Universal Food Safety

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By - Natasha

Advice to Help You Become a Great Cook!

You’ve probably seen famous chefs on television cooking up delicious meals and wished that you could enjoy gourmet dishes. The good thing is that you can, if you make it. Cooking is like any other activity; if you hone and develop your skills, you can be a very good chef. Here are some great cooking tips that every good chef knows.

Learn to use your hands when cooking (after washing them thoroughly first of course!). Hands are the most sensitive yet versatile cooking utensil you will own. They can be used for mixing, measuring and testing whether a product is cooked enough. A cake, for example, will show that it is done by springing back when touched lightly with a finger on its top.

Use a tried and tested recipe when entertaining. When you have guests over for a meal, always prepare something tasty that you have made before. This is not the time to test a new recipe as it could turn out to be a disaster! Also, remember to find out if your guests have any dietary requirements or allergies, or if they simply don’t like a certain kind of food. This will ensure that your evening is a success.

One of the best things that you can do to save money and improve the quality of your dressings is to make your own. Homemade dressings will save you a lot of money in the long run and will also taste great, as most of the ingredients are natural and healthier.

Cook your chicken over other ingredients. If you are making a chicken dish that includes an ingredient like onions, cook the chicken over them. Oil the pan and cut the onion into slices. Put them in the pan and place the chicken over them. The juices from the chicken will soak into the onion.

As you cook your meal during the course of the night, make sure that you taste it at several different points. This will allow you to pinpoint exactly when it is done, so that you do not run the risk of overcooking it. Tasting your food is important to achieve the quality you desire.

Take care when storing chocolate for use in cooking. As a rule, only buy as much chocolate as you can use within a few months. Chocolate contains fat, and under the wrong conditions it can turn rancid. Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. A kitchen cupboard away from any heat sources is ideal. Keep the chocolate wrapped in foil or plastic and store it away from anything with a strong smell, as it absorbs odors easily.

Cheese is one of the best things that you can add to pastas and different types of meats. If you are making pasta, do not forget to buy grated cheese and put it on the table for people to add to their dish. This will improve the quality and texture of the meal.

To reduce the fat and calories in a recipe that calls for a lot of mayonnaise, simply replace half the mayonnaise with sour cream. Since mayonnaise serves primarily a textural purpose in many of these recipes, replacing it with similarly textured sour cream gives you the same texture with a lighter, healthier taste.

Layered bar cookies, fudge and chewy brownies often fall apart or get torn up from trying to evenly cut them into squares. A good rotary pizza cutter can be used to accomplish this task without worrying about a sharp knife slipping and causing an injury. Make some light guidelines in your food with the tip of a knife first and follow up with the pizza cutter for perfectly cut bars, brownies and fudge every time.

An easy way to experiment with combining savory flavors in the kitchen and not spend a lot of money in food waste, is to turn your ideas into an omelet. Eggs, especially egg whites, are fairly flavor-free and provide a great “canvas” on which to “paint” the ingredients you want and then combining into a dish. Small batches of scrambled eggs that you can fold your ingredients into, will also give a neutral background for your flavor taste tests.

Use these tips as a blueprint, paving the way ahead for you as a home chef. Don’t stop learning and getting ideas about cooking anywhere you can. If you make something once, and it doesn’t come out well, try it again. Keep trying. Anyone can be a terrific chef if they just keep at it–even you!