There are a lot of people who are becoming interested in cooking at home these days as opposed to going out. Yet the biggest problem a lot of people face is they don’t know where to start when it comes to home cooking; what you have to do is learn as much as you can about home cooking and from there apply all that you know in order to see successful results.
Pie crusts and tart crusts should be cook a bit past the point that you think they should be cooked. They need to be a golden caramel color rather than pale blonde. This indicates the sugar has turned to caramel. Your crust will have a sweeter and crispier flavor.
To reduce the fat and calories in a recipe that calls for a lot of mayonnaise, simply replace half the mayonnaise with sour cream. Since mayonnaise serves primarily a textural purpose in many of these recipes, replacing it with similarly textured sour cream gives you the same texture with a lighter, healthier taste.
In brief, learning how to cook is learning how to avoid pre-packaged foods and meals. These convenience food products, all too common today, have speed as their solitary real benefit. Home-cooked meals will always beat them in taste and cost. In most cases – even with meals that are not especially healthy – the version made in the kitchen will be healthier than the packaged version.
After you have cooked mashed potatoes, make sure that you return them to the hot pan so that they can steam for the next ten minutes. This will allow for the potatoes to dry out so that you can get a rich texture when you are applying your milk and butter.
When you learn to cook for yourself, do not be afraid of cooking in large batches. The freezer becomes your friend once you are making your own meals. Surplus food that you prepare, but will not use immediately, can be stored almost indefinitely in your freezer. Cooking in large batches is the best way to maximize the utility of your cooking time.
Herbs and spices have a powerful impact on the quality of your cooking. To preserve these important, expensive ingredients, keep them in a cool, dark place with minimal humidity. All too often spices are left near ovens and sinks. The heat, light and moisture in such places leach the flavor out of high-quality spices.
It is important to know that the smaller the item, the longer it takes to cook. Many people think that smaller items do not take long to cook, therefore the item does not cook thoroughly. Usually, larger items do not take as long to cook and because people think they do, these items get burnt.
Even the humble sandwich can benefit from a little cooking expertise. Mayonnaise, mustard and other condiments should be spread evenly from edge to edge of sandwich bread. This improves consistency and ensures that every bite of the sandwich gets the benefit of the condiments. Even spreading produces superior sandwich results every time.
If you are making meatloaf or meatballs, it is important to taste the meat before you cook it. You want to make sure that it has the perfect amount of seasoning. You can taste it by making a small patty and frying it on a pan, almost like a hamburger.
Cooking with garlic, buy for the freshest garlic head possible. By having fresh garlic, it will taste sweeter. You can recognize fresh garlic from its firm skin and lack of bruises.
Trying to deep fry at home? Whenever your food is ready for the fryer, use tongs to gently hold the item just below the surface of the oil so that it has a sealed exterior and then let it go. If you toss it in without holding it for a few seconds, you might see your food stick to each other or to the fryer itself.
Prepare as much of the food as you can the night before. The cooking process will go much smoother when you can concentrate on the more difficult parts of cooking instead of worrying about the mundane tasks. Many dressings and vegetables, for example, will stay in the refrigerator quite well.
Start your sear in a cold pan when searing duck breasts. Duck can turn very dry very quickly if not properly cooked. Using the cold pan technique for searing allows the fat to render slowly which will keep your duck moist and juicy. It will also give you more time to develop flavors and take care of some side dishes.
When cutting corn kernels on the cob, try this tip: Use the side of the knife that is not sharp to scrape the cob. This will extract the excess sweet juices from the cob, which can be applied to your corn dish and add a hidden burst of flavor to it, creating a new taste to the dish.
It is important to test the heat of oil before using it to pan fry your food. Pouring the oil into the pan and then sprinkling it with water should give you a series of cracks or sparkles. If it does not, then the pan isn’t currently up to frying or heating capacity and dumping the food in it will act closer to an oil sponge than a frying pan.
Don’t be afraid to play with recipes and change the ingredients you don’t like. Recipes are not the Bible; they are simply guidelines for preparing a dish. If you do not like an ingredient like oregano for example, replace it with thyme. Most of the time, the dishes flavor is preserved, and you’re happier knowing you don’t have to eat something with a flavor you dislike.
Hopefully now that you’ve gained some more knowledge on ways you can help improve your cooking you’re starting to feel more positive about the steps you should take towards your cooking. Remember that there is a lot more information than what has been presented here about how to become a successful cook, so keep your eyes open for new tips and strategies to include into your cooking skills.