Cooking can and should be an incredibly relaxing and rewarding experience. In fact, one of the best parts about cooking is that there are so many ways to make cooking more enjoyable and less intimidating. To help alleviate some of the stress in cooking, David Findel, Development Coach from Colts Neck, New Jersey, has outlined six of the best cooking techniques for the amateur chef to try out. Visit this site http://www.davidfindel.com/ for more information on David and his work.
1. Roasting Vegetables
Roasting vegetables ensures that they not only taste great but maintain their nutrients. To properly roast vegetables, you should preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper (a cook’s best friend) and place the vegetables on the sheet. You should cube your vegetables to make them easier to cook, and to also ensure an even cook. Lightly coat the vegetables with olive oil, salt and fresh ground pepper – to taste. Once you have seasoned your vegetables to taste, David Findel says to spread them evenly on the parchment paper. He further states that, heartier root veggies take about 40 to 50 minutes to roast, whereas peppers, broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms will be done in 15 to 20 minutes. Roasting vegetables this way can please even the pickiest eaters.
2. Cooking a Whole Chicken
This is something each amateur chef should learn to master frying, as it is a skill that will follow you in every kitchen. While this may sound intimidating, it is truly one of the easiest ways to prepare poultry. Starting with a dry chicken, season it with salt and pepper (the more, the better). From there, you should rub the chicken with butter and place it in a pan. You can also add rosemary, garlic, or lemon to enhance the flavor. For best results, cook the chicken for 20 minutes at 450 degrees and then an additional 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Chicken is safe to eat at an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. The Proper way to Cook Pasta
Cooking pasta is simple, sure, but experts agree that a few extra touches will make it especially delectable. Start by cooking it al dente – or even a few seconds before that point. You should always add the pasta to the sauce, and not vice versa. Cook the pasta and sauce together for about 40 seconds, and always use a generous amount of salt in the water when cooking pasta.
4. How to Sear Meat
Seared meat is delicious – it creates a caramelized outside and a juicy, tender inside. To sear meat, heat oil in a shallow pan. With chicken breasts, for example, start by pouring enough olive oil into a shallow pan to coat the bottom. Heat the oil over medium heat for about three to four minutes. While the oil heats, you should season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chicken in the oil and cook one side for about six to seven minutes. If it still sticks to the bottom of the pan, it is not yet cooked. Cook the second side for another six to seven minutes, and then check the temperature of the thickest part of the breast with a meat thermometer. If it is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it and place it on a plate to rest for about five minutes before you serve it. David Findel states that by using this method, you will have golden, juicy, and tender chicken breasts every time.
5. How to Fry an Egg
Frying eggs is not as easy as some may think, but it’s important to get it right. It may take a few tries to learn how to fry a perfect egg, but it is well worth the time. Start by heating oil in a skillet over medium to high heat. When the oil is heated, crack the egg into the skillet and add salt and pepper. You will see the oil bubbling around the whites. Rotate the skillet often. When the whites are golden brown and crispy around the edges, your egg is ready to be removed. You may choose to leave it in longer than that if you like the yolk firmer, but the best fried eggs are cooked for about four minutes and have runny yolks.
6. How to Blanch Vegetables
Blanching vegetables is just as important as properly steaming them, and every beginner chef should know how to blanch veggies. Almost any vegetable can be blanched, which makes them easy to use in salads, sushi rolls, stir fries and more. Start by getting a large bowl of ice water ready, along with a slotted spoon and a plate lined with paper towels. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. From there, and while your water is boiling, you should cut your vegetables. This prevents them from oxidizing and makes for a better presentation. David Findel notes that when cutting your vegetables, they should be as uniform as possible cook them evenly. Add a few tablespoons of salt to your boiling water.
Add your vegetables to the boiling water in small batches – your aim is to keep the water boiling. When you cook the vegetables, they should be separated by color with the lightest vegetables being cooked first. Once you begin cooking them, test on after 30 seconds by dipping it into the ice bath, and tasting it. Return it if it is not cooked to your liking. When the vegetables are done, plunge them into the ice bath to cool them. When they are cooled completely, remove them from the ice bath and drain them on your plate.
Cooking is a skill that improves and develops over time with lots of practice and patience. The sheer volume of books, programs, online recipes, and guides to cooking for beginners can be overwhelming. If you are looking for simple ways on how to be a better cook and improve your cooking skills then look no further, Leiths Online Cookery School highlights 21 ways that will help you channel your inner chef, ensuring you are on your way to being a culinary success in the kitchen. The online platform was built to help those who want to go from amateur home cook to confident chef in just a few weeks. They offer courses for absolute beginners, keen bakers, and professional chefs looking to upgrade their skills.
These are just a few of the most important techniques to use as an amateur chef. There are many more skills to master. If you can master these beginner skills, David Findel knows that you will feel more prepared to take on more advanced cooking tasks over time, which will make your dishes more flavorful and unique.