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.
The most difficult and time consuming thing about cooking is doing all of the prep work. You can buy pre-prepped vegetables or prep your ingredients the day before to cut down on the time you are in the kitchen. This is very helpful if you need to get dinner out in a hurry.
Do not be afraid to experiment. There is no rule that says you need to follow a recipe exactly. If you do not care for an ingredient, leave it out. If you think a different ingredient would taste better, substitute it. If you think the dish is missing a little something, add it.
As you cook your meal during the course of the night, make sure that you taste it at several different points. This will allow you to pinpoint exactly when it is done, so that you do not run the risk of overcooking it. Tasting your food is important to achieve the quality you desire.
When storing ingredients that you will use for cooking it is a good habit to stock them in large quantities and freeze them in plastic bags. This will make preparing food easier and faster. For example, when preparing vegetables, you can just pull them out of the freezer and simply boil them.
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.
Kneading is a tiring task, but the constantly moving board makes it even more difficult. Have you tried a few unsuccessful tricks to secure the board? Try the simplest of all which always deliver the best results. Place a damp towel under the board you are using to knead the dough. It will keep the board in place.
A granite surface is great for thawing frozen foods, usually taking less than half of the time necessary for typical counter top thawing because granite absorbs the cold (and heat) of items placed on top of it so granite literally “sucks out” the cold from your frozen foods. Granite is also an amazing surface for pastry preparation when dusted with a little flour. If you can’t afford to redo your kitchen in granite, check out a granite dealer for scrap pieces or have a smaller piece cut and polished for a fraction of the cost of remodeling your kitchen.
Change from ordinary table salt when cooking, to sea salt or kosher salt. The latter will add a much better flavor to the recipe. While it is important not to over-salt food for health reasons, leaving salt out of a recipe altogether can result in a meal that tastes bland. So seek a middle ground when using this seasoning.
Flouring the baking pan is called for by lots of recipes. It is necessary for the baking, but leaves an unattractive white coating on the side of the cake. Change the recipe a little and use dry cake mix instead of flour. The unattractive white residue from the side of the cake will disappear.
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.
Keep a supply of chopped onions all ready to go, in your freezer. It is easy to be dissuaded from cooking a particular recipe because you don’t want to go through the tears and smell of cutting up onions. When you are cutting one onion, you might as well take the time and cut up several of them. Put them in a baggie and freeze them!
Have you ever looked for a specific recipe only to come up short? This is why it’s a good thing to have a recipe box or book to hold all those valuable, family favorites. You can categorize them by appetizer, pasta, soups, meats, casseroles, etc. The categories are endless and should be done in a way you will easily be able to find them. You don’t want to lose Grandma’s famous chocolate chip recipe, right?
Always read a new recipe thoroughly before you begin cooking, preheating, or prepping. This prevents the hassles of running into surprise ingredients, equipment, or techniques and gives you a chance to hunt down substitutions–or a new recipe–if needed. Ideally, read the recipe before you do your shopping to ensure that you grab everything you need.
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.