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Jul
22

Even minor mistakes while cooking can ruin our whole effort. Usually these mistakes take place unconsciously. Here is a list of top ten mistakes that usually take place while cooking which you can avoid. Get familiar with these cooking mistakes and make sure you never repeat them in the kitchen.

  1. Always use pots and dishes after washing them properly – Even if the pots and dishes are already clean, make your habit to use utensils after washing them again. You don’t need to wash them again with soap. Just place them under running water before using. There are chances that while you placed your washed dishes at night in the kitchen, an insect might have passed through. So never use unwashed pots or utensils to cook food.
  2. Use sharp knives – Always use a sharp knife to cut vegetables but never use extra ordinary sharp knives in the kitchen. While cutting anything with a knife, be very careful. Also, buy proper knives for your kitchen to do different tasks, like cutting vegetables etc. Using a fruit knife to cut vegetables is not correct.
  3. Pre-heat oil – If you are going to fry something in oil, pre heat the oil and then add the ingredients in it. If you add food in cool oil, the food will absorb more oil and become soggy and the desired crisp results will not be attained. Similarly, if you are going to boil something in water, wait till the water reaches its boiling point and then add the particular food ingredients in it.
  4. Never cook on high temperature – It is strongly recommended that if you want to eat healthy food, always cook food on moderate heat. If you cook food on very high temperature, food usually becomes ready from outside and remains uncooked from inside. This usually leads to food poisoning especially in case of meat. If you cook food on low temperature, all the juices come out of food instead of locking inside. These juices then evaporate while cooking and you will not get the desired taste.
  5. Always go for better ingredients – While shopping for cooking, always go for fresh vegetables and fruits. Never buy any fruit or vegetable which is wrinkled or leafy vegetables which are wilted. Similarly never buy a smelly fish. Go for fresh meat instead of frozen meat. However, it is better to buy frozen turkey then a fresh one, if you are not going to cook it on the same day. Never compromise on cheap food ingredients.
  6. Brine meat before cooking – It is always helpful to brine pork, chicken and turkey before cooking. This process not only infuses water and some salt into the meat but also prevents meat from drying as it cooks which mostly happens with lean meat.
  7. Use fresh spices – We usually buy grounded spices and use them for a long time. During this time most of the spices lose there prime quality. It is better that one should buy whole spices than ground spices. There are two reasons behind it. First of all whole spices are cheaper in cost as compared to ground spices and secondly when ever you will grind whole spices, you will have fresh spices, which you must use within six months. Never use very old spices or any spice about which you feel has lost its prime quality. Also follow our tips on buying and storing herbs and spices.
  8. While cooking, only cook – It is common with most of us that while cooking we always try to do other chores as well, like cleaning, dusting or watching TV. Never do that. While cooking, keep your whole focus on cooking. It will not only give better results in food, but also save you from many accidents.
  9. Never touch a hot utensil with naked hands – Always use mittens or kitchen clothes for this purpose. Similarly while using the micro wave; always use a cloth for taking pots out of the oven. It is good to keep different kitchen clothes for different purposes.
  10. Turn off the burner before removing the pan from it – This will save you from burning your arm and hands or the cloth which you use to move the utensil while removing. Similarly always turn off the burner before leaving the kitchen as well. Also, most foods keep on cooking for a while when you remove them from the flame, so it is always a good idea to turn off the burner before removing the pan.

Follow these tips to avoid blunders in the kitchen. Also check our cooking tips to brush up your cooking skills.

In: Cooking/ Posted by admin
Jul
17

Beef, also called as “red meat” is tough meat as compared to chicken and pork. Moreover, different parts of red meat require different temperature and method for perfect cooking. Here are some general tips to help you cook beef easily. Once you get familiar with these tips, you will get familiar with how to cook roast beef and how to make steaks.

