September 20th, 2012 / / categories: Cooking
Technology has changed the way we do most everything and cooking is included in that. Many times we look toward our gadgets rather than old fashioned cook books or magazine reviews of food related topics these days.
It turns out there are some very good apps for cooking.
Food Network In The Kitchen is a great app because it appeals to all levels of cooks. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced cook there is something here that you can use. You can save your favorite recipes on this app to come back to when you have time to make them.
Jamie Oliver 20 Minute Meals is another awesome app. This app is great for people who are short on time but long on a craving for home cooked meals. As you work your way through each recipe little videos from Jamie will pop up to offer you instruction on how to complete the recipe.
Epicurious is an app that gives you vast array of recipes at your fingertips. This app includes more than 28,000 recipes to choose from. All the recipes included have been tested professionally and proven to pass the taste test. This app also allows you to save recipes to your wish list for you to come back to when you are ready to try them out.
Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner is a neat little app that gives you thousands of recipes to choose from. There are vegetarian and gluten free options for those that have special dietary considerations. You can even specify how long you want to spend cooking and see what recipes are an option. Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner app even gives you other people’s thoughts on the recipes and how they rate them.
The information that can be available to you through an app is amazing and the special apps offered in the cooking category are no different.
September 14th, 2012 / / categories: Cooking
People who follow their passions in life are generally rewarded with a great deal of happiness. For many people, cooking is one of those passions. However, most people don’t know how to turn this passion into something more than a pastime. There’s actually quite a few different ways this can become something bigger for those who are serious about it.
One way a cook can capitalize on their talents is of course seeking a position where they do this for a restaurant. Owners are constantly looking for new help in their kitchen, especially for those that are already talented in this type of environment. While the starting wages for a cook will vary tremendously depending on the establishment, even the lowest paying gigs could just be that foot in the door to greater opportunities.
Not all cooks are diversified enough with their dishes to tackle the position of a lead cook in a restaurant environment. That’s okay too. There’s plenty of opportunities out there for specialists as well. Take a cake decorator for example. These professionals have fine tuned their craft in a specific niche of cooking, or rather baking. It’s not a terribly difficult business to get started with either. Many cake decorators have gotten started in this field as a side job by handing out their business cards to future bride and grooms, and others for birthday assignments. It will require a great deal of creativity, but it’s also easier to focus on this dish opposed to managing several of them.
Another way new cooks are getting their name out there is through a catering service. Catering will always be in hot demand. Again, this is another one of those simple start up ideas to make money as a cook. There’s also a much bigger market here to cater to than just a decorator would have available to them. Birthday parties and weddings are still huge events to cook for, but there’s a lot more. Schools, church events, and local businesses are also great avenues to get this profession cooking. Companies are constantly ordering a catering service to pander to new customers, and even show their appreciation for the employees of their business. This is a great launching pad for an up and coming cook to get some recognition within their community.
Cooking is a soothing activity that a lot of people actually enjoy. However, for those looking to take things further with their skills in the kitchen, there’s plenty of opportunities out there to showcase their talent. Keeping a few of these ideas in mind will get them started in the right direction.
August 5th, 2012 / / categories: Cooking
If you are thinking about becoming a chef, you most likely already have the most important qualification: a love of food. Becoming a cook isn’t just about the love of food. Being a cook also requires math skills. Cooks always have to measure out ingredients so a mastery of measurement skills is necessary. Cooks also have to be able to calculate portions, making a high school diploma almost necessary. The reason that it is almost necessary is because there are some cooks that do not have a high school diploma. Instead, those cooks just have a lot of cooking experience and a huge love of cooking. A high school diploma opens endless possibilities for anyone wishing to enter the culinary field.
An apprenticeship at a restaurant or culinary school are two of the quickest ways to become a successful cook. Combining on-the-job training and academic coursework, an apprenticeship will help a beginner chef gain the experience and expertise needed to be successful. It will also allow the cook to know what items are on the menu, what that particular establishments rules and regulations are, and learn the computer system or the way they take orders. At culinary school cooks not only get the opportunity to learn hands-on cooking skills, but they also learn about nutrition, menu planners, and food storage.
