Is cooking a scary frontier for you? Are you nervous about entering your kitchen, remembering a previous disaster? If this is you, never fear! Plenty of people have trouble with cooking, and all it takes is a little practice and proper education to cook like a pro! Read on to find out how.
Perfect pasta every time. Never add oil to the water when you are boiling pasta. It prevents the sauce from coating the pasta properly. Just before you drain the pasta, set aside about 1/3 cup of the cooked pasta water. When you mix the sauce with the pasta, add a little of the cooking liquid. The starch in the water adds body and flavor to the sauce.
To maximize the efficiency of the cooking that you do, always make your food in large quantities and when you are finished with the meal, store the meats in freezer bags. This will allow you to create a meal the next day for your family that is still fresh and tastes great.
Don’t throw away that runny sauce, as there is an easy fix available. Mix 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl. Thicken your sauce by stirring the mixture into the simmering liquid. Keep stirring your sauce and add the corn starch little by little.
Use a heavy duty, zip-lock plastic bag to separate pan drippings. After roasting meat, pour the pan drippings into a zip-lock plastic bag. Let the fat rise to the top. Carefully snip off one of the bottom corners on the bag, and pour out the fat-free broth. The fat will stay in the plastic bag, and you will have a tasty broth as a base for gravy or a sauce.
If you are baking, one thing that you can do is to leave your eggs and butter at room temperature overnight. This will prepare them to be used as ingredients when you bake the next day. Understanding the temperature to store certain ingredients will help to maximize the ease of creating your meal.
If you’ve forgotten to soak your beans over night, quick soak them instead. Just put the beans in a very large pot and cover with water. Bring this to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about two hours. This method is just as effective as an over night soak and can save you time.
When heating oil on the stove top to use for frying, use a low setting and slowly turn the burner up to reach the desired temperature. Most foods do not require much more than 350 degrees, for the oil to fry it to a nice golden brown and not end up burnt to a crisp on the outside, while raw on the inside. If you crank the temperature setting knob to its highest point, you not only run the risk of spattering and burning yourself, as well as the food you are trying to fry, but you are also wasting time while you wait for the oil to cool down enough to use. Oil heats up quickly, but it is very slow to cool down, once it has gotten too hot.
Cooking can be a joy if you invest in a good, sizable cutting board able to handle all of your cutting and chopping needs. If a butcher block table is out of the budget, look for a durable bamboo or sturdy maple for the job. A cutting board with a recessed groove surrounding the cutting surface is handy to catch juices from carving meats and makes clean up easy. If you will be using a cutting board on a smooth surface, look for one with rubber feet to avoid slipping. Maintain your cutting board with food-grade mineral oil (vegetable and olive oils can turn rancid) and make sure that you properly clean, and more importantly, dry your cutting board after each use to prevent warping.
When you are chopping onions for a home cooked salsa make sure you rinse them. Rinse your onions immediately after you cut them then blot them dry with a napkin. This will remove the sulfurous gas and will make your salsa taste better. This works well for other recipes too.
Cooking hamburgers seems to be easy, but there are some tricks to learn. Make a hole in the center of the patty before you put it on the grill. The hole prevents the meat from rising in the middle so you won’t have an uncooked middle with burnt edges any more. The whole will completely disappear during cooking so no one will notice your trick.
When freezing meat it is important to use freezer bags. Meat will get freezer burn if it is not properly stored. Meat that has freezer burn will not taste good when it is cooked, and it often has to be thrown away instead of being eaten. This can be very costly, but can also be easily avoided.
No matter what kind of cheese you may have in your refrigerator, be sure that air cannot enter it by wrapping it tightly. Air contributes to mold growth on cheese. If your cheese does happen to have a little bit of mold on it, you can still use it by just cutting off the part with mold.
Don’t use citrus in your meat marinades. When you marinate meat with citrus juices, it often produces a mealy, grainy texture. If you still want to have that mild citrus taste, use a small drizzle or squeeze of lemon or lime juice right before serving the dish. This still provides a zesty citrus flavor, but makes sure your meat is tender and not grainy feeling.
As was said in the beginning of this article, cooking is all about education and practice. This article has given you the building blocks to become a better cook, now all you have to do is practice, practice, practice! Soon you’ll be making great food that you’ll love to eat!