Learning how to cook is a great way to take control of your life. Cooking skills can improve your health, shrink your food budget and impress friends and family. Whether you are a stranger to the kitchen or an experienced stove-top jockey, there are always new cooking tips and techniques to learn. This article has a few such tips to get you started on sharpening your cooking skills.
You should not boil pasta in water that has oil in it. When you add oil to the water that you are boiling your pasta in it keeps the sauce from sticking to the pasta. By leaving the oil out you can toss your pasta in the sauce and it will cling to it.
To prepare for the meal that you are going to cook, make a comprehensive list of everything that you are going to need to cook your meal when you go to the supermarket. This will allow you to stay as organized as possible so there is no part of your meal that you leave out.
Ensure that your baked fish is moist and tender by cooking “en papillote”. This is a French technique that refers to fish baked in a parchment-paper packet. Place the fish and vegetables of your choice in the center of a large piece of parchment-paper. Bring the edges of the paper together, crease them tightly to form a seal, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees. The fish and vegetables steam in the packet, keeping them moist and tender, and creating a tasty, healthy dish. (Clean-up is just as easy – simply throw away the paper after eating!)
Take care when storing chocolate for use in cooking. As a rule, only buy as much chocolate as you can use within a few months. Chocolate contains fat, and under the wrong conditions it can turn rancid. Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. A kitchen cupboard away from any heat sources is ideal. Keep the chocolate wrapped in foil or plastic and store it away from anything with a strong smell, as it absorbs odors easily.
If you want hard boiled eggs that peel easily, then you need to cool your eggs before you peel them. Boiled eggs that are fresh out of hot water have no separation between the egg and its shell. By refilling your pot with cold water before peeling the eggs inside, you encourage the eggs to compress, thereby creating a layer of air between the eggs and their shells, making it easier for you to peel them.
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.
To cook healthier, try replacing highly refined goods with whole-grain alternatives when you bake. Enriched white flour and other such refined grain products are low in nutritional value. Even replacing a fraction of them with natural whole-grain products will improve the healthiness of the finished dish. Consult packaging directions for specific replacements; whole-grain products do not always replace refined ones at a 1:1 ratio.
Store your cheese in the fridge, wrapped tightly in plastic, and away from air. This will help to keep mold away. While a little mold is not harmful to cheese, excessive mold is dangerous to consume. It will certainly affect the quality of your cheese as well.
Make the best of your baking adventures by leaving eggs and butter out at room temperature the night before. Then you do not have to go through the frustration of softening the butter to the right consistency. Also, warm eggs whisk to a greater volume, which allows the cake to rise evenly.
A great help for achieving your best baking results is to bring your butter and eggs to room temperature before use. By allowing these ingredients to lose their chill, you allow heat from cooking to activate the oils and fats within them at the right time as opposed to waiting for them to achieve the right temperature while cooking.
When cooking with thick and sticky ingredients like molasses or honey, make it easier with non-stick cooking spray. Simply spray the inside of a measuring cup before adding the viscous liquid. When pouring it will slip out completely and cleanly with no need to scrap the inside of the cup.
If you aren’t the best in the kitchen and you are ready to tackle a recipe, choose one that isn’t too complicated to begin. You will want to stick to recipes that have a minimum of ingredients and ones that only require one or two pots to create. From there, you can aspire to be the next Julia Child.
Invest in a good roll of parchment paper. When you are baking, line your pans with it and you will save yourself much time and mess. The baked goods slide right off of the paper and all your pan needs is a simple rinse in some hot soapy water!
Add pasta or rice to your leftovers. Sometimes you might just have a bit of sauce or meat left over from a larger meal. Rather than just throwing this out, add some rice or pasta to it. You can get an entirely new meal out of it that is quick and easy.
To make grating blocks of mozzarella, Colby, cheddar and other cheeses easier, place the block of cheese in the freezer for ten minutes prior to shredding. The freezer will stiffen the cheese a bit without freezing it solid, so you can grate it without as much sticking, crumbling or becoming rubbery.
Feel free to make use of the tips that appeal to you. One of the greatest things about cooking for yourself is that it puts you in control of your diet. You are free to cook the way you want to. As you refine your cooking skills, keep looking for recipes and techniques that will help you to make the kind of food that you want to enjoy.