waste your money and delicious food that you could have been eating!
Reference your recipe to ensure you have the correct potatoes. These vegetables are defined in three ways, either mealy, waxy or all-purpose, so choose accordingly. Mealy potatoes are great for mashing since they have a crumbly and dry texture. Russet potatoes are considered mealy. When looking for a good potato that works in almost any dish, the Yukon Gold variety is a good choice. If you want to boil or steam your potatoes and have them retain their shape, pick up some waxy potatoes. Red and white potatoes are just a few examples of waxy potatoes.
Follow the instructions carefully whenever you are making macaroni and cheese. The macaroni turns out perfect and is to die for once the great looking cheese is melted on top of the noodles. Use a non-slotted spoon to serve up the finished product. Spice it up the macaroni with some pepper!
Purchase meats and fish with the bones intact. Simply place all bones (both raw and cooked) in a plastic bag in your freezer. Take them out when you want to make stock.
Avoid adding salt or garlic to dried beans until they have softened. Some seasonings prevent the beans from softening while they cook. Hold off on adding any seasoning to your beans until you have reached the texture you desire.
It is important to properly care for your wooden cutting board properly. A cutting board made from wood can crack and warp if it is exposed to excessive moisture, heat or dryness.Do not immerse the cutting board in water, just sponge it off using warm, soapy water. You can do some restoration to a damaged board by regularly oiling it with a product specifically for cutting boards to maintain yours. Make sure that the cutting board is completely dried before using.
Learn how to fix your pie crust. If you have overworked your pie dough, it may develop cracks. Take a small amount of cool water and sprinkle it on the cracks. Gently kneed the dough with a finger to remove the cracks. Cracks on the top pie crust can be repaired by brushing with milk, and sprinkling with a little sugar. This will give your crust a shiny, glazed finish that will distract from any cracks.
If you do not cook, you are missing out on a lot of fun and satisfaction. Use these tips as you cook and tweak them a little as you go. Your skills in the kitchen will get better, and you will be the one that people look forward to seeing when you show up at an event with a platter of something yummy.