Have you ever wondered how you can make your food cook a little quicker? Some people will tell you that you can cook your meals quicker by making sure you have a lid on everything that you cook. Other people will tell you that cooking quickly actually requires you to leave a lid off, particularly if you are cooking in an oven. What is the real solution? What is the best way to begin cooking quickly? Here are a few guidelines that will help you to understand the basics of cooking quickly, and not ruin your next meal.
- Understand your dish. The first step in cooking quickly is to truly understand your dish. Despite what many people may like to think, or say, there are some dishes that simply cannot be rushed without damaging the food. One example of this is the souffle. If you rush this delicate dish, you can easy end up with a flat looking pancake, rather than what you were really wanting. As you gain more experience with cooking, you can learn what steps can be used to help cook more quickly without ruining the meal.
- Know when to have a lid, and when not to. Another thing to consider is that some dishes absolutely need to have a lid on to achieve proper cooking. For example, when cooking turkey in an oven, you should have a lid on the container to help ensure proper cooking, at least for the majority of the cooking time. You only remove the lid later to help finish "browning" and "crisping" the bird. If you don't do this, you run the risk of the meat being overcooked, drying out, or even getting "broiler burn."
- Understand what the real goal is. As you are cooking, keep in mind that there is one real goal that should overweigh any other considerations, preparing good food. Whether you have you lid on or off isn't going to have any real effect on the speed of cooking, or even the amount of energy used to cook the food. The real factors are going to be the type of food, the density, the size of the food being cooked, and event the amount of food that is being cooked.
It can be a little disappointing to learn that having a lid on or off doesn't really affect the speed of cooking. What really does allow cooking quickly is experience, proper recipes, and the right tools. As you get each of these, over time you will be able to begin cooking even the most fantastic meals quicker than you would believe.
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