When you start learning how to cook, it is important to understand that you must start somewhere. No one is born knowing how to cook. Regardless of age or experience, everyone, including you, can learn to become a great cook. There are vital things that you need to know in order to be a good cook. This article will offer some great advice to get you started.
When you shelve an herb or a spice, make sure it’s dark and cool. Your spices and herbs will lose some of their flavor when exposed to light, humidity and heat. Generally speaking, properly stored herbs and ground spices can keep a good portion of their flavor as long as one calendar year. Whole spices, on the other hand, can still be bursting with flavor five years down the line. Proper storage can extend their shelf life even longer.
If you’re trying to start making more food yourself, try looking at basic cookbooks in your local library or bookstore. Be as patient as you can be when you are learning how to cook.
When you are baking pastry crusts, try increasing the cooking time a bit. 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.
If you put your meat in the freezer to make it a little hard, it will be easier to cut into thin strips. This is especially helpful if you are preparing an Oriental dish. By partially freezing the meat, it can be sliced with much less effort and with little damage, too, as the fibers will will be less likely to tear. Then don’t forget to let the meat strips completely thaw, so it will cook evenly.
When making food for someone whom you want to impress, stick to a familiar dish that you are confident preparing. Never experiment with a new ingredient or recipe in this situation. Cooking will be less stressful.
If you wish to eat more protein, try one of the many varieties of beans or tofu available. Both are readily available in grocery stores. The tofu can be lightly seasoned and pan fried, which makes for a great alternative to meat. For a tasty bean dish, simply boil them with your favorite herbs.
Read labels when shopping for recipe ingredients. A lot of cooking supplies contain ingredients that could be unhealthy. Look for products with a low level of sodium, fat and sugar to make sure you are cooking a healthy dish.
Don’t throw a huge helping of seasoning in all at once. Try to spread it out, and taste after each application. When you do it like this, you give food all the flavoring you are able to give and you get all you can out of the ingredients.
Many herbs and veggies make odors on your cutting board no matter how many times you clean it. Make a small mark with a marker on one side of your board to remind you which side is for sweet items and which is for sour.
Don’t start cooking until your preparations are finished. This way, you prevent yourself from using too much gas or heat when cooking, and you also provide a certain amount of safety when working with hot oil on a pan or other potential dangers when distracted.
Adding fresh herbs to season your food is a great way to add some flavor to an ordinary dish. Sometimes dried prepacked herbs like oregano and parsley are acceptable because the complexity of a dish allows for the lack of freshness to not be as distinguishable. Even for these kinds of dishes, use fresh herbs when you can, as they will add punch to the taste. Having a small herb garden is a great way to ensure you always have fresh herbs on hand.
To save time while cooking, be sure to prepare properly. You may even be able to prepare your ingredients a day or more in advance. There are many occasions where longer prep times actually lend a more flavorful touch to your meal. Getting your meals ready ahead may be a habit that lasts for a lifetime.
There are a wide variety of potatoes, and they are not always adequate substitutes for each other when cooking. For example, some are waxy and wonderful for making potato salad or boiled potatoes but would not work well as french fries or baked potatoes. For those applications, you want to use fluffy potatoes like Russets.
You can add more flavor to any dish by replacing water with beef or chicken stock. Or if you are using water, you can add some bouillon cubes for flavor. This will give your food a good flavor, while providing the needed amount of moisture.
To make potato skins or twice baked potatoes, use baking potatoes for a firm shell. Red or new potatoes have too thin of a skin to hold the filling.
Use softened butter for baking instead of melted butter. If you use a microwave to soften your butter and it becomes a liquid, you can wait for it to become more solid as it cools or you can accelerate its cooling by putting it in your freezer or refrigerator in order to regain some of its thickness. Having cool dough prevents the cookies from spreading themselves out too much.
Try putting a little ketchup in the batter when you are frying foods. You can either dip your food in ketchup once it is cooked, or before adding breadcrumbs. Ketchup gives an unexpected burst of flavor to the foods you fry, and everyone will want to know why!
You may not think you can be a good cook, but by simply following recipe steps closely, you can learn to be a great cook. Becoming a good chef is not as difficult as it may seem. With these tips in mind, there is nothing to stop you.