The Best Culinary Advice You Will Ever Read

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If you are interested in learning to cook but have never tried it first you should read the information that is provided in the article below. There is no reason to feel intimidated by cooking. When people first start cooking, many fail their first dish but try again and again until they get it right.

In order to make the process of cooking easier, you should take to time to make large amounts of meat or vegetable stock and store it in the freezer. Not only is making your own stock less expensive than buying it from a retailer, but it makes it easy to keep a large supply on hand. Simply freeze the stock in small and clearly labeled portions and then take out what you need when you need it!

The Best Culinary Advice You Will Ever Read

Easy measuring cup clean up. Many baking recipes call for sticky ingredients such as butter, honey, syrup or peanut butter. Instead of having to wash out a gooey mess every time you need to reuse the measuring cup, spray the inside of the cup with non-stick cooking spray. The ingredients will slide right out and you can reuse the measuring cup right away!

Here is a handy trick you can use to save your sauce. Mix two spoons of water and one spoon of corn starch in a bowl. You can then stir this solution into your sauce to instantly thicken it. Be sure to gradually stir in the solution, and frequently stir the sauce so that it does not become too thick.

Prepare your ingredients, cookware, and cooking utensils in advance of starting to cook. Your time spent in the kitchen will be greatly reduced, and you will have less chance for error, when you do this. Make sure you remember to get the spices you will need ready as well.

A good tip to do when it comes cooking and preparing food is to prepare all the necessary ingredients that you need at night, that way when morning comes you are not stressing about them. This will help you concentrate at the task at hand which is preparing food in the best way possible.

Before you start cooking or baking make sure you have all the ingredients gathered together. This will save you time and prevent cooking mishaps. You’ll have a better product in the end.

Store your cheese in the fridge, wrapped tightly in plastic, and away from air. This will help to keep mold away. While a little mold is not harmful to cheese, excessive mold is dangerous to consume. It will certainly affect the quality of your cheese as well.

If you are looking to save time for cooking dinners because of your busy schedule, being prepared beforehand can make all the difference. Having ingredients already prepared and measured out to be cooked, as well as having the meat thawed out can save you valuable time when it comes to making dinner for the family.

When shaving vegetables for dishes such as a vinaigrette or a salad, use a coarse microplane, also known as a grater or zester, to grate them into smaller pieces. The flavors of the vegetables are truly unlocked when grated with the microplane.

To have a meal ready when you get home from work use a slow cooker or crock pot. Some meals come prepackaged. All you have to do is pour it into the crock pot, maybe add some water and set the heat. If you like making your own meals you can prepare ingredients the night before. After you’ve prepared the ingredients put them in the fridge. Add everything to the crock pot in the morning before you go to work.

If your family tends to eat a lot of chicken and often, remember to always brine the poultry as it will lock in flavor. Otherwise you are left with a dry piece of chicken that merely has whatever spices and herbs you chose coated on the outside rather than penetrating every bite.

If you are going to braise meat, cook it at a low temperature for a long period of time. By doing it this way, the meat will stay tender and it will retain its juiciness, which in turns, leaves the meat tasting good. Cooking it a high temperature can dry the meat out.

Pesto cooking tip! When you are using pesto sauce, make sure you never heat it up! If you want to have it in a pasta or soup dish, it is best if you cook the food first – then add the uncooked pesto. This is important because cooking pesto will make the basil have a bitter taste.

Store vegetable trimmings in the freezer for a tasty vegetable stock. Save money and increase the flavor of your dishes by making your own vegetable stock. Throughout the week or even month, place vegetable trimmings and peels into plastic bags and store them in the freezer. When you have a spare afternoon, throw them in a pot with some water and let simmer. Once strained, you will have a flavorful broth that can also be frozen for later use.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “A cook who doesn’t taste his own food is no cook at all.” Well if you want to be a good cook, make sure you taste your own creations. The better the taste to you, the more likely it will taste good to the other people tasting it.

Sprinkle a small amount of salt over your cutting board surface before chopping your herbs. The salt will keep the herbs on the board and add extra flavor as well. Don’t put too much salt on the board, though. Don’t add salt later, either, as there should be enough absorbed when you are chopping. The salt you put on the board will stick to the herbs and add a bit of flavor.

Everything takes practice and cooking is no different. It is important to incorporate the tips that have been provided above when you are trying to learn how to cook. By doing this, you will be cooking like a chef in no time.

57 Things You Can Do To Be A Better Cook Right Now

You don’t need culinary school. You don’t need expensive equipment. You don’t even need that much experience. All you need to be a better cook today is a little bit of knowledge. Or, in the case of this list, 57 little bits.

