So you want to throw a dinner party, plan a picnic or make a family feast but don't know where you should begin? This article will provide you with plenty of simple clues and fancy tips, and you will be in the kitchen cooking up a storm in no time.
When cooking any recipe, use the best ingredients that you can afford. Splurge a little on imported cheeses or better quality meats when you can, so that you can experience a restaurant, quality-tasting meal at home. To enhance the experience even further, try to creatively plate up the meal with a little thought, for something different every now and then.
Add flavor to boring roast chicken. Rather than using a roasting rack, place thick slices of onion in the bottom of the pan, and place the chicken on top of them. The chicken juices will be absorbed by the onion, creating a caramelization on the bottom of the pan. After roasting, remove the chicken, add a little water to the pan and cook on high heat for a few minutes. This will create a tasty sauce for your chicken.
Try this quick trick to salvage your efforts. In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons of water and 3 teaspoons of corn starch. Stir this into the sauce to thicken it up. Adding the cornstarch mixture slowly and continuing to stir helps you judge the proper thickness of your sauce.
Try to store spices in dark, cool places and do not store them above your stove. Places that are bright, humid and hot, can cause your spices and herbs to lose their flavor. A good place to put them would be inside of a pantry or in your kitchen cabinets.
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.
Cheese is one of the best things that you can add to pastas and different types of meats. If you are making pasta, do not forget to buy grated cheese and put it on the table for people to add to their dish. This will improve the quality and texture of the meal.
Never use oil when you are boiling pasta. Try not to let any oil get in the pot when you are boiling water to cook your pasta. The oil will transfer to the pasta. This will leave the noodles slick, which means any sauce you put on them later will not stick.
It is possible to cook healthy without abandoning all of the rich, creamy dressings that can contribute so much flavor. One method is to use Greek-style yogurt as a replacement for mayonnaise. Half of the mayonnaise called for in the recipe should be replaced with the yogurt. This will give the same great taste while cutting down on the unhealthy effects of the mayo.
Having trouble with your meats sticking to your pan or grill? This is an easy thing to fix. Just spray your pan or grill with a spray oil before you begin to cook. This will put a coating on the surface of the pan or grill, and will keep your meats from sticking to a dry surface.
When you are making fish or meat, make sure to sprinkle seasonings equally. You can compare the sprinkling to falling snow. By doing this, you are avoiding clumping. Also, the spices will be spread evenly so that one side of the meat or fish does not have more seasoning than the other.
When using a chopping board, make sure to always sanitize it before going on to a different ingredient. Making this a habit will prevent cross contamination of bacteria. It is also useful for keeping your flavors from being muddied by being chopped with other ingredients' residue. A clean chopping board is a safe and useful chopping board.
How to 'un-seize' melted chocolate. If the chocolate you are melting suddenly gets lumpy or grainy, this means it has 'seized', and it will ruin a recipe. Remove the pan and add 1/2 to 1 tsp of shortening or cooking oil (not butter or margarine). Stir until the mixture becomes smooth again. To prevent seizing, make sure the pan is completely dry before trying to melt chocolate.
Now that you've got some basics and some insider secrets down, you can't help but have the confidence to start your adventures in cooking. Follow the tips that you have learned here, and you will soon be receiving high praise not only from loved ones, but also from your fellow want-to-be cooks.