Learning how to cook is a great way to take control of your life. Cooking skills can improve your health, shrink your food budget and impress friends and family. Whether you are a stranger to the kitchen or an experienced stove-top jockey, there are always new cooking tips and techniques to learn. This article has a few such tips to get you started sharpening your cooking skills.
Finish your prep work in advance. It is quite important that the preparation is done well in advance of the cooking process. Setting a time limit can add stress to your cooking experience. Get everything prepared at least a day ahead of time.
One thing that you can do is to bake a pie or tart crust longer to optimize quality. Pastry crust should be baked to a golden caramel color rather than a pale blond shade. The golden color is a sign that the sugars in the crust have finally caramelized.
A good thing to remember regarding cooking is to store your ingredients and spices in a cool dark place and not on top of your stove. This is because humidity and light tend to cause spices and herbs lose their flavor. This is one of the things new cooks tend to forget.
Keep a potato masher in your kitchen at all times. This useful device can be used to mash more than just your typical potatoes. Try mashing carrots, cauliflower, and other root vegetables. You can mix any of these in to your usual mashed potatoes to make them more vibrant, nutritious, and interesting.
Purchase a quality loaf of bread that you can use as a side piece to a variety of meals. Bread goes great with any dish that has sauce or cheese, as you can dip it in a variety of different toppings. Include a loaf of Italian or French bread with your next meal.
After you have cooked a piece of food in the oven, you should give it several minutes to rest before serving. The last thing that you will want to do is serve any part of your meal that is too hot, which will ruin its overall quality for the person you are serving.
Cooking a roast? Leave the bone in! By leaving the bone in, heat moves to the inside of the meat faster, speeding up the cooking process. This will, also, allow the entire roast to cook more evenly throughout the cut of meat - by leaving it in rather than removing it.
Always continue to taste test all of your food as you cook them. Cooking a sauce, and you're not sure if it needs more salt? Just taste it and you'll know right away. Getting into a habit of testing all of your foods will keep you from accidentally over-spicing or under-spicing it.
You should use real butter when you are cooking for your family. There are some people who choose to use margarine when they cook instead of butter because it is more affordable. They may not know that they are feeding their family something that contains hydrogenated oils and trans fats that are unhealthy.
When a recipe calls for vegetable shortening, coconut oil is a healthy alternative that should be used. Coconut oil can be difficult to find in the typical grocery stores so you may need to look in a healthfood store to find it. It is important to read the label to make sure it is true coconut oil.
Feel free to make use of the tips that appeal to you. One of the greatest things about cooking for yourself is that it puts you in control of your diet. You are free to cook the way you want to. As you refine your cooking skills, keep looking for recipes and techniques that will help you to make the kind of food that you want to enjoy.