Learning how to cook requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to eat the batches that aren’t quite ready for prime time. Learning new techniques for cooking is a life-long learning experience and your education begins here. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you on your way to cooking success.
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.
For the moistest banana bread ever, peel and then freeze the bananas slated for the next loaf. Bananas placed in a covered container in the freezer will absorb moisture from the freezing process and that little extra “juice”, goes a long way. Not only will your bread be more moist, it will also have a more intense banana flavor.
Planning out meals for the coming week can save you both time and money. You can buy all of the things you will need beforehand without having to make spontaneous trips to the store during the middle of a busy week. You can have a planned schedule and it will make it easy for you to prepare things before you actually cook.
If you are following a recipe take extra caution to make sure that you don’t skip a step, or that you are reading the measurements correctly. Especially in baking, a small mistake can completely ruin a dish. To avoid this just check the recipe a couple of times before adding in the ingredient to the mixture.
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.
Try to cook when you have a clear head so that you can maximize the quality of your food. If you are currently having emotional problems, do not put yourself in a dangerous situation where you can get hurt. Always have a clear conscience when you are planning to cook a meal.
Make sure not to use oil in the water you are using to make pasta. This will only keep sauce from sticking to pasta when mixed together. In order to give the water a little flavor and prevent the pasta from sticking the pot, you can add in a little bit of salt.
On a Sunday, try to make a meal whose leftovers you can eat during the week. For instance, save any left over roasted beef and make it into a sandwich on a week night. Not only does this help you save time by not having to cook, but it is a good way to not waste food.
If you are a big fan of having baked potatoes with your meal but do not like the long cooking time, you should soak them in salt water for twenty minutes before you bake them. They will take only about half of the usual time to bake after being soaked.
For recipes that call for liquor or wine, you can substitute with fruit juices. Some people simply do not like the taste of liquor or wine while others do not want children eating meals that contain it. Therefore, fruit juices is suitable substitute that still provides your meal with the flavor it needs.
Cauliflower is white when you first place it in water, but it has a tendency to sometimes turn a grayish or yellowish color. To prevent that from happening and keeping your cauliflower perfectly white you should try adding a little bit of milk to the water while it is cooking.
Taking on cooking is a great way to make yourself feel better about your food choices. You can see what you put into a dish and then be rewarded by the tastes and flavors you’ve tailored to you specifications. Getting a few recipes from close family members or magazines are great places to start.
Save a little bit of your pasta water when making pasta sauce. Use around a quarter cup and put it aside for your sauce. When you are ready to mix your sauce and pasta together, incorporate some of this water. Through a process known as amalgamation, the starch in the pasta water creates a creamy texture in your sauce.
During cooking, if the consistency of a sauce or gravy is too thin for your liking, try adding some corn starch to it in order to thicken it to your taste. Avoid using flour as it can make the sauce taste “chalky”. Corn starch is an excellent thickening agent and blends very well with the sauce or gravy.
Oil added to a pan while sauteing needs to be fully heated before it is absorbed by your ingredients. Slowly pouring the oil along the edge just inside the pan will ensure it is the correct temperature by the time it reaches your ingredients.
Tenderize meat before cooking it. Especially tough portions of meat are best tenderized or braised, due to the stringy consistency of the meat. Identifying the correct cut of meat and matching it with the correct method of cooking can be very important, as you may end up with an extremely stringy “roast” steak.
When you are seasoning meat and fish, make sure you season it evenly. You should always sprinkle the herbs and spices. This will ensure that they do not clump in one area. You want your meat and fish to taste the very same from the first to last bite.
The best part of cooking is that you can eat your mistakes. Don’t be scared about trying something new. Even Julia Childs and Wolfgang Puck have made complete failures of dishes at one point or another. Cooking is all about learning and experimentation until you learn what works for you, so give it a shot!