If you experiment with cooking and want to become better in the kitchen, it may be much easier than you think. Although the overall picture can appear intimidating, the simple chores associated with each of the recipes don’t have to be. Here are some simple tips to help you find inexpensive ways to advance your cooking skills.
1. Basics of Chopping
You intuitively know that if you begin chopping an onion, carrot, celery stalk on a regular basis, you will become more proficient at it, but how often do you take the five to eight minutes to chop up some extra vegetables? Chop away once or twice a week. You can store the vegetables in an airtight container for easy use next time you want to throw an omelet or soup together, and your cooking skills will dramatically improve in only a month or two.
2. Adventures in Browning
Most cooks are hesitant and insecure about what they know to be the rules of cooking. To compensate for this, they often stir food too often, turn food over every few minutes, and try to flip food around inside the pan every 30 seconds. Practice browning a piece of meat or vegetable by letting it sit for at least four minutes before you touch it in any way. This is called searing and learning how to brown food can help you build flavor profiles and improve your skills.
3. Create Some Mayonnaise
Although it sounds intimidating, mayonnaise is easy to make and takes less than five minutes to create. You only need four ingredients that you already have in your kitchen, and you are all set to become a pro. Find a recipe using a blender, and in minutes your eggs, oil, salt, and vinegar will be a wonderful cup of mayonnaise that will surprise your family or guests. Add a touch of mustard or some herbs for a special surprise to any dish, and the taste of fresh mayonnaise is amazing.
4. Bottomless Deglazing
Many home cooks unknowingly toss out one of the most flavorful parts of their sauces – the bits in the bottom of the pan. After caramelizing onions or searing your meat, you may be ready to make a yummy gravy. Don’t grab a new pan, use the one with all the bits and add a liquid of your choice. The cream, wine, or stock will take the bits off the bottom and soak in all the leftover flavors from whatever you cooked. Add some seasonings and voila!
5. Fresh Is Best
Although you may be tempted to use some frozen vegetables when the ones you want are out of season, why not switch recipes and use fruits and vegetables that are locally grown and readily available at a farmer’s market or road-side stand. The difference in flavor and texture will be readily apparent, and your ability to create better-tasting dishes may surprise you.
6. Experiment With Recipes
As you begin cooking, you may not know if thyme goes with cinnamon or if chives pair well with oregano and this may be intimidating. To boost your confidence, you can take a few beginner cooking classes at Cozymeal. Then as you build up confidence, start experimenting! When you experiment with different recipes, pay attention to what spices and herbs are used together. You may have complete failures, but you may also discover a flavor, dessert, or casserole that you will create for years to come. You will also expand your knowledge of what types of seasonings go together and what your taste buds tell you to stay away from. This is an important cooking skill to develop.
7. Reduce for Flavor
You may be tempted to purchase sauces in bottles, soups in cans, or stock in boxes, but with a little practice, you can raise your skills to a level that will surprise you as you learn to make reductions that impress even your mother-in-law! The fact is that any time you have a combination of liquids, vegetables, meats, or almost anything else, and you simmer that combination on a low heat, the reduction of water in the mixture will intensify the flavors. It is amazingly easy to create flavorful soups, sauces, and gravies as you improve your skills.
Use the easy methods above to improve your cooking skills, and within weeks you may surprise yourself by how adept you become at creating mouthwatering recipes for your friends or family. When you begin adding spices or seasonings the recipe did not call for, and the final product is amazing, you will know you have made it!