Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Notes From The Cooks

BEFORE YOU COOK read through the recipe carefully- Make sure you have all the equipment and ingredients required.
On Cooking Times
Always take cooking times as guideline rather than gospel. In each recipe, we qualify estimated cooking times with a description of how the ingredient should look at the end of cooking time, for instance "cook until soft, 5 minutes". It is better to cook the ingredient until its appearance matches the given description rather than simply setting the stopwatch.
Various factors affect cooking times, with your choice of pan and the character of your oven at the top of the list.
The size and shape of a pan directly affect how quickly a dish will cook. The same sauce cooked over the same heat will cook faster in a wide, shallow skillet and more slowly in a tall, deep pot. The larger cooking surface of a wide skillet ensures rapid evaporation, while the high sides of deep pots actually inhibit evaporation. In each recipe, we have specified the size and shape of pan required for a quick cooking or slow cooking sauce.
Ovens vary from kitchen to kitchen. Most have hot spots, so be prepared to rotate dishes from top to bottom or from front to back during cooking time. An oven thermometer is a useful kitchen tool, allowing you to match your oven's temperature with the one specified in the recipe. Always allow a margin of 5-10 minutes either way for baking times.
On Tasting
Always taste food as you cook and before you serve. Don't be afraid to add or change flavors to suit your palate - the fun of cooking is in experimenting, improvising, creating. Ingredients differ from day to day, season to season, and kitchen to kitchen. Be prepared to adjust sweetness, sharpness, spiciness, and, most important of all, salt, to your own taste.
On Salt and Pepper
Discerning seasoning makes the difference between good and great food. As a general rule, seasoning is best done toward the end of cooking. The optimum moment for a cook to judge how much salt and pepper a recipe requires is at the end of cooking lime, when the flavors have blended.
On Measuring
Accurate measurements are essential if you want the same good results each time you follow a recipe. We have given measurements in imperial and metric in all the recipes. Always stick to one set of measurements. Never use both in the same recipe.
A good set of measuring cups is the most accurate way to measure dry ingredients.
We recommend using cooks' measuring spoons when following a recipe. All spoon measurements in the book are level unless otherwise stated. To measure dry ingredients with a spoon, scoop the ingredient lightly from the storage container, (hen level the surface with the edge of a straight-bladed knife.
We use standard level spoon measurements: 1 tbsp - 1/2floz (15ml) 1 tsp - 1/2 floz (5ml)
To measure liquids, choose a transparent glass or plastic measuring cup. Always place the cup on a flat surface and check for accuracy at eye level when pouring in a liquid to measure.
A final and important rule of measuring - never measure ingredients over the mixing bowl!

No comments:

Post a Comment