If you’re thinking about picking up cooking, but aren’t sure what to do and where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. When it comes to cooking the more knowledge you gain, the more you have to apply towards making a great meal. Knowledge such as contained in this article can help you to become a better cook.
When seasoning your food, remember that it is much easier to add more seasoning if needed, but you cannot take it away if you add too much. That is why it’s important to go light when seasoning with herbs and spices. You want to compliment the flavors of the food and not overpower them.
Freezing meat slightly before cutting it will help you to get a nice, even thin slice. This works great when you are cutting steak thin for philly’s or if you need to cut pancetta into thin slices or strips. Do not freeze it solid; freeze it just enough that it is slightly firm.
Do not add food to the oil until it is hot. This will enhance the flavor of the dish when it is finished cooking.
Ice water can save the color of your vegetables. Dull washed out vegetables do not look as appealing to eat. If you want bright and vibrant vegetables, then you should plunge them into ice water after blanching them. Vibrantly colored vegetables look much more appetizing in salads and pasta dishes.
Keep a potato masher in your kitchen at all times. This useful device can be used to mash more than just your typical potatoes. Try mashing carrots, cauliflower, and other root vegetables. You can mix any of these in to your usual mashed potatoes to make them more vibrant, nutritious, and interesting.
Take the guesswork out of reducing liquids. When a recipe calls for you to cook until the liquid is reduced by a certain amount, dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the liquid to mark the depth. This will leave a line on the wooden spoon. Later, you can dip the spoon again to see how much the liquid has actually reduced.
If you are making pastries, you should try to maximize the accuracy of your measurements as it is a very exact science. By adding one gram too much or too less, you are going to put the taste of your pastry in jeopardy. Always try to be precise when baking.
Try to store spices in dark, cool places and do not store them above your stove. Places that are bright, humid and hot, can cause your spices and herbs to lose their flavor. A good place to put them would be inside of a pantry or in your kitchen cabinets.
Beans stored for a longer period of time need to be checked for insect damage or mold. Instead of visually looking at each bean put them in a bowl of cold water. Use only the ones sinking to the bottom as those floating are either suffer from insect damage or mold.
Marinate meat in a bag. A lot of recipes call for meat to be marinated in a dish for a few hours, turning occasionally. This can be frustrating, as the meat is never completely coated by the marinade. A better way is to throw the meat and marinade in a ziploc bag, remove as much air as possible, and shake well to coat the meat. Place it in the fridge and simply flip the bag occasionally.
Do not just stick to iceberg lettuce when considering making a fresh salad. You can find a multitude of greens that have increased health benefits over the old stand-by lettuce. Try varieties such as butter, romaine, and red. Also try some fresh herbs and spices for a greater amount of flavor.
It is fairly easy to dry tomatoes yourself. You can use Roma tomatoes cut lengthwise, or ripe tomatoes sliced about a half inch thick. Put the sliced tomatoes onto a cooling rack, and lightly salt the cut-side. Set the rack on a cookie sheet in an oven at 190 degrees for a 10 hours. You can then freeze your tomatoes in Ziplock bags. You can also store them in jars packed with herbs and olive oil. Put this jar in the fridge and use it up in two weeks time.
You can make a quick and inexpensive meal out of some leftovers by adding pasta and rice to vegetables, meat or salad fixings. They cook quickly and are cheap, so use them to stretch the contents of your refrigerator. Toss in a few sauteed peppers or onions to make an even, fuller meal.
How to ‘un-seize’ melted chocolate. If the chocolate you are melting suddenly gets lumpy or grainy, this means it has ‘seized’, and it will ruin a recipe. Remove the pan and add 1/2 to 1 tsp of shortening or cooking oil (not butter or margarine). Stir until the mixture becomes smooth again. To prevent seizing, make sure the pan is completely dry before trying to melt chocolate.
To add a little extra special flavor to a plain vanilla or yellow cake mix, use the liquid from any canned fruit that is packed in water instead of the plain water called for when making the mix. Most every variety of canned fruit around comes packed in syrup or water. Choose a water-packed can of fruit your family loves to make a plain cake extra tasty. Frost the cake using vanilla or butter cream and add the fruit chunks as decoration on top.
With all of the information you just learned you should start feeling more confident in your cooking abilities. So try and form strategies you can use towards becoming a better cook from the tips you learned in this article. The only ways you’re going to see success is if you actually try.