All humans must eat food in order to live. Other than survival though, one can make eating a source of joy and entertainment. Even better than eating something wonderful is cooking something wonderful. Below is some valuable information that you can use to become the culinary expert you want to be.
Make sure to keep your spices and herbs sealed in airtight containers, protected in a dark, cool place. They will not taste as fresh if they are exposed to light or warmth. In general, herbs and spices that are ground will retain their flavor for up to one year. Whole spices, on the other hand, can retain their freshness for 36-60 months. They can remain fresh longer if stored properly.
Prep work can be done way ahead of time. Do not start cooking until the prep work is done. Trying to cook a meal that has to be on the table by a certain time can be stressful. Prepare early to avoid later stress.
Meat should always be thinly sliced and cut on the bias if you are adding it to a stir-fry. This can be quite tricky and time-consuming. When it has firmed (not frozen), take it out of the freezer and then cut it against the meat grain at an angle of 45 degrees.
Try adding oil to foods from the sides of a pot or pan in able to jump-start the heating process. This will help your food be more flavorful.
Apples tend to be a big ingredient during fall and winter, but they tend to spoil quickly if not stored properly. Store them in your fridge or basement, in plastic bags that are loosely tied, as they tend to spoil in dry warm areas. One rotten apple will spoil the whole bunch, so check each one occasionally to see if you should throw any away.
When creating a meal for someone you are friends with or fond of, try making what you already are good at making. You are taking a risk if you want to try something new. This can keep your stress levels in check while you cook.
Garlic is a popular ingredient that has one notable downside; its trademark scent transfers easily to your skin. However, rub your hands inside a stainless steel basin when you have finished working with any strong-odor ingredient. Not only does this remove the smell of the odoriferous food ingredient from your hands, it also keeps this odor from passing to other foods that you are about to handle.
Apples are a mainstay of fall and winter cooking, but they will spoil quickly if not stored properly. To avoid rotting, store apples in open-mesh bags or baskets in a cool basement or in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. You must still keep an eye out on the apples because one apple that is rotten can spoil the whole bag.
Have you ever experienced difficulty in determining how long you should grill a piece of meat? It is always a good idea to use a quality meat thermometer (preferably a digital one for precise reading) to make sure the inside is also cooked properly. To reduce cooking times on thick meat, lower the lid on your grill.
Steak and poultry seasonings can be added to other types of foods, such as vegetables or eggs. A little on seeds or eggs can liven it up. People will wonder on what the secret ingredient is!
By doing this, you can have fresh fruit all year! You will also be able to enjoy fruits that are out of season.
Fresh foods are always a better choice than frozen or dried ones regardless of what type of food you are cooking. Use any fresh ingredients that are available. They are not only tastier in general, but they also tend to be cheaper, as well.
Try adding seasoning over the entire cooking process instead of putting on all your seasoning on at the beginning. Add a little spice every few minutes. This method helps to preserve and enhance the flavor of the seasoning instead of allowing it to cook away.
They will act somewhat like a sponge that soaks up all the water. Wipe off each mushroom with a clean wet cloth to prepare them for cooking.
Fresh garlic is ideal when preparing dishes that call for garlic. Fresh garlic tastes much sweeter than does garlic that is not fresh. You can identify fresh garlic by its lack of bruising and firm skin.
Garlic’s only disadvantage is that it transfers smell onto your hands. By rubbing your hands inside a stainless sink after handling pungent smelling foods. Not only does this clean your hands, but it also prevents the odors from carrying over to whatever food items you make contact with next.
When preparing a large family dinner, do some prep work the night before to decrease stress and leave time for you to enjoy everyone. Cut up veggies and make the sauce the night before so you can save time. With this done, you will have a major portion of the meal ready for the next step, which means less stress for you.
Do you ever find it difficult to determine how long you should grill your meat? Having a high-quality meat thermometer handy, especially a digital one, is a great way to ensure the meat you serve is fully cooked. Think about closing your grill’s lid to cut down on grill time any time you grill meat thicker than an inch and a half.
Many veggies and herbs have a scent that remains on cutting boards even after they are washed. Mark the end of your cutting board with indelible ink to remember which side is which.
Burgers will often stick to a grill. Once they are stuck it can be very difficult to get them off of the grill and have them still maintain their shape. Try brushing the grill using vegetable oil prior to cooking so you can avoid sticking.
Twice a year, you should buy all new spices. The flavors of spices fade just a few months after opening the container. When you know you’re not going to be using a spice for a long time, give it away to someone in your family or to a friend before it loses its flavor.
For dishes that involve multiple steps, make it easy on yourself by doing portions of the work on the evening prior to cooking. Make sure you have all your ingredients before you start cooking, and that you shop and measure them so they are ready to go. You can reduce a lot of recipes to a matter of mixing everything together and putting heat to it if you do good advance preparation.
Chicken broth is a great cooking base for vegetables. The broth will give the vegetables a delicious, warm flavor as well as extra moisture so they don’t stick to the pan. Chicken broth can be found at almost all local grocery stores at a very cheap price.
Shake a little salt onto your cutting board when you are chopping up fresh herbs. This adds some extra flavor to the herbs while also keeping them on the board. Don’t add to much salt when doing this. That salt on the board adds some flavor since it sticks to the herbs.