1. Buy an instant-read digital meat thermometer.

The quickest way to ruin a perfectly marbled $25 steak? Cutting into it to figure out if it’s medium rare. Yes, the Thermapen is $95, but four steaks later, you’ve broken even.

2. Write in your cookbooks.

Soup could have used more tomato? Chicken needed ten more minutes in the oven? Make a note of it and you’ll never make that mistake again.

3. Master the quick-pickle.

Whisk a little salt and sugar into some white vinegar. Pour over thinly sliced raw vegetables. Wait 20 minutes. Eat.

Picture of sliced raw red apples and a knife on a cutting board to show how to keep apples from browning.

4. Get your knives professionally sharpened.

You may have a steel or a sharpener at home, but once a year, get a pro to revive those knives. Your chopping will get faster, more precise—and, believe it or not, safer.

5. Four words to live by: chicken thigh family pack.

Chicken breasts are expensive and can get dull after a while; thighs are juicier, cheaper, and more flavorful.

6. Toss most of your spices—especially that ground cumin.

Ground spices die quickly. So give them a whiff—if they don’t smell like anything, they won’t taste like anything. And if they don’t taste like anything, you’re cooking with a flavorless, brown powder.

7. Join a CSA.

At a minimum, you’ll learn how to cook kale fifteen ways. At a maximum, you’ll broaden your culinary horizons by finding ways to use up all that fresh produce.

8. Replace your non-stick skillet.

Do your scrambled eggs slide off the pan if you don’t use oil or butter? They should. Might be time for an upgrade.

9. Treat your herbs like flowers.

There’s nothing worse than limp herbs. Next time, trim the stems and put the parsley in a glass of water, fit a plastic bag over it, and stash it in the refrigerator.

10. Get a mandoline and don’t be afraid to use it.

Want gorgeous scalloped potatoes or perfectly julienned carrots? Buy a mandoline. Are you a scaredycat? Wear a cut-resistant safety glove until you feel comfortable bare-handed.

11. Double that batch of rice (or quinoa, or bulgar, or…)

Having cooked grains in your fridge means that fried rice, pilafs, rice bowls and robust salads are just minutes away.

12. Make sure your work area is well lit.

Look, the 40-watt lightbulb in your oven hood isn’t going to cut it. Get a cheap clamp light from a hardware store so you can see what you’re doing.

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13. Buy parchment paper.

What else are you going to roast your vegetables on? How else are you going to make quick dinners of fish en papillote?

14. Stock up on super-cheap, random cuts of meat.

A freezer full of roasted turkey necks and bony beef cuts will ensure you always have what you need to make broth.

15. Keep your parmesan rinds and freeze them for later.

Remember that thing about super-cheap cuts of meat? Think of rinds as cheese bones.

16. Buy a new kitchen sponge.

Existential question time. If your sponge is filthy and smells, how can you expect it get your dishes clean?

17. Put the lid on the pot to make your water boil faster.

Seems obvious, but if you don’t know, now you know.

18. Dry your salad greens using a kitchen towel.

Salad spinners? So bulky and annoying. Instead, pile your just-washed greens into a clean dish towel, gather it by the ends, and swing that sucker around until your salad is dry (or your arm is tired).

19. Save the schmaltz.

Chicken fat is amazing stuff, whether you’re frying onions in it, sautéing greens in it or spreading it on toast. So after eating your roast chicken dinner, drain the now-cooled liquid fat into a plastic container and store it in your freezer. (Pro tip: This also holds true for bacon fat.)

20. Use a garbage bowl.

Hat tip to Rachael Ray. Buy a large bowl and keep it at the ready to fill up with egg shells and other trash generated while cooking.

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21. Buy a new Y peeler.

Like anecdotes about high school football games, peelers get dull, especially after a couple years. We recommend the Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler, which is just seven bucks.

22. Find the biggest mixing bowl you can and buy it.

You cannot toss a salad or mix cookies or make meatballs in a tiny cereal bowl. All you can do is make a bigger mess.

23. Avoid evil glass cutting boards.

And they’re all evil. Glass cutting boards send shivers down your spine when you use them. They dull your knives. They’re slippery. And they’re hard to use. Use wood, bamboo or plastic instead.

24. Buy two loaves of that awesome bread and freeze one.

Bread keeps really well in the freezer. And there are always plenty of uses for it. Just remember: Air is the enemy! Wrap that loaf in foil (sliced or unsliced) and put it in a freezer bag before stashing.

25. Stop crowding your pans.

Food that’s crowded into a cast-iron skillet or sheet tray gets steamed—and soggy—instead of crisp.