Beef Cooking Tips

  1. If you want to grill, broil or pan fry your meat, select rib eye steaks, strip or shell steaks, T bone, which contains the strip and tenderloin steaks, sirloin and round steaks.
  2. Top sirloin, tenderloin, standing rib roasts, and top rump roast are best for roasting.
  3. For stir frying, flank, top round, and sirloin steaks are good.
  4. Tenderloin is the best part for making kebabs.
  5. Never choose a recipe that over comes the original taste of beef.
  6. For best results, always cook beef at a low temperature in marinades.
  7. Marinade should cover meat properly for effective working.
  8. For marinating beef, put it in the refrigerator.
  9. Never marinade beef in a metallic bowl. Use a glass or wood bowl.
  10. Do not reuse left over marinade again as it contains bacteria due to contact with raw meat.
  11. Never defrost beef in the microwave.
  12. Never cook beef which is not fully defrost as the outside will cook while the inner part will remain uncooked.
  13. While cooking beef, control the temperature and time of cooking for good results.
  14. Trim extra fat attached to beef to reduce fat quantity.
  15. Preheat your pan or grid before you place meat on it.
  16. Once in the pan, never touch meat again until a crust is formed. Only touch the meat to turn over the piece.
  17. Always use a tong for turning over instead of a knife or fork.
  18. Cook beef until its temperature reaches 160 degree to kill all bacteria present in it.
  19. Never overcook beef as it will make it tough and dry.
  20. Sear your beef before roasting to lock all juices inside.
  21. Always remove meat from fire a little before time to prevent overcooking because it will continue to cook after removing from stove for some time.
  22. Start carving 5 minutes after removing from fire. This will let the juices settle thoroughly in meat and make carving easier without losing juices.
  23. Always use a sharp knife for carving.
  24. Never start carving in the roasting pan or oven pan. Place the meat on a cutting board and then start carving.
  25. Prevent contact of any food material with raw beef as it contains harmful bacteria.
  26. Place beef at room temperature only when you are about to cook it, as otherwise it will increase the growth of harmful bacteria.
  27. Never refreeze beef which is once defrost.
  28. Place a rack in the pan or baking dish before putting it in the oven and place beef on it to drain extra fats.
  29. Fats from the surface of beef soups, stews or sauces can be skimmed before serving.
  30. Cooked hamburger patties should be place between two paper towel and pressed to absorb all extra grease.

Use these beef cooking tips to make roasts, stews, and steaks. Be sure to go through out tips for making steaks. These tips will also come in handy in a lot of recipes given on our web site. Try the great recipes listed on our website to cook roast beef and enjoy healthy and delicious meals with your family.

In: Cooking/ Posted by admin
Jul
16

Whether you are planning something for a holiday trip or a holiday party, healthy food should be preferred to make those times of joy, happy and healthy for you and your family. These are especially the times when good quality food should be consumed. The choice of food selection depends on the cook who is preparing snacks and meals for the family members. Following are some health tips which you should keep in mind when preparing holiday meals and their nutrient values.

Healthy Holiday Meal

  1. Guests should always be offered healthy food containing all the essential nutrients. Healthy food is one which has less fat contents, more protein contents as well as vitamins and minerals. Among fats, animal derived fats should be used in smaller amount. However vegetable based fats can be used comfortably without the fear of any harmful effects.
  2. Holiday meals do not mean eating a lot of oily food and fried stuff. This is the common concept among many people. They consider holiday meals, the times when maximum fried stuff, carbonated beverages and oily snacks can be consumed. This is a very wrong concept. Instead of fried fish, oily roasted food and potato chips, healthy additions can be made. These include fruit salads, boiled beans and whole grain crackers. Many good cooking utensils are also available in the market, which help in oil free preparation of meals. They help in preparing food with little or no oil at all.
  3. Frozen food is normally used by people during holiday parties as it saves time and can serve more people. However, frozen food is not the healthiest food to offer your guests and family. Frozen and packed food should be avoided as much as possible. One reason is that it contains high caloric values and fats. The other reason is that fresh foods provide nutrients in their best form that frozen goods can never give. In fact frozen foods lose their natural nutrients to a greater extent when compared with freshly prepared food.
  4. Sauces, pastes and dips should not be taken in the packed or tinned form. Although home made sauces take some time to prepare, their health value and nutrition is far better than market products. So, ketchup, sauces, dips and pastes made at home are healthy and nutritious.
  5. Vegetables should be added to holiday meals as much as possible. Lots of salads should be served with the food. Grilled and barbecued vegetables can add delicacy to the food.
  6. Fresh fruits and homemade fruit juices are a delicious and nutritious addition to holiday meals. They are especially good for kids as well as for old people. They provide them with energy and health, along with a number of vitamins, nutrients and minerals.
  7. Snacks and crackers are an important part of holiday mealtimes. Instead of serving roasted oily meat and fried chips, healthy snacks should be given to guests and family. These are fresh cream salads, whole grain crackers and roasted nuts.

