Even the kitchen at your own house can seem rather boring from time to time. But approaching cooking as an art in which you want to gain expertise changes how you feel about it. Eventually, you start to spend more time in the kitchen, excited to try your next creation while sharing it with others who are just as eager to try it. Here are a few tips to give you a few ideas.
You should keep your spices and herbs in a space that is cool and away from light. Your spices and herbs will lose some of their flavor when exposed to light, humidity and heat. Ground spices, when stored correctly, can retain flavor for up to a year. Whole spices can keep their flavor for up to five years. Store your herbs and spices correctly, so that they will stay fresh and keep their full flavor!
Cut meat thinly across the grain when you are stir-frying. It is possible that you may have a little trouble doing so in a time efficient manner. Take the cut of meat out when it is a bit firm but has not become frozen and begin to slice it across the grain diagonally.
Get a cookbook with easy recipes or a specific theme you find interesting to get you started. Try looking online or to your local library or bookstore. Be patient, and try several recipes. Like any skill, cooking can take practice.
Here is a handy trick you can use to save your sauce. Put a small amount of corn starch in a bowl and mix thoroughly with two tablespoons of water to add to your sauce. Stir this mixture into the sauce while it’s simmering and this will make it more thick. Add the starch slowly and stir the sauce constantly to avoid making it too thick.
Meat can easily be sliced into thin strips if it is partially frozen. If you are cooking an exotic dish that requires thinly sliced meat, this is the best way to do it. If you freeze meat partially, you get a cleaner slice, without the stretching or tearing of fibers. However, so they are evenly cooked, you want to make certain the meat strips are thawed before cooking.
Every cook needs access to a set of sharp knives. Only the dull-witted use dull knives, as they are both ineffective and dangerous. If you are putting too much pressure onto the knife due to its dullness, the likelihood of having an accident is increased.
The overall quality of vegetables is affected by the length of cooking time. With slower cook times, the overall value of the vegetables is decreased, mainly taste and nutrition. The quick cook methods generally make the vegetables tastier and more nutritional. The less time you take to cook them, the better your vegetables will be.
When you store flour, sugar or any type of baking mixes, always use airtight containers. Bugs can creep into your food, and most food items will become stale if exposed to the open air. These are just a couple of solid reasons that you need solid containment. Airtight containers are your best friends in the kitchen. These containers can be bought at just about any store.
Are you partial to using fresh basil in your cooking? Take a bunch of it and place in a glass. Add some water to cover the stems. You can keep it on the kitchen counter for several weeks. You can even grow new basil plants if you feel like changing the water every day or so. The stems will sprout roots; that’s the wonder of plant life. Occasionally trim the basil in order to promote more growth so that you can have fresh basil for a while.
When you are making chicken stock, think big. Fill a large pot of stock and freeze it for later. A rich chicken stock makes a savory base for soups, stews and other dishes. Allow the stock to cool before freezing it in durable, Ziploc bags.
When preparing a dish that calls for garlic, purchase garlic that is as fresh as possible. For the most part, this ensures you will be getting the sweetest-tasting garlic. Fresh garlic is hard, not wrinkled, or mushy-feeling.
You should use chicken broth when you are cooking your vegetables. Try cooking your veggies in chicken broth. It adds a nice flavor, and the veggies will not stick to the pan. Chicken broth is easily purchased at almost every supermarket, and is quite inexpensive.
Keep the dressing for a salad off to the side when you’re having guests over for a meal. Some people prefer more dressing than others; let guests pour their own dressing. You should also provide a large variety of dressings to serve your guests.
This way, you’ll have fresh fruit to use for cooking all year long. This process also gives you easy access to seasonal fruits at times when they would not normally be available.
Try to do preparations for tomorrows meal the night before to save time and make cooking a breeze. Prepare some of the ingredients the night before, such as cutting onions or putting together a sauce. This will make you much more prepared, less stressed out, and ready to begin cooking the following day.
Always measure the amount of cooking oil you use. If you measure the amount of cooking oil you use instead of just dumping some into a pan, you are far less likely to overdo it. By doing this, you can keep a close eye on the amount of oil you use in cooking.
In order for herbs and spices to remain fresh and flavorful, they need to be kept in an area that is cool and dim. Storing these items in warm locations will lead them to lose their flavor quicker.
The best way to cook any roast quickly is to simply not go through the trouble of taking out the bone. You will have a faster cooking time because the bone will transfer the heat. When done cooking, carve the bone out of the roast and serve.
