Best online resources to improve my cooking?
My first post here is a plea for help, of the free variety. I've been cooking all my life but honestly, nothing I cook tastes that great. I would love to learn more about techniques (sauces, ways of cooking meat, seasonings) and simply learn how to make my food taste better. I love to bake and can bake a good loaf of bread, and am willing to apply myself and try new things, now I just need some guidance.
I read the thread on here that referenced some good books to work through, and they are sitting in my Amazon shopping cart, but my budget is limited for the moment, and the library is closed until Monday, and I'm ANTSY!
Are there any good websites you can point me towards where I can start improving my skills? We lean towards home cooking at my house vs haute cuisine, but I would dearly love to understand sauces in all their wondrous variety.
PS - the two books in my Amazon cart (waiting til November, probably) are "Food Science" and "How to Cook Everything". I'm open to any other suggestions on books worth buying (on a limited budget).
If I were you, I'd subscribe to the Cooks Illustrated website: http://www.americastestkitchen.com/
I think they do a fabulous job of demonstrating techniques. Their recipes are clear and they explain why things work or don't work, which is a great way of learning enough so you can branch out and experiment on your own. I have almost never made a recipe of theirs' that hasn't been great.
I just want to add that How to Cook Everything is great, but there are a TON of recipes availalbe online that are free and taste fabulous.
www.epicurious.com - my go-to recipe site for slightly snazzier food. there are reviews and tips from people who've already made recipes, and they incorporate numerous articles and videos on technique
www.myrecipes.com - a newcomer (from my knowledge) - has recipes from a number of popular cooking magazines (including Cooking Light) - lots of easier recipes, lots of tasty ones
I think what's most important is not being scared to experiment with new spices and seasonings and sauces....that's what takes food that is okay and a bit bland and transforms it into something new and exciting.
Garlic and onions are your friends and will likely form the basis of most things you cook (dinner-wise, at least). Fresh herbs pack a bigger punch than dried ones - as long as you add them at the end of the cooking time!
:) Happy cooking!