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.
It is extremely embarrassing to have lumps in your gravy. It happens to everybody from the beginner cook to the master chef. There is a simple trick you can use to eliminate them. Drain the gravy through a fine strainer and discard the lumps. This technique can be used for other sauces or soups too.
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.
If you want hard boiled eggs that peel easily, then you need to cool your eggs before you peel them. Boiled eggs that are fresh out of hot water have no separation between the egg and its shell. By refilling your pot with cold water before peeling the eggs inside, you encourage the eggs to compress, thereby creating a layer of air between the eggs and their shells, making it easier for you to peel them.
If you are planning on grilling, make sure that you take your steaks out of the freezer at least one hour before you cook so that they can match the room temperature. This will allow you to cook them easier and achieve the quality that you are looking for, by cooking them on the grill.
When you are cooking a dish that requires it to be sauteed, add oil around the edges of the pan rather than directly on the food. This gives the oil a chance to heat up before it reaches the cooking food that is in the center of the pan. Hot oil will give you improved results and makes your dish taste better.
Do a little research and find out if there is a farmers’ market within shopping distance. These markets – usually held on a weekly basis – are your ticket to purchasing the very freshest ingredients available. Treat food from a farmers’ market with respect; usually, the less cooking you do to such ingredients, the better-tasting the results will be.
When purchasing ingredients for a particular recipe, read the labels. There are ingredients that may be unhealthy. Too much salt, sugar, and those dreaded unpronounceable chemicals can really alter the flavors of dishes and be generally unhealthy for you.
When applying seasoning to meat and fish, always remember to season evenly and thoroughly. Shake or grind the shaker as if the seasoning is snow falling from the sky. Doing so will allow the meat to be evenly coated with spices and seasoning and prevent clumps or over seasoning.
Drinks are an essential part of every meal as you will want to have the appropriate wine with your dish if you are eating meat. Make sure that you choose a fine red wine if you are having a quality meat, and this is sure to maximize the quality of your experience with friends and family.
If you are going on a picnic, put lettuce and other vegetables in separate containers from condiments. Condiments are not to make sandwiches soggy, so by separating them, you are ensuring your sandwich will taste fresh. Also, do not place any food items next to drinks inside of the basket.
If you have left over wine in a bottle from dinner or drinks with friends, you can pour out the remaining wine in an ice tray and put it in the freezer. When you are making a sauce that has wine in the recipe you can drop in a couple of cubes.
Freeze some ice tea and other cold drinks up in ice cube trays. You can use the frozen drink cubes as ice on those particularly hot days. That way, your drink won’t be diluted by the quickly melting ice cubes. It makes for a nice change, not having to run back and forth to the refrigerator, just to top off your drink glass.
When cutting up apples for a fruit tray or lunch box, place the slices in a bowl of lemon-lime soda, ginger ale or pineapple juice to soak for 5 minutes or so. Any of these drinks will prevent the apples from turning that unappealing brown shade, and they won’t drastically alter the flavor of your apple slices.
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!