Tips For Successful Cooking

When using a recipe to make any kind of dish, follow it literally.
If the recipe says to "cover tightly", by all means, do so.
Key words and phrases like "gradually" and "stir constantly" are there for a instruct you in how to make the best possible dish that the recipe can.

Unless you are accustomed to measuring spices out in your hand, use measuring spoons to be sure of the accuracy of the amount you are using.
Too much or too little of something can go a long way toward ruining a perfectly good dish.
Once you have made it the first time using the amounts called for, you can adjust the recipe with notations of your own on what more or what less to add if you think it is good enough to make again.

Tips On Buying Vegetables


For the most part, when buying green vegetables, look for the greenest of its type.  I don't eat asparagus or peas so I can't offer you any advice there but I can tell you that when shopping for vegetables, look for the color the vegetable is supposed to be.  Yellowish carrots are too young and browning broccoli is too old.
Don't be afraid to check for firmness, color and quality in the vegetables you are going to buy.  Until we are forced to take what is given us, we do have a choice and can exercise our right to get our money's worth out of the products we buy.
Iceberg Lettuce:  Loose leaves throughout a head of iceberg lettuce usually means that all the leaves will be tough and chewy.  Look for the most compact head of lettuce you can find.  Peel off the outer leaves (three or four is safe) before using any of it and rinse what you are going to use well.
Green bell peppers:  Look for the darkest peppers.  They should be firm and free of any brown discoloration around the top stem, not so ripe that they are cracking though.  Also check the bottoms of the peppers;  any brownish coloring on the bottom indicates insect invasion that leaves brown spots on the inside...or even the insects themselves (!) don't want those!
Corn on the cob:  The harder the kernels, the better the end product will be after cooking.
Celery:  Definitely firm, and the fatter the outside stalks, the better.  Skinny outer stalks mean tough and stringy celery. Ick.  Also, look at the top ends that have been cut.  You want as much light green here as is possible...white ends mean salty celery, which is not very appetizing when eating them as veggie sticks.  If you can only get celery with white ends, pick out the palest one you can and be prepared to add less salt to the dish you are using it in.
White Mushrooms:  Should be just that, white.  Do not buy white mushrooms that are turning black or drying out.  They always come packaged with some blackish residue but if you look at the packages available on the shelf, the plumpest, whitest ones are your best choice and it shows.

Picking Out Good Poultry


We all know that when picking out red meat (beef) we look for, well, red meat!  But, what about chicken?  What is healthy piece of raw chicken look like?  It's yellow or pale yellow.  Chicken (skin and skinless) with a yellow color will be the fresher and better bird.  Look at the chicken available on your grocer's shelves...notice some of it is pinkish?  Leave those packages there and pick out a good yellow bird.  : )

Turkey (skin) however, should be cream colored.