The art of cooking is an excellent hobby that can even prove relaxing at times. Maintaining an atmospheric kitchen with well-stocked shelves, fresh ingredients and delightful smells can put anyone into a positive frame of mind. On the other hand, getting your hands on the right cooking advice and good recipes for a delicious meal can prove a little bit of a challenge. Here are some great tips that will support you in learning to cook excellent meals.
Being organized is a key step when planning to prepare a meal for family or friends. First, check that you have everything you need to get started. Get out everything that you’ll need including the ingredients and utensils a day ahead of time. This can help relax everything so that you can make something great.
If you need to season your meat, prepare a small portion and taste it prior to cooking the entire amount. Foods like meatballs, hamburger and even meatloaf may require careful seasoning. After adding your blend of seasonings, do not cook the entire portion of meat. Rather, cook a small portion first. Doing this allows you to test the seasonings and make appropriate adjustments.
When making a stir-fry meal, meat should always be thinly sliced, and cut on the bias. This is rather difficult to do, and can take a lot of time. When the meat is stiff but not frozen, take it out and slice immediately across the grain at a slight angle.
Certain methods of preparing vegetables, such as boiling, can reduce their nutrients, due to the length of cooking time. When you use faster cooking methods, such as steaming and sauteing, vegetables keep more of the nutrients intact. The best way to make sure you get all the vital nutrients housed within veggies is to eat them raw.
If you have a meal that is important, like for a date or your boss, try cooking one of your better dishes so that you are familiar with it and know it tastes good. Never prepare an unfamiliar recipe or try to use a different ingredient than you are used to. You will be more comfortable cooking, and there will be less of a risk of messing it up.
The quality of vegetables improves when cooked. When you cook veggies slowly, they lose many nutrients. Speed cooking vegetables also retains the best texture and nutrition. So in summary, cook your vegetables for the shortest amount of time possible.
Try putting some cauliflower in with your mashed potatoes to cut some calories and fat. Cauliflower’s neutral taste means that it blends easily with the flavor of the potatoes, butter and milk. Cauliflower mashes into the same texture and color as potatoes, so no one will notice, and you you will get the benefits.
Are you using basil? Store the basil within a glass. Make sure the basil’s stems are covered in water. Put it on top of your kitchen counter and it will be fresh for weeks! Remember to refresh the water from time to time, and you will notice that the basil starts to grow roots. You can cut the basil every once in a while in order to spur further growth, thereby making basil available for even longer.
Do you plan on cooking with fresh basil? Place your basil into a large glass. Make sure the basil’s stems are covered in water. Just set it on the counter top, and it will be good for several weeks. The basil may even start growing roots if you change out the water regularly. While the basil is alive and thriving, make sure you trim the leaves in order to progress the growth of the plant. You will have plenty of fresh basil on hand.
Mushrooms will absorb the water like a sponge. Wipe them off with a damp cloth to clean them.
When you make chicken stock make as much as you can. Make sure that you prepare a large amount of stock so that you will have more than enough to store and use for future kitchen adventures. You can use that delicious chicken stock in stews, casseroles, and soups. To store your homemade stock, let it cool, pour it into a freezer bag, and stick it in the freezer.
If you are preparing pumpkins for a meal, position the pumpkin so it is sitting upright, then cut it into two equal halves. Put each half on a separate baking sheet, upside down. Moisten each sheet with water, then place the pumpkin halves in a 350-degree oven for 60 minutes.
Always soak skewers in water for 30 minutes before loading them with food and cooking. Being soaked in the water prevents them from getting burned when exposed to the cooking heat. You can prevent food from sliding off skewers by using parallel skewers for twice the support of the food.
You can make dried tomatoes yourself. Start by cutting full-sized tomatoes into 1/2″ slices or by halving Roma tomatoes. Put them facing upwards onto a cooling rack and add a little salt. Use a cookie sheet to hold the rack and set it in the oven at 190 degrees for at least 10 hours. Keep the tomatoes fresh by storing them in freezer bags. You can also pack dried tomatoes in a jar with some fresh herbs and olive oil. Place this in the refrigerator and be sure to use it within 2 weeks.
Tofu and beans are great sources of protein that can easily be added to your diet. They are also easily located at almost every grocery store. Make a yummy meat alternative by pan frying the tofu with some seasonings. To add some tasty protein to your plate, boil some beans with a touch of herbs for seasoning.
Many vegetables and herbs have a smell that has a tendency to remain on cutting boards, despite how many times you wash them. Put a waterproof mark on the end of the cutting board so you’ll know which side to use.
Preparing healthy vegetables can be easy if you choose to saute them in chicken broth. Broth will flavor the vegetables, and less oil will be needed to saute them. This is a tasty way to cook your veggies.
When using fresh herbs in your cooking like parsley or basil, bundle them together and cut them with scissors instead of chopping. This chopping method produces lighter, fluffier herbs that are drier than conventionally cut herbs.
