If you really want to work on improving your cooking skills, it’s a good idea to work with the freshest and finest ingredients. Those ingredients are typically at the perimeter of the grocery store.
Use the organic meats, fruits and vegetables. Look at the frozen section for other vegetables that are frozen at the peak of ripeness. When you use authentic ingredients, it translates into the food. If you’ve ever enjoyed a really delicious piece of salmon, it’s seasoned with simple ingredients like sea salt, lemon slices and some fresh dill.
Experiment with the slow cooker
It’s always a great idea to keep slow cooker on hand. It’s especially great to use when you’re ready to slowly cook some meat. Once you’ve purchased a piece of lamb, use fresh lemon juice to cleanse it. Then, add it to a slow cooker. You can throw in a few herbs and experiment with seasonings. Let the flavors marinate and the results will be phenomenal. Most meats do really well when they’re cooked slowly. Plus, it doesn’t require you to have to slave over the stove to cook a great meal.
For slow cooking ideas head over to Kitchen Professor for some comfort food inspiration.
Attend cooking classes and learn from experts
It’s always a great idea to visit a few cooking classes and learn from the professionals. Try a variety of classes. Check out cooking class hubs such as Cozymeal and find classes in your local neighborhood. Even if you’re a meat eater, take a course in vegan cuisine and learn how to transform tofu and legumes into delicious entrees that the pickiest meat eater would enjoy. One of the best ways to improve your cooking skills involves learning from people who’ve been doing it for years. Iron sharpens iron, so you’ll want to regularly rub shoulder with those who are better than you.
Read and use cookbooks
Purchase a variety of cookbooks and learn the techniques of some of your favorite popular chefs. Notice the specific combinations of flavors and spices that they use. You can also consider logging on to YouTube. Watch a few cooking shows and pay attention to some of the similarities between the different cooking personalities. When you notice some of the similarities that create successful dishes, adopt them as your own and then place your own spin on them.
Try different styles of cuisine
One of the greatest ways to improve your culinary skills is through learning more about how other people cook in other areas of the world. Indian cuisine is comprised of lots of spices like turmeric, curry and ginger. Italian cuisine incorporates a lot of tomatoes, olives and basil. Take some time to learn more about how to prepare international food in an authentic way.
Take a course with friends that teaches you how to prepare sushi. Watch a few shows on the Cooking channel and learn how to make American soul food. Learn more about the spices of the Caribbean and perfect dishes like curry chicken and escoveitch fish. As your palate expands, your understanding of food, spices and cooking techniques will expand as well. You might even find yourself traveling to those countries to experience the real deal.
Use the right tools
If you don’t have certain tools, it’ll be difficult to prepare certain meals. Additionally, if you don’t have sharp tools, it’ll be pretty difficult to be efficient during your meal preparation process. Make sure that you use sharp knives. Sharp knives can drastically improve your productivity level in the kitchen.
In other cases, you’ll want to purchase the right tools like blenders and food processors. The two tools are completely different. If you’d like to make a cashew cream, it’s important to soak the cashew so that they can get softer. When it’s time to turn them into a cream, you’ll never want to use a blender unless it’s a Vitamix. This is where a good food processor will make the difference.
It’s best to use the freshest spices you can find. However, it’s okay to use a blend. Go to the perimeter of the store and purchase fresh herbs like dill, lemongrass and mint. Sage and rosemary are versatile herbs to use as well. Many people prefer to use the dried options because they don’t want the fresh herbs to spoil before use. Remember that you can freeze herbs.
Pull out an ice cube tray. Fill the cubes with each of the herbs. If you’d like to create herb blends, you can do that as well. After you’ve chopped the herbs and filled each section of the ice cube tray, pour extra virgin olive oil into each section. Freeze the oil/herb mixture and let it turn into hard cubes. Once you’re ready to use the herbs to season a dish, just throw the cubes into pan to quickly melt.
Incorporate lemons and limes
Lemons and limes are excellent because they can easily make a dish come alive. They’re also pretty powerful when they’re added to specific drinks. If you visit restaurants on a regular basis, it’s not uncommon to receive lemons with your water. You’ll also receive a small lemon or lime slice with your meal. The zesty flavor always compliments a meal.
Don’t be afraid to peel the skin of the lemon or lime. Grate the peel and add the peels to different soups, broths and creamy dishes. This trick is an easy way to take a simple meal to the next level and show off some serious cooking skills.