Everyone enjoys good meals, but not everyone is comfortable in front of a stove. Some people may like to cook, but they are producing average dishes instead of the great looking recipes in cookbooks and online. Do not feel bad about it; the people putting those dishes together for the picture have trained with professional chefs or are chefs themselves. To try to compete with them when you do not have their experience in the kitchen is impossible. There are however a few tips that you can follow that will make you a better cook right away. Here are a few of those cooking tips.
If you have watched some of the cooking competitions on TV then you may have noticed that they spend a lot of their time preparing the kitchen. Preparation is very important and that is why it is so high up in our list of cooking tips. Some recipes need 24 hours to get right in preparing sauces, sides, fermentation etc. Even if something does not need that much time preparation can make your life a lot easier and your recipes will be tastier as well. If you have a big meal or an important one coming soon then you cannot forget to prepare for it the night before or early enough on the same day.
Something that a lot of cooks do not know is that salt is not used by the pros to make things saltier, but rather to bring out the flavor in food. Acidity does the same thing and so does horseradish. Salt can even be used to get the herbs not to fly all over the place when you chop them by placing just a bit on the cutting board. Other spices are for when you want to make a rub, give color to food, get a little kick on the food or just try other flavors. Experiment with them and see how those spices are used by professionals in their recipes. If you use too little then they are useless, but if you use just a little too much, then they become overpowering. Before serving, make sure that you taste everything and re-fire what needs more cooking time.
Keep Everything Organized
I always tell people that they should have all the ingredients handy before they start cooking, but if you forget to get something, then you should know where to find it. Organization will allow the cooking process to continue without lowering or putting out the flame which could ruin a recipe. When you are learning a recipe have a check list of the ingredients and make sure that everything is in front of you preferably in the order you need to use it. Eventually that recipe will be second nature and you will be able to pull ingredients without thinking much about it.
Use Your Personal Touch
Recipe books are great because they tell you what you need to do to get a great dish, but that does not mean that you should follow everything to the letter. Cooking times are very important, but spices can be switched around for other similar items. You should look at a recipe as a map, but a lot of maps include other small roads that can take you to the place you want to get to. When you make a little change on a recipe you find that you can have your own take on it which makes it your own. The best way to get different flavors is to try different things. Write down what you did differently for when you find the best dish you ever made and want to repeat it.
When we buy meat, most of the time we will put it in the freezer as a way to save it for when you need it. the problem is that a lot of people will try to cook it right out of the freezer or zap it for a minute in the microwave to then cook it. The best thing that you can do is to take the meat out of the freezer the day that you will cook it with enough time for it to reach room temperature. When you cook your food right out of the freezer you are not cooking it evenly. That goes for all types of meats. Next time when you are preparing for a meal, make sure that the meat or fish you will be cooking is at room temperature for better results.
If you will be cooking pasta, then you should know a couple of things that you need to do. The first thing is to ignore the timelines given to you by the maker. The time printed on the package assumes that you will be serving it right from the pot. Instead cook the pasta for 1 minute less of what the packaging recommends. The missing minute will take place when you mix the pasta with the sauce over a pan. You should also never boil your pasta with oil on the pot as this will make it harder for the sauce to stick to your pasta. Also if you are adding Parmesan cheese on the sauce and pasta remember that it will clump unless you put some elbow in it. Stir the cheese in the pasta until the cheese has melted.
Invest In Good Ingredients
Though you can make some really great food with cheap ingredients, you are more likely to impress with some high quality touches. Olive oil is one of the best examples of items you need to invest money on. The high quality olive oils will add a lot of flavor to food and you do not have to add more than a drizzle. Try that on pasta, pizza, meat and fish and you will notice the difference. You should also have high quality ingredients to make your own sauces and dressings. Forget the bottles and the cans; when you make your own sauces and dressings they taste better and you are in control of the ingredients.
Also remember that fresh is always better than conserved. If a recipe calls for fresh parsley or cilantro then you should not use the seasonings you find in the supermarket aisle. Fresh ingredients taste better than almost anything a company can package.