When’s the last time you cooked something truly extraordinary? Do you remember? Extraordinary cooking doesn’t have to be something that is a rare occurrence. You can make every meal new and exciting, if you have the information and skills to do so. Here are a few cooking tips that will help every meal be special.
Ensure that your baked fish is moist and tender by cooking “en papillote”. This is a French technique that refers to fish baked in a parchment-paper packet. Place the fish and vegetables of your choice in the center of a large piece of parchment-paper. Bring the edges of the paper together, crease them tightly to form a seal, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees. The fish and vegetables steam in the packet, keeping them moist and tender, and creating a tasty, healthy dish. (Clean-up is just as easy – simply throw away the paper after eating!)
If you’ve forgotten to soak your beans over night, quick soak them instead. Just put the beans in a very large pot and cover with water. Bring this to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about two hours. This method is just as effective as an over night soak and can save you time.
Leave the bone in a roast to speed up cooking. By leaving the bone in, heat moves to the inside of the meat faster, speeding up the cooking process. Because the bone transmits heat, the entire roast cooks more evenly throughout the cut of meat by leaving it in rather than removing it.
To get the best sear and the crispiest crust on everything from fish to meats to other pan fried foods, the secret is a hot pan. Getting a nice brown color on your food requires a pan that is as hot as possible before the food hits its surface. Because the exterior of the food cooks first, you get only one chance to create that perfect golden color and crispy texture, so heat your pan and oil for several minutes prior.
When you use fresh ingredients, your cooking will be considerably better than if you used canned, dried or frozen ingredients. Use whatever seasonal ingredients are available to create tasty dishes, which are also less expensive.
If you have a lot of pets around the house, they should not be with you in the kitchen, if the stove is near the ground. This can present a safety hazard because you want to reduce any risk of your animals getting hurt. Keep all animals and small children away from hot ovens.
It is important to know that just because a recipe does not call for a certain spice does not mean you cannot add it. For instance, you may feel that garlic would make the dish taste better, which may be true. So do not be scared, go ahead and add it.
This is a great tip to use when making salad dressings. If you want to make a dressing that is creamy and rich, but without adding all of the fat, simply use a mixture of half mayonnaise and half greek yogurt. The greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to using all mayonnaise as there is less cholesterol.
When you have taken enough celery off the stalk for your recipe, place the rest of it in aluminum foil and then place it in the refrigerator. The celery will stay fresh for at least a week by following this method and it will still have the same taste as when it was first bought.
Next time you make a dressing at home, swap half of the amount of mayo with an equal portion of Greek-style yogurt. This increases not only the richness of the dressing, but it gives it the creamy and smooth texture that we all love to see on our salads and other dishes.
If you are preparing macaroni and cheese dishes, you must always closely follow the directions on the recipe. Your macaroni should be cooked al dente, not too hard and not too soft. Use a solid spoon, not slotted, to serve the it to make sure each serving is smothered with cheese. Adding pepper is a terrific way to add a little spice.
Avoid overcooking pasta when you boil it. Overcooked pasta loses some of its important health benefits, as well as its flavor. When you overcook pasta, the noodles absorb too much water and become swollen and limp. It is better to slightly under-cook it to retain the best texture and flavor.
Don’t use citrus in your meat marinades. When you marinate meat with citrus juices, it often produces a mealy, grainy texture. If you still want to have that mild citrus taste, use a small drizzle or squeeze of lemon or lime juice right before serving the dish. This still provides a zesty citrus flavor, but makes sure your meat is tender and not grainy feeling.
There are several types of potatoes, and they are not all the same. For boiling and for use in potato salad, the waxy varieties will work best. This kind of potato does not work as well for mashing, baked potatoes or french fries. For those applications, you want to use fluffy potatoes like Russets.
If you’re cooking for someone of importance, do not try your hand at an untested recipe, no matter how much you would like to impress your guest with a gourmet meal. Regardless of who it is, you can’t impress them if your meal ends up tasting bad. Impress them by cooking a meal you already know you can prepare well.
Try baking dishes that are oily, versus microwaving them when they need reheated to avoid greasy messes. When you cook foods in the microwave, there is a huge surge of heat, which will cause the oil (that heats the quickest) to start to separate from all of the other ingredients. When you use the oven to reheat a dish, the heat will come slower and more consistent, which will keep the ingredients cohesive and the dish flavorful.
Use these tips to spark your own ideas about what your meals can be like. With a little creativity and a little know-how, the food you prepare can be something wonderful, every single time. Get excited about cooking again and see what you can conjure up in your kitchen.