August 8, 2010

Methods of food preparation

In my blog about avoiding bland food, I mentioned different methods of food preparation. Now I will try to explain the advantages of the many methods of preparing tasty meals.

Before purchasing any equipment that you might want, check the local library to read cookbooks or books for each type of cooking. This will let you know whether you want to try any appliance. Most of the equipment is available on line or in stores in your area. The telephone will save much running from store to store by asking what cooking utensils they carry and what the prices are. I highly recommend carefully reading the instructions with each appliance. I do not use the pressure cooker regularly, but the slow cooker and steamer get regular use.

Use of a pressure cooker is much easier today and meals prepared in them are much tastier. Cooking with pressure cookers, slow cookers, and steamers for me has been an education and an enjoyable experience. I have had to learn how to place the food in each appliance for best cooking.

I do enjoy the pressure cooker for some cuts of meat and chicken as the herbs and spices can provide some great tastes and fill the house with a pleasant aroma. I like this for many vegetables as the cooking time is short and they come out with the taste of the herbs and spices infused in them.

Some vegetables are best in the steamer especially broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and some others. Some people will disagree, but this is my preference. I enjoy many fish meals from the steamer as well. I also like some fish prepared by the poaching method. How you cook is up to you and your taste preferences.

For some cuts of beef and pork, and occasionally chicken, the slow cooker works great and when you add celery, onions, and some other vegetables with herbs and spices, yummy. Sometimes when left to marinate in the refrigerator overnight, the next day also adds flavor that sometimes is not there the first time. You do need the space in the refrigerator and this can be a drawback if you are lazy like me to transfer to another container. I love to use some cling wrap and put the lid back on top and let sit until the next meal.

I am still experimenting with the wok, but in general I have to relearn everything as I don't like the oily taste and broth seems to boil away too quickly. Once in a while, I do have a success or two.

I thought when I purchased my new stove, I could go back to pan frying some foods by using broth or other liquids, but I need to relearn there also. By using the marinading methods below, this has helped keep the meats from drying out and becoming too bland.

I do use the stock pots more and especially the electric ones as this allows for browning meats and then cutting them in smaller sizes and slowly cooking them in herbs and spices. This works especially well for chicken and turkey and lean meats. Then I can add a measured quantity of fat or broth (low sodium when possible) and have several good meals. Or I use my own broth when we have it available and that is mostly no sodium, which I really like.

I have a difficult time getting the barbeque sauce to thicken properly that I make myself, but I am not fond of many of these dishes so I don't go to the effort. I will use the broiler in the oven on occasion, but here I do not do this in the summer to keep down the heat and cause the air-conditioner to work overtime. The wintertime is my time for baked dishes and broiled foods. Yes, some of these can be somewhat bland, but I make some sauces to put over them which helps.

I am doing less cooking now that my wife has taken over most of the cooking, but we still do a lot of it the same. For me it was learning to properly use the cooking utensils and appliances to know what each is capable of and how the herbs and spices mix with and in the foods that makes for tasty meals. After my first wife passed, it took me about a year of experimentation to really appreciate cooking, but I was and am able to learn. This is where the pleasure of using herbs and spices (maybe not always correctly) has kept me away from the highly processed foods and away from the bland foods that I hear so many people with diabetes complain about.

Thanks to my daughter, I learned about marinading meats and really like the Food Saver marinade container which vacuum seals and assists in drawing the marinade into the meats. This means instead of doing it for eight hours or overnight, I can forget and still do a very adequate job in one half to two hours depending on the meat and/or cut of meat.

If you are a person that likes to grill, marinading meats does keep them from being quite so dry. I have a thing about fighting insects so this is not something I enjoy doing outside as I don't need that added protein. If you enjoy this, then go for it.


P. Hentermine said...

I like this for many vegetables as the cooking time is short and they come out with the taste of the herbs and spices infused in them.

The poor diabetic said...

Sounds enticing, I love to cook but I have resigned myself to quick meals, if i stay too long in the kitchen I tend to lose my appetite when am all said and done.....