Cooking a delicious meal is not nearly as difficult as some people think. The most important part is having a good recipe. After that, it’s just a simple matter of buying the right ingredients, knowing your household measurements and following the steps. There’s no reason to try to be a gourmet chef right away.
When cooking any recipe, use the best ingredients that you can afford. Splurge a little on imported cheeses or better quality meats when you can, so that you can experience a restaurant, quality-tasting meal at home. To enhance the experience even further, try to creatively plate up the meal with a little thought, for something different every now and then.
Cook your pasta one minute less than the package suggests, then finish cooking it in a pan with sauce. Your pasta will absorb more of the flavor of the sauce without having an over cooked texture. This can be a quick and effective way to prepare a pasta meal.
One of the things that you will need to realize when you are making meats or fish is that you need to spread your seasoning evenly. Adding too much seasoning in one area of your food can reduce the flavor or lead to a tangy taste that will reduce the quality of your meal.
An electric mixer is a blessing when you have to make your dough, but even this relatively easy task can turn into a nightmare when the dough sticks to the dough hook. To avoid the sticky mess, spray the hook with vegetable cooking spray and your dough will never stick to your mixer again.
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.
Cooking is all about preparation. To take the edge of cooking, whether it is a small appetizer, simple dish, full nine course meal, or elegant dessert, prepare for your cooking a day or two ahead. Plan what you are going to make and for how many people you are going to make it for. Gather your ingredients ahead of time to ensure that you won’t have to rush.
After you have cut up meats on your counter, be sure to thoroughly wipe the counters and chopping boards down with a disinfectant. You need to disinfect knives also. Keep separate chopping boards for uncooked and cooked foods. Many people get salmonella poisoning each year because they ingested food that was prepared on an unclean counter or chopping board. This is especially important if you prepare food for children or the elderly.
Invest in high quality cooking pans and tools. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go for the most expensive, but quality does make a huge difference when it comes to what we use to cook with. A high quality pan will be able to handle higher heats without warping. Quality tools will be able to do their job longer and more effectively than cheap brands. Check reviews before purchasing new items for your kitchen.
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.
For dishes that involve multiple steps, make it easy on yourself by doing portions of the work on the evening prior to cooking. Start by getting all of your ingredients in one place to make sure you have whatever you need. Have all ingredients chopped and measured. When you have to cook the meal, the only thing on your mind will be actually putting it together.
Store herbs and spices in your cabinet or pantry if they offer a cool, dry area. Many people keep their spice rack out near the stove or on the wall over the stove. These locations offer too much light, humidity, and heat, which can deplete the flavor of the seasonings. Avoid these exposed areas, and look for an optimal location out of sight.
It is important to test the heat of oil before using it to pan fry your food. Pouring the oil into the pan and then sprinkling it with water should give you a series of cracks or sparkles. If it does not, then the pan isn’t currently up to frying or heating capacity and dumping the food in it will act closer to an oil sponge than a frying pan.
Rinse and dry your onions if you are using them in a salsa you are making that will not be eaten in 20 minutes or less. Fresh onions contain sulfurous gas. Your fresh salsa will be ruined by this gas. If you following the rinsing and drying procedure above, the gas becomes inert.
Whip up some Angel Food Delight for a quick tasty desert. All you need is five ingredients, a pack of flavored jello, a pack of shelled nuts, some canned fruit cocktail, some cottage cheese and a frozen tub of whipped cream. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and refrigerate before serving.
Use butter in your cooking instead of margarine. It naturally mixes better in your recipes and contains dairy products rather than vegetable oil so contains health benefits as well. Dairy products are higher in healthy fats and will provide more flavor and natural texture to your food than margarine will.
It doesn’t matter how old or young, anyone can learn how to cook a fantastic meal. Start with a simple recipe and follow the directions exactly as written. Thousands of recipes are available online. As you get more comfortable with cooking, you can start changing the recipes to suit your particular taste preferences.