Top 10 Cooking and Baking Tips
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
September 8, 2012
Filed Under Food
Contributed by Info Guru Aurora LaJambre
Learning how to cook is a work-in-progress for many of us.
After a number of trials, the tasty surprises start to outnumber the fails, but we all have our pain points – certain types of recipes that never quite work and you don’t know why. Fortunately, cooks are generous people who freely share their secrets.
These top ten cooking and baking tips are just the tips of the iceberg. Share yours below!
10. Fluffy Cake
Baking is a science. Measurements must be precise, and cook times and temperatures watched carefully. Still, things can go wrong because of the toothpick “trick” that says that your homemade cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean. Pull it out when it has a few crumbs, and you’ll taste the difference.
9. Soften Brown Sugar
A baker’s kitchen without brown sugar is no fun at all, but why must it clump into baseballs? This cooking and baking tip applies to anyone who enjoys the unmistakable richness brown sugar adds to everything from banana bread to muffins. When it clumps, pour it in an air-tight glass jar with a couple slices of apple. The apple will absorb excess moisture and the sugar will be back to normal in a day or two. Remove the apples.
8. Serve No Soggy Salads
Tired of getting stuck with the dreaded last scoop of salad, a.k.a. wet mushy lettuce? Toss your ingredients in a colander to shake off excess water. Then place a small dish upside down in the salad bowl before throwing in the salad. This extra lift allows excess moisture to drip down without saturating the bottom leaves.
7. Sautéed Vegetables
Of all the cooking and baking tips this may be the easiest one to put into action. When cooked with love, vegetables can steal the show. So why do they come out oily more often than not? -Probably because you habitually add more oil to keep them from sticking. Add a few splashes of water instead, just enough to sizzle on the sautee pan. Also, avoid cooking veggies with too much heat because you’ll kill all the nutrients and enzymes.
6. Cookie Time
For the love of cookies, put the dough in the fridge before baking them. Chilly dough leads to the best thick, chewy bites. Use a BeaterBlade to easily scrape every bit of dough. Ice cream or melon ball scoopers will give you uniform portions so they bake evenly and nobody has to fight for the biggest cookie.
5. Perfect Pasta
Will you please stop throwing pasta at the wall? This is a myth. A cruel, messy myth. Instead, cook a gourmet pasta in boiling water (with a pinch of salt) for two minutes less than usual. Strain and mix it in with your sauce, veggies and meat. Cover and cook on medium for another minute, stirring so it doesn’t stick. This really helps get the flavors of you sauce into the pasta.
4. Sweets Need Contrast
The best sweets offer more than an intense overload of rich, sweetness. Cupcakes, candy and even fudge all benefit from contrast. Sprinkle a small bit of salt over batter before sliding it in the over, or over fudge as it cools. Use rock salt for a slight crunch and burst of flavor.
3. Brown Onions
A Slate article reveals a dark secret of the recipe world, and it involves onions. Are you sitting down? Browning onions takes time. Lots of it. Yet how many “30 minute recipes” tell you to brown or caramelize onions for 5 minutes? Follow the Slate article’s instructions. Your next batch will take 35- to 40 minutes, and your dishes will never again cease to amaze.
2. Refrain from Improvisation
How many times have you read a yummy recipe only to realize you don’t have a few key ingredients, BUT figure you can make a few substitutions? Surprise surprise when that cake you made, replacing flour with Bisquik, comes out flat and tooth-chippingly inedible. If you’re going to take the time to bake something, do it right.
1. Keep It Simple
Perhaps the most important cooking and baking tips of all: Keep it simple in the kitchen. Whether you have a restricted diet or finicky children, keep your food simple and it will taste better. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new-to-you ingredients, but when you do bring in one new item at a time. When things don’t come out as you wanted them to, smile. No tears allowed.