Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are You Making These Seven Mistakes When Cooking?

Do you want the same to happen to you? If not, keep reading. I'll share seven of the most important cooking mistakes people do all the time.

1. Frying with olive oil Many cooks may want to shoot me for saying this but I'll say it anyway. Don't fry with olive oil. Olive oil, just like most other vegetable oils is not resistant to the high temperature that it reaches when frying. This produces cancer-causing chemicals and trans fat.

Olive oil is excellent for salads and might be fine for cooking in a soup because the water temperature doesn't get as high. But it's very bad for frying.

If you want to fry at all, fry with butter or even lard.

2. Switching off the oven when the food is ready

In short, don't wait the food to be ready to switch off the oven. Even if you have one of these modern ovens that switch off and on pretty fast there is always remaining high heat in it for a couple of minutes. Switching it off when the food is ready leads to a couple of consequences:

a) You waste energy. Switch off a couple of minutes earlier and you will use the heat "for free".

b) Your food gets burnt.

3. Cooking with salt from the beginning

Of course no food is good without any salt in it. So in order not to forget it, you put the salt in the beginning, do you? Bad idea. Salt preserves most vegetables and especially the pulse and makes them hard to cook. That's why you have to boil the lentils and green peas for such long time and at the end they still nibble.

Put the salt after the pulse becomes soft, not before that.

4. Putting cold water when baking

Next time when baking potatoes in the oven pour in hot water instead of cold. You can heat the water in a water jug or a kettle which will happen much faster than heating it in the oven. Putting cold water results in awful loss of energy and time.

5. Putting the parsley too early

When cooking a soup or some pottage inexperienced cooks often put the parsley to cook when the food is nearly ready. Even this is too early.

Parsley is best consumed raw. And the point to add it to a dish is to have something fresh in it. It gets soft and cooked for minutes so don't put it to boil even for short time. Put the parsley when you take out the pot from the hot plate. Only then it will be good.

6. Cutting out fat

In our efforts to make healthy food we often get to extreme. I'm guilty too. I've made quite a few tasteless dishes by trying to cut out fat.

One of the most common mistakes is to cut out all fat. This is plain wrong and stupid. Don't do it. Here is what it leads to:

a) Tasteless food. Most cooked foods need at least a bit of fat to be tasty. Otherwise they become as tasteless as those in the dietetic restaurants.

b) Health problems. Yes, a lot of fat is bad for your health but so is too low fat. Don't go to extremes in cooking.

7. Overcooking vegetables

You know what Chinese cooks ask every time they taste Western food. "Why do these guys cook the vegetables for hours?!". You know the cooked vegetables in Chinese cuisine are very fresh and crunchy. Why don't you do the same? The vegetables in the soup or the stew don't have to be soft. They are much better if cooked less. Of course this is not valid for pulse, pulse has to be cooked well.

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