Culinary 101: Prepping Your Workstation For Meals

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One of the best things about cooking, is that whether you are not so great at it or a cooking virtuoso, you can benefit from recipes and great cooking tips. Anyone can follow a recipe and implement tips. Whether you think you’re a great chef or if you think that you can’t cook at all, here are a few cooking tips you can use today.

Ensure that you are getting the most out of your chef’s knife by holding it properly during use. The thumb and the index finger should be on either side of the blade, at the point where it meets the handle. This will give the ultimate in control, when slicing through ingredients.

Learn to use your hands when cooking (after washing them thoroughly first of course!). Hands are the most sensitive yet versatile cooking utensil you will own. They can be used for mixing, measuring and testing whether a product is cooked enough. A cake, for example, will show that it is done by springing back when touched lightly with a finger on its top.

When cooking stock, make it in a large quantity and store it in smaller bags in the freezer. Stock has a long freezer life and can be useful in so many recipes. Making a larger batch is no more difficult than making a small batch. You’ll save yourself time later by having a freezer store to turn to.

It’s nice to have a pie quickly when unexpected guests arrive. When you don’t have time to create the crust from scratch, use a quality pre-made mix. Add a few tablespoons of sour cream to make the crust flaky so no one will notice that you didn’t create the pie from scratch.

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!)

To reduce the fat and calories in a recipe that calls for a lot of mayonnaise, simply replace half the mayonnaise with sour cream. Since mayonnaise serves primarily a textural purpose in many of these recipes, replacing it with similarly textured sour cream gives you the same texture with a lighter, healthier taste.

Unleash the tremendous flavor power of Mediterranean cous-cous by using this cooking tip. Pour your dry cous-cous in a pot filled with boiling chicken stock instead of water. Mix for ten seconds, then turn off the heat and cover for five minutes. The cous-cous will absorb the tasty flavor of the chicken stock. This effect can also be achieved with vegetable or beef stock.

One of the greatest things that you can do is to cook with family members or friends. When you cook with someone else, you will be able to pick up on tricks that they implement and will be able to better yourself as a cook. Talk to them to see how their thought process works, to elevate your expertise.

If you are cooking for someone special, do not try a recipe that you have never tried before. Because you are trying to impress this person, you want to make sure you make a satisfying meal. Try something you are very familiar with, and make sure you have all the ingredients you need to make it.

Always continue to taste test all of your food as you cook them. Cooking a sauce, and you’re not sure if it needs more salt? Just taste it and you’ll know right away. Getting into a habit of testing all of your foods will keep you from accidentally over-spicing or under-spicing it.

It is important to know that just because a recipe does not call for a certain spice does not mean you cannot add it. For instance, you may feel that garlic would make the dish taste better, which may be true. So do not be scared, go ahead and add it.

When baking, here is a tip for eggs and butter. Let your eggs and butter set out overnight at room temperature. Doing so will soften the butter which will make it easier to spread, melt, and mix with other ingredients. The eggs will be easier to beat, and foaming egg whites will be easier as well.

Every good cook recognizes the importance of keeping a well stocked pantry. You should have quantities of flour, salt, oil, sugar, and spices on hand at all times. Good cooking depends on it. There is nothing more frustrating than to get down to that final step and find you are missing a necessary spice.

When shopping for meat, always get the freshest cuts available. If you are shopping for meat at the butcher shop the meat is being fresh cut or ground. However, when shopping at the grocery store try to find out when the store typically cuts meat for the day and try to arrive near that time. Otherwise ask at the meat counter for a fresh cut or grind if you do not know the time of the last cut.

Cooking is not something you stop learning. You eat every day of your life, so you can use cooking skills every day of your life. What you learn about cooking today, you can use forever. Use these tips to boost your cooking skills and put your own spin on them, to make everyday eating a pleasure.

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