In today’s declining economy, there is a bright spot for families. More and more people are cooking at home instead of eating out. Cooking food at home can bring families together. The enjoyment of a shared meal is an important aspect of our social natures that dates back to the beginning of time.
Make sure you are storing your herbs and spices in a cool, dark space. Many factors can cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor. Light, humidity, and heat can all cause them to lose some of their flare. To avoid this, make sure you are storing your herbs somewhere like a cool cabinet.
After cooking with a large amount of garlic, rub both hands on your stainless steel sink before washing them. Use a vigorous scrubbing action. This will help to get rid of that lingering garlic scent on your skin. It will not leave a scent on your stainless steel sink.
If you feel that a piece of food you are about to cook does not look right or may be rotten, always error on the side of caution and throw it away. It is better to lose a few dollars than to cost yourself the next couple of weeks from food poisoning.
Ice water can save the color of your vegetables. Dull washed out vegetables do not look as appealing to eat. If you want bright and vibrant vegetables, then you should plunge them into ice water after blanching them. Vibrantly colored vegetables look much more appetizing in salads and pasta dishes.
Purchase a quality loaf of bread that you can use as a side piece to a variety of meals. Bread goes great with any dish that has sauce or cheese, as you can dip it in a variety of different toppings. Include a loaf of Italian or French bread with your next meal.
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.
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.
To discover when oil is really hot enough and ready for the food, look to its’ surface. If it is no longer completely smooth and appears to be shimmering it is hot enough. When oil is allowed to over-heat it actually starts breaking down and releasing unpleasant compounds and will begin to smoke, so know when to say when!
If you are going to be making chicken stock, it is best to go big or not at all. When you prepare stock, make a large amount, so it can be frozen for later use. Good homemade chicken stock is a wonderful base in soups, stews, casseroles and more. Once your stock is cooked, let the leftovers reach room temperature, then portion them into freezer bags.
When sautéing vegetables using Pomace olive oil is a great substitute for butter that should be used. The Pomace olive oil is very affordable and will give vegetables a mild flavor that is quite delicious. You can purchase the Pomace olive oil at any Middle Eastern grocery store. It is low in carbs and in price which makes it extremely appealing.
Next time you make a dressing at home, swap half of the amount of mayo with an equal portion of Greek-style yogurt. This increases not only the richness of the dressing, but it gives it the creamy and smooth texture that we all love to see on our salads and other dishes.
Use cast iron pans when you cook your meat. Cast iron imparts the best flavor to the meat and avoids any chance of sticking. You also get the added benefit of your meat having a higher iron content from using the cast iron. Sometimes old fashioned ideas are the best.
A great help for achieving your best baking results is to bring your butter and eggs to room temperature before use. By allowing these ingredients to lose their chill, you allow heat from cooking to activate the oils and fats within them at the right time as opposed to waiting for them to achieve the right temperature while cooking.
When you are making mashed potatoes, you need to be extra careful and make sure not to whip them for too long. While it might seem that mixing them for longer would make them smoother, it actually has an opposite effect. Doing so actually makes them come out gummy in texture.
Stock up on ingredients at your local farmers’ market. This fresh, healthy food pretty much prepares itself. The flavors of natural foods dress up the taste of any dish. Avoid over preparing these foods to preserve the natural flavor, and follow your instinct when it says to leave an ingredient out. Sometimes, the most simple dishes are the best.
Food and family are almost synonymous. Whether it’s the holidays, or just the evening meal, it is a wonderful thing to see the return of the home cook. The shared act of cooking a meal can only strengthen our families and improve our overall health in this society.