When’s the last time you cooked something truly extraordinary? Do you remember? Extraordinary cooking doesn’t have to be something that is a rare occurrence. You can make every meal new and exciting, if you have the information and skills to do so. Here are a few cooking tips that will help every meal be special.
For the most beautiful homemade chocolate chip cookies, do not add all of the chocolate morsels into the mix! Save about a quarter of what your recipe calls for until after the cookies are all arranged on the cooking sheet, then add them evenly to the tops of the dough drops to create bakery looking, perfect chocolate chip cookies!
Make sure you are storing your herbs and spices in a cool, dark space. Many factors can cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor. Light, humidity, and heat can all cause them to lose some of their flare. To avoid this, make sure you are storing your herbs somewhere like a cool cabinet.
When trying to cut strips of meat, partially freeze it for a more firm cut. This method is especially useful when preparing Chinese or Thai entrees. When the meat is partially frozen, the cuts will be much cleaner as the fibers in the meat are less likely to stretch. Though before cooking the meat strips, make sure you let them thaw completely. This allows for even cooking.
If you feel that a piece of food you are about to cook does not look right or may be rotten, always error on the side of caution and throw it away. It is better to lose a few dollars than to cost yourself the next couple of weeks from food poisoning.
Make sure that when you are making your pasta, not to use oil in the water upon cooking. This will reduce the risk that the pasta will stick to the sauce, which can ruin the quality of your meal. Avoid oil in water when you are cooking pasta for maximum results.
If you’ve forgotten to soak your beans over night, quick soak them instead. Just put the beans in a very large pot and cover with water. Bring this to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about two hours. This method is just as effective as an over night soak and can save you time.
Garlic can easily stay on your hands. To remove the lingering odor after working with these ingredients, thoroughly rub your hands on something made from stainless steel, such as the inside of your sink or the handle of a butter knife. This handy trick cleanses your hands so the smell will not be transferred to what you are going to touch next.
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.
Sometimes it can seem like a good idea to pile on all of your ingredients into the pan to save you time from having to cook them all separately. However, this can only prolong the cooking process since most foods need room to breathe in the pan to cook properly while soaking up the spices. Take the extra bit of time to cook them spaced out properly in the pan and you’ll have a better tasting dish.
Be careful with frozen spinach. After thawing, squeeze the water out before cooking or the extra water will come out during cooking possibly destroying your recipe. You can squeeze it by hand or use any other suitable device to do it. Lay the spinach on paper towel to drain the excessive moisture.
Never use oil that has been used for other foods or has been sitting in a frying pan for a long time. It will give your food a foul taste. If you are unsure if the oil is good enough to cook with, smell it and use your finger to try a little of it.
You can make meal preparation a breeze by doing part of the food prep in advance. You can cut up ingredients, measure spices, marinate meat and prepare sauces 24 hours in advance to avoid the stress of preparing a more complex meal. With this done, you will have a major portion of the meal ready for the next step, which means less stress for you.
Consider drying your very own tomatoes. You can do this by slicing your tomatoes about a half an inch thick, or Romas in half. Then put them on a rack that you might use to cool cookies and then lightly cover them with salt. 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 the tomatoes into a freezer bag, and freeze them for later use. Also, you can put those dried tomatoes straight into a jar or can filled with fresh herbs and olive oil. Place this in the refrigerator and be sure to use it within 2 weeks.
Does your family love roasted vegetables? They taste wonderful but can get dried out and too crispy when roasted in the oven or on a grill. A little known secret is that vegetables will roast well in their own juices when placed in a crock pot. Hard root veggies like carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and more, will roast to perfection when placed in the crockpot for 6-8 hours (depending on quantity) on low heat. You can add a little bit of salt and seasoning and a tablespoon or two of olive oil if you like, but they also roast perfectly well just in their own juices. Your vegetables will turn out delicious and healthy!
Use these tips to spark your own ideas about what your meals can be like. With a little creativity and a little know-how, the food you prepare can be something wonderful, every single time. Get excited about cooking again and see what you can conjure up in your kitchen.