It is common knowledge that people need food to live. But plain “survival” foods can lead to boredom in the kitchen. Cooking great food can be even more rewarding than eating good food. Apply the tips in this article to help take your cooking abilities to a higher level.
Spices should be stored in an area with little light and low temperatures, like a pantry. Leaving your spices out will expose them to moisture and light, which will diminish their quality. When spices are stored in an adequately dark and cool area, they tend to retain their taste and shelf life for greater periods of time. Using fresh spices makes meals even more delicious.
Keep a few pointers in mind if you plan to attempt cooking with skewers. When using metal skewers, opt for those that are square-shaped or twisted; these will hold onto food better than round models can.
When you are having an important person over for dinner, prepare a meal that you are experienced with. You are taking a risk if you want to try something new. This will help you feel less stressed when preparing your meal.
If you are cooking and you need to add some oil to the pan, drip it down the inside so that it will be a little warm when it hits the food. This helps to bring out the flavor in your food.
If you want to reduce the amount of calories and fat in a mashed potato dish, substitute cauliflower for some of the potatoes. The somewhat bland taste of cauliflower helps it to blend seamlessly with your potatoes while picking up the other ingredients. Cauliflowers look very similar to potatoes in texture and color when they are mashed. It will allow you to have a delicious side dish that is healthier and still flavorful.
Cooking processes that take quite a bit of time, like boiling, may allow nutrients to leach from the vegetables. To maintain their healthy reputation, prepare them quicker by steaming or sauteing, and you could always enjoy them naturally in their raw state.
To maintain nutrients and color in your vegetables, quickly steam them until just crisp-tender. Using slow cooking methods can rob vegetable of their taste and nutritional value. Using these techniques will mean putting healthier food on the table. Cooking vegetables as quickly as possible is key to preserving their nutrients.
Vegetables should be cooked rapidly to obtain peak results. Though slow cooking is popular in some cultures, the process actually eliminates important nutrients and renders the vegetables tasteless. If you do this, it will provide you a vegetable that is higher in nutritious value. Cook your vegetables for the minimum amount of time for better results.
Regardless of what you cook, it is always better to use fresh ingredients as opposed to those that are dried or frozen. Whenever possible, incorporate fresh ingredients; they enhance the flavor of other ingredients and may even be less expensive.
The one downside of garlic is that your hands easily absorb the smell of it. Rub your hands thoroughly on the interior of a stainless steel sink after working with garlic or other odoriferous cooking ingredients. This will clean your hand and keep the odor from transferring to other foods you are handling.
Much like a sponge, the mushrooms will absorb the water. A better option is to use a clean, damp cloth to hand-wipe each mushroom.
When cooking vegetables, try cooking them in chicken broth. It will keep veggies from getting stuck to the bottom of the pan and add a little flavor. Chicken broth is easily purchased at almost every supermarket, and is quite inexpensive.
Store your supplies of flour, sugars, pancake mixes, and similar dry ingredients in airtight containers. By storing foods in airtight containers, you can ensure its freshness and prevent any contamination. It is possible to buy these containers almost anywhere and they are well worthwhile.
You can dry out your own tomatoes. Dry your own by slicing ripe tomatoes 1/2″ thick, or cut Romas in half, lengthwise. You should place them on cooling rack, and salt them lightly with the cut side up. 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. The tomatoes can then be placed in plastic bags and stored in the freezer. Another way to preserve your dried tomatoes is in olive oil, with herbs for added flavor, in a glass jar. This jar should be used within 2 weeks and kept refrigerated.
If you want to make chicken stock, you might as well make a lot of it. If you make a large pot of stock, you can freeze it and store it for future use. Good chicken stock that you make at home makes a great starter for soups, casseroles, stews and other dishes. First, cool the stock and then stick it in the freezer.
Every cook knows how important it is to organize their cooking supplies. Poorly organized supplies cause confusion and mess. Try to keep similar things in one place. For example, you want to organize your spices such as parsley and basil in one cabinet.
Always begin your cooking with utensils that are spotlessly clean. If old, leftover food is stuck on your cooking utensils, it could ruin the meal you are making. This can also cause bacteria to spread.
Cook your vegetables in chicken broth. It will keep veggies from getting stuck to the bottom of the pan and add a little flavor. Chicken broth can be found at almost all local grocery stores at a very cheap price.
Directions should be followed closely when you are making macaroni and cheese. You will want the macaroni to have an ultimate consistency and firmness prior to melting the cheese over it. A solid spoon should be used when serving the macaroni masterpiece. Use one of your favorite spices to add extra flavor to your boxed macaroni and cheese.
