How many times have you dreaded going into the kitchen to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner? You might need a new perspective. Cooking can be enjoyable and relaxing if you try to see it in another way. Here are a few cooking tips that are sure to get your taste buds tingling and entice your inner chef to come out.
Keep your herbs in a place that is both dark and cool. They will not taste as fresh if they are exposed to light or warmth. Herbs and spices generally keep their taste and flavor for about one year. If kept whole, spices can keep their flavor for up to five years. The length of time that they stay fresh depends on how they are stored.
Make sure to keep herbs and spices in an area that is cool and dim. If your spices are exposed to moisture, heat, or light they may lose their flavor. Generally speaking, properly stored herbs and ground spices can keep a good portion of their flavor as long as one calendar year. Whole spices can keep their flavor for up to five years. Proper storage will enhance the flavoring for a longer time.
Preparation is key when cooking for family or friends. Gather all of your ingredients well in advance. Put everything you need to cook the dish out the night before. Make sure you have all the cooking equipment and ingredients required. This can help relax everything so that you can make something great.
Here is a little trick that can help you save your sauce so that you can use it right away. Combine 1 tablespoon corn starch with 2 tablespoons water, and stir together in a separate bowl. In order to create a thicker sauce, add the mixture to the sauce, while it is cooking on low heat. Make sure you add starch slowly and are constantly stirring the sauce so it doesn’t get too thick.
First, freeze the meat partially. Then you can easily slice it into neat strips. Thin strips of meat are ideal for meals that are originally ethnically Asian. If you freeze meat partially, you get a cleaner slice, without the stretching or tearing of fibers. Having said that, you must be certain to let the meat strips thaw out prior to cooking them to ensure even cooking.
Do you want to use fresh basil in your dishes? Place the basil in a container that is glass. Fill the glass with water till the stems are covered. You can put it on the kitchen counter and keep it for weeks. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh, and you might even see your basil leaves sprouting some roots. Periodically prune the fresh basil; this will stimulate the plant to continue growing for a week or so.
Garlic is a wonderful taste, but not such a wonderful smell to have on your hands. However, rub your hands inside a stainless steel basin when you have finished working with any strong-odor ingredient. Doing this will remove the scent from your hands, and keep it from spreading to the next food you touch.
It can be difficult to figure out how long you need to keep meat on the grill. Having a high-quality meat thermometer handy, especially a digital one, is a great way to ensure the meat you serve is fully cooked. For extremely thick cuts of meat you should cook it with the lid closed to reduce the amount of time it needs to cook.
Beans and tofu contain a lot of proteins. Both are easily available to buy at almost every grocery store. Seasoned tofu is a wonderful alternative to meat, and can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as pan frying. To add some tasty protein to your plate, boil some beans with a touch of herbs for seasoning.
It’s very frustrating to try to cook a tasty hamburger and see it deformed or ruined, because it gets stuck to your grill. The way to prevent this is to coat the grill with some vegetable oil prior to putting any food on the grill.
Whenever you are adding seasoning to a recipe, add it slowly over time rather than dumping it all at once. As such, you are getting the best flavor, and not wasting any of the seasoning.
Soy products and beans are a wonderful place to get protein if you need to add some to your diet. Most grocery stores stock these items. Tofu is great meat alternative when baked, broiled, or pan-fried with seasonings. To add some tasty protein to your plate, boil some beans with a touch of herbs for seasoning.
Always make certain to measure any cooking oil you use. Use only the required amount of oil necessary, and resist pouring straight from the bottle to the cooking pan, to reduce the fat content in your foods. By doing this, you will be able to clearly see how much oil you are using.
Track how much cooking oil you use. If you want to lower the fat in your home cooked meals, you need to carefully measure any oil that you are going to use rather then just guessing. If you know exactly how much oil you’re using, you know exactly how much fat has been added.
It is crucial that you buy new spices around every six months. Spices lose their flavor if kept too long. If you have spices that you don’t intend to use any time soon, give it as a gift to someone who will use it.
Cater to your guests by serving salads with dressing on the side. It is much better to let guests add the amount of dressing that they prefer according to their needs. Offer a variety of dressings, so there will be something to everyone’s taste.
