Cooking is a vast art. Every cook has different preferences and techniques. Some cooking is hard and some is not. This article is jam-packed with information that will be helpful to even the most experienced of cooks.
Spices should be stored in an area with little light and low temperatures, like a pantry. If the spices become too hot, or moist from humidity, it can shorten their shelf life. Too much light exposure also does this. Try to find a cool, dark cupboard if you want to increase the flavor and lifespan of your favorite spices. Using fresh spices will make your food taste better.
Keep your spices and herbs in a dark, cool place. Humidity, light and heat can cause your spices and herbs to lose their flavor. Usually, spices and herbs that are ground will retain their flavor for up to a year. Whole spices may keep their flavors, possibly, three years or longer. The length of time that they stay fresh depends on how they are stored.
Feel confident when serving meals to a new guest or on a special occasion, by sticking to recipes that you have already mastered. Never prepare an unfamiliar recipe or try to use a different ingredient than you are used to. Doing this will decrease the stress that you feel, which is always a good thing.
If you are just starting out with cooking, consider doing your research at your local library. There are plenty of cookbooks with simple recipes available. Try different recipes until you come up with something that works for you.
Does it upset you to discard fruit that is moldy? Do not cut the rotten part and eat the rest. Unfortunately, you cannot save half rotten fruit and expect it to be healthy. The mold may have grown deeper than can be seen, and eating it may make you quite ill.
Lengthy cooking processes such as boiling remove many of the important nutrients found in vegetables. If you are not serving the vegetables in their raw state, consider steaming, sautÃ©ing or even roasting your vegetables to protect their vitamin and nutrient content.
Let raw potatoes soak in some cold water for a half hour prior to frying them to increase the crispiness of French fries. The fibers of raw cut potatoes that have been soaked in cold water prior to hitting the deep fryer, are stronger and can handle the heat better without breakage.
Leave raw potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes before frying them to make crispier French fries. The soaking process will reinforce the vegetable fibers, and they will be better able to withstand heat when you fry them.
Adding cauliflower to your mashed potatoes is a great way to reduce the amount of fat and calories they contain. You should use equal portions of potatoes and cauliflower when making this delicious side. The somewhat bland taste of cauliflower helps it to blend seamlessly with your potatoes while picking up the other ingredients. It also mimics the texture and color of the potatoes almost perfectly letting you up your vegetable intake, and drop the calories, all the while giving the same delicious potato experience we all know and love.
Do not assume this ingredient is for meat only. Sprinkle it on roasted pumpkin seeds to create a savory snack, or add it to your scrambled eggs. People will wonder how you’ve managed to add such amazing flavor to simple dishes.
Garlic is a great ingredient but it can leave a strong smell on your hands and utensils. To get rid of the odors that garlic and other pungent ingredients leave on your hands, rub them around the inside of your stainless steel sink. This removes the scent from your hands; it also prevents the odor from being transferred to other foods.
Whenever you have a meal to cook, if you do your all your prep work ahead of time, it will be much less stressful and quicker. Examine recipes and identify which preparations can take place well in advance without risking spoilage. There is a lot you can do the day before to prepare for the next day’s meal. This can make harder recipes easy, and complicated ones a fun, fast experience.
Chicken broth is a great cooking base for 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 readily available at most grocery stores, and it is very affordably priced.
Much like a sponge, the mushrooms will absorb the water. You should wet a cloth and wipe the mushrooms off, rather than soaking them.
For more flavorful dishes, make your own stock. You can make stock in large quantities if you wish, then store it in bags and put it in the freezer. Doing so will provide you with an abundance of custom, home-produced stock, readily available for creating soups and other dishes. Doing it on your own, prevents any unnecessary preservatives from being added to the stock.
Add the seasonings a little at a time throughout the cooking process. If you do it in this manner you can flavor your food the best way and use your ingredients in the best way.
You should establish a habit of washing the dishes as you use them to cook. Make sure that one side of the sink always has soapy hot water in it and the other side has clear water for rinsing in it. Just after use is the best time to wash up bowls and utensils. So clean as you go and you will always be ready with your next part of food preparation.
Don’t waste your turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner. Cut the leftover meat and put it away in airtight containers. The turkey will remain fresh this way for a couple weeks, and you can use it for sandwiches and salads.
If you are cooking with ground meat, make sure you blot it before cooking. It helps to blot moisture from any type of ground meat. Unless you remove the moisture, it may not be released until the meat is cooked. It will begin to sizzle. This causes your meat to steam instead of sear.
You must keep your cooking tools in order to keep your recipes on track. You will consistently find it difficult to locate necessary items in a disorganized kitchen. Place the cooking supplies that are similar in one place. For instance, parsley and basil are both spices and should be in the exact same cabinet.
