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Author Topic: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees  (Read 9721 times)

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I'mnotinsane

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2008, 12:05:41 PM »
And if your kitchen doesn't already have a fire extinguisher, go buy one :)  (You can get a little kitchen one for $15-20)

I don't think that's an issue.  I have an electric range. 

I do, too.

And I have used my extinguisher more times than I'd care to count.  See my live journal for the number of times things have caught fire in my kitchen.

ETA: Because I do so much in the kitchen, we have a commercial extinguisher.  I love it.

Butter catches fire in an electric oven just as well as it does in a gas oven ... not that I'd know or anything... :-\

So do turkeys :(

And pot holders!  dropped it on the electric coil...  :-[ 

Elle

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2008, 01:29:36 PM »
And if your kitchen doesn't already have a fire extinguisher, go buy one :)  (You can get a little kitchen one for $15-20)

I don't think that's an issue.  I have an electric range. 

I do, too.

And I have used my extinguisher more times than I'd care to count.  See my live journal for the number of times things have caught fire in my kitchen.

ETA: Because I do so much in the kitchen, we have a commercial extinguisher.  I love it.

Butter catches fire in an electric oven just as well as it does in a gas oven ... not that I'd know or anything... :-\

So do turkeys :(

And pot holders!  dropped it on the electric coil...  :-[ 

And rice

And tupperware left in the oven

And bread (if you microwave the loaf with the paper and metal twist-tie on it)

According to the book of Alton Brown: "The only uni-tasker allowed in the kitchen is the fire extinguisher"

ginlyn32

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2008, 02:13:34 PM »
Do you have some nice neighbors or friends from work you can pratice on?

I started out like you...not really knowing how to cook. I just got some recipes and tried them out. Some came out great, some not so great.

But practice makes perfect!

Start out with something easy like pork chops, mashed potatoes and a veggie.

Or since you know how to make spaghetti sauce, make Lasanga. Then all you need is salad and bread and a dessert. The dessert you can get from a nice bakery. I won't tell if you don't. Just don't leave it in the box. Take it out and make it look nice.

Since you know how to make turkey, try making Turkey Noodle Soup. You can look up how to make the stock. Very easy. THen you just add dry noodles and some carrots, onions and celery.

Also, stores do A LOT of prep work for you these days. In the produce section, you can find salad mixes, and onions, peppers, celery and the like already diced for you. That helps alot!

You can also look for local cooking classes. A lot of rec centers give them.

Do you have an aunt or grandma who could give you some pointers?

ginger
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TychaBrahe

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2008, 04:29:34 PM »
The dessert you can get from a nice bakery. I won't tell if you don't. Just don't leave it in the box. Take it out and make it look nice.

Oh, no.  If I were to have company, I'd serve my chocolate brandy alexander pie.  Or a sacher torte.  Or a chocolate trifle.  Or a fruit salad with chocolate peanut butter balls.  Or sorbet and fruit in meringue cups (with chocolate sauce). 

I should have clarified.  I can cook if it involves chocolate.


Do you have an aunt or grandma who could give you some pointers?

My aunt cooks Sabbath dinner by picking up a roasted chicken in the deli section.

My one living grandparent is 96, and very absent minded.  I've been trying to get her recipe for mandelbrot (Jewish biscotti) for years now.
"Brownies and kindness for all!"  High Dudgeon

Elle

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #34 on: June 23, 2008, 04:50:45 PM »
The dessert you can get from a nice bakery. I won't tell if you don't. Just don't leave it in the box. Take it out and make it look nice.

Oh, no.  If I were to have company, I'd serve my chocolate brandy alexander pie.  Or a sacher torte.  Or a chocolate trifle.  Or a fruit salad with chocolate peanut butter balls.  Or sorbet and fruit in meringue cups (with chocolate sauce). 

I should have clarified.  I can cook if it involves chocolate.



Perhaps you could start with mole then  ;D

GunStreetGirl

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2008, 05:41:41 PM »
Get The Professional Chef, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, and Saveur magazine.  All go in depth on techniques.  I do not, however, recommend On Cooking.   :P

NOVA Lady

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2008, 08:17:04 PM »
I don't know I missed this thread....thats so very nice of you :)

There are faaaaar more skilled cooks on this forum than me!

But....I started off basically where you are now.... I lived alone and then just with DH....but we both love love love food, ALOT (ask my waist line). I honestly didn't go off of cookbooks much. We'd just make the easy things we likes and tried "spice them up".

Basically very simply first... for example instead of making plain pasta with spaghetti sauce we'd make the pasta, then brown some beef and throw in whatever spices suited our fancy (we played with the combo of spices until we found THE combo we loved, mainly garlic, italian seasoning, parsley, pepper, etc), we'd warn the bottle of sauce and add in our own stuff there too, bits of fresh herbs for texture, chunks of onions and garlic, and so on. It would make a nice amount and we'd package the leftovers for lunch the next day, or in your case you might want to plop some in a tupperware container and stick it in the freezer for an easy meal the next week, or even have it for dinner the next night with a different vegetable.


When we did start getting into recipe books, we found gather mountains of ingredients were sort of tedious....so we'd read the recipes and sort of get ideas for simpler versions for dinners. Though many are fun for guests to follow all the way through, we always do a trial run with a first time recipe before, makes for a delcious dinner :)

Really for me spices and herbs are the variety of life. You can make couscus and its delicious and a nice side, but add in a scoop of curry powder, a can of peas and some finely diced grilled chicken and its a delicious one pot meal that freezers and keeps quite well. Sick of the boring old burgers? Chop up some onions, jalapenos, stir in some garlic powder and tandoori spice and you've got something suprisingly tasted.

Yes we did have many failed experiments...most memorably was DH's cinimmon eggs and cheese (yea, not so great!) but we've found so many fun combinations and we never get bored of the same thing because they are so many different ways to put things together.

:)

artk2002

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Re: Advice to DaeOne wannabees
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2008, 11:50:08 PM »
I love Americas Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated for recipes. They do all the work by testing recipes over and over and are very clear in how to make a recipe work.

I will echo this.  Get a subscription to Cook's Illustrated.  Not only do that have good, well-tested recipes, but they have articles on ingredients and techniques that can be very useful.  I like how they discuss how they developed a recipe -- what worked and what didn't work.  That can give you some clues when you start branching out and experimenting.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

lovinAZ

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2008, 12:57:24 AM »
<hijack>
While we're talking about cookbooks and the like, can anyone recommend a good one for Ethiopian food?
</hijack>

alegria

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #39 on: June 24, 2008, 11:46:54 AM »
Yes we did have many failed experiments...most memorably was DH's cinimmon eggs and cheese (yea, not so great!) but we've found so many fun combinations and we never get bored of the same thing because they are so many different ways to put things together.

That is my husband's favorite way to eat eggs.  Scramble up 2-3 eggs with a little milk, a little vanilla, and a lot of cinnamon, cook them so about half-way done, then pile on shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, mozzarella, whatever) and finish cooking them.  Put the pile on a plate, add salt and pepper, and eat!

He once put vanilla in my