This is the first installment in our series of cooking tips. Now to be clear, neither of us is a chef. However, we have cooked for a good while; and over time, we’ve learned (the hard way) what works in the kitchen.
This first tip has to do with preparing hard foods. I’m talking about things like chunky vegetables and tougher cuts of meat.
Usually, these things are not presentable in their original state. The best way to prepare these foods is to soften them up. This can be accomplished with steam.
This is a simple technique, but very effective. Essentially, you’re steaming the food to loosen it up and allowing it to absorb some liquid.
To start, heat your food up on a medium to large frying pan. You can either fry it up in a little bit of oil, or just put it directly on the pan. After a minute or two, put a few tablespoons of water into the pan and cover it with the lid. If the lid is clear, you can actually see the steam start to build up in the pan. For most things, you only need about 4-5 minutes of steam.
Need to make a side dish? Chop up some garlic and fry it up on a medium pan. Cut up some carrots and broccoli and add it to the pan. Let that fry for about 1-2 minutes. Then, add 3-4 tablespoons of water, some salt and then cover the pan up. In 5 minutes, you’ll have some nice, tender vegetables to go with the entree!
For extra flavor, you can add some sauce in the pan too. This is especially effective when cooking meat. Fry your meat for about 2-3 minutes on each side before adding the water and sauce to the pan. Some examples of tougher cuts that can be softened are: top round steak, chuck roll steak, top round roast, flank steak and pork shoulder. Let the meat steam for about 8-10 minutes before it’s ready.
Remember, listen to your food. If you hear too much crackling, the liquid has evaporated from the pan. Don’t let this happen or your food will burn! If you still want to tenderize your dish a bit more, just add another 1-2 tablespoons of liquid to the mix.
Okay, have fun!