Knowing how to cook well can be one of the most useful skills you can have. A meal at home is fresher and more delicious. Yet not everyone has as many cooking skills as they want to have. With the information here, though, you can give your culinary skills a boost.
When possible, complete all of the prep work in advance. Having everything prepared before you begin cooking is important. If you are cooking a complex dish, take some of the stress out of it by having your needed ingredients lined up and ready. Begin your meal preparations as soon as possible to avoid last minute stress.
If you are just beginning to cook more of your meals, go straight to the nearest bookstore or library to find a cookbook that has simple, fun recipes. Try some recipes and be patient as you develop your skills.
When you are baking pastry crusts, try increasing the cooking time a bit. They should not be a pale blond color, they need to be golden brown. When you see the golden color it indicates carmelization, which lends a crisp, sweet flavor to the pie crust.
Being properly prepared is key to success in cooking for your family and friends. Make sure that you have all of the ingredients available. Set all of the non-perishable ingredients and utensils out the day ahead. Taking the time to prepare yourself will guarantee that the meal will be a success.
Make sure that you cut your meat extremely thin as well as on the bias for stir-fry. Cutting meat thinly can be difficult and time-consuming. When it has firmed (not frozen), take it out of the freezer and then cut it against the meat grain at an angle of 45 degrees.
There is a great trick to thicken up your sauce so it isn't wasted. In a bowl, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a couple of tablespoons of water. Stir this mixture into the sauce while it's simmering and this will make it more thick. Add your starch solution slowly to ensure just the right consistency.
For healthier, lower-calorie mashed potatoes, add some cooked cauliflower to your tubers. Cauliflower has little taste of its own, so it will blend right into your potatoes and pick up flavors from whatever other ingredients you use. In addition, cauliflowers can blend into the same texture and color as potatoes, which makes cauliflower an excellent method of adding vegetables and decreasing calories from a mashed potato dish.
Would you like to cook with fresh basil? Try placing clumps of fresh basil into a clear, glass container. Fill with water to cover the stems. This will help to keep it from going bad for quite a few days. Remember to refresh the water from time to time, and you will notice that the basil starts to grow roots. Picking the leaves from time to time will cause the basil to put out new growth, so you will have a constant supply!
Take the stress out of a major cooking endeavor by completing as much prep work in advance as possible. Look through your recipes and determine whether or not certain steps can be completed beforehand. Much of the preparations can be finished one day prior to cooking. Prepping before you cook can make even advanced recipes fun and accessible.
They will soak up a ton of water, just like a sponge. Try using a clean, wet cloth and wiping them off instead.
Garlic is just one of many tasty ingredients whose flavor has a downside; it transfers to your hands. After using garlic or other foods with odors that stick to your hands, all you need to do is rub your hands on a piece of stainless steel, like your sink. Not only does this remove the smell of the odoriferous food ingredient from your hands, it also keeps this odor from passing to other foods that you are about to handle.
In this manner, you will be able to preserve the freshness of the fruit throughout the year. You'll also be able to enjoy fruits out of season when the mood strikes you.
When serving a salad at a social gathering, keep the dressing in a dish to the side. Some people prefer more dressing than others; let guests pour their own dressing. Also, give a variety of different dressings.
Try drying your own tomatoes. Dry your own by slicing ripe tomatoes 1/2" thick, or cut Romas in half, lengthwise. Put the tomatoes, cut-side up, onto a cooling rack and give them a light salting. Set your oven to 190 degrees, place the rack on a baking sheet and let the tomatoes dry in the oven for approximately 10 hours. Place them in the freezer in plastic bags. Another option is to place the tomatoes in a jar and cover them with fresh herbs and olive oil. The jar can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
If you enjoy flavoring your food with spices and herbs, be sure to place them in a location that is void of light and remains cool; this will help them stay fresh. When you store your herbs out on the kitchen counter, they will lose their flavor quickly and become stale.
Replace your spices twice a year. A lot of people keep spices too long, which makes them not taste very good. So, make sure that when you buy new spices go ahead and give half to either a friend or family member if you feel you aren't going to use all of it soon.
You must stay organized so that you don't burn any food. When your station is organized, you will be more productive. Stay organized, as it will help you keep up with what you have and you won't be wasting food or money.
As you can see, cooking can be easy. With the right techniques, creating delicious dishes for family and friends can suddenly become a breeze! Now that you have been introduced to these great tips and tricks, you just need to make the time to go and give them a try!