Hello everyone. I hope everyone is staying safe and practicing social distancing. I would like to take a break from all the Coronavirus talk and write about one of my favorite hobbies: Cooking! If you’re reading this thinking, “I hate cooking,” there is NO BETTER time than now to master this super easy craft. Here are my top quick cooking tips and some super easy recipes that will make you look like a regular Julia Child.
- Stay Salty
Salt is one of, if not the most important spices in your cabinet. It helps to bring out other flavors within your food to maximize your taste bud’s experience. If you are scared of salt for health reasons be comforted by this… I took a cooking class at Uncorked Kitchen, where the chelf told us to load up the salt because, unlike the salt in frozen meals, our bodies need natural salt. And even if you put a little too much table salt on your food you most likely are not putting enough salt on it to hurt you.
- Get good pans
I don’t mean that you need to pay hundreds of dollars for brand name pans. What I mean by this is make sure you are using the RIGHT pan for what you are trying to cook. For me, I use cast iron pans to get things crispy. Brussel sprouts, chicken, dips – cook those guys up on the stove top then pot the cast iron in the oven on a nice broil to get the perfect crisp. I also love dutch ovens because they keep things very moist, especially chicken.
- Kitchenaid Mixer
I talked about this in my “These are a few of my favorite things” blog, but I can not stress enough how valuable this thing is. You want to make pasta like a real italian? You’ve always wanted to learn how to make bread? Pies sounds cool to you? All of this can be done in the kitchenaid mixer in a matter of minutes. Drop the $300, you wont regret.
- Learn to cut an onion the right way – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuebC0CfD8E&feature=youtu.be
- Clean as you go
They say the mark of a great chef is a clean work space. I agree. Cooking is a lot less stressful if you eliminate all the excess clutter around you.
- Understand what you can and cannot mix
I am a big believer in making up recipes as you go. If you get a good basic idea of what goes well together you can make something out of nothing, without using a recipe. Some of the things I think pair well together… (everyone’s taste buds are different so take some time to play around!)
Honey – Honey is a great way to bring natural sweetness into a dish. I often mix honey with soy sauce and garlic for a asain flavor. This mixture goes great on chicken or salmon. I also love honey with mustard – very yummy on pork or veggies!
Cumin and Coriander – I’m not a professional chef so for all I know I could be wrong about this one. But I love this spice combo. I think it adds a nice mexican/smoky taste to dishes like tacos and chilli
Oregano, Parsley, Thyme – This screams italian to me. Anytime I’m craving that light, fresh taste I associate with (real) italian cooking I sprinkle in this mixture.
Garlic – taste good with just about everything. I like to use fresh garlic, but garlic salt is great too.
Curry powder – Normally curry powder is used in asain and indian dishes. But I find that it adds a nice depth of flavor to a lot of dishes – especially soups that need to be kicked up a notch. It’s a little spicy without being too overwhelming. A little goes a long way here but I like to add it to veggies and some mexican dishes.
- Buying organic
I’m not one of those people that believes in buying all organic food. Frankly, I can’t afford it. But with that being said, there are certain fruits and veggies you must always buy organic. These are called the dirty dozen. It’s important to buy these fruits and veggies from the organic section because they are highest in pesticides and will help your organic dollars go further. Sprouts is my go to for fresh produce because they have a great selection and it is fairly affordable.
- Lastly, never cook on too high of a temp
This is a mistake I make over and over again. I’m hungry so I want to crank the oven up to 450 degrees or put the stove top burner to 10. Even if you don’t burn your food doing this, you will not get the right texture or flavors. As my grandma always says, “the best chefs are the patience ones.” Low and slow baby!
I know following these eight simple steps wont turn you into Bobby Fley overnight but it’s a start! Drop a comment below with any other questions/ kitchen trick you are interested in!
As a continuation of this post, I will be starting a series of posts called “What I made this week”, with simple recipes to recreate in your own kitchen! Check it out here.
One thought on “Mastering the art of basic cooking”
Thank you for this! I’ve been cooking a lot lately, re-doing a couple different recipes getting better each time. This is such a helpful post!
I would love to see a healthy twist on banana bread! I’m 0 for 2 on that one 😉 The taste and texture just doesn’t turn out!