Basic Cooking Techniques
If you are going to be a good cook, then you need to learn the basic cooking techniques. Knowing these techniques can not only make it more enjoyable to prepare food but also more enjoyable for everyone who gets to eat your food.
Cooking is not just about recipes. It is also about how to take the ingredients and make them taste as good as possible.
The basics of cooking include knowing how to bake everything from bread to cakes and cookies, roasting a turkey and grilling a steak, making the perfect pot of stew or sautéing mushroom or onions for a topping on that perfectly grilled steak.
For a quick meal it also helps to know how to make a stir fry.
How to Bake
If you look up baking in the dictionary it will tell you: to cook by dry heat in an oven or on heated metal or stones. Today’s modern ovens would have made our grandmother’s envious and the only heated stones you might find in the kitchen are the ones for making pizzas.
I’m sure you can remember the wonderful smells of freshly baked bread in your mother’s kitchen or the local bakery. There is an art of baking and any good cook will tell it always starts with the recipe.
Go into any book store and you will find many books on the art of baking. In fact, there is a book store in my neighborhood that only sells cookbooks. It’s a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours and to top it off there is usually a local chef demonstrating some great recipes.
Baking for me brings back memories of birthday cakes, Christmas cookies and home made fudge. What are your favorite baking memories?
How to Braise, Grill and Roast
There are many ways to prepare fish, meat and poultry and one of the most popular is grilling. This can be done under the broiler in an oven or on the barbeque. We North American’s seem to love our barbeques and there are plenty of opportunities to get out the grill in the warm months of summer. Add some fresh vegetables to the grill along with your favorite cold beer or glass of wine and you have a wonderful and easy to prepare dinner.
One of the other ways to prepare fish, meat or poultry is by braising. You simply add some oil to a frying pan add your fish, meat or poultry and a little liquid, put on the lid and let it simmer slowing in the liquid. Ready made gravy and an easy dish to prepare.
On the other hand who hasn’t enjoyed a Sunday dinner of roast beef or a
Christmas dinner of roast turkey. One of the easiest ways to prepare a
roast or turkey is to simply put it in the oven. There are various
methods on how to have the moistest turkey but my favorite is to put it
in a special bag. It takes less time and you get the perfect turkey
Note: You can find the bags in the poultry section of most supermarkets.
How to Make a Stew
Stewing meat and vegetables is a very old recipe and every country seems to have their own recipe. Stewing is taking a combination of meat or poultry with vegetables, herbs and spices and simmering in liquid for a period of time. Some of the more popular dishes include Hungarian Goulash, Coq au Vin, Beef Stroganoff and Boeuf Bourguignonne. There is nothing better on a cold winter’s day that a great bowl of stew with a slice of your favorite crusty bread, some fresh butter and a glass of red wine.
How to Saute
Sauteing is cooking food in a small amount of fat or oil over high heat. Often considered a French method of cooking, sautéing is often done in a proper skillet also called a sauté pan. These pans usually have a heavier bottom to ensure that the base doesn’t warp from the high temperature required to sauté. Although similar to pan frying, sautéing is done with more heat and usually with small pieces of food such as onions or mushrooms. Also, sautéing doesn’t use a lot of oil and you constantly move the food around to cook it evenly.
How To Make a Sauce
The bases of any good sauce generally starts with the basic white sauce. There are many other sauces that can be produced one you know how to make it such as hollandaise sauce as well as cheese sauce, curry and Mornay sauce.
Here is the basic White Sauce recipe:
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and then whisk in the flour (a bit at a time), salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add in the milk and bring everything to a boil. Cook stirring for about two minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Makes one cup.
Gordon Ramsay - How To Make A Classic White Sauce With Cheese
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