Read the labels for any product that you buy to use in a recipe. There are a variety of ingredients that, while common, are not the healthiest. Do not buy anything that contains a lot of sodium, sugars or fats.
Keep close watch when baking to avoid under cooking or overcooking a cake. Suggested cooking times are helpful to beginning bakers but experienced bakers know that they need to consider variables such as altitude when determining the optimum cooking time. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake instead. The cake is ready if the toothpick comes out clean; if not, let the cake bake some more.
You can dry out your own tomatoes. Slice tomatoes 1/2″ thick to dry. Romas should be cut in two lengthwise. Take a cooling rack and place the tomatoes on it. Sprinkle them with salt. Set your oven to 190 degrees, place the rack on a baking sheet and let the tomatoes dry in the oven for approximately 10 hours. After the tomatoes have cooled, place them in plastic bags, and store them in the freezer. Dried tomatoes can be placed into a jar that is filled with fresh herbs and olive oil. When refrigerated, they will last a minimum of two weeks.
Adding fresh herbs to season your food is a great way to add some flavor to an ordinary dish. Elaborate dishes with multiple flavors can really be enhanced by using dried herbs, oregano and basil are great ones to use. For a simpler dish, fresh herbs are more efficient because their flavor is much stronger. If your situation allows, plant an herb garden, so that you are never at a loss for fresh herbs.
A good cook will have their utensils and ingredients well organized. If they are not properly organized, you will wind up rummaging around to find what you need. Keep things that are similar in the same place. For instance, place parsley and basil in one cabinet, since both are spices.
There are a wide variety of potatoes, and they are not always adequate substitutes for each other when cooking. 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. When preparing these dishes, opt for russet potatoes, which have a fluffier texture.
Many popular veggies and herbs have a strong residual odor that can remain on cutting boards well after use. Mark the end of your cutting board with indelible ink to remember which side is which.
When you are cooking for someone for the first time, always stick with a recipe that you are comfortable with. The night you meet your in-laws is not the time to experiment, and the way to impress a date or your boss is to serve something you know they’ll enjoy. You can impress them with a simple delicious meal cooked to perfection.
An organized cooking area is where you should focus to avoid costly mistakes while cooking your meals. This will increase your productivity, generating tasty foods and saving a lot of money. A lack of organization in your kitchen work areas can cause you to lose focus, among other things, and can easily result in wasted time, money, and food.
Try fresh ideas for cooking with oysters. While oysters are for the most part eaten raw with a bit of lemon lemon juice on top, there are many other ways for you to prepare them. Put opened oysters in their shells on a broiler pan, and cover with a little cream. Sprinkle on some grated Parmesan cheese and pepper, and broil until it bubbles. You may want to try sauteing oysters. You can dredge them with a small amount of flour and fry them in hot butter until they turn golden in color. Oysters should be baked in their shells. Put them in a dish in the oven with a bit of butter and breadcrumbs on top and bake them for around 5 minutes at 425. Once the oysters’ juices and the butter are bubbling, remove them from the oven and serve them piping hot over a toasted baguette.
Let your food rest a bit before sitting down to eat. Lots of people don’t take advantage of this important step for food. Many of us prefer to simply serve a dish right out of the oven. Unfortunately, this may cause you to miss the full effect. Instead, allow each dish to cool briefly before serving it.
To make potato skins or twice baked potatoes, use baking potatoes for a firm shell. Red potatoes have too thin a skin to hold a thicker filling.
When you want to chop herbs, sprinkle some salt on your cutting board. This will add some flavor and the herbs will stay on the board. Do not over-salt by making sure you don’t directly add any extra salt to the foods you’re preparing. The salt you put on the board will stick to the herbs and add a bit of flavor.
Always make sure to use nylon and silicone spoons/spatulas if you are using nonstick cookware. Hard utensils such as metal can scratch the nonstick coating which destroys the whole point, and it also could add the coating to cook into your food. The coating could then flake off into your food and this is dangerous.
Shake things up if your family is tired of seeing the same old frozen corn on the table at dinner each night. Mixing new ingredients into the corn, like coconut for a Thai flavor, will give them an interesting treat.
If you plan on using raw onions in your salsa, rinse them with cold water after dicing and then proceed to blot them dry. If you use fresh onions, they are going to release a sulfurous gas. Obviously, the gas from raw onions can do a real number on your salsa, practically ruining it. Thoroughly rinsing the onions after you cut them will get rid of the gas.
Fresh fruits, such as apples, avocados, bananas, peaches and pears are likely to turn brown when sliced and exposed to air. You can prevent this from happening by lightly coating the fruit with lemon juice or salt water. However, the most flavorful way to stop fruit from browning is to dip it in pineapple juice. Just one dip in your selected preservative is all it takes; no soaking is required.
Sometimes eating is not as enjoyable as serving your own well-cooked dishes. Take these tactics into your cooking arsenal and add little touches that you like. If you keep at it, you can develop a reputation for fine cooking that will make your food as popular as you yourself are.
Don’t ever buy boneless meat or fish. Raw or cooked bones can be frozen and stored in durable Ziploc bags.