The art of cooking proves useful in many situations. Everyone enjoys eating a savory dish prepared by someone they know. Learning to cook starts with a good recipe and the ability to follow instructions. Below are a few hints that can help you to become better at cooking.
Bake pie crusts a little longer than you would think they should be baked. The crust should turn a golden color, not simple blonde. This is because the golden color lets you know that the sugar from the crust has caramelized, which give it that sweet, yet crisp taste.
When you are cooking, use fresh ingredients instead of frozen or dried ones for the best results. Fresh ingredients will give your dish extra flavor, and can turn out to be less expensive over time.
By completing some food preparation ahead of time you can simplify your cooking process. Check recipes to find out what can be prepared ahead of time without risking spoilage. Many of the preparatory steps can be taken a day before cooking. More complex recipes become quicker and more fun this way.
Use airtight containers for storing flour, sugar, and baking mixes in the kitchen. Airtight containers keep your food fresh and protect it from bugs and bacterias. These containers can be bought at just about any store.
If you want a healthier diet, use less oil when you cook. When you add butter and oil to food, you are adding unnecessary fat. You can use non-stick cooking spray as an alternative to get the same results without the extra fats.
Make your own sun-dried tomatoes. Just slice them when ripe to about 1/2″ thickness. Using a cooling rack, lay the sliced tomatoes with the side that is cut facing upward, and then sprinkle them lightly with salt. Next, the tomatoes need to spend about 10 hours in an oven set to 190 degrees. Put a cookie sheet under the rack before it goes in. Place the tomatoes into a freezer bag, and freeze them for later use. For flavored olive oil add some dried tomatoes and fresh herbs in a good quality extra virgin olive oil and store out of direct sunlight. Put your canned tomatoes in the fridge and be sure to use them in the next two weeks.
If you purchase unripened fruits, place them in a perforated plastic bag. When fruits go through the ripening process, they release ethylene gas. Putting them in a perforated bag will allow circulation of the air and keep the gas retained, thus allowing the fruit to keep it's delicious taste.
Blotting ground meats prior to preparing them is advisable. Blotting the moisture away will help the meat cook better. Unless you remove the moisture, it may not be released until the meat is cooked. It will sizzle and dissipate. The meat will then be more likely to steam, instead of the intended searing.
Add lots of salt to your water for cooking pasta. This way, the flavor is able to fully permeate the pasta. Salt and seasonings do not necessarily stick very well to cooked pasta, so seasoning it while it boils is your best bet to enhance the flavor.
Purchase quality cutting utensils for the kitchen. Not only will you save time by not having to mess with dull knives, but it is also much safer to use a sharp utensil than a dull one! Dull knives cause more cuts and accidents than sharp ones.
Whenever you are sauteing something, be sure that you do not put too much food in the pan. It will add too much moisture, which steams the food and doesn't allow it to saute or get crispy. Keep the burner at a low setting during this process, as well.
When cooking different types of meat, always check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Each meat has minimum internal temperatures that are recommended so that it is safe to eat. Bacteria can easily survive in meat, so unless it is thoroughly cooked, this bacteria can stay in the meat and make you ill.
You need to make sure that you cook a cake until it is thoroughly cooked. There are recommended cooking times, which are guidelines only. These times can be a bit misleading because there are factors, such as your elevation, that help to determine the cake's cooking time. A tried and true method is to insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If batter sticks to the toothpick when it comes out, more baking is needed; when the toothpick stays clean after insertion, it's time to eat!
Do some research about fruits or vegetables you have never cooked with before. A little research can show you a whole new world of different foods. By taking some time to educate yourself before starting anything new in the kitchen, it will certainly pay off in flavor and experience.
You should have stackable cooling racks in your kitchen. If your cooling racks do not stack they will take up a lot of counter space when you are baking large quantities of something. Because of this, you should use these type of cooling racks so that you can save your space to use for other more important things. Stacking cooling goodies up instead of out makes sure you have plenty of room.
As you can see, cooking can be easy. With the right techniques, creating delicious dishes for family and friends can suddenly become a breeze! Now that you have been introduced to these great tips and tricks, you just need to make the time to go and give them a try!