Cooking with Katie



Tip: How to Get the Most out of Your Food

 

As you can probably tell, I really love food. When it’s done right, and each ingredient is used to it’s full potential, a dish can be magical. Here, I’m going to share with you a few tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your ingredients, and reach that “magical” stage. 🙂

Flour- Whenever I’m baking or using flour to cook, I always “lighten” it before I use it. This is how I do it:

Scoop it….

…drop it…

…then scoop up what you just dropped!

It really makes the cake or cookies or whatever you’re making lighter and fluffier. Whether you’re using all-purpose flour, self-rising flour, cake flour, almond flour, whole-wheat flour, buckwheat flour…I could go on and on, but the point is, always be sure to lighten it!

Nuts- Whenever I use nuts, I always toast them first. You can throw them in a dry skillet and toast them over medium heat or on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees. You kow they’re done when you can smell them, and as soon as you do, pull them off the heat! Toasting the nuts really just brings out all their essential oils and makes them taste so much more fresh and flavorful.

Seeds and Spices- Coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom seeds, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns, white peppercorns, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, and many other spices are so much more flavorful when they are toasted in a dry skillet, just until you can smell them, and ground up with either a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder dedicated just to seeds and spices!

Pasta- When boiling pasta, always be sure to salt the water ABUNDANTLY and add some really good olive oil. It makes the pasta taste so much better and keeps the noodles from sticking together.

Vegetables- Whenever I blanch vegetables, I always make sure to salt my water ABUNDANTLY and only cook them for 3-5 minutes. Then, I put them in an ice bath, consisting of a bowl filled with water and ice, that has been salted ABUNDANTLY. Again, it just makes the veggies taste good! Plus, the ice bath stops the cooking process and makes sure that the green color of the veggies is still there.

Herbs- Never use dried ones. Always go with the real deal.

Produce- Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to produce. I, personally, don’t go with the organic produce just because it tends to be a little more exprensive. If you are an organic-produce-eater, then that’s great! I love it! But for those of you like me, you can still eat the best of the best without it being labeled “organic.” Try looking at your local farmer’s market or raod-side produce stand; they will usually have the best (and cheapest) options. But if all you have is your grocery store, then just make sure that the produce is really fresh, smells like what it is, and isn’t too mushy or too hard!

Citrus- Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, etc.) are such a great ingredient to use! You can use the zest and the juice. The zest is the outside colored part of the fruit, and you can remove it a few different ways. A hand-held grater, box grater, vegetable peeler, or a citrus zester (you’ll have to chop the zest up after you use this, though) are all ways to get the zest off the citrus fruit. Just remember that you only need the colored part of the zest, the white part is bitter. And if you’re juicing citrus, either roll the fruit on the cutting board a few times while applying pressure, or stick it in the microwave for 5 seconds. This just helps loosen up all the juices inside.

I hope these help you make your dishes magical!

(Picture at the top of page URL: http://www.theluxuryspot.com/2009/07/10/nyc-restaurant-week/ I didn’t really make that! :))

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