Partially freeze meat to make slicing into thin strips easier. This is ideal for Oriental meals like Chinese dishes or Thai dishes. By partially freezing meat ingredients, slicing is cleaner and the fibers do not stretch and tear as easily. However, be sure to allow the meat strips to thaw before cooking them, for even cooking.
Ensure that your baked fish is moist and tender by cooking 'en papillote'. This is a French technique that refers to fish baked in a parchment-paper packet. Place the fish and vegetables of your choice in the center of a large piece of parchment-paper. Bring the edges of the paper together, crease them tightly to form a seal, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees. The fish and vegetables steam in the packet, keeping them moist and tender, and creating a tasty, healthy dish. (Clean-up is just as easy - simply throw away the paper after eating!)
Before you start cooking or baking make sure you have all the ingredients gathered together. This will save you time and prevent cooking mishaps. You'll have a better product in the end.
For stir fry with an authentic Chinese touch, try using their velveting technique! Prepare a mixture of corn starch, egg whites, seasonings and sherry and set your pork, chicken or shrimp in it for about half an hour. Then, blanch it in hot oil or boiling water for shiny, tender and delicious restaurant quality stir fry.
When seasoning your food, remember that it is much easier to add more seasoning if needed, but you cannot take it away if you add too much. That is why it's important to go light when seasoning with herbs and spices. You want to compliment the flavors of the food and not overpower them.
Keep a few cut up, washed, and prepared vegetables in your freezer. This will reduce your prep time when you're cooking a recipe. Onions and peppers are great to freeze. Just buy them fresh, wash and cut them when you have time, and store them in individual zip lock bags.
It is extremely embarrassing to have lumps in your gravy. It happens to everybody from the beginner cook to the master chef. There is a simple trick you can use to eliminate them. Drain the gravy through a fine strainer and discard the lumps. This technique can be used for other sauces or soups too.
Garlic is just one of many tasty ingredients whose flavor has a downside: It transfers to your hands. Rub your hands thoroughly on the interior of a stainless steel sink after working with garlic or other odoriferous cooking ingredients. This will cleanse your hands and prevent the smells from transferring to the food you handle next.