Consider recipes to be guidelines rather than rules. Feel free to branch out and switch up the spices or add an extra ingredient. Before long you will be compiling your own personal collection of altered recipes that are better than the original thing. Not only will you will also be able to impress your friends with unique dishes, but you will become a better cook as you experiment with changing recipes.
Freezing meat slightly before cutting it will help you to get a nice, even thin slice. This works great when you are cutting steak thin for philly's or if you need to cut pancetta into thin slices or strips. Do not freeze it solid; freeze it just enough that it is slightly firm.
In brief, learning how to cook is learning how to avoid pre-packaged foods and meals. These convenience food products, all too common today, have speed as their solitary real benefit. Home-cooked meals will always beat them in taste and cost. In most cases - even with meals that are not especially healthy - the version made in the kitchen will be healthier than the packaged version.
Learn some proper knife-work techniques to make your time in the kitchen safer, more productive, and more enjoyable. Proper cutting techniques not only help to ensure safety in the kitchen, but food cut properly and uniformly looks better (which of course makes it tastes better!) and cooks more evenly. Stop cutting off your fingertips and burning half of the French fries with proper cutting skills!
Store your cheese in the fridge, wrapped tightly cooking yucca root plastic, and away from air. This will help to keep mold away. While a little mold is not harmful to cheese, excessive mold is dangerous to consume. It will certainly affect the quality of your cheese as well.
When you are cooking a dish that requires it to be sauteed, add oil around the edges of the pan rather than directly on the food. This gives the oil a chance to heat up before it reaches the cooking food that is in the center of the pan. Hot oil will give you improved results and makes your dish taste better.
Do a little research and find out if there is a farmers' market within shopping distance. These markets - usually held on a weekly basis - are your ticket to purchasing the very freshest ingredients available. Treat food from a farmers' market with respect; usually, the less cooking you do to such ingredients, the better-tasting the results will be.
Never cook when you are tired. You need to be alert when you are cooking, to increase your level of safety, and put you in the best position to create quality food. Besides, you're not going to enjoy the experience if you feel exhausted.
Never use oil that has been used for other foods or has been sitting in a frying pan for a long time. It will give your food a foul taste. If you are unsure if the oil is good enough to cook with, smell it and use your finger to try a little of it.
These tips haven't come close to covering everything you could learn regarding cooking. There is a wealth of information out there just waiting to be discovered. One of the best things about cooking is that the more you learn about it, the more you want to learn. So get out there and get cooking.