Family Gatherings: How To Cook For Large Crowds
Of course, you love to eat, but you may not necessarily love to cook. Some people find it intimidating to step into the kitchen and get started preparing a meal. The tips contained in this article will take some of the mystery out of cooking and make it seem more doable for you.
Always store your spices in a cool and dark place. Herbs and spices can quickly lose their flavor if exposed to continuous light or heat. Generally, ground spices and herbs keep most of their flavor for a year. Spices that are raw, or whole, can keep the original flavor for as long as five years, though it usually falls somewhere between three and five. Storing spices in glass containers with a tight-fitting lid will keep them best.
For those dishes that have longer cooking times, you will want to add your spices and herbs about an hour or so before eating. If these spices are cooked too long, then the resulting flavors may be too strong. In addition, it’s best to keep it simple by not using any more than three herbs or spices in any dish.
The smaller the item you are cooking, the higher the baking temperature should be. Baking something delicious does not have to involve leaving food in the oven for hours. If you are baking something small, set the oven temperature higher. Just make sure you leave it in the oven for less time.
Spices should be stored in a cool and dark place. Storing spices in lighted areas or warm areas can reduce their length of freshness. You can preserve the flavor and freshness of your spices by storing them in a dark, cool spot. Meals prepared with fresher spices are simply more delicious.
Save your butter and margarine wrappers to use when baking. The wax paper that butter and margarine is wrapped in just happens to be the perfect size for greasing pans or rubbing onto a potato before popping it in the oven for baking. Save wrappers butter-side to butter-side in a closed storage container, so it stays fresh for your baking needs.
Whenever you have a meal to cook, if you do your all your prep work ahead of time, it will be much less stressful and quicker. Check recipes to find out what can be prepared ahead of time without risking spoilage. Many of the preparatory steps can be taken a day before cooking. The most complicated recipes can be transformed into easy, enjoyable kitchen work with advanced preparation.
For fluffier pancakes, allow the batter to sit for about five minutes before you start pouring it into the pan. This will allow the flour to absorb more of the moisture in the mix, making for much lighter pancakes that will rise more when you cook them and give them that great restaurant flavor!
Cinnamon should be added to foods for extra antioxidants. Cinnamon is a tasty spice that can be added to applesauce, diced apples, yams, or even oatmeal. It adds great flavor to just about any fruit and is great for using when baking. It is also very affordable and can be purchased at any grocery store.
Try to add some broths or other ingredients to recipes that call for liquid in place of what it asks for. As a substitute for water, try broth. Juice can work as well. Some people use the water left over from boiling vegetables. Some great replacements for milk are sour cream, yogurt and buttermilk. Using liquid substitutions in your cooking can increase nutrition and give a standby dish a new flavor.
No one can really say that they enjoy a dry hamburger. Instead of serving dry tasteless burgers at your next barbeque add some cold water to your beef before you grill. Try about 1/2 cup per 1 pound of meat. You will leave your guests amazed with your burgers every time.
Every good cook recognizes the importance of keeping a well stocked pantry. You should have quantities of flour, salt, oil, sugar, and spices on hand at all times. Good cooking depends on it. There is nothing more frustrating than to get down to that final step and find you are missing a necessary spice.
To save money and time consider throwing a beef roast or pork roast in the slow cooker. This makes a delicious meal the first night, and the leftovers make tasty sandwiches the rest of the week. Pack this in your lunch instead of deli lunch-meat, which is packed full of preservatives.
As you can see, cooking does not need to be unnecessarily frightening or intimidating. Learning to cook is really within the grasp of anyone with enough interest to learn a few of the basics. Try some of the tips you have learned in this article, and get started cooking today.