Chef’s Corner: How To Properly Prepare Duck

Becoming a better cook can be accomplished with a little time, patience and following a few simple steps. The basics of cooking are easy to master and accomplish. In order to cook meals and dishes that will make your friends and family say “Wow!” you need to try these simple steps and you can be on your way to being the best cook you can possibly be.

Preparation is a very important part of cooking. You want to make sure you have every item you might need. You also want to make sure you have all the supplies you might need. You don’t want to be in the middle of a dish and find out you are missing something important.

Remember, the smaller the item, the higher the baking temperature. Small cookies will bake on a higher temp than a full cake would. Make sure to double check your recipe to find out the exact temperature it needs to be. You don’t want to prepare a perfect item only to have it burn or be under cooked.

Get the most juice out of lemons. Fresh lemon juice is much more tasty than the kind that comes out of a bottle, but it is sometimes surprising how little juice you can get out of a lemon. Heat the lemon in a microwave for 20 seconds on high power. Then, roll the lemon on your cutting board using as much pressure as possible. This way, you will get about twice the amount of juice out of the lemon, and your dish will be much more flavorful!

When cooking, the smaller the item the higher the cooking temperature can be. For instance, if you are cooking mini muffins they can be baked at 400, where as if the muffins are regular size the temperature should be no higher than 325. Cooking at the right temperature will optimize your cooking time and keep items from becoming dried out.

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.

Add a small pinch of sea salt to your ground coffee immediately before brewing. This will add a great punch of flavor to every cup. This process works well in either a traditional coffee maker or a french press. Don’t add the salt before brewing time though, or your coffee flavor will be compromised.

When you are seasoning a salad, add a small dose of olive oil in addition to natural sea salt. This will help to give your salad a crunchy appeal even after you add the dressing. Keeping your salad as crunchy as possible will create a feeling of freshness upon consumption.

Mushrooms discolor fast and they don’t look too appetizing when you serve them. You can prevent discoloration by following this technique. Squeeze the juice of a quarter lemon onto a paper towel and wipe the cap of each mushroom with it. This cleans the mushroom and prevents it from changing its original color.

For the moistest banana bread ever, peel and then freeze the bananas slated for the next loaf. Bananas placed in a covered container in the freezer will absorb moisture from the freezing process and that little extra “juice”, goes a long way. Not only will your bread be more moist, it will also have a more intense banana flavor.

When you are cooking meat and adding seasoning to it, use an even sprinkling gesture to apply the seasoning. You should season from a decent height and aim to produce an even “snowfall” effect. Executed properly, this technique ensures consistent coverage and avoids leaving over-seasoned clumps or seasoning-free areas on the meat.

When cooking, make sure that you never put anything metal in the microwave, as it will cause sparks given the electromagnetic energy. Always make sure that the items you are microwaving are safe to put in there. This will help to increase your level of safety when you are in the kitchen.

How to achieve perfect scrambled eggs. Always cook your eggs in butter. Don’t be tempted to use oil. Allow two eggs per person, and beat with a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Scrambled eggs should be cooked slowly over a low heat, and stirred continuously. Scrape the bottom of the pan and constantly bring the outside edges into the middle. Serve on a warm plate. Enjoy!

Freeze your excess ginger root. When you buy a ginger root for cooking, the chances are you won’t use the whole thing in one recipe. Whatever you have left can be frozen. Not only will it keep for a long time, it’s really easy to shave off a piece with a sharp knife, or grate it when it’s frozen.

Next time you make a dressing at home, swap half of the amount of mayo with an equal portion of Greek-style yogurt. This increases not only the richness of the dressing, but it gives it the creamy and smooth texture that we all love to see on our salads and other dishes.

After trying these steps, you should be well on your way to being a much better cook. The great thing about these tips is that if they don’t work the first time keep trying and you are sure to get better. You should notice the difference right away and your friends and family will thank you.

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