When you are new to cooking, you have to start somewhere. Most people aren’t born with the ability to prepare the perfect meal. The ability to cook is something that everyone can learn. There are things that every cook should know that helps them to become better at making a good meal. In the following article, you will read some tips that should help you become a better cook and even enjoy cooking more.
Try to plan for a week’s worth of meals. If you can get in the habit of planning a weekly menu, it will save time on grocery shopping, and will reduce the stress of having to come up with a meal idea at the last minute. Also, keep a magnet-backed notepad on the refrigerator, and jot down any items that you are running low on. This way, your kitchen will always be stocked with the ingredients that you use regularly.
Season meats evenly. It is important to season all of the meats you are going to be cooking evenly. Sprinkle the seasoning lightly over the meat like it was snowing down. This will keep the seasoning even and prevent clumping. The taste will be more consistent all through it.
If you are following a recipe, make sure that you do not follow this religiously, as you should always add a personal spice to your meal. Instead of following a pizza recipe to the tee, add some red pepper to inject a punch into your dish to make it unique and individualized.
To keep your cakes from falling flat, mix dense batters by hand with a wooden spoon. Electric mixers beat too much air into the batter, causing the cakes to fall when they are baked. Meanwhile, by using a wooden spoon to gently mix thick batters like carrot cake you protect the consistency of the batter from absorbing too much air.
To reduce fat and calories in mashed potatoes without sacrificing texture or taste, replace some of your potatoes with an equal amount of cauliflower. You will not even taste the cauliflower in with the potatoes, because it is so bland. It also mimics the texture and color of the potatoes almost perfectly letting you up your vegetable intake, and drop the calories, all the while giving the same delicious potato experience we all know and love.
Before you start cooking or baking make sure you have all the ingredients gathered together. This will save you time and prevent cooking mishaps. You’ll have a better product in the end.
Even the humble sandwich can benefit from a little cooking expertise. Mayonnaise, mustard and other condiments should be spread evenly from edge to edge of sandwich bread. This improves consistency and ensures that every bite of the sandwich gets the benefit of the condiments. Even spreading produces superior sandwich results every time.
Flour or any other dry goods stored too long, tend to attract bugs and make them either hard to use or not suitable for cooking. Lay a whole bay leaf in the container (and possibly also in the cupboard) and your goods and storage areas will be bug free forever.
A useful tip when making chicken stock is to think big! Plan on preparing a large pot of stock in order to freeze it for storing. Good chicken stock that you make at home makes a great starter for soups, casseroles, stews and other dishes. After the liquid has cooled you can store it in heavy-duty freezer bags.
To maximize the shelf life of dried spices store them in a cool, dry place. This will preserve the flavor of the spices, resulting in more flavorful dishes. Do not store them in the cupboard directly above the stove, the heat makes the spices dry out and lose flavor.
When cooking around small children, safety is imperative. Get in the habit, even when children are not around, that you keep knives, breakable dishes and other objects that could fall and injure a young child, well back on the table or counter. You might just prevent a child from being seriously injured because of sheer carelessness, on the part of the cook.
When you are making homemade soups that contain meat, they tend to have a lot of fat that needs to be skimmed from the top. One quick solution to that problem is dropping in a couple of ice cubes. As the ice melts, the fat will stiffen around it and you will be able to remove it with ease.
Start your sear in a cold pan when searing duck breasts. Duck can turn very dry very quickly if not properly cooked. Using the cold pan technique for searing allows the fat to render slowly which will keep your duck moist and juicy. It will also give you more time to develop flavors and take care of some side dishes.
Use cast iron pans when you cook your meat. Cast iron imparts the best flavor to the meat and avoids any chance of sticking. You also get the added benefit of your meat having a higher iron content from using the cast iron. Sometimes old fashioned ideas are the best.
Put vegetables in cold water after you blanch them. Blanching – also known as boiling – a vegetable can be a tasty way to prepare them. Unfortunately, it can quite literally “blanch” your veggies. While this is only an aesthetic problem, it can be easily avoided. By putting the vegetables in cold water after blanching, they will retain their green color.
To make perfect deviled eggs, ensure the yolk is evenly centered within the egg by spinning the egg on a flat surface before boiling. Place an egg, lengthwise, on the top of the kitchen counter and gently spin it a couple of times. The spinning action helps center the yolk within the shell. This method helps create perfectly-formed deviled eggs.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the natural ability or the dedication required to become an award-winning professional chef, however, if you can read simple directions, you can become a great cook in no time at all. Cooking is not as difficult as it first seems. As you begin to create scrumptious dishes, you will gain the confidence to try more complicated recipes.