Be creative in your cooking. You do not have to follow a recipe word for word. Sometimes if you add a little extra, or refrain from using an ingredient you do not really enjoy, you can turn an ordinary dish into something extravagant. That is the mark of a real chef!
If you decide on using fresh herbs, gather them in bunches and snip the stems with scissors. This is perfect for flavorful herbs like dill and parsley. They will be light and fluffy, and won’t have the wetness that chopping would give them.
To make pasta sauce even more delicious, save some of the water you boiled the pasta in. Remove approximately a quarter of a cup and set it aside. When you combine the sauce and the pasta, add this little amount of water to the mix. Residual starch in the water adds volume and creaminess to the sauce of your choice.
To minimize the effort involved with cooking, clean the dishes you use as you move throughout the cooking process. With a two-bowl sink, you can keep one side full of hot suds and run clear water for rinsing in the other. This will prevent you from mixing clean dishes with dirty ones. This is the best method to clean up quickly after cooking.
When preparing a salsa that won’t be used immediately, rinse any raw onions you are using in cold water and dry them well. The freshly-diced onions give off a sulfurous gas. Sulfurous gas can detract from fresh salsa and ruin the flavor. Rinsing and drying the onions takes most of the gas away.
If you are planning a complex meal, reduce your stress by doing the prep the night before. You can place all of your ingredients in a designated area so that you can be sure that you have all of the ingredients to prepare the dish. You can then chop fruits or vegetables and measure all dry ingredients that you need for the recipe. When it’s time to cook, you won’t have to think about anything else.
If you plan on using your barbecue, make sure you prep the grill beforehand so it’s ready for use when you need it. You can plan on 30 minutes as an average time before your charcoal grill will be ready for you to begin cooking. The coals should be at medium heat and they should be ash covered. You will get the best grilling results at this temperature.
If you plan on using raw onions in your salsa, rinse them with cold water after dicing and then proceed to blot them dry. Fresh onions have sulfurous gas in them. This gas can taint the flavor of your fresh salsa. Rinsing and drying the onions takes most of the gas away.
Try not to under or over cook your cake. The times on the recipe are great as a guide for cooking, but factors like elevation and various oven temperatures can effect the actual cooking time of cakes. Instead, take a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done; if batter comes out with it, the cake needs to be baked longer.
It is important to cook your meat properly, so always have a meat thermometer on hand. There is a temperature that is recommended for the different types of meat that indicates it is safe to eat. If meats are not properly cooked, any bacteria present can grow and could possibly make you very sick if not killed during the cooking process.
Make sure to use fresh herbs and seasonings whenever cooking a simple dish. Dried herbs, such as thyme, basil or oregano, are fine for dishes with complex flavors. Even for these kinds of dishes, use fresh herbs when you can, as they will add punch to the taste. If you love to cook, create an herb garden, which will provide you with a variety of quality herbs any time you choose.
Cut down on cooking time by doing your prep work in advance. It is sometimes possible to do some preliminary tasks in the days preceding the actual meal preparation. Sometimes, preparing ingredients early can make a big difference in flavor. After you experience the benefits of preparing in advance, you may well make it your standard practice.
Learn a little bit about any vegetables or fruits you haven’t cooked with before. You may be pleasantly surprised about the versatility of new food once you do a bit of research on it. If you do your homework before you start cooking, it will be more fun.
Use brine in your cooking. You can soak your poultry in brine for about an hour before you cook it.
While it may be tempting to create something new to impress that special someone, you should always cook what you know. Depending on whether it’s a boss, date or your new in-laws, you will want to make sure you cook something amazing so they are impressed. You can impress them with a simple delicious meal cooked to perfection.
Set 2 different timers, like the one on your oven and one on a watch or phone. Using the alarm on your watch will help make sure that you hear it go off, and prevent from overcooking your food.
Set a timer on your watch or cellphone in addition to the oven. Timers can be found anywhere, ranging from your watch to your phone, so you probably have one available, and you can always get a simple stopwatch to carry with you.
Try baking dishes that are oily, versus microwaving them when they need reheated to avoid greasy messes. The high heats in a microwave will force the oils to separate. When you bake, however, the entire dish heats at the same rate, so no ingredient heats too quickly or separates from the rest of the dish.
If you want to make potato skins or twice baked potatoes, try using a potato with a thick skin. You cannot use red potatoes because their skin is too thin to hold up to a dense filling.
It is possible to over-think things in the kitchen. Meals can easily be ruined by making them too complicated. By sticking to a simple recipe, you can come up with something that is quick and healthy but still manages to taste wonderful. Heed the advice given here to create better meals with a finer understanding of the principles involved.
Use leftover meats and vegetables to cook up a quick stir-fry at the end of the week. Rice that is cool and one day old usually works best, but fresh rice can still be used if the water level is dropped just a little so the rice is slightly drier. You can cook the vegetables and meat in a small splash of oil, and then mix in rice, soy sauce and other flavorings such as ginger and garlic.