If you are looking to improve on your cooking skills, a refresher course in the basics can be a great investment of your time. But if you are too busy for that, the following tips can help you get back to some cooking basics that you may have forgotten or overlooked.
If you are making a sandwich and adding mayonnaise, make sure that you spread the mayo from corner to corner to give you the ultimate coverage and a delicious taste in every bite. Each and every bite that you take should be outstanding, as spreading mayo will achieve this goal when you eat sandwiches.
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.
Do a little research and find out if there is a farmers’ market within shopping distance. These markets – usually held on a weekly basis – are your ticket to purchasing the very freshest ingredients available. Treat food from a farmers’ market with respect; usually, the less cooking you do to such ingredients, the better-tasting the results will be.
Beans stored for a longer period of time need to be checked for insect damage or mold. Instead of visually looking at each bean put them in a bowl of cold water. Use only the ones sinking to the bottom as those floating are either suffer from insect damage or mold.
When cooking with herbs and spices, add them sparingly to your foods. The goal is to compliment the dish you are making, not to overpower its natural flavor. It is impossible to remove spices once you have added them, so start off with a small amount and then add more to taste.
Use either a steaming or a stir-frying technique to cook your vegetables. These two methods help the vegetables retain both their color and their nutrients, providing your family with a healthier side dish that also looks attractive. Your children, in particular, are more likely to eat their vegetables if they look nice.
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.
Choose local seasonal ingredients as a showpiece for your dish when you are cooking on a budget. Ingredients that are in the peak of their season are also at the height of their flavor and affordability. The flavors from these peak ingredients will allow you to take an inexpensive item and turn it into a star.
To save money and time consider throwing a beef roast or pork roast in the slow cooker. This makes a delicious meal the first night, and the leftovers make tasty sandwiches the rest of the week. Pack this in your lunch instead of deli lunch-meat, which is packed full of preservatives.
To sear a rib-eye, T-bone, strip or other steak to perfection even when you can’t fire up the outdoor grill, flip a cast-iron skillet over and broil the steak in your oven. Heat the skillet in a hot oven prior to placing the steak on its surface, and cook to your preferred level of doneness.
Don’t use citrus in your meat marinades. When you marinate meat with citrus juices, it often produces a mealy, grainy texture. If you still want to have that mild citrus taste, use a small drizzle or squeeze of lemon or lime juice right before serving the dish. This still provides a zesty citrus flavor, but makes sure your meat is tender and not grainy feeling.
If you are unsure of your boiling potatoes are done it would help if you stuck them with a knife. If the potato comes out of the water stuck on the knife then it means that they are not ready yet, but if they slide off easily then they are done.
If you are not very skilled at cooking, it is better to go with less spice than to go overboard with it. If you do not know the strengths of the spices instead of the food tasting good, it will taste over spiced.
When cooking an easy recipe, you should always use fresh seasonings and herbs. A more complex dish will still be delicious if you use dried herbs and seasonings. For the more simple fare, fresh herbs will impart a more robust flavor. A successful method in ensuring a constant supply of fresh herbs available is to have a tiny herb garden.
If you’re cooking with cast-iron pots and pans – never clean with soap, unless you want to lose its non-stick properties! Instead, use a paste of salt and water to scour the pan, if needed, or boil some water in the pot or pan to loosen stuck-on foods. Remove the remaining residue with a paper towel, and rub on a thin layer of oil before storing.
At some point during the day, try to get a small amount of caffeine into your body. Caffeine will help to relax tension and has also been known to aid asthma. Make sure that you do not consume too much caffeine though, as this can have a negative influence on your breathing.
To make your next cooking session a snap, gather up all the ingredients you’ll need before you start. When you do this, you won’t find yourself hunting for an ingredient half way through the cooking session. The process of gathering the ingredients may not be quicker if you do it prior or during, but it will save you time and headaches doing it beforehand since you won’t lose your cooking focus when you are in the middle of a recipe.
Cooking the daily meal can seem like a chore sometimes and throwing ingredients together quickly becomes tiresome. Cooking for pleasure can be relaxing, entertaining, and can be delicious. Remind yourself of some of the basic rules of cooking and make cooking fun again for you and your family.