Cooking is just as much an art as it is an acquired skill. While the ability to simply cook an easy and fast meal for the family is much easier these days because of prepackaged foods, cooking from scratch is seeing a huge comeback.
But for many learning to cook all over again is a big step. There are some simple things like wondering if you should measure before starting on a recipe, and some big questions. One of them is the question of gas versus electric stoves. If you go to energy websites like http://lingas.com/ you will find that many professional chefs actually prefer gas. But outside of these big changes, like changing our kitchen appliances, there are some simple tips most great cooks will be happy to share.
Ease into Cooking
If you are new to cooking, it is important to relax and enjoy it. After all, you can always eat your mistakes! Put on some music that you love, pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine and pull out that recipe (or download it) while you organize your ingredients. Relax, it is just cooking. You will find yourself ready to cook more frequently when it isn’t a rushed frantic event.
Review that Recipe
The assumption is that first of all you have read through the recipe to ensure you have all the ingredients it will need. But even if that is true, take your time to read it through again before you start. Visualize the steps and how you need to approach them so there are no surprises along the way. Check to see what the oven needs to be pre-set to for baking, and make sure you have plenty of time.
I like to be prepared ahead when I cook. If the recipe calls for vegetables, I take them out of the fridge several hours ahead so they are room temperature when I cook them. They will cook not only faster, but more evenly when you do this. I also like to start by pre-measuring everything into small bowls, just like you see on those cooking shows. This way I only need to focus on the order things are prepared and doing it well.
Think Substitutions Through Carefully
If you have done this recipe before and want to vary it, substitutions might be a quick way to do this. But be aware that not all substitutions are the same, so research it first. You can often google “substitute x for y” to find out if it is a one for one substitution or not.
In baking this is even more crucial as the balance of wet to dry ingredients must be maintained. In the same way, if you live somewhere that has high elevation such as Colorado, read through the changes in your oven and think before changing the ingredients about how elevation may affect your end result.
Controlling that Mess
I don’t know about you but I get messy when I cook. This is why I control that mess by using bigger bowls then I think I need, and mixing up in the sink when things start to really fly. That way I just rinse that mess, right down the sink, quick and easy!
Take your time, enjoy what you are doing and most of all, enjoy the results. Cooking for friends and family is often its own reward when you get kudos for the latest masterpiece. Let the artist in you out with your kitchen creations, and enjoy a newly rediscovered skill.