Everyone wants to be a great cook, but just the thought of cooking evokes fear in many would-be chefs. Whether you want to whip up quick meals for the family, fill the perfect picnic basket or throw an elegant dinner party, you are sure to learn things here that will increase your culinary skills.
Ensure that you are getting the most out of your chef’s knife by holding it properly during use. The thumb and the index finger should be on either side of the blade, at the point where it meets the handle. This will give the ultimate in control, when slicing through ingredients.
Try to keep your spices and herbs in a dark, cool area of your kitchen. Humidity, light and heat can cause your spices and herbs to lose their flavor. Ground spices, when stored correctly, can retain flavor for up to a year. Whole spices, on the other hand, can still be bursting with flavor five years down the line. If stored the right way, they keep fresh for a lot longer.
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.
When possible, complete all of the prep work in advance. The prep work should be done before you even start cooking. Sometimes even when the prep work is done, the deadline for when the meal must be completed can still loom large and become stressful. By doing all of your preparation in advance, you avoid the stress and just enjoy your meal.
The smaller the item you are cooking, the higher the baking temperature should be. Baking something delicious does not have to involve leaving food in the oven for hours. If you are baking something small, set the oven temperature higher. Just make sure you leave it in the oven for less time.
When deep frying foods, hold the food below the oil with the tongs for a few seconds. Holding the food under the oil for around five seconds will create a useful seal around the food. This seal will work to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
If you want to optimize the amount of juice that you get from a lime, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds. This will allow the liquid to flow easily when you cut the lime, so that you can add this to your favorite meals. Use this trick anytime you serve a lemon or lime.
It is important to know that the smaller the item, the longer it takes to cook. Many people think that smaller items do not take long to cook, therefore the item does not cook thoroughly. Usually, larger items do not take as long to cook and because people think they do, these items get burnt.
Tofu is a great source of protein that vegetarians should use to get the nutrients their body needs. Many vegetarians are lacking in protein because they are not eating meat. Tofu can be prepared in a variety of ways and really soaks up flavors so it can be served as a meal or as a quick snack.
You should use nonstick cooking spray when cooking a meal or snack. The nonstick cooking spray keeps food from sticking to a pan without adding unneeded fats and calories. There are some sprays that are flavored, so that you can get the same flavor as if you had used butter.
Trying to deep fry at home? Whenever your food is ready for the fryer, use tongs to gently hold the item just below the surface of the oil so that it has a sealed exterior and then let it go. If you toss it in without holding it for a few seconds, you might see your food stick to each other or to the fryer itself.
For an easy meal to put together, save the sauces from other meals you had earlier in the week. Put them in an ice cube tray. You can reheat the cubes in a sautÃ© pan for a quick sauce. Add some veggies and you will have a yummy meal.
Use this tip when cooking chicken. Rather than using a roasting rack to cook the chicken, slice an onion and put the slices in an oiled pan. Then take the chicken and place it on top of the onions. While cooking, the the onions will absorb the juices of the chicken. This is useful for later when you make a sauce from the onions by pouring water or stock into the pan and cooking on high heat for three minutes.
Now that you’ve read the basic tips that you need to become the talented cook that you’ve always wanted to be, practice tonight in your own kitchen by making a meal that will knock their socks off. In time, you’re going to be the best cook in the whole neighborhood!