10 Easy Cooking Ideas
If you are looking to make life simpler in the kitchen, here are 10 easy cooking ideas. Every experienced chef has learned a personal repertoire of tips and tricks through the years. Easy cooking is not a natural born talent. It is something that is learned. Master these easy cooking ideas and you're well on your way to becoming a professional chef in the kitchen.
- Garlic—love it or hate it, there are certain things that you must know. First, when buying fresh garlic, look for heads which are firm and dry. Intact garlic heads will keep in a cool, dark environment for two months. Garlic is easier to peel when the skin has been broken or split. To roast garlic, cut off the top of the head, drizzle with olive oil, place in a roasting pan and bake at 350ºF for twenty to 30 minutes.
- Do not place wooden spoons or cutting boards in the dishwasher. Placing wood in the dishwasher will dry it out and eventually cause splitting. Instead wash wood with hot, soapy water. Olive or vegetable oil can be applied to wooden kitchen utensils and then removed with a dry cotton cloth or paper towel to maintain the health of the wood.
- Buy eggs that have been refrigerated and keep them in the coldest part of the refrigerator at 40ºF. Do not keep eggs on the door. Eggs can be safely kept for up to five week from the date of purchase.
- When making pasta, salt and oil the water for easy cooking. Salt will make the pasta more flavorful, and the addition of salt to the water will help it boil more quickly. A tablespoon of oil will prevent the noodles from sticking.
- Wash rice with cold water before cooking, drain thoroughly, and allow the rice to sit for twenty minutes prior to cooking in order to prevent sticking. Add a few drops of lemon juice to the rice while cooking to discourage sticking and to make the rice grains come out bright white.
- Add ¼ cup distilled white vinegar to the water when hard boiling eggs in order to make them easier to peel. The vinegar will not affect the taste.
- For sanitary purposes, maintain two separate cutting boards. One should be for meat preparation, and the other for fruits and vegetables. Wash thoroughly after use with hot, soapy water or a diluted bleach solution.
- A roux (pronounced "Roo") is the basis of many Cajun and Creole recipes. A roux calls for equal amounts of a fat such as butter, shortening, or vegetable oil and all purpose flour. Melt butter in a saucepan over a low heat and gradually stir in the flour. Continue stirring until the roux reaches the desired color and then remove from the heat. If black specks are present then the roux has been burned and should be discarded. Roux can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for future use.
- Learn about seasonal fruits and vegetables for your area. Fruits and vegetables will taste better and have a better nutritional value if they are eaten in season. It will also be easier on your wallet since they will be less expensive at the grocery store or local farmer's market!
- Our final easy cooking tip: Never ever refrigerate a fresh tomato! Doing so will destroy the flavor and texture. To store a tomato keep it in a cool, dry place between 55ºF and 65 ºF.