Organized Cooking Area
If you tend to cook with a lot of herbs and spices, make sure that you are storing them somewhere that’s cool and dark in order to keep them fresh. Avoid storing them in places that may become warm, such as cupboards located above a stove. This will cause them to lose their flavor, and the money you spent on them will essentially be wasted.
An organized cooking area is where you should focus to avoid costly mistakes while cooking your meals. A well-organized cooking area is conducive to great results. Being unorganized can cause you to lose ingredients or tools that you need when you are cooking. This can cause a meal to be ruined which will put the money you spent on ingredients to waste.
After Thanksgiving or any other time you cook turkey, save the leftovers. Cut up the meat instead, put it in a container, and freeze it. Turkey remains fresh up to three weeks after being frozen.
If your meals include fresh herbs like dill or parsley, clump them together and use kitchen shears to cut them. This method of cutting herbs provides a drier, more flavorful product than chopping.
When you make boxed mac and cheese, closely follow the directions. You will want the macaroni to have an ultimate consistency and firmness prior to melting the cheese over it. Serving this dish can be enhanced by using a simple spoon with a solid face. Use one of your favorite spices to add extra flavor to your boxed macaroni and cheese.
When you are making pasta you need to be sure to add a liberal amount of salt to the water. Seasoning added while it cooks will “set” in the pasta. Salting pasta after cooking is often unsuccessful because the pasta will not absorb the salt then, it will only sit on top of the noodles.
“Trussing” is the term used to describe the process of using string to tie the turkey. Trussing keeps the legs and wings close to the body of the bird, so that cooking happens evenly. In an un-trussed turkey, the legs and wings can get overdone and the tips can burn by the time the body is fully cooked.
Be creative in your cooking. Feel free to adapt a recipe to suit your particular needs. By adjusting the amounts of various ingredients, you can change the taste slightly, and improve upon the original recipe. Now that is a real cook!
When you’re trying to cook with an ingredient that’s new to you, learn a little about it first. When you’ve done some research, you might be surprised to learn how versatile a particular new food is. Learning about the foods you’re cooking with will make the cooking experience more enjoyable.
Prior to cooking, gather everything you need. This keeps you safe, and saves you money. Working with hot pans and stoves while you are distracted with prep tasks is a recipe for injury, and you tend to leave burners and ovens on longer if you are still preparing ingredients.
There are a vast array of potato varieties, and they should not be substituted. 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. Russet potatoes are more suited to those applications because of their fluffy texture.
It is important to have great cutting utensils at your disposal in your kitchen. Dull knives make everything take longer and are also more dangerous. More accidents and cuts happen due to dull utensils than properly sharpened ones.
Play it safe by setting a watch timer, as well as the over timer. If you wear a stopwatch on your neck or use the timer on a watch, you will make sure that the beeps are heard no matter your location.
Do not bake a cake too long or to short of a time. While the recommended baking times are good guidelines, they can be affected by factors like elevation. Instead, take a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the cake. If it removes cleanly, it’s done; if batter is on it, it needs longer to bake.
It’s easy to get stressed by just the notion of cooking for a large gathering of people. Do all the preparation the night before, instead of letting yourself panic the day of the event. Make sure you have all your ingredients and make your sauces or marinades.
You might want to show off by making a new dish, but you should stick to something you know if the meal is important. Whether you are cooking for new in-laws, your manager or a date, you want them to be impressed with your culinary skills. The best way to make them happy would be to cook a great meal, so make sure you cook something you are familiar with.
When you can tell that time for cooking will be in short supply the next day, do some of your dinner prep work a day in advance. The more ingredients that you can have ready ahead of time, the better. Chop up your veggies, assemble your lasagna or make your sauce, there are so many things you can do to reduce the amount of time your meal will take.
Use a cooling rack that is stackable. Your whole counter top can quickly be covered when making cookies in large batches. The stackable cooling racks make the best use of your space and allow you to produce many more batches at the same time. Making use of this vertical space can help you still retain more usable space so you can work.
Preparing dark leafy greens can be such a pain, even though they are very healthy for you. Removing thick, tough leaf stems can be time-consuming. An easy way to do this is to crease the leaf lengthwise, then simply break out the stem. If not try using a knife to chop out the stem from the folded leaf. Once you unfold the leaf, you will have a green that is perfectly de-stemmed.
These tips might give you some creativity of your own. Make meals that your family can relax, enjoy, and savor. The process of cooking can contribute largely to your overall health and nutrition as well as your lifestyle. Make your kitchen the warm and inviting center of your home.
Use cooking oil to measure sticky foods easily. Dip the measuring spoon in cooking oil and the food will slide off your spoon more easily. This works well for peanut butter and honey, as well as other sticky foods.