26. Toast your spices…

A quick stint in a dry skillet over medium heat wakes dry spices up and releases their oils, which means your paprika will taste a lot more paprika-y. Use whole spices, watch the pan like a hawk, and stir constantly until the spices are fragrant, then transfer to a plate to cool before using.

27. …and your nuts.

“These nuts are too crunchy,” said nobody ever.

28. …and also your grains.

It’s the first step to building roasty, warm flavor. (Using quinoa? Toast it before you rinse it.)

29. Season (some of) your vegetables with sugar.

Carrots, squash, tomatoes—these vegetables have a natural sweetness that’s enhanced by a dash (just a dash!) of sugar.

30. Don’t be afraid to set off the smoke alarm.

Especially when cooking meat. Smoke equals char, and char is delicious.

31. Put a damp paper or kitchen towel under your cutting board.

That way, your board won’t slip around as you chop.

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32. When a recipe calls for chocolate chips, break out a bar of chocolate instead.

Chopping your own chips creates pockets of melty chocolate throughout your cookies—some small, some large, all delicious.

33. Salt your salads.

It adds texture. It makes the dressing pop. It’s proof that there’s nothing—nothing—you shouldn’t be salting.

34. Cool your food before putting it in the fridge or freezer.

If you don’t, the temperature in the refrigerator will rise. And the only thing that benefits is mold.

35. Don’t toast your toast. Fry it.

Warm some butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Lay in bread and fry until golden on both sides. Sell your toaster.

36. Buy your avocados at a Mexican grocery store.

Those are the stores that sell them ripe.

37. Always keep lemons in the fridge.

They’ll keep longer that way, so you’ll always be able to add fresh lemon juice to everything from dressings to cocktails. Plus, you can use the squeezed rinds to clean and deodorize your wooden cutting boards.

38. Caramelize more onions than you need to.

A lot more—you’ll use the extras in omelets and sandwiches; on chicken, steak and pork; in pastas and stews.

39. Get a Microplane.

Sick of shredding your knuckles instead of cheese? Buy a Microplane, which will provide years of shredding power for about $15.

40. Switch to metal measuring cups and spoons.

Plastic warps over time, making them less precise.

41. Store salad greens in a resealable plastic bag with a paper towel.

The towel is there to absorb moisture, which keeps your greens crisper, longer.

Picture of sliced raw red apples and a knife on a cutting board to show how to keep apples from browning.

42. Find (and buy) professional-grade kitchen towels.

Oh look, we just found them for you.

43. Soften your butter…

Serving it cold and hard on toast—on anything, really—is the one way to make butter bad. (Need it soft in a hurry?

44. …and mix something into it.

A little shallot, some chopped herbs, maybe some lemon zest—boom. You just made compound butter.

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45. Microfiber dish-drying mats are better than dish racks.

So is a decent dish towel. Who has space for a dish rack?

46. Buy brown sugar as you need it, in as small a quantity as possible.

The stuff just doesn’t keep very long.

47. But if your brown sugar is rock-hard, don’t throw it out.

Revive it with a minute or so in the microwave.

48. Establish a salt bowl.

Having a stash of salt always within arm’s reach when you’re at the stove is the first step to better seasoner (see tip 57).

49. Bake pies in glass pie pans.

It heats more evenly than tin, and when your pie is perfectly golden-brown everywhere, you’ll know it.

50. Oil, salt, roast—in that order.

When roasting vegetables, toss them in oil, then season them with salt and pepper and toss again. This way, the seasoning actually sticks to your food.

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51. Keep your vegetable scraps.

Toss fennel fronds, carrot ends and other vegetable scraps into a resealable plastic bag you keep in the freezer. When you reach critical mass, make vegetable stock.

52. Make your own croutons.

Toss cubed bread on a rimmed baking sheet with oil, salt, pepper and whatever other tasty thing you fancy. Bake at 350, tossing once or twice, until golden brown. Now see if any actually make it to your salad.

53. Air-dry your chickens.

After you’ve unwrapped and rinsed your bird, pat it dry, salt it generously, and let it stand in the refrigerator, uncovered, for a few hours before roasting. The bone-dry skin will cook up to a crackly, crunchy, golden brown.

54. Peel ginger and keep it in the freezer.

Not only will it last longer, it will grate it more easily.

55. Marinate your cheese.

Mozzarella, feta, and fresh goat cheese? Delicious. Mozz, feta and goat cheese marinated in olive oil, chile flakes, and fresh herbs? More delicious.

56. Buy a better ice cube tray.

The ice cubes that come out of the dispenser in your fridge? They’re watering down your cocktails. Cubes made in silicone ice trays are denser and keep your Bourbon cold for hours (or, you know, however long it lasts).

57. Taste—and season—at every stage of cooking.

Because if you wait until the end, it’s probably too late.

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