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How to Cook With Wine

Actually, cooking with wine is far from fancy. There are more complicated cooking techniques out there. Cooking with wine is open to experimentation and individual expression. This article will open your eyes into one of the simplest but most effective cooking techniques. Cooking with wine intensifies the natural flavor of foods and will lend an essence to your food that is hard to explain.

How Much Wine to Use

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to cooking with wine; however, it is better to start with a little and then add more if you feel the dish needs more. It is important to realize that the flavor of wine when it is used in cooking doesn't come from the alcohol but from the true nature of the wine. In fact, very little alcohol is left in a finished dish, as most of it will evaporate.

You can also boil down the wine, as this will help concentrate the flavor, such as sweetness or acidity. You do have to be careful not to use too much, as it can easily overpower the flavor of the dish. Begin with a small amount to allow the flavors in the dish to blend. You can always add more, if needed.

What Makes a Good Cooking Wine

As a good rule of thumb, you want to cook with wine that you want to drink. Remember the reduction thing? Cooking with cheap wine that tastes awful is a recipe for disaster. You don't need to go overboard and buy a $100 bottle. Just look for wines with good value. There are good $10 deals around.

A common red or white wine that you enjoy would be a good starting point. For marinades, sauting, chicken, and seafood - applications not requiring intense flavor - it's hard to go wrong with a Sauvignon Blanc. Red meats or sauces with a red meat base have inherently deep flavor, so a more powerful wine is in order. A Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect for the job.

Try to avoid wines that have a heavy flavor from oak. It tends to give the food a bitter taste. In addition, if you use a wine that is quite sour or very fruity, the flavors will be very prevalent in your dishes. This is one reason to avoid the very cheapest bottles of wine.

Some More Tips

If a recipe calls for water, put in wine instead.
You can add a tablespoon or two to your gravy. Simmer until the alcohol fully evaporates.
Your favorite flavored oil plus wine makes a good marinade for meat and poultry.
Heat the wine before adding to meat dishes. Warm wine can tenderize meat while cold wine has the opposite effect. Don't overdo it. Too much heat will cook your wine, robbing it of its taste.
Heavier red meats need a dry red wine to flavor it or else it will seem that you put nothing in at all. Lighter meats, such as pork, poultry, and fish will be overpowered. It's best to use white wine in this case.
You can serve the same wine you cooked with along with a meal. If that is not possible, at least serve a matching variety. It is not very nice to serve a light white wine with a roast dinner flavoured with an intense red.

Closing Thoughts

Cooking with wine is a great way to add a new dimension to your favorite recipes. It only takes some experimentation to realize which wines are your favorites to cook with!


How To Cook Perfect Fondue Dishes

Fondue dishes, which had become popular in the U.S. three decades ago, are back in vogue and numerous restaurants specialized in fondue dishes have sprung up across the nation. With the return of fondue cooking, we thought it would be useful to provide you with some useful tips on how to cook food fondue style.

The first thing you'll need is to purchase a fondue pot and fondue sticks. Choose a pot size that is appropriate for your needs (fondue pots come in different sizes). Besides the traditional fondue pots that you use on an open flame, there are now electric pots that allow you to regulate the temperature inside the pot.

There are countless varieties of fondue dishes, but the three principal fondue types are cheese fondues, meat and vegetable fondues and dessert fondues. If they are part of a meal, cheese fondues are usually served as appetizers. Meat and vegetable fondues are used as a main course. Fondues do not necessarily have to be served as part of a meal; you can have a wine and cheese fondue party, for instance. Also, a meal is not normally made up entirely of fondue dishes.

Cheese fondues can be made with a variety of cheeses and cheese combinations. There are mild Muenster versions, sharp emmenthal and gruyere versions, cheddar, pepper jack, and Cajun cheese versions of this tasty and popular fondue dish. Heat the liquid in the fondue pot then add grated cheese that has been tossed with cornstarch. Stir gently until the cheese is grated. It is important to watch the heat level on cheese fondue to make sure that it doesn't burn or harden and clump due to not being warm enough.