The above tips can help to make holiday meals healthy and nutritious for your friends and family. Use them to make family time enjoyable on the holiday season.

Jul
14

Say citrus! There’s a sparkle to the word. The tongue tingles in anticipation of the first rush of juice, of the tarty fizz and its slow honeyed aftermath.

Citrus Fruit Juices

Colours like lemon yellow, lime green and tangerine and the whole tonal scale of orange (from blood red to dull ochre) make up for the spectrum of the citrus. Citrus fruits provide you with the life saving and body repairing micro nutrient, vitamin C and hence are a dietary constituent included in most diet plans. Vitamin C is the nerve vitamin, one that keeps you going despite the germs, virus and the pollution. It is the healing vitamin and helps the body in building new tissue, thus helping in body repair when injured.

Oranges

When oranges are not squeezed for juice they are eaten by the dozens, especially in the season. But again some people don’t flirt with the orange much in their kitchens, except for using the zest to flavour desserts. Oranges pack vitamin C enough to rewrite the adage to “An orange a day keeps the doctor away”. All you got to do is add an orange to your breakfast, and start the day pepped up with vitamin C. You can also include any other citrus fruit juices like orange juice or grapefruit juice in your diet by taking them anytime during the day. Remember, that fresh fruit juices are the healthiest as they are natural and without any preservatives.

Oranges are seasonal treats and though they are very popular as a dessert fruit, they are increasingly becoming a part of our daily diets. Most oranges have a very short life approximately two weeks. They tend to shrivel up and become dull brown as they spoil. Wrapping different fruits in tissue paper helps in preservation.

Lemons

There’s hardly a household nowadays that sees the day through without the squeeze of a lemon. The lemon is most susceptible to frost than any other citrus fruit. Sweet lime is mildly sweet and has practically no acidic content. The aroma of citrus fruits comes from the oils present in the rind. Lemon and orange zest is liberally used as flavouring agents in various recipes and are also used in a variety of pickles. Many methods of pickling are aimed at preserving vitamin C, that can be destroyed whenever lemon is steamed, boiled or sautéed. A good bit is also lost when the cut surface is exposed to air.

Lemons can be preserved by putting them in airtight jars with heavy porcelain crocks and stone containers.

Grapefruits

A grapefruit is rich in ascorbic acid and thiamine and has a bitter taste but one cannot ignore the vast amount of vitamin C it contains. Grapefruit juice is included in most diet plans as drinking its juice (without sugar) first thing in the morning helps in fat reduction. As for its preservation it is best to use this fruit as soon as possible. If it is exposed to air for sometime the peel might become brown in colour and might lose its original flavour. If cut, it is advisable to use within 10-15mins as chances are that it will soon go stale.

Remember fruits are rich in vitamins but if exposed to air, can rapidly lose their vitamin content. Stale or cut vegetables have low vitamin C content. Many fruits and vegetables contain an enzyme called the ascorbic acid oxidase that destroys vitamin C. Therefore, to preserve the vitamin C content while cooking vegetables, it is advisable to bring them quickly to a high temperature in a short time in order to destroy this enzyme.

Jul
10

Here are some food preparation and food storage tips which will come in handy in lots of different recipes you’ll try. They will make cooking easier for you.

Food Storage

Almonds
To peel the skin, it is best to bring almonds to a boil. It makes the skin soft and easy to peel.

Bread
Store bread with the bag in a plastic container and seal well so no moisture gets in. Keep the bread in the freezer after use; it remains fresh for days this way.

