Cooking is such a fun and interesting way to let your creativity shine. If you’d like to turn a regular dinner into a gourmet meal, there are so many ways you can do this. In order to get started, consider the following five tips for mixing up your everyday weeknight meals and making them into something more special at the drop of a hat.
Incorporate New Herbs and Spices
Begin to build your spice collection by adding a new spice each week. Learn how to include cumin into dishes for more flavor. Taste the difference between regular paprika and smoked paprika. Branch out of spices that you are familiar with and start venturing into more foreign or international spices like garam masala, turmeric, and fennel. As you master different spices and herbs, your meals will taste even better.
Play Around with Condiments
Even if you’re preparing a simple meal of sandwiches and chips for dinner, there are plenty of ways to make it gourmet. Use delicious kaiser buns, and lightly toast them in the oven. Then, play around with various condiments. Instead of plain mayonnaise, add chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to a small bowl of mayonnaise. After mixing the two together, you’ll have a delicious kick to a simple sandwich. There are also a variety of mustards you can buy in the store or make on your own. Visit a specialty international foods store for other condiment options.
Make Certain Items from Scratch
Instead of purchasing banana bread from the grocery store, find a recipe you can make on your own. If you and your family love to enjoy fettuccine alfredo, make the noodles and the cream sauce from scratch. In most cases, preparing meals from scratch makes them taste more fresh, organic and delicious, and doing so may not be as difficult as you’d assume. Plan ahead and make sure you have all of the necessary ingredients before you begin.
Try a Different Technique for Preparation
There are so many ways to prepare different ingredients in order to make a dish feel like a gourmet chef made it. Even if you’re preparing juice for your family and all you have is the lemonade mix in the jar, you can add your own flair to it. Purchase frozen strawberries. Coat them in honey, and toss them in the oven to roast. Muddle some mint leaves. Add the mint leaves and the roasted strawberries to the lemonade. No one will know the base was a jar of powdered lemonade mix.
Branch out on the way you cook your weeknight dinners. Consider using a barbecue, cast iron skillet, wok, or any other cooking method that is different from your norm. This will help you grow your technique and vary the types of foods that you make as well.
Master Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat
Salt, fat, acid and heat are the four areas you’ll want to learn to master as you progress in your cooking skills. Know when to add the perfect amount of salt to season a dish. You can incorporate fats through different cuts of meat, oils and butters. The acids found in citrus fruits and vinegars can do wonders for savory and sweet dishes. When you’re cooking food, different heating techniques can change the way a meal turns out.
As it pertains to cooking, practice truly makes perfect. When you’re able to cultivate a great repertoire, it’ll be easy to prepare gourmet meals in a few minutes. Before long, you’ll not only impress those you’re cooking for, but you’ll also impress yourself.