You’ve probably watched at least one celebrity chef on television and thought, “Hey, I can do that!” Well, until the TV network comes knocking, you can always use your kitchen as a stage to create unforgettable meals. Whether you are new at cooking or an old pro, you can always use some cooking tips. Here are a few to get you started.
If you are cooking for someone important, such as a new boss or for a dinner party, don’t use a new recipe and a new ingredient. Make sure you practice the dish first for your own family. Play around with it to make sure it is how you want it.
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.
Season meats evenly. It is important to season all of the meats you are going to be cooking evenly. Sprinkle the seasoning lightly over the meat like it was snowing down. This will keep the seasoning even and prevent clumping. The taste will be more consistent all through it.
Make sure that the knives you are using are very sharp. Dull knives are not only difficult to cut things with, but they are also very dangerous to use. It is easier to hurt yourself while you are struggling to cut something than if you were using a sharper knife.
Ice water can save the color of your vegetables. Dull washed out vegetables do not look as appealing to eat. If you want bright and vibrant vegetables, then you should plunge them into ice water after blanching them. Vibrantly colored vegetables look much more appetizing in salads and pasta dishes.
Always bring your steaks to room temperature before cooking them. A steak that is still cold in the center will not cook as evenly as one that is brought up to room temperature. Usually taking them out one hour in advance will get them to the proper temperature at cooking time.
Olive oil is one of the most important investments that you can make during your cooking career. Find a high quality brand of olive oil and add this ingredient to a variety of different foods. This oil will help bring out the taste in pasta, fish and meat.
When cooking steak, make sure the pan you are using is really hot so that it sears the outside of the meat and keeps all of the juices inside. This will make your steak taste great, and it won’t be dried out, since all of the flavor is still sealed inside of the meat.
Always continue to taste test all of your food as you cook them. Cooking a sauce, and you’re not sure if it needs more salt? Just taste it and you’ll know right away. Getting into a habit of testing all of your foods will keep you from accidentally over-spicing or under-spicing it.
When cooking, many people forget about proper care for the spices that they use to season their food. All spices should be stored in a cool dark place and never above a stove. The reason for this is because storing spices in areas where there is a lot of heat, light, or humidity will cause them to lose their flavor.
When you are making fish or meat, make sure to sprinkle seasonings equally. You can compare the sprinkling to falling snow. By doing this, you are avoiding clumping. Also, the spices will be spread evenly so that one side of the meat or fish does not have more seasoning than the other.
If you are stuck trying to figure out what to cook for dinner during the week, consider building your meals around themes. “Mexican Monday” could mean burritos or a nice taco salad. How about “Tuscan Tuesday” featuring spaghetti and meatballs or maybe meatball subs? And “Fish Friday” offers lots of options for shrimp, salmon or even tuna. Bring the whole family into the fun by letting the kids pick a theme and help plan the meal that day.
A well-stocked pantry is a cook’s best friend! Never is that more true than when you are faced with unexpected company and you have nothing specifically planned to serve. Maintaining a pantry stocked with the basics gives you the flexibility to create easy meals at the last minute. For help in creating a great cook’s pantry, think hard about the items you go back to again and again. You can also find great tips on items for the pantry in most good cookbooks and online at cooking sites.
No matter what kind of cheese you may have in your refrigerator, be sure that air cannot enter it by wrapping it tightly. Air contributes to mold growth on cheese. If your cheese does happen to have a little bit of mold on it, you can still use it by just cutting off the part with mold.
How to ‘un-seize’ melted chocolate. If the chocolate you are melting suddenly gets lumpy or grainy, this means it has ‘seized’, and it will ruin a recipe. Remove the pan and add 1/2 to 1 tsp of shortening or cooking oil (not butter or margarine). Stir until the mixture becomes smooth again. To prevent seizing, make sure the pan is completely dry before trying to melt chocolate.
To save money and improve your health, cook the recommended portion sizes and plan your meals ahead of time. Meat is one of the most expensive ingredients on your plate. By eating the appropriate portion sizes you can be sure that your family is getting plenty of vegetables and whole grains.
Cooking can be great fun and a chance for you to show off. Make sure to keep these tips in mind to add to your cooking a bit, and to enhance the skills you already have. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the celebrity chef on a TV network!
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Photo credit to Tim Bish/Unsplash.