Cooking can seem like something that only professionals can do. But if you have some good information and tips of the trade, then even those who burn toast can make a delicious meal. All it takes is the right techniques and a little bit of knowledge to turn you into a chef.
If you have already cooked before for someone that you know and love, try to shake things up a bit and add some new spices to the recipes. Changing things up can keep things fresh and make your cooking very spontaneous. This will improve your ability and skills in the kitchen.
When cooking, the smaller the item the higher the cooking temperature can be. For instance, if you are cooking mini muffins they can be baked at 400, where as if the muffins are regular size the temperature should be no higher than 325. Cooking at the right temperature will optimize your cooking time and keep items from becoming dried out.
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.
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.
If you are boiling pasta, make sure that you do not put too much in the pot. This will not cook your food all the way through and will taste very raw and thick. Try to limit the amount of pasta that you put in the pot to maximize taste and quality.
When you are going to the store, do not always have a large shopping list which can restrain you to just getting certain items. See what you like and what you are in the mood for and purchase based on that. This will give you the spontaneity to cook whatever you choose.
If you are planning on buying fish from a supermarket or fish store, make sure that you ask the person behind the counter if you can smell the fish. The fish should be very firm and should not have any pungent odors to them. Otherwise, do not purchase it, as they are probably not fresh.
You should separate your meat into usable portions before you freeze it. You can separate your meat and store the portions in sandwich bags. You can then place the sandwich bags inside of freezer bags. This will give you that ability to have your meats perfectly portioned and to be able to use the freezer bags over and over again.
This will ensure that the fruit stays fresh for an entire year. In addition it will give you access to fruits that aren’t always in season.
When you are cooking clarified butter, first slowly melt butter that is unsalted over very low heat. Do not stir the butter, and do not let it comes to a boil. This process will separate the milk solids from the liquid butter into three layers when finished. The clarified butter will be in the middle layer.
When you are making casseroles, roasts, and other things that may stick to the bottom of a baking sheet, you should line the bottom of the pan with foil. This is a good idea because after you are done cooking you can throw the foil away and you will not have a lot of cleaning up to do.
If you want to try a more advanced recipe, make it more manageable by prepping the day before. Always look at the recipe and do the menial tasks such as chopping and measuring in advance. Verify that you have all ingredients. When cooking time arrives, you’ll need only to be concerned with assembling and cooking the meal.
When preparing food in the kitchen, always remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water before touching food, or anytime you handle raw meat, fish or eggs. In addition, you never want to put cooked food on plates, counters or any other surface where these raw meats have been unless they have been washed with hot, soapy water.
Keep a pack of unflavored, unwaxed dental floss in your kitchen. If you need to make clean, precise cuts, dental floss is typically much more effective than using even the sharpest kitchen knife because of it’s small width. Simply pass the piece of dental floss through the item you are cutting for a nice, clean slice.
Campsite cooking can be a breeze if you take along the right tools. Keep your campsite cooking utensils all washed up and stored away ready to go anytime the urge hits you. You can cook anything on a campfire that you cook at home so just plan accordingly. Don’t forget a Dutch oven for the baking and the coffee pot for that morning cup of Joe!
Avoid the temptation to press your hamburger patties too tightly when shaping. Though you may feel that this will help them to hold their shapes better, in reality, this just provides denser, dryer hamburgers once cooked. Also, don’t press the patties down with a spatula when cooking, as this simply drains the juices.
Now that you have read some of these great tips, you should be ready to tackle making something delicious. Practice will make perfect though, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time around. Just like in anything else, let failure be your teacher.