Replace the standby liquids of milk and water in recipes to mix things up. If the recipe calls for water, switch it up by using a broth, juice, or cooking liquids. If your favorite recipes call for milk, try substituting with buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. Changing up the liquids in your recipes can add nutrition, while livening up a standby dish.
When planning to prepare complicated dishes, do the prep work the evening before the actual cooking is to take place to minimize stress. Gather your ingredients, chop and measure the herbs or spices and double-check that you have everything you need. When it comes time to cook, all you will have to worry about is assembly and cook time.
Sprinkle a small amount of salt over your cutting board surface before chopping your herbs. This adds flavor to the herbs and helps to keep them from sliding off the cutting board. Do not add more salt as you are cutting the herbs. The salt will stick to the herbs and make their flavor stronger.
Try drying your own tomatoes. Simply cut them into 1/2 half inch slices, or cut lengthwise for Romas. Place on a cooling rack, cut-side up and lightly salt them. Put a cookie sheet underneath the cooling rack and then set the pair in an oven heated to 190 degrees. Leave for as many as ten hours. You can then freeze your tomatoes in Ziplock bags. Dried tomatoes can be placed into a jar that is filled with fresh herbs and olive oil. Dried tomatoes should be stored within the refrigerator and used within two weeks.
It is important to prepare a barbecue before you are actually ready to use it. The charcoal will need to burn about 30 minutes before your coals are hot enough to start grilling. They will be perfect when they are ash covered and giving off medium heat. This is the perfect temperature to grill.
Follow the recipe exactly when you are making macaroni and cheese. Remember that the makers of your mac and cheese designed these instructions with the best possible result in mind. Use a solid spoon, not slotted, to serve the it to make sure each serving is smothered with cheese. Spice it up with some type of pepper!
There are a few ways to properly warm up tortillas. You can use the oven. Just set the oven temperature for 350 degrees and set the tortillas on the rack directly. Remove them when crisp. You can also crisp your tortilla on the gas burner of your stove-top. Just turn the flame on low and place the tortilla on the burner above the flame. Watch it carefully! It only takes a moment! Either of these ways adds a crisp, fresh texture to your tortillas and Mexican dishes.
Homemade stock can add flavor to many dishes. Making a large amount allows you to store some in the freezer for future meals. This ensures you will have tasty, homemade stock available when you need it for soups, stews and many other dishes. Making homemade stock ensures that you know what is in it and that it isn’t made with preservatives.
Make sure that you take care with the cooking time for a perfectly baked cake. The time recommended on the box or in a recipe is a guide to be used with caution, because many factors, such as high altitudes, can have an effect on the actual time needed. Insert a toothpick into the cake’s middle. If batter sticks to the toothpick when it comes out, more baking is needed; when the toothpick stays clean after insertion, it’s time to eat!
Cooking Ground Meat
Learn a little bit about any vegetables or fruits you haven’t cooked with before. By performing some research, you could be surprised at how versatile a new food can be. By taking some time to educate yourself before starting anything new in the kitchen, it will certainly pay off in flavor and experience.
When cooking ground meat, blot it dry before cooking. It is a good idea to always blot away moisture before cooking ground meat. If your meat is soggy before you sear it, then it will be soggy afterward. The moisture will steam away. The meat will then be more likely to steam, instead of the intended searing.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that every potato is like the others. Waxy potatoes are best used for things like potato salad but would not work well if made into a French fry. For that type of side dish, Russets are a good choice of fluffy potato.
Wait a few minutes before you serve a meal to allow the food to sit for a bit. This is very important for the juices to be absorbed back into your meat. It’s extremely tempting to eat a meal just as soon as it comes off the grill or stove. If you do this, you’ll miss out on the meat’s full flavor. To maximize taste and satisfaction, wait a little while before you serve your meal to friends or family.
When you are preparing cookie batter and a recipe calls for softened butter, try not to melt the butter. If your butter is melted, however, harden it a little bit by freezing it for a couple of minutes. Dough that has been chilled first will help your cookies retain their shape better instead of spreading out.
You should save some water from the pan in which you cooked the pasta so that you can add it to the pasta sauce later. Take about a quarter cup of the water and set aside. The water should be added to the sauce and pasta mixture. The water from the pasta contains starch, which can thicken your sauce.
If you’re cooking in a nonstick pan, use a spatula made from nylon, rubber, or silicone. Metal or wooden utensils can potentially scratch the nonstick coating, this will reduce its effectiveness over time, and even worse, could lead to food contamination. This not only ruins your food, but it could be a health hazard.
As this article has discussed, cooking is revered by many as an excellent and enjoyable hobby. However, some people don’t know where to start, in terms of picking the right recipes or using the proper techniques. Follow this article’s advice and you will be on your way to cooking great food.
Grilling fruit is an excellent option. Thread sliced melon, nectarines and peaches onto skewers. Grill the fruit until you start to see grill marks. Serve in conjunction with some ice cream or a pound cake.