When seasoning your food, add the seasoning in increments rather than putting it all on at once. Doing this helps the food get the most flavor and more out of the ingredients you used.
Make certain to blot any type of ground meat prior to cooking it. One smart move in the kitchen is to remove the moisture from ground meats. If your meat is soggy before you sear it, then it will be soggy afterward. The extra moisture will sizzle away. This means you meat is being steamed and not seared.
It is important to measure cooking oil. A simple way to reduce fat when you cook is to measure your oil, rather than pour it straight from the bottle. By doing this, you will know exactly how much oil you use.
Even if a meal looks irresistible, let it sit for a few minutes after it has finished cooking. It is often overlooked, but it makes a difference when you let the food sit and allow the flavors to be absorbed. It has become almost habit now to serve up a meal as it comes right off the stove. If you do this, you’ll miss out on the meat’s full flavor. Always let the meal cool and sit for a little while.
Don’t throw away any leftovers from your turkey. Place the remains in a container and store in the freezer for preservation. The turkey will remain fresh for several weeks so you can make delicious sandwiches or a turkey salad.
Use a generous amount of salt in your pasta water when making pasta. Adding salt to the water prior to cooking ensures the pasta is infused with flavor. Salting the pasta after cooking it does not allow it to hold seasoning that well.
There are several different ways to warm tortillas. One way is to heat them up in a preheated, 350 degree oven. Place the tortillas right on the oven rack, and bake until crispy. An alternate method is to hold a tortilla over a gas flame. Preparing tortillas in the above manners will lead to tasty tortillas.
Place any unripened fruit that you buy in a plastic bag that is perforated. As a fruit ripens, it produces ethylene gas. When you store the fruit in a perforated bag, the ethylene gas can escape so that the natural decay process slows down. This allows your produce and fruits to stay fresh longer.
Keep your spices and herbs in a dry, cool, dark place. Spices will rapidly lose flavor if exposed to heat, light or humidity. This just exposes them to the elements and degrades their flavors.
When you are cooking pasta, use a fair amount of salt in the water. This will allow the pasta to take on the seasoning more efficiently. Salting after boiling your pasta will not give the same effect of absorption.
You should utilize fresh seasoning and herbs when you are cooking a dish that is simple. It is fine to use dried herbs when the dish will involve varied flavors due to complexity. However, using fresh herbs in your dish is a lot better if you can because it provides a fresher, stronger, and yummier taste. Small herb gardens can be wonderful to make sure that fresh, natural herbs are always available.
One great cooking tip is just be flexible and creative; do your own thing. You do not have to follow a recipe to the “T”. A recipe can be greatly improved upon if you add a little of this, or take away a little of that. That is the mark of a real chef!
If you cook with chicken stock or beef stock instead of water, you can enhance the flavor of everything you cook, from mashed potatoes and rice, to soups and stews. Alternatively, you can use the water the recipe calls for, but add in bouillon cubes as well. Your dish will still have the required amount of moisture, but it will have a better overall flavor.
Be sure not to overfill your pan when sauteing foods. With too much in the pan, you will find some foods steaming as opposed to sauteing, which destroys the intended integrity of the dish. Also, make sure that this is done at a temperature that is low.
If you have a hectic day coming up, take care of some of the components of your meal ahead of time. By doing some vegetable chopping, or pre-assembly of dishes the night before, you’ll be a lot less stressed on cooking day.
Avoid overcooking or undercooking a cake. While the recommended baking times are good guidelines, they can be affected by factors like elevation. You need to push a toothpick into the center of the cake. The cake is ready if the toothpick comes out clean; if not, let the cake bake some more.
Some pungent ingredients, like garlic, onions, or fish, can stick to your hands and transfer to foods you don’t want them on. You can stop this process by rubbing your hands on stainless steel before you give them a wash. A spoon or the side of the sink will do the trick, or a ready-made “soap bar” made of stainless steel. This technique will eliminate odors and keep hands fresh-smelling as well.
Learning to cook well, and to enjoy it at the same time, can be much more enjoyable than merely eating. Add your own flair to these tips and tricks to make them your own. Your skills will get better, and everyone will soon be asking you for your recipes.
Grilling your fruit can be delicious. Slice peaches, melon or nectarines and place them on skewers. Grill them until marks appear. There are a lot of different ways to serve grilled fruit. For example, try ice cream and pound cake.