Use broth or oil to cook meat and vegetable fondues. Season the liquid, put it in the fondue pot and heat until it starts to boil. You will be dipping uncooked meat into this liquid, so make sure the temperature is high enough to cook the meat thoroughly in a few seconds. Remember though that if you heat oil excessively it will splatter out of the pot.

Most dessert fondues are based on some kind of melted chocolate. For instance, you can cook a sumptuous chocolate fondue by melting chocolate with cream in the fondue pot. Use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, or any combination of these. Chocolate fondues taste better if the chocolate used is good quality, so do not use cooking chocolate. Melt the chocolate at low temperatures. Melting chocolate at high temperatures will cause it to burn and harden.

Marshmallow crme, strawberry syrup and a variety of oils such as mint, vanilla, almond, hazelnut, amaretto or your favorite liqueur can be added to the melted chocolate to produce a delicious flavor.

You should have the food you will be dipping into the fondue pot prepared well before you sit down to sample your fondue dish. If you are making a cheese fondue, prepare bite-sized pieces of your choice of bread (French baguettes, crusty rolls, flatbreads ...). For a main course fondue dish, cut vegetables and / or meat into bite-sized portions as well. Meat cubes should not be more than one inch in size so that they will cook through in a short time. Prepare cookies, brownies, crackers, marshmallows or cake (cut into small pieces) to dip into your chocolate fondue.


Tips For Cooking Succulent, Tender Turkey

Amateur and even cooks with a little bit experience are often overwhelmed when tasked with preparing turkey for Thanksgiving. Perhaps it's the size of the bird, or the importance of the dish that makes them doubt their ability. But cooking turkey is a rather pleasurable experience - as long as you adhere to a few basic tips.

First you need to decide how big a turkey you will need to buy. It is wise to allot 3/4 of a pound to one pound for each person who you will be serving. If you are buying a frozen turkey make sure you allow adequate time to defrost the bird. You will want to let the turkey thaw in your refrigerator for two to five days to ensure that it is entirely defrosted. Turkeys that are still frozen on the inside will not cook through and through.

Once your turkey is ready to be cooked, it is good to rinse the skin then pat dry with a clean cloth. The inside cavities will need emptied of the gizzards and neck that are sometimes stored in them. These cavities should be rinsed and dried as well. Pre heat the oven while you are preparing the turkey. One way to cook a turkey that makes the process simple, the cleanup faster, and almosts guarantees a juicy turkey, is by using oven bags. If you decide to use an oven bag, add a couple of tablespoons of flour to the bag and shake well to coat before placing the turkey inside it. Follow the instructions for baking times and cutting air vents on the packaging of the oven bag.

You can do what expert chefs do to intensify the flavor by stuffing the turkey's skin with butter, herb, and spices. Just loosen it slightly by pinching and shifting it around with your hands. This will create "pockets" where you can stuff anything that will infuse the meat with flavor. You can then proceed to fill these with anything from butter, herbs, spices, juice, marinade mixes, even minced onions, apples, or garlic. Your turkey will end up more flavorful and it also helps it retain more of its natural moisture.

The stuffing is the area that often separates a great Thanksgiving turkey from a good one. People often reach out for the plate of stuffing as often as they reach out for a juicy piece of carved turkey. To indulge your guests, stuff your bird with a recipe that you got from Mom or Grandma. Put everything in and don't overfill so that you won't end up with a big mess. An alternative is to put in quartered apples and pears, chopped onions, and cloves of garlic as well as some herbs and spices to intensify the flavor. Be sure to account for the added time needed for all of this to cook as a stuffed bird takes a while longer.

You can use a wet rub or dry rub to flavor the turkey's skin. Use the same seasoning and marinade you used inside for a good harmony of flavor. Make sure to catch all the pan drippings so that you can make a rich gravy for later. When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and let it sit a while before carving. Gather 'round the Thanksgiving table and enjoy!


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