Is cooking a scary frontier for you? Are you nervous about entering your kitchen, remembering a previous disaster? If this is you, never fear! Plenty of people have trouble with cooking, and all it takes is a little practice and proper education to cook like a pro! Read on to find out how.
Ensure that you properly maintain your cooking utensils on a regular basis. A chef’s knife, for example, is of no use to you when blunt so ensure that these are sharpened on a regular basis. When purchasing a chef’s knife look for one with a long and wide blade as this will give you better control and chopping speed.
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.
How to pit and peel an avocado. Peeling and pitting an avocado can be quite messy, but there is a simple way. Use a sharp knife and cut around the whole avocado lengthwise. Grip each half of the avocado and twist it apart. Using your knife, carefully but firmly hit the top of the pit and twist it. The pit will slide out, still attached to the knife. To remove the peel, simply take a large spoon and run it between the peel and the flesh. Enjoy!
For stir fry with an authentic Chinese touch, try using their velveting technique! Prepare a mixture of corn starch, egg whites, seasonings and sherry and set your pork, chicken or shrimp in it for about half an hour. Then, blanch it in hot oil or boiling water for shiny, tender and delicious restaurant quality stir fry.
If you want to add a unique touch to your dinner, use fruit as a side dish. Fruit will help to flush down the thick pieces of meat that you just ate and will serve to re-energize your body after consuming a lot of calories. Add oranges, pears and apples to your dinner to optimize your experience.
If you are cooking pastries or foods that can get very messy, make sure that you wear an apron at all times. The last thing that you will want to do is to get food on your clothes and have to change before you eat your meal with friends or family.
If you have a family, you will want to implement a process for cleaning up after you cook your meal. This is very important as you will want to conserve the excess food that you do not eat for future servings. Post meal cleanup is just as important as pre-meal preparation.
As your cooking prowess grows, you will learn to appreciate the versatility of stocks and broths. Rather than buying these useful ingredients at the store or wasting your time cooking them in small batches, prepare stocks in large quantities. You can store surplus stock in plastic bags in your freezer, ready for quick use in future recipes.
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.
Keep a supply of chopped onions all ready to go, in your freezer. It is easy to be dissuaded from cooking a particular recipe because you don’t want to go through the tears and smell of cutting up onions. When you are cutting one onion, you might as well take the time and cut up several of them. Put them in a baggie and freeze them!
To save money and improve your health, cook the recommended portion sizes and plan your meals ahead of time. Meat is one of the most expensive ingredients on your plate. By eating the appropriate portion sizes you can be sure that your family is getting plenty of vegetables and whole grains.
Put vegetables in cold water after you blanch them. Blanching – also known as boiling – a vegetable can be a tasty way to prepare them. Unfortunately, it can quite literally “blanch” your veggies. While this is only an aesthetic problem, it can be easily avoided. By putting the vegetables in cold water after blanching, they will retain their green color.
When shopping for meat, always get the freshest cuts available. If you are shopping for meat at the butcher shop the meat is being fresh cut or ground. However, when shopping at the grocery store try to find out when the store typically cuts meat for the day and try to arrive near that time. Otherwise ask at the meat counter for a fresh cut or grind if you do not know the time of the last cut.
When you are cooking a roast, go large. Buying a bigger cut of meat, when you buy a roast for a meal, has a couple of benefits. One is that you will have more leftovers from the meal. Another is that the larger the meat, the better the overall finished flavor will be.
To keep cookies from spreading while baking, chill unused dough and cool off cookie sheets between batches. If cookie dough is allowed to reach room temperature before baking, either in the bowl or on the pan, then the ingredients in the dough are doomed to expand. To get a dense yet still moist cookie, just chill the remaining dough between batches and cool an already used sheet in cold water before returning to the oven.
As was said in the beginning of this article, cooking is all about education and practice. This article has given you the building blocks to become a better cook, now all you have to do is practice, practice, practice! Talking about practicing, one of the best places to start practicing, particularly for the young ones, would be at the Funder Cooking Fun-Dough Babies Zone, at the Funderland Family Festival, which is opening it’s doors on March 28, 2018 at the GrandWest, in Goodwood, Cape Town. Soon you’ll be making great food that you’ll love to eat!