As anyone who has even a passing interest in the subject knows, cooking can be a rewarding and fascinating hobby. But, like any good pastime, there are always new things to be learned and new techniques to be mastered and, so, it can also be a tricky subject to become an expert in. However, thanks to our resident gurus, there are some simple tricks that you can learn to help make those tricky culinary tasks a wee bit easier. Lets look at some of my favorite cooking tips in this short article.
Your spices and herbs should be stored in a cool and dark area. Humidity, light and heat can cause your spices and herbs to lose their flavor. Most spices will retain their flavor for about a year. Whole spices, on the other hand, can retain their freshness for 36-60 months. When stored properly, they will stay fresher longer.
There is a remedy which will quickly fix this problem. Combine two tablespoons filled with water and one tablespoon filled with cornstarch in a small dish. Thicken your sauce by stirring in this solution. Stir the sauce constantly as you slowly add the starch mixture until it reaches the desired thickness.
When you are cooking, it is important to remember that a fresh ingredient is always better than a frozen or dried ingredient. Use fresh foods any time you can, as they bring out the best flavor of the dish, and can be real money-savers too.
Burgers cooked on the grill are delicious; however, many times they stick to your grill. Try brushing a thin coating of vegetable oil on the grill or pan to keep food from sticking.
Cook your vegetables in chicken broth. Cooking vegetables in chicken broth is a low-fat, flavorful option. Chicken broth is cheap, and can be bought anywhere.
Try different liquids in recipes calling for water or milk to add some new flavors to your meals. If the recipe has called for water, you could easily use chicken broth, beef broth, or juice when suitable. Substitute sour cream, buttermilk or even yogurt in place of regular milk. Adding different and interesting liquids to a recipe can help the dish become more interesting and nutritious.
Get the freshest garlic you can when making a dish that you must add garlic to. When garlic is fresh, it has a sweeter taste. You will want to look for the following characteristics; firm skin, and no bruises or shriveling.
It is important to buy new spices at least every six months. Many times, spices are kept for too long, and they lose their flavor. If you find yourself buying a spice that you aren’t going to finish, split it and give half away to a friend.
While you are cooking, it’s a great idea to clean the dishes as you go. When you are cooking, keep one side of the sink full of water with soap and a clean rinse in the other side. Cookware is easier to clean right after it has been used, and it will be ready for another use immediately.
Get rid of the moisture on your ground meat by blotting it out before you begin cooking it. Take a paper towel and soak up any extra moisture on ground beef before you cook it. Any moisture left on the meat will be released when it’s cooked. This will cause it to sizzle. This means you meat is being steamed and not seared.
Be creative in your cooking. Following a recipe word for word and teaspoon for teaspoon is not always what cooking is about. You can add a little something, or replace an ingredient you don’t like. It may end up tasting better than the original! You will not become a real cook by just following what cookbooks say.
If you are preparing homemade salsa that won’t be consumed immediately, rinse the cut onions with cold water and thoroughly dry off any excess water before using them. Fresh onions can emit sulfurous gas. Sulfurous gas can detract from fresh salsa and ruin the flavor. This gas is removed by the simple act of rinsing and drying your onions.
Make sure that you maintain your wooden cutting board. Your wooden cutting board can be damaged by too much moisture or too much heat. The result can be warping or splitting. If you have to clean your cutting board, use a sponge rather than immersing it in soapy water. If your board becomes damaged, use an oil consistently that is made for wood boards. Make sure you let your board dry before using it again.
Do not bake a cake too long or to short of a time. While the recommended baking times are good guidelines, they can be affected by factors like elevation. A better way is to test the cake by inserting a toothpick into 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!
When cooking with fruits and vegetables that you have never used before, gather as much knowledge about them beforehand as you can. Do some research, and you might be surprised at how versatile the new food is. You can have much more fun when cooking if you do some prep work and research ahead of time.