Butter
To soften butter, use a grater. Save the wrappers in the freezer. Use them for greasing pans or as cake pan liners.

Cabbage
To make stuffed cabbages, place them in the freezer overnight, defrost and the leaves will peel off easily. To soften leaves for wrapping dolmas, dip in boiling water, then fill and roll.

Cheese
Cheese tastes best when served at room temperature. To cut cheese, a blunt knife is better than a sharp one. When grating, use refrigerated cheese and do not forget to spray the grater with oil.

Coriander
Coriander and other herbs can also be frozen in ice trays filled with water. You can also follow these tips to store herbs and spices.

Coffee
Coffee beans taste best when purchased whole and kept in freezer. Grind only what you need. A blender or a food-processor will do as well as an electric grinder. Create your own flavoured coffees by adding toasted almonds, chocolate, vanilla, orange or lemon peels and cinnamon before grinding the coffee beans.

Corn
Use a shoe horn to remove kernels. Massage some oil so that it comes off easily.

Cream
Cream whips better if cold. To chill cream before serving, keep it in a bowl in water with ice cubes.

Eggs
Fresh eggs are rough and chalky. Old eggs are smooth and shiny. Test for fresh eggs by placing them in a bowl of salted water. Discard the ones which rise to the surface.

Egg whites can be stored in a freezer for a year. They can be re-frozen after defrosting.

Fish
Rub lemon on utensils to eliminate fish odour. If using frozen fish, thaw overnight in the fridge. Don’t freeze fish for more than two months.

Flour
Buy and store flour in a freezer. Don’t buy in bulk especially if you live in a humid climate.

Tips to Store Food

Fruits
Buy fruits before they ripe and ripen them in a bowl at room temperature.

Garlic
Store garlic in the freezer, peel and chop before thawing. Sprinkle salt on garlic to prevent it from sticking to the knife. Soak garlic cloves in cold water for a few hours. Grind and store this garlic paste in air tight bottles and keep them in the fridge. It can last from a week to a fortnight.

Ginger
Fresh ginger is best. But for storage, peel and grind ginger and store in an air tight jar and keep it in the fridge.

Herbs and spices
Buy in small quantity. Keep them away from heat. Follow our tips for storing herbs and spices.

Iced Tea
You do not need to boil it. Place the, tea bag, sugar, lemon peel and mint in a jar filled with cold water overnight in the fridge.

Lemon and Lime
- To cut lemon or lime easily, dip in hot water for 15 minutes, roll on counter top before cutting.
- Save rinds in your freezer and use them when a recipe calls for zest.
- You may use lemon or lime juice on the cutting board and utensils to get rid of unpleasant smells.

Lettuce
Never serve wet lettuce. Wash it in cold water and seal in a bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture.

Meat
To tenderize meat, rub with vinegar, brown sugar, garlic or raw papaya with skin.

Nuts
To crack any nut, place it in a pillow case or a plastic bag before cracking.

Onions
Refrigerate onions or soak them in water before cutting to avoid tears. Use a sharp knife to peel.

Oranges
Place in a hot oven before peeling to removes white fibres while you peel.

Pasta
For perfect pasta, boil in salted water, stir in some oil, cover to let boil for some time, then turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes till done. Add butter or oil to water in order to prevent boil overs. It also keeps the pasta from sticking. Once you take out pasta from the hot water in a colander, run it under cold or tap water to prevent it from sticking together.

Popcorn
It stays fresh if sealed in bags.

Potatoes
- Use brown skinned potatoes for deep frying and baking, and red ones for boiling or steaming.
- Store potatoes in cool dry and dark place.
- Don’t ever store them with onions.

Rice
- When cooking, drain rice, run it under cold water to wash off the starch.
- Make packets of two or four cups separately and store in a freezer for convenience.

Green salad
Green salad is best when served cold. Store salad in a zip lock bag with a paper towel to prevent greens from going stale.

Salt
Put a few grains of raw rice in the salt shaker to prevent it from humidity and clogging.

Soups
Before adding veggies, toss them with flour to keep them from sticking at the bottom.

