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January 6, 2012

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. Steaming

Just put a little water in a pot, put in a steamer basket or colander, and add your food. As the water boils, the steam will gently cook your food. Be sure not to cook your food for too long (veggies should still be brightly colored and slightly crunchy when they’re done), and you can also add some spices to the water to flavor the foods as they steam.

This method works especially well for fragile vegetables like leafy greens and fish.

. Poaching

You can poach chicken, eggs and other foods by simmering them in a little bit of water or broth on your stove top. Use a covered sauce pan and take the foods off the heat when they’re tender.

. Baking/Roasting

Baking in your oven is a perfectly healthy way to cook, though it’s preferable to use a lower temperature and a longer cooking time than a higher temperature to cook the food more quickly (roasting is typically done at a higher temperature). You can bake meat, fish, poultry, veggies, bread, fruit and anything else. To keep in some of the moisture, try keeping your baking dish covered.

. Stir-Frying

Stir-frying is a fast, healthy way to cook. Chop your meat and veggies into small, uniform pieces, add a little oil or broth to a pan or wok, then stir the foods until they’re just cooked through (add meat, which takes longer to cook, before the veggies). To preserve the nutrients in the veggies, cook them only slightly.

. Braising

When you braise a piece of meat or fish, you brown it slightly in a pan, then cover it with a small amount of liquid such as broth. The pan is covered, and the food is left to slowly and gently finish cooking. After the food is removed, the leftover juices can be used to make a flavorful sauce.

. Boiling

Boiled foods are healthy in that no harmful substances form when using this cooking method. However, there is some concern that nutrients may be lost when foods are boiled, and they may become overcooked. Steaming is a preferable cooking method to boiling.

. Sauteing

Sautéing is a dry-heat cooking method in which food is cooked in a small amount of butter, oil, or other fat. It is usually done quickly over high heat. For best results, use a heavy skillet that is large enough for your food to be cooked in a single layer-food won’t cook as well if the pan’s too crowded.

Add butter or oil to the pan while it’s cold—a tablespoon is usually enough—and heat it over a medium-high flame until it’s thoroughly hot. You can test the temperature by dropping a little piece of onion or other vegetable into the pan—if it sizzles, the oil’s hot.

Add your food to the pan and cook it, first making sure that the food is dry and room temperature. Shake the pan often so that the food moves around. Depending on the desired results, you will either cook the food briefly until tender, as with vegetables, or thoroughly browned, as with meat.

. Grilling and Broiling

Grilling is one of the most popular cooking methods worldwide. The ease and speed in which grilled food is cooked and the unique flavor that is infused into the food as a result of grilling are the primary reasons for its popularity. The concept of grilling is based on cooking food with a heat source positioned below the food. Depending on the type of grill or griddle used, the heat source often reaches a cooking temperature of 650ºF or higher; however, any temperature above 300°F is considered suitable as a grilling temperature.

. Frying

Frying has long been a preferred method of cooking in South. Though catfish is tasty baked or broiled, most prefer it battered and fried, with fried hush puppies on the side. Some people won’t eat okra any way but fried, then there are the croquettes, fried tomatoes, fried chicken, and a variety of fritters and breads.Battering and frying unquestionably add fat and calories, but making sure the oil is at the optimum temperature will help keep absorption to a minimum. If your deep fryer doesn’t have a temperature indicator, you can test by dropping a cube of crustless white bread in the oil. It should be golden brown in about 60 seconds.While frying, don’t crowd foods or the temperature will drop and the food will absorb more oil.Fry Safely. If your fryer has a thin plastic lid, remove it before plugging the fryer in. Add oil to the deep fryer before plugging it in or turning it on, and if the cord is detachable, plug it into the fryer before plugging it into the wall outlet. Most importantly, keep the fryer and the cord well out of reach of children, and take care when working near the hot oil. Some deep fryers aren’t well insulated and get extremely hot to the touch.

From → Daily Tips

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