Enjoy the holidays fully and happily and make the most delicious meals ever using these cooking tips.
Let us start with basics that include preparation and various suggestions.
1. Read the recipe carefully, and if you can, do the preparations the night or even a day before. You will have the best results and be completely prepared.
2. If you are cooking for an important person, or occasion, never try the new recipe.
3. Recipes are the instructions, feel free to experiment and change them a bit.
4. Use sharp knives always, it is more efficient.
5. Taste the food before you serve it (most people do not do that) to see if it needs more salt, pepper or spices.
6. Cook with people who want to learn or already know how to cook.
7. Buy fruits and vegetables at their peak at the farmer’s market, and freeze them in an airtight container so you can enjoy them later.
8. Enjoy the cooking, play some music and have fun, especially for Christmas.
Now, let us see some great cooking tricks and tips.
9. Leave butter and eggs at room temperature overnight to have the best result when you are baking.
10. Do not store spices above your stove, because humidity, light and heat will cause the herbs lose their flavor. Store them in a cool and dark place.
11. A little salt on the cutting board will keep the herbs from flying around when chopping.
12. Use high-quality olive oil whenever you can. This oil does wonders to many dishes (fish, pasta, meat, mozzarella, pizza)
13. Add cheese rinds to vegetable broths for another flavor.
14. When seasoning a salad, use sea salt mixed with a little olive oil. It will taste crunchy when you add vinaigrette.
15. When cooking meat, always let it rest for better taste.
16. If you want your vegetables to maintain a bright color, plunge them in ice water after boiling or blanching.
17. Use parchment paper for pans. It will help you easily remove all of your baked goods, and cleaning up is a lot easier.
18. If you like citrus or lime, marinate meat with it, the meat will have a great texture.
19. When you are sautéing, do not overcrowd your pan, your food will steam.
20. You need higher temperature to bake smaller items (mini chocolate cookies at 500 degrees F for only 4 minutes, for instance)
21. When you are boiling pasta do not add oil to the water because it will keep the sauce from sticking to it. Instead, grate some fresh Parmesan on hot pasta, the sauce will have something to stick to.
22. When you are going to sauté garlic, do not mince it, slice it, it is less likely to burn if you do. And to remove the odor, rub your hands vigorously on your stainless steel sink for 30 seconds before you wash them.
23. Use homemade vinaigrettes if you can, they taste and smell better. They are certainly better than the bottled ones.
24. Fresh basil is much better at room temperature with the stems in water.
25. If you want to keep the cauliflower bright white, add a little milk with salt in the water. After you boil them, shock it in a cold water.
26. If you are grinding your own beef for burgers, add some bacon.
27. If you want to keep a chicken breast moist when you roast a whole chicken, separate the breast and the leg, and remove the breast sooner than the leg.
28. Season all of your food in stages, it will bring the most out of the ingredients.
29. When you cook fish, always use lemon, there is something so marvelous in the meal when you do.
30. If you want to make a delicious mashed potatoes, after you drain them return them to the hot pan, cover tightly and let steam for 5 minutes. This way the potatoes will dry out, and they will mash better, and soak up to the butter and cream easily.
31. When grilling, pull the steaks out of the refrigerator one hour ahead to come to room temperature.
32. When you serve cake, serve at room temperature, and do not pre-slice cake more than 20 minutes in advance (it will dry out).
33. To prepare the best risotto, stir it with a wooden spoon in rhythmic movements when you start cooking it. Remember that rice should be constantly bubbling.
34. If in a hurry, and you want chicken for lunch, but you do not have time to brine it, use salt. Heavily salt the chicken inside and out, about an hour before you cook it. Pat it dry and roast – the skin will be crispy and meat juicy.
35. Use cake tester to test the doneness of meat, vegetables and fish.
36. To get more juice from a lemon or lime, roll it hard under your palm for a minute before juicing.
37. Before you start cooking to make a sauce, cut your vegetables and meat.
38. Use flavored vinegars instead of salt, acid enhances flavor.
39. In order to know if your oil is hot enough for frying, stick a wooden spoon in the oil, and if bubbles form around the wood, the oil is ready.
40. If you are having a big party do not dress the salad, leave it on the side and let the people do it themselves.
41. To keep an onion together when dicing, do not remove the root.
42. To make the caramelized onions, cook them in a dry nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat.
43. Use a nonstick pot to make caramel. There will be no waste and the cleaning is easier.
44. To make neat cubes, slice avocado right in the skin.
45. When making cookies, chill your dough thoroughly before you put in in baking pan.
46. To make a perfect soup, start with diced carrots, onions, peppers and tomatoes sautéed in oil or butter, and then add liquid.
47. To have perfect asparagus, cure the stalks, peel them, roll in equal part salt and sugar, and leave them for 10 minutes. Rinse them off and prepare as you wish.
48. You do not have to peel potatoes before boiling, it is easier to slide the skin once they are cooked.
49. To cut the meat easier (into lardons) put it in a freezer for 15 minutes; it will be easier to cut once the meat is firm.
50. Hold each piece of food with long tongs as you add it to the oil when you deep-fry, and hold it below the oil’s surface for five second before you release it. This will stop it from sticking to the pot.
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