Store unripened fruits in a plastic container that has holes in it. When fruits go through the ripening process, they release ethylene gas. By placing them in a plastic bag with holes, air will circulate in the bag, making sure that ethylene gas is retained, and the fruit keeps its great taste.
Do not use any kind of wine in your cooking that you haven’t tasted on your own. By using a wine you do not like or one that you are unfamiliar with, you are jeopardizing the taste of your food. There are cooking wines available.
Consider creating your own stock, in order to add some customized flavor to your dishes. You can make this in large batches, and freeze some for later use in resealable freezer bags. Doing so will provide you with an abundance of custom, home-produced stock, readily available for creating soups and other dishes. By making and having your own stock on hand, you will know it doesn’t contain preservatives.
You can prepare some of the ingredients for a dish the night before so that you can avoid becoming overwhelmed when you have to cook your family dinner. You can cut up ingredients, measure spices, marinate meat and prepare sauces 24 hours in advance to avoid the stress of preparing a more complex meal. With far less work left, you’ll be eager to pick up where you left off at dinner time.
If you want to serve a complicated meal, eliminate much of the stress by completing some tasks the day before. Get all of the ingredients that you will need, measure and chop all spices or herbs and make sure that you have what the recipe requires. When the time comes to make the meal, all you need to do is put it all together and cook it!
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. If your spice collection is exposed to too much heat or light, it will break down the flavors.
Add a little salt to your cutting board whenever you are slicing up some herbs. The salt will keep the herbs on the board and add extra flavor as well. Do not over-salt by making sure you don’t directly add any extra salt to the foods you’re preparing. Applying salt to the board will allow the herbs to stick better and give the meat a bit more flavor.
Head to the store and replace your unused spices every six months. When spices sit around for too long, they tend to lose flavor. If you know you can’t use as much as is in the package, give some to a family member or friend to keep from wasting it.
Whenever you make salsa that won’t immediately be eaten, you should use raw onions that have been run under cold water first. Fresh, raw onions emit sulfurous gas. Salsa will not taste good with the aura of sulfur. When you rinse the onions with water and dry them, you neutralize the gas.
Homemade stock adds lots of flavor. If you make it in large quantities, you can store the excess in resealable bags in your freezer. Then when you make a soup or other dish that calls for stock, you always have some right at your fingertips. An enormous benefit of cooking your own soup stock or broth is that you know and control the ingredients in the stock.
When sauteing food, don’t put too much oil in the pan. You may end up steaming your meal because of the water content of your vegetables. This should be done at a lower temperature, too.
A meat thermometer should be used to check that the meats have been properly cooked. There is a temperature that is recommended for the different types of meat that indicates it is safe to eat. Bacteria can easily survive in meat, so unless it is thoroughly cooked, this bacteria can stay in the meat and make you ill.
It is important to take proper care of wood cutting boards. A wood cutting board can warp or split by too much exposure to moisture, heat or dryness. Never immerse the board in water, rather, sponge it off with warm, soapy water. Cutting boards should be treated regularly with specifically designed oil products. Let it dry for a while after oiling.
A great way to add zip to some of your staple foods, like potatoes, use beef or chicken stock instead of water. Bouillon cubes can be added to the water to give dishes the delicious stock flavor as well. Your food will have the right balance of moisture but with a fuller underlying flavor.
The safest way to make sure your meat is cooked is using a meat thermometer. Every meat has a certain internal temperature that needs to be reached in order for it to be safe to eat. If your meats are not cooked to the proper temperature, bacteria can stay alive within the meat and make you and your family sick if they are consumed.
To get a firm shell for twice baked potatoes or potato skins, use a baking potato with a thicker skin. Red potatoes are too thin-skinned to hold up to a dense filling.
Use the tips you just learned the next time you prepare a meal. Once you eat some of your meals, you will know you did the right thing. Not only will your meals be more fun to eat, you’ll look forward to cooking them; you might even start trying new recipes. Don’t be afraid to try your hand at cooking.
While creaming butter for cookies, it has to be soft but not to the point of being melted. If your butter has been melted, simply put your sugar-butter mixture into your freezer for a couple of minutes so that it become more firm. Afterwards, place the bowl of your finished dough into the refrigerator. When the dough is colder it will not spread as much when you’re making cookies.