The same old recipes getting you down? Here are some ways to make it easier to make your own kitchen offerings more gourmet than ever before.
Trying new things in the kitchen at home does not have to mean you are spending ten times as much money at the grocery store and being miserable while you do it. Try new things that are interesting to you and your family members. Get their input on what types of gourmet foods they have seen and wanted to try and set off to explore new things together, while still in the comfort of your very own kitchen.
Add Some New Kitchen Basics
One of the biggest hurdles to trying out new gourmet recipes is not having the essential ingredients within reach. By stocking your home with ingredients you will use in more detailed, specialized recipes you make it easier to explore within your daily cuisine. To decide what to add to your selection at home, first know what you have on hand to work with, then analyze each area you store food and consider what might be helpful to add.
In the spice cabinet, you may need to track down things like lemon pepper, garlic salt or paprika. If you are getting especially creative with recipes, you need to have other things like allspice, ginger (both ground and granulated), rosemary, bay leaves, cream of tartar, and more. Of course, this does not mean the next recipe you want to try will only need ingredients you have at home so be ready to do a quick run to the gourmet grocery store before beginning your meal prep work.
Your pantry is an area where you may feel well prepared already, but make sure you have different ingredients as needed. While all-purpose flour works for just about any project, sometimes special recipes call for special types of flour. If you are cooking for a guest with gluten sensitivity, keep that in mind and avoid it by using things like rice flour in place of standard flour. Different pastas cook differently and absorb sauces at different levels, so keep that in mind too when dealing with gourmet pasta dishes. You can always substitute the type of pasta you have on hand, but the result may be a bit different from what you expected.
In your refrigerator things that spoil easily are best purchased when you know you are going to use them before the expiration date. Things like buttermilk and heavy cream go bad quicker than you might think, but are crucial to many recipes. Keep this in mind when making your shopping lists and considering which day of the week you will try your new recipe needing those ingredients.
The freezer is a great place to keep things that you stocked up on during sales. Whether it is salmon steaks, chicken legs or a lamb roast, if you see a great sale and want to explore with that type of meat, snatch it up while you can. Keep in mind you can do the same with fruit, whether it is purchased fresh or frozen. Oftentimes fruit and vegetables are most affordable frozen, but raging deals can often be found when fruits and veggies are in season. Hunt down a corresponding recipe online or in gourmet magazines and find out if your family loves or hates the new options on the table.
Search Out the Best Staples
Good cooking staples like extra virgin olive oil and premium cuts of meat can be markedly more expensive than their lesser quality counterparts. That does not mean that you cannot have them though. Search for sales on these items and buy enough that you will be able to make it through until the next sale. Keep in mind the amount of freezer and refrigerator space you have on hand though, because you do not want to lose good money because you did not have enough storage space for your purchases.
Other quality staples to make sure you have in your home are the best cooking wines and chocolates. By using higher quality options when it comes to ingredients like these you create something with more depth in the flavors, creating a more meaningful experience. It may seem silly to think that different baking cocoa or cooking sherry will make your meal better overall, but the little things that go into cooking often times make the results much more grand, indeed.
Invest in the Right Tools
While not all high-end kitchen tools are necessities, some will make your life in the kitchen so much easier that it is worth the added expense. Things like a stand mixer for those who bake constantly are crucial. If you have tried to mince garlic on your own with kitchen knives you know how hard a project it can be and the investment made in a garlic crusher is minimal. Some kitchen tools will handle duties others normally do too, so keep that in mind before you decide to get a food processor with a grating attachment as well as a high-quality cheese grater.
Prep More to Save Time
By stretching out the meal prep time, even getting things ready days ahead of time in some cases, you will end up saving more time and stress when you are finalizing a meal. Think of chopping veggies you need a lot of, making a simple marinade a day or two before hand, or mixing up some homemade pesto that you will use in a new recipe over the weekend. These simple tasks take time and can make prepping one meal seem like more work than you do all week at your day job. When you are planning to try a new gourmet meal, keep in mind that things can be done ahead of time to save you time and most importantly, save you stress.
Mistakes Can Turn Out Delicious
Most important of all, is to know that mistakes can be a beautiful, delectable thing. If you do not have unsalted butter for the recipe, that is okay. If you accidentally double an ingredient and then do not know what to do, use your instincts. If it turns out badly, so you order take out that night. Really, it is all a great form of exploring and having fun in your own kitchen, no matter how the end result turns out.