Learning how to cook is like learning how to dance. It takes plenty of study, hard work and dedication. The tips we’ve put together in this article should help you determine the types of things you should focus on mastering in order to become the cook you’ve always wanted to be.
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.
If you are planning on buying fish from a supermarket or fish store, make sure that you ask the person behind the counter if you can smell the fish. The fish should be very firm and should not have any pungent odors to them. Otherwise, do not purchase it, as they are probably not fresh.
Buy tough cuts of pork or beef instead of steak. Steak is expensive. While it might be one of your favorite foods, you probably are not willing to pay for it as often as you would like. Consider buying a tough cut of pork or beef instead. Cook it low and slow to get it tender.
The most difficult and time consuming thing about cooking is doing all of the prep work. You can buy pre-prepped vegetables or prep your ingredients the day before to cut down on the time you are in the kitchen. This is very helpful if you need to get dinner out in a hurry.
Cook your rice in vegetable or chicken stock instead of using water. Choosing a stock will add both extra taste and valuable nutrients. The cooking process and time are the same as with water, so you won’t be adding any extra work by trying this method.
If you are planning on grilling, make sure that you take your steaks out of the freezer at least one hour before you cook so that they can match the room temperature. This will allow you to cook them easier and achieve the quality that you are looking for, by cooking them on the grill.
Try cooking stock ahead of time and freezing it. It is always handy to have chicken, beef, or vegetable stock handy when you are boiling vegetables or want to make a quick soup. It is also easier this way because it is less mess the day you are having your meal!
If you would like to bake a berry desert in the winter (when most berries are out of season), use frozen berries as a delicious and more eco-friendly alternative to fresh ones! Thaw your frozen berries for 45 minutes, drain the excess, then use as you normally would when making a berry pie or cobbler.
Cooked turkey freezes beautifully, as does stuffing. When making a big holiday meal, be sure and make plenty so you not only have enough for turkey sandwiches, but to enjoy another turkey dinner in a month or two, without all of the work. Use a spare 9″ X 13″ pan that you line and divide with aluminum foil into two or three compartments. Cut some turkey for one compartment, add some stuffing in another and if you would like, leftover mashed potatoes can be put in the third compartment. Drizzle some gravy over everything you desire, cover with aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to enjoy turkey again, or perhaps when pressed for time and out of ideas for dinner, grab the pan from the freezer and place in the oven at 350 degrees. Remove the foil from the top of the pan after 45 minutes, bake uncovered for another 15 to 20 minutes and enjoy!
Just like a dance, you are never done with learning how to cook. There is always a new style for you to study and master. Take these tips and learn to incorporate them into your everyday cooking. Always remember that you are never done learning about the art of cooking.