Becoming a cook at most restaurants means starting out at the bottom. Often times you will get hired as a sous chef and must prove yourself to move up the line of command. A sous chef is a lot of chopping and peeling, but is necessary for advancement in most establishments. Depending on the specific restaurant, the next rung up the culinary ladder may be line cook. A line cook is in charge of a certain area of the kitchen and all of the prep work, cooking, and clean up associated with that area. Working hard at a line cook could get you moved up to sous chef in no time. A sous chef is the assistant to the head chef. With a lot of hard work and determination, becoming the head chef is usually every cooks goal. Head chefs order ingredients, design the menu, and are the most important person in a kitchen.
Being a cook is very rewarding. Cooks do what they love most and make people happy by providing them with excellent food.
July 14th, 2012 / / categories: Cooking
Cooking gifts are great for any person who loves to spend time in the kitchen. The right gift can be useful, affordable and long lasting. If you are thinking about getting someone an item for their kitchen, here are some products to consider.
A bacon press makes a great gift because it prevents your bacon from shrinking and improves the quality of your food. Along with bacon, the press can be used with steaks and other foods to prevent them from curling. A heavy, cast iron bacon press also helps food cook evenly.
Anyone who loves to cook would like a cast iron pan. A well-made pan is affordable and lasts a lifetime if cared for properly. The pan distributes heat evenly, which allows for perfectly cooked food. It can be used for all types of cooking, such as searing, frying and even baking. Cast iron cooking can also be used as a method of fat free eating. If it is seasoned the right way, the pan does not need any fat or oil to keep foods from sticking.
Another great kitchen item is a cheese slicer. It can be difficult and time consuming to slice cheese with an ordinary kitchen knife. A cheese slicer is made with a wire that does the cutting, which makes a nice clean cut. It easy to slice through any cheese, even tough varieties like parmigiano. It can also be used on other foods such as butter, boiled eggs and fruit.
A meat tenderizer makes another fun gift. It is very simple to use and tenderizes the toughest of meats and hardly takes up any space in a kitchen. Look for a heavy tenderizer made from quality stainless steel.
Buying a friend working wear is also good. Things like aprons or even chef clothing would be great for an enthusiast . You can find kitchen uniforms by clicking here.
A mortar and pestle also makes for a great, small addition to any kitchen and a good cooking gift for people who use fresh herbs. The mortar is a bowl and the pestle is the object used to crush the ingredients in the mortar. Both items are often used to crush spices and bring out the flavor in them. You can also use it to crush and mix other food ingredients. They come in a variety of materials such as wood and marble, and they’re the perfect tools to give your food a delicious pop of flavor.
The right kitchen gift will delight any person who spends a lot of time cooking. Consider the options above for birthdays, weddings and other gift-giving occasions.
June 15th, 2012 / / categories: Cooking
Cooking can be fun, therapeutic and profitable. Of course, that’s only the case if the person in question is a good cook.
Surprisingly one of the most common mistake cooks make is neglecting to test the dish they are preparing. There are several tests that a cook can do to make sure that the dish they present is flavorful and cooked thoroughly.
First, the taste test. The most important thing to remember when following a recipe is that most of the measurements are approximate. Sometimes a person cooks a dish and then realizes that the amount of pepper has raised the heat index so high that it can’t be eaten. Or they might find that the amount of salt is too low and the dish is bland. These problems and others like them are easily cured. Add the ingredients slowly to avoid over seasoning, mix the dish carefully so the flavor gets into every inch of the food, and be sure to taste test frequently until the flavor is perfectly balanced.
One warning about taste testing is that recipes that involve raw meat, or raw eggs should not be tasted before they are cooked. This means that cookie dough is off limits, as are other batters or sauces that have raw eggs in the mix.
The final test that a cook must perform is the test to see if the dish is cooked thoroughly. When fish is done it will be opaque in the center and it won’t flake or fall of the bone. Chicken should also be opaque and firm. Beef can be eaten while it’s pink in the middle if the chef prefers it that way, but all meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. A meat thermometer is an excellent investment for any cook regardless of expertise.
Vegetables should be cooked until they have reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit. When they are done they will look slightly shiny. They should be soft but not wilted and they should have the same texture all the way through with no hard or mushy spots.
This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list of cooking tests. There are many more things a person can do to get the best from their cooking, but these should get any cook on the road to recognizing the flavors and improving the quality of their food preparation.