Vegetables
Prepare veggies in microwave as it takes less time and retains colour. You may also steam veggies in ice water to retain their colour.

How to prevent Cooking odours
To prevent cooking odours, boil or simmer a pot of water with some vinegar or lemon skin. Leave it in the kitchen for a while.

Jul
07

Kid’s parties are usually birthday parties or a fancy dress party with a theme. Children usually love to play with their age mates rather then focusing on food. But still if you want to arrange a party, make sure that no one goes hungry from your kids party. Moreover, the best party is one where not a single kid burst into tears. And it is possible only when your kid party contains interesting games with yummy food. Here are some tips to plan great food for your kids party.

Childrens Party Food

  1. Do not go for very complicated recipes. Keep the food simple.
  2. Include more sweet dishes in a kid party as kids love sweet dishes more then other food.
  3. Make that food item whose left over can be used after ward as there is a chance that some food may remain uneaten.
  4. Add more snacks in kid parties. Snacks are easily eaten by kids and take less time in making.
  5. Do not just have cake and ice cream for your kids party. Only sweet things make them irritated.
  6. Kids usually pay more attention towards games and gifts, so try to incorporate treats in games, like giving clue for finding treat.
  7. Time of the day also helps to decide which type of food items should be included in the party. If your party is at dinner, never rely just on cake and snacks. Go for some tummy filling foods like pizza or patties.
  8. If your kid party is based on some theme, serve food according to the theme. Like for a tea party and Mexican Fiesta, food should support your theme.
  9. Before making a list of the food items, check how much your wallet allows you to spend on food. Depending on that you can buy food from outside or can prepare at home. Preparing food at home is cheaper than buying from the restaurant.
  10. All food items should be completely prepared before the start of the party. Kids need you in party rather in the kitchen.
  11. Prefer making food at home. But if you are afraid that some thing would get spoilt by you, order food from a fast food restaurant, instead of giving kids bad mouth taste.
  12. Make food a little more than required. There are chances that some parents may stay with their kid or you have really invited some food lovers.
  13. Plan 2 drinks for each kid, because while playing, kids consume a lot of beverage.
  14. Write the names of every kid on his glass so that everyone uses only his glass every time.
  15. Any kids party is incomplete without a cake. The cake topping should be according to the theme of the party, and always prefer using light colour for topping than dark colours like red.
  16. You can bake cupcakes for kids party at home and decorate them with icings and chocolate balls.
  17. Avoid making dishes with large quantity of sauces. Kids spill sauces on their clothes.
  18. Take out ice cream from the crate and put it in cups before starting the party. Decorate cups with fruit toppings and some biscuits.
  19. Serve kids with water melon, straw berry or pine apple chunks from time to time during the party.
  20. Kids are very choosy when it comes to drinks. So make sure you add variety to the beverages like milk, juices, lemonade, water and soft drink, so kids can have a drink of their own choice.

It is important that you add healthy foods to your kids’ party also, and you can do this by adding vegetables, fruits and natural juices wherever possible. For example, you can serve fruits with ice cream and desserts.

In: General/ Posted by admin
Jul
03

Everyone loves to enjoy a tender, juicy and well cooked steak but every one cannot cook a great steak. Unlike other cooking techniques, steak cooking needs a little professional touch. If you do not know the technique properly, you are surely going to ruin a good piece of meat. Here are some great tips that will help you to fulfill your steak cooking wish easier to come true.

