Cooking might be one of the oldest skills in the world. That does not mean that there are any limits to the knowledge available for the cook interested in increasing his or her skills. Even the finest cooks, even professionals, can always find new recipes, methods and techniques to improve their kitchen skills.
Learn to use your hands when cooking (after washing them thoroughly first of course!). Hands are the most sensitive yet versatile cooking utensil you will own. They can be used for mixing, measuring and testing whether a product is cooked enough. A cake, for example, will show that it is done by springing back when touched lightly with a finger on its top.
Perfect pasta every time. Never add oil to the water when you are boiling pasta. It prevents the sauce from coating the pasta properly. Just before you drain the pasta, set aside about 1/3 cup of the cooked pasta water. When you mix the sauce with the pasta, add a little of the cooking liquid. The starch in the water adds body and flavor to the sauce.
An electric mixer is a blessing when you have to make your dough, but even this relatively easy task can turn into a nightmare when the dough sticks to the dough hook. To avoid the sticky mess, spray the hook with vegetable cooking spray and your dough will never stick to your mixer again.
Take the guesswork out of reducing liquids. When a recipe calls for you to cook until the liquid is reduced by a certain amount, dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the liquid to mark the depth. This will leave a line on the wooden spoon. Later, you can dip the spoon again to see how much the liquid has actually reduced.
When you are cooking for your family, try not to stick to one style. If you cook the same meal over and over, it can get boring and your family will become jaded with the dishes that you make. Change things up every night so that you can introduce new meals and cuisines to your family.
Don’t substitute romaine lettuce when making caesar salad. Romaine has the perfect texture and flavor to stand up to the strong ingredients in a classic caesar dressing, such as garlic, anchovies and parmesan cheese. Select romaine that has dark green outer leaves that curl away from the center. To store, leave the head whole and unwashed in the refrigerator, and tear off leaves as needed.
Cooking can be a joy if you invest in a good, sizable cutting board able to handle all of your cutting and chopping needs. If a butcher block table is out of the budget, look for a durable bamboo or sturdy maple for the job. A cutting board with a recessed groove surrounding the cutting surface is handy to catch juices from carving meats and makes clean up easy. If you will be using a cutting board on a smooth surface, look for one with rubber feet to avoid slipping. Maintain your cutting board with food-grade mineral oil (vegetable and olive oils can turn rancid) and make sure that you properly clean, and more importantly, dry your cutting board after each use to prevent warping.
When making a sandwich, spread the mayo from one corner of the bread to the other. People usually just quickly spread the mayo on so that one side of the bread has more than the other. By spreading it from one corner to the other, all parts of the bread will contain an equal amount of mayo.
When you need to store dry ingredients such as flour, or sugar in your kitchen, use airtight containers. Airtight containers allow your food to remain safe from the elements and also prolongs their freshness. They can be bought in lots of places, and it is an investment worth making.
After you have drained pasta, add fresh Parmesan Cheese to it while it is still hot. By putting the cheese on this way, the sauce you will be using has something to stick it. Plus, the pasta will have more flavor this way than if you added the cheese after your pasta and sauce are mixed together.
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.
When you are going to make vegetable soup, add your onions, tomatoes, carrots, peppers and other vegetables to oil or butter before you add them to water. By doing this, you will find that the soup has a richer taste to it and the sugars are more normalized this way.
Never use oil that has been used for other foods or has been sitting in a frying pan for a long time. It will give your food a foul taste. If you are unsure if the oil is good enough to cook with, smell it and use your finger to try a little of it.
Store vegetable trimmings in the freezer for a tasty vegetable stock. Save money and increase the flavor of your dishes by making your own vegetable stock. Throughout the week or even month, place vegetable trimmings and peels into plastic bags and store them in the freezer. When you have a spare afternoon, throw them in a pot with some water and let simmer. Once strained, you will have a flavorful broth that can also be frozen for later use.
There is always something new to learn when it comes to cooking and every cook’s skill-set is open to improvement. This article included just a few ideas to help improve a cook’s performance. There are many more good tips out there and good cooks keep looking for them throughout their lives. Constant learning is the key to ever-improving cooking skills.Family Bunker Plans,Click here! Family Self Defense (view mobile),Click here!