May 28th, 2012 / / categories: Cooking
Most people are well aware that fast food and on-the-go packaged snacks are not part of a nutritious diet. Even including the best vitamins within this diet often times does not work. Living in such an on-the-go culture, sometimes making healthier food choices takes a backseat to a busy lifestyle. But it certainly is not impossible to take a few extra minutes in your day to prepare some more wholesome meals to enjoy.
Scrambled eggs can not only be very quick to prepare and cook, but also quite healthy. Instead of butter, use a canola oil spray on your frying pan. Eggs are somewhat higher in cholesterol, so try adding in some egg whites along with your regular eggs. If you want to add some cheese for flavor, go for a lower-fat version. Throw in some diced peppers or tomatoes to get some veggies in your meal. It literally takes minutes to gather your ingredients and cook this nutritional breakfast food.
Craving some pizza for lunch? Why not try to make one for yourself in a flash? Your local supermarket should carry some already baked Naan bread, which is an Indian flatbread that you can be use instead of regular pizza dough. Go for whole wheat instead of regular white Naan. You can spread some pizza sauce, or even try bruschetta, pesto, or even jarred roasted tomatoes. Cut a few quarter-inch slices of lower-fat fresh mozzarella as your cheese. Chop up some fresh basil leaves and throw them on top. Add some black olives. Place your Naan pizza on a baking sheet, and pop it in no more than ten minutes. Naan bread pizza is absolutely delicious, and so easy to prepare.
Rather than order Chinese food for the fifth consecutive Friday night, try cooking a quick, healthy stir fry dinner. Stir frying is rather simple, and most of the few minutes it takes to complete is chopping peppers, cabbage, and some chicken breast. Add some oil to a wok or skillet and allow it to heat up. Add some minced garlic, and then throw in some ginger and green onions. Pop in some of the chicken. Take out the chicken after finished cooking, and put everything in a bowl. Then add some more oil to the skillet, and simply cook the veggies for five minutes. Add some chicken broth, and put on the lid, and allow to cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Put the chicken back in for several minutes. This is much quicker, healthier, and even cheaper than Chinese take-out.
These are just a few examples of easy, quick alternatives to typical drive-thru food choices. There are literally hundreds of similar recipes all over the Internet and in cookbooks. “Fast food” doesn’t have to mean the local burger joint or food chain. Healthy, homemade meals can be just as “fast.”
May 17th, 2012 / / categories: Cooking
Twitter and Facebook have become an incredibly popular place for famous cooks to hang out. Fans love seeing what their favorite cooks are tweeting about. Rachel Ray tweets about her numerous entrepreneurial enterprises. Fans of southern cooking love to see what is going on in Tyler Florence’s kitchen. Alton Brown’s followers like to see his fascinating take on new recipes. Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis love to tweet back and forth about restaurant recommendations.
Rachel Ray is on both Twitter and Facebook. She began with her infamous 30 Minute Meals and has grown her empire with the help of social marketing. Fans can follow along with Rachel’s new daytime, cooking, television show. Followers can find out about different recipes and guests that will be appearing on her show. Twitter followers love hearing about Rachel’s dog Isaboo.
South Carolina’s Tyler Florence is incredibly popular on social media outlets. Fans of Tyler’s shows, books and restaurants can find him on both Facebook and Twitter. Tyler’s charisma carries over to his tweets. He has over 400,000 followers. He always manages to add the most delicious looking pictures to illustrate his tweets.
Bobby Flay is another cook that is so popular on various social media outlets. Iron Chef fans love keeping up to date with Bobby Flay’s life. He has been able to tweet progress on his new burger joint, Bobby’s Burger Palace. Bobby loves tweeting about what he is eating. Fans love it too. He is always encouraging fans to cook and eat well.
Giada De Laurentiis loves tweeting about her adorable daughter, Jade. Fans delight in getting great recipes and photos directly from Giada. Seeing what Giada is cooking at home is another benefit for her followers. She is able to use her Twitter and Facebook accounts to educate about her charity efforts with Oxfam. She feels strongly about poverty in the world and the plight of starving families everywhere. She also tweets and posts about her various product lines, books and show schedules.
Alton Brown remains one of the wackiest fan favorites on social media websites. The character in his profile picture on twitter is actually a puppet made in his likeness. Fans appreciate his interesting way of approaching the culinary arts. He is, after all, a self-described culinary loner. Geeks and food-lovers alike follow Alton to see what he is cooking.