How to Cook Steaks

  1. Red meat and white meat steaks require different time and attention. Be sure to know which meat and which method you are going to select before you start cooking.
  2. For red meat, best parts for steaks are top lion or filet mignon.
  3. Take meat out of the refrigerator only 30 minutes before you start cooking your steaks.
  4. If meat is freeze, defrost it at room temperature first.
  5. Never go for microwave defrosting. It will ruin your meat to make steak.
  6. For seasoning, only use salt and pepper on both side of meat. Never go for too many ingredients for seasoning purpose.
  7. After seasoning, marinade steaks with your favourite sauces to enhance the flavour. You can either buy a sauce from the market or prepare it by your self by following a particular recipe.
  8. If you are thinking of grilling your steaks, pre-heat the grid for 10 minutes.
  9. Your oven or grid should be preheated up to 250 degrees.
  10. Before putting your steaks on the grid make sure that it is well heated. This will prevent juices from leaking out of steaks.
  11. Clean the grid properly before placing steaks on it. Oiling the grid lightly before placing the steaks will prevent them from sticking with the grid.
  12. Do not cook your steaks on very high heat as the outside of the steak will be cooked or get burnt while the inside will remain uncooked.
  13. Thin steaks take less time and can be cooked on high heat but thick steaks take more time, so cook them on medium heat for proper cooking.
  14. If you are cooking steaks in a pan, instead of oiling the pan, oil the steaks properly.
  15. Never touch steaks while they are being cooked unless you want to turn it over. This affects texture as well as the flavour of steaks, so turn them only once while cooking.
  16. For turning over a steak, never use a fork or knife. Always use a tong and properly handle the steak so that it does not slip while handling.
  17. To check whether steaks are prepared, never cut them with a fork or knife, as that will let juices leak from steak. Simply touch the steak with your finger tip in the middle. If it does not bounce back, it still needs to cook more but if you observe a little bounce, your steak is ready.
  18. If your grid has a lid, place steaks on it and cover it with the lid. Similarly, after turning over again cover the grid with lid. This will enhance the smell of your barbecue.
  19. After removing steaks from fire, let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. It will allow the juices to distribute properly in the meat and enhance the flavour.
  20. Always lay the table with sharp knives and warm plates for your steak meal.

Use these tips to help you in preparing steaks and enjoy juicy, tender steaks every time.

In: Cooking/ Posted by admin
Jul
02

The most important and sensitive time that comes in a woman’s life is when she expects a baby. During the entire pregnancy period, one needs to be extremely careful about the diet plan. During pregnancy, the mother and fetus both require more nutrition, so a proper schedule for taking meals must be followed. Normally, doctors also guide pregnant women about how they must take care of their meals throughout the day. Here are a few tips on meal planning and cooking for pregnant women.

Meal Planning for Pregnant Women

Tips for Pregnant Women

  1. While maintaining a schedule, try to add all the nutritious vegetables and fruits available in that season.
  2. As meat and chicken are available all over the year, add a sufficient quantity of all these to the diet plan.
  3. A proper balance must be created among the food items that are to be taken.
  4. Liquids in the form of fresh juices, milk or milk shakes are also very useful during pregnancy. By taking fresh juices, all the nutrition in the fruit immediately gets digested by the body.
  5. Taking fruits in their raw form seems a bit boring to some women. For all those, fruit juices are a refreshing alternative.
  6. Water intake must be increased to fulfill the requirements of both you and the unborn baby.
  7. Dairy food items have great nutrition embedded in them. Milk, cheese and butter; all provide different health benefits to the expectant mother.
  8. Milk is very important for pregnant women and also for the developing baby. These days flavored milk is available in all the foremost markets. Milk shakes also are a good option.
  9. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian food must be taken in a ratio that it should cover all the requirements of the body. Your diet should have a variety to provide all sorts of nourishment.
  10. Women who have high blood pressure, must be very careful about their diet during pregnancy. Salt and egg create possibilities of high blood pressure and should be avoided during pregnancy.
  11. It is also noted that some women who have normal glucose level before pregnancy, experience an increase in their glucose level during pregnancy. It sometimes reaches to a point where it becomes very dangerous for the baby. In those cases, keep a regular check on the glucose level throughout the pregnancy period and avoid taking excess of sugar.
  12. Even after the pregnancy, do not start taking excess of sugar or salt; in fact increase the intake gradually.
  13. Everyone in the world can have allergies with certain food items. Some people cannot take raw onions in the salad, some cannot take lemon and peanut allergy is also very common. So pregnant women must stay away from foods which can cause allergy.
  14. During pregnancy try to avoid over cooked and spicy foods because they are considered to have less sustenance.
  15. For all those women who find eating difficult during the pregnancy period, take small meals after short intervals. For example, take something after every two hours.