Learning to master the basics of cooking can seem like a daunting task to someone who has never cooked before. If you do not know anything about cooking and are one of the people who burn water when trying to get it to boil, here are some tips to teach you the basics of cooking.
When cooking a big meal, try to do your prep work the night before. This saves you time when you’re getting things ready for your dinner the next day. Have everything washed, chopped, and ready to go. You’ll thank yourself because there is less stress the night of the big meal.
Freezing meat slightly before cutting it will help you to get a nice, even thin slice. This works great when you are cutting steak thin for philly’s or if you need to cut pancetta into thin slices or strips. Do not freeze it solid; freeze it just enough that it is slightly firm.
To take the metallic taste out of canned pumpkin pie filling, heat the filling with all of your spices first. Simply mixing your filling with the other ingredients and then baking traps the metallic taste in your finished pie. But by heating your pumpkin filling alone with the spices first, you release the metallic taste of the filling and simultaneously imbue it with the richer taste of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.
When you learn to cook for yourself, do not be afraid of cooking in large batches. The freezer becomes your friend once you are making your own meals. Surplus food that you prepare, but will not use immediately, can be stored almost indefinitely in your freezer. Cooking in large batches is the best way to maximize the utility of your cooking time.
An easy way to experiment with combining savory flavors in the kitchen and not spend a lot of money in food waste, is to turn your ideas into an omelet. Eggs, especially egg whites, are fairly flavor-free and provide a great “canvas” on which to “paint” the ingredients you want and then combining into a dish. Small batches of scrambled eggs that you can fold your ingredients into, will also give a neutral background for your flavor taste tests.
If you are looking to reduce the sodium content of the meals you cook, take a careful look at your spice shelf. Many prepared spices are surprisingly high in sodium, whether or not they have a salty taste. And of course, avoid adding regular salt. Look to natural herbs and simpler spices to add flavor without sodium.
Keep a few cut up, washed, and prepared vegetables in your freezer. This will reduce your prep time when you’re cooking a recipe. Onions and peppers are great to freeze. Just buy them fresh, wash and cut them when you have time, and store them in individual zip lock bags.
Using the tips stated above, you should have a firm grasp on the basics of cooking and be able to cook for yourself. You can even try cooking for your family and friends as a learning experience. The great thing about cooking is that if it does not work the first time, you can try again.