Sunday, February 2, 2014
My friend NeuronDoc hates to cook, but she wants to cook more both because it’s healthier, and because she wants to sent a good example for her daughter.
So I’m going to a few recipes that I think are easy, and also very delicious.
But more importantly, some basics:
1. Use fresh ingredients, whenever possible. When you’re only using five or so ingredients, they have to taste good.
2. Most ground spices should be replaced once a year, as they lose their potency once they are oxidized (exposed to air). Whole spices keep longer, since they are ground.
3. You can do a lot of prep ahead of time–having serving sizes of pre-cut onion or chicken in the freezer makes life much easier.
4. Mis en place (French for “get your shit together before you start”) is incredibly important. Get everything laid out and ready to go, so you’re not halfway through a recipe and realize you don’t have something essential.
5. That said, there are lots of substitutions you can make, if you don’t like an ingredient, or you don’t have something on hand. Just know you’re going to be making a substitution BEFORE you start cooking.
6. Keep staples on hand. Find a recipe you like that’s really easy to make, and keep stuff for that on-hand, for nights when you want something easier. Making and freezing soups is also good for this. On our house, turkey burgers are the default fall-back position. They’re easy, they’re delicious, and you can experiment with things you put on them.
7. I am a HUGE fan of kitchen scales. Measure cups are good, but if you want to quickly measure spaghetti, taring a tall drinking glass and then measuring out 2 oz of pasta per person is really easy.
8. Almost everything I make contains garlic, because I love garlic. I always mince the garlic first, into a tablespoon or so of oil. This helps release the aromatic compounds AND the healthy compounds. Also, immediately after mincing the garlic, wash your hands with DISH soap. This should remove the oils that makes your hands stink.
If I remember, I’ll try to make an index here, for the recipes as I make them.
Butternut Squash Risotto