Bake, Broil, Fizz And Fry: Cooking Advice For All Author: When you are preparing to cook a meal, you must keep several bits of information clearly in mind. As you formulate your recipe, add your ingredients, select cook times, and handle all the other demands of a busy kitchen, these strategies and tactics can help you turn bland meals into sizzling cuisine. Basil is one of the best things that you can add to a dish and looks great as a decoration to any type of meal. Simply add a few pieces of basil to give your meal spice and improve the overall aesthetic beauty to the dish you put on the table. Make Johnny cakes for a treat at home or in camp! All you need is flour, baking powder (the kind that comes in a can, not baking soda that comes in a box), and cooking oil. Mix about a teaspoon of baking powder thoroughly into a cup of flour. Add enough water to make a thick batter. Pour it into a hot greased skillet, and fry the cakes like you would a hot cake. A great cooking tip is to spray your pan with oil before you cook with it. Spraying the pan with oil will make it so that the food doesn't stick to the pan. Trying to clean a pan with food stuck on it can be very frustrating and time consuming. Cook perfect rice every time. When cooking plain white rice, follow these simple steps. Put 1 cup of long-grain rice into a heavy-based saucepan, with a pinch of salt and 2 cups of water. Put a lid on the saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cook for 12 minutes. Check the rice at this point: there should be no water left, and small steam holes should have appeared in the rice. Replace the lid, and let the rice sit for 2 minutes. Enjoy! To avoid burning food, when you cook on the stove or in the oven, use a loud timer to help you remember to check on your food. Also, set the timer a little early so that it will give you extra time to grab the potholders and the cooling racks. If you need extra cooking time, don't forget to reset your timer. When one is cooking something it is important that they follow the directions as closely as they possibly can. Forgetting an ingredient, putting in too much or too little of an ingredient, or not cooking something long enough are all problems that can arise when one is not paying attention to the directions. Use a collapsible steamer basket to make the best steamed vegetables. These devices are available widely and cheaply. They can slip into almost any pot you already have and can be used for almost any vegetable you would like to enjoy. Be sure to watch your cook time to avoid getting mushy vegetables. An easy way to skin nuts. When used in cooking, nuts such as almonds and pistachios need their skins removed. Blanch the nuts by boiling them in a pan of water for one minute. Drain the nuts, and place them on a clean dishtowel. Fold the dish towel over the nuts, and rub vigorously. The skins will rub off onto the towel. Use olive oil on your hands when working with dough. Some people think that coating your hands in flour is the best method, but in actuality, the flour will quickly transfer to the dough and you will lose all of the benefits. Using olive oil instead will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands for longer periods of time. A great help for achieving your best baking results is to bring your butter and eggs to room temperature before use. By allowing these ingredients to lose their chill, you allow heat from cooking to activate the oils and fats within them at the right time as opposed to waiting for them to achieve the right temperature while cooking. If you love to cook but have minimal space for a library of cookbooks in your kitchen, consider purchasing a small laptop or netbook exclusively for kitchen use. You can keep your own recipes and notes on the computer, pull up thousands of recipes online, and listen to your favorite radio stations or TV shows as you cook. For those dishes that have longer cooking times, you will want to add your spices and herbs about an hour or so before eating. If these spices are cooked too long, then the resulting flavors may be too strong. In addition, it's best to keep it simple by not using any more than three herbs or spices in any dish. When you broil a steak, heat your broiler to the appropriate temperature before putting the steak in. The result will be a seared steak on the outside, with a very juicy inside. The broiling process should also be quick, but will vary depending on how well done you want your steak to be. Over cooking can lead to a dried out end result. By applying the tips learned above, you could easily increase your cooking skill with a little elbow grease. Expert cooking is not an unattainable goal even for a novice level cook. 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