6 Cooking Tips And Tricks To Become A Better Cook
Cooking is an art form, and there’s definitely a lot of truth to that notion. Becoming a better cook doesn’t just mean following the recipe from A to Z. It also means experimenting with your dishes and tweaking it, to make it entirely your own. But before you can achieve that kind of confidence in the kitchen, it’s very important to go back to basics. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the basic cooking techniques, you can feel a lot more poised to try out different versions.
If you’re still feeling lost in the kitchen, don’t fret, as every home cook has gone through those feelings before. There’s always room to learn and improve. And the more you cook at home and whip you own meals, the more you can exercise your cooking prowess.
Some of the best tips and tricks you can apply to become a better cook include:
- Not Skimping On The Ingredients
If you can afford to go for the best, don’t skimp on the ingredients. The best ingredients make a huge impact on your cooking quality, taste and flavor. Even if you’re a basic chef, or you still have to brush up on your cooking skills, it makes all the difference when the ingredients are top-notch. You don’t have to worry too much about the outcome, as the ingredients already speak for themselves.
For instance, if you can make your own fresh bread crumbs for a recipe that calls for some, make your own. The result is often a lot better than packaged bread crumbs. If a baking recipe needs chocolate bars, go for the best you can find in your supermarket. If you’re buying or preparing pizza dough, Robertas pizza dough, among other options, is a good choice.
- Always Starting With Onions
If you feel your meals have been tasting bland, the basic rule of thumb to follow is to always start with onions. Don’t be stingy with onions, along with your basic seasoning like salt and pepper. In fact, onions and pepper together can add a lot of flavors to any dish.
Don’t start any recipe without preparing at least two onions. It’s the sauteed onions that really make the difference in a tasty dish and soup. As to your salt, rather than season with regular salt, you may want to consider seasoning with Kosher or sea salt. These two varieties have more and better flavor than ordinary table salt does. You’re sure to impress your guests when you’re hosting.
- Learning How To Read A Recipe
Reading a recipe entails more than just ‘reading’ per se. You have to dig deeper to have a full grasp of what the recipe really needs or calls for. Recipes are written in a special language which you must fully understand before you start cooking. It pays, therefore, to read fully and comprehend the recipe first, before starting.
For instance, ‘1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped’ means you have to measure the basil first before chopping. This is different from a recipe that dictates ‘1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil’, which now means you have to chop the basil before measuring it.
The same principle applies to trying to understand some special terms used only for cooking. What does ‘cream the butter’ mean? What’s the difference between sauté and fry? When you’re reading a recipe and there’s anything you don’t understand, it’s important for you to do some background research by reading through the dictionary as to what the cooking term means.
- Getting Into The Habit Of Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect. This applies also in cooking. Just because you were unsuccessful with a dish now doesn’t mean you should avoid cooking forever. No matter how you try to read a million recipes and hope to get better, there’s no better substitute to actually doing the real thing. You can hone your skills, improve from your mistakes, refine your skills, and create your own cooking style when you cook at home regularly.
- Adding Flavor In Every Stage Of Cooking
One of the most common styles in cooking is to prepare the seasoning as you start the dish, and then season the entire dish only on the last step, as you’re about to finish cooking. Usually, the recipe will call for something like ‘season to taste’. While this is a good practice, a better strategy to apply is to actually add flavor in every stage of cooking. This means seasoning with salt and pepper in every step, to ensure every ingredient gets an equal share of the flavor and seasoning.
Also, there are certain seasoning pairs you have to master, apart from salt and pepper. Some of these include:
- Fresh lemon juice is great for soups and roasted vegetables or dishes
- Cinnamon is another great add-on for some baked goods
- Parmesan cheese can add more depth to asparagus
- Olive oil and salt is always nice to use, in topping your dishes, when you’re about to serve your food
- Being Very Particular About Food Safety
No matter how good of a cook one is, if their dishes make others sick, then they’re not going to be considered a good cook. Food safety should always go on top of your cooking skills, the ingredients you use, and the kind of dishes you’re cooking. All that effort is going in the bin when your dishes are unsafe and unhealthy.
To ensure top quality of food safety all the time, these are the tips you need to remember:
- Understand what the right temperature for your meats should be
- Learn to avoid cross-contamination
- Learn the basics of how long food can sit out, without getting spoiled
If you really want to level-up, consider investing in some quality food warmers.
From knowing the right terms to proper use of the knife and other utensils, and mastering the basics of every base ingredient, there’s a lot to learn. One day, you can be the expert in your kitchen. On your next gathering at home, you can impress your family and friends by being a better cook.
You don’t need to have a big and fancy kitchen to come up with the best meals! What matters the most is honing your own skills and cooking style. And most of all, sprinkling your dishes with a lot of happiness and love.