You open the cookbook and see a recipe
title or a photo that tempts your taste buds. Then you start to read
the recipe, realize the preparation is more difficult than you first
thought, and put the book back on the shelf. Sound Familiar? Well here's a simple
cooking tip to help get you started:
1. Abbreviations for Measuring
Tsp. = teaspoon
Tbsp. = tablespoon, which equals 3
C = cup.
Cooking Tip: Get a set of measuring spoons. The set
will usually have 1/4 tsp., 1/3 tsp., 1/2 tsp., 1 teaspoon and 1
tablespoon. Dry measure cups look like little
saucepans and can be leveled off with a knife or other
straight-edged tool. They come in sets like the measuring spoons.
Liquid measuring cups have ounce marking lines so you can measure
however many ounces you need. Cooking Tip: Some recipes require exact
measurements to turn out right so learn to measure correctly.
2. Common Ingredients
Make sure you know what you need.
Cooking Tips: Baking powder and baking soda are not
the same. Ask the produce manager at the market
about fruits and vegetables, the meat manager about cuts of meat.
When trying something new, buy ONE. You
can always go back for more if it turns out well.
3. Common Terminology
Bake: Dry heat in the oven. Set oven control
to the desired temperature while you're preparing the dish to be
baked. Once the light that says it's heating turns off, the oven is
at the proper temperature. Then put in the food for best results,
center it in the oven.
Boil: Heat a liquid until it bubbles. The
faster the bubbles rise and the more bubbles you get, the hotter the
liquid. Some recipes call for a gentle boil barely bubbling or a
rolling boil just short of boiling over. Watch so it doesn't boil
Braise: A moist cooking method using a little
liquid that barely bubbles on the top of the stove or in the oven.
This is a good way to tenderize cheaper cuts of meat. The pan should
be heavy and shallow with a tight fitting lid to keep the liquid
from boiling away. There's a lot that can be done for flavoring in
your choice of liquid and of vegetables to cook with the meat.
Broil: Turn the oven to its highest setting.
Put the food on broiler pan a 2 piece pan that allows the grease to
drain away from the food. In an electric oven on the broil setting
only the upper element heats, and you can regulate how fast the food
cooks by how close to the element you place it. Watch your cooking
time it's easy to overcook food in the broiler.
Brown: Cook until the food gets light brown.
Usually used for frying or baking. Ground beef should usually be
browned (use a frying pan) and have the grease drained before adding
it to a casserole or meat sauce.
Fold: A gentle mixing method that moves the
spoon down to the bottom of the bowl and then sweeps up, folding
what was on the bottom up over the top. This is used to mix delicate
ingredients such as whipped cream or beaten egg whites. These
ingredients just had air whipped into them, so you don't want to
reverse that process by mixing too vigorously.
Simmer: Heat to just the start of a boil and
keep it at that point for as long as the recipe requires. The recipe
will usually call for either constant stirring or stirring at
certain intervals. Now you are ready to do the shopping
and prepare that recipe that you've always wanted to try!
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