Many people think cooking is a difficult task that only properly trained chefs with years of experience can do. The reality is, anyone can cook no matter what their skill level is. Even a beginning cook can create a fancy nine course meal. The key to good cooking is good knowledge.
(1) To easily slice meat thinly, place it in the freezer until firm but not frozen. This is perfect for meals that require really thin meat such as Chinese or Thai dishes. Uncooked meat is easier to cut when it is partially frozen. However, wait until the slices are thawed before you cook them. By doing this, the strips will more evenly cook.
(2) Add a small pinch of sea salt to your ground coffee immediately before brewing. This will add a great punch of flavor to every cup. This process works well in either a traditional coffee maker or a french press. Don’t add the salt before brewing time though, or your coffee flavor will be compromised.
(3) When attempting to make baked goods, less fattening, applesauce is a great ingredient to use. It can be used with cake mix, brownies or even pancakes. It is an inexpensive way to make foods that are usually fattening, healthier and delicious. When baking, it is a good idea to use unsweetened applesauce.
(4) Know the gender of your eggplant! There are both male and female eggplants, and it pays to know the difference. The seeds of an eggplant can be very bitter. A female eggplant’s seeds have a tendency to be more bitter than those of a male eggplant. You can identify a male eggplant by its base – it will be smooth and round, whereas the female base is more oval in shape and deeply indented.
(5) When trying to cook healthy foods, it is important to cut back on the amount of oils and butters that you are using. A great alternative is using nonstick bakeware or a nonstick cooking spray. Many of the sprays have little to no calories and make foods healthy and cleanup a breeze.
(6) In recipes that call for milk or water, try substituting more flavorful liquids. For instance, you can use broth, stock, juice or a bit of wine to replace the water in a recipe. Sour cream, buttermilk and yogurt make good milk substitutes. Varying the liquids that are in your recipes is an excellent method of adding nutrition and variety to a dish.
(7) On a Sunday, try to make a meal whose leftovers you can eat during the week. For instance, save any left over roasted beef and make it into a sandwich on a week night. Not only does this help you save time by not having to cook, but it is a good way to not waste food.
(8) If a stew or a braised dish is burned on the bottom, it may be too late to salvage. Try carefully scooping out
the unburned portion of the stew into a separate pot. Add water or stock to stretch it if necessary, and add sherry and a chopped onion. (The sweetness in an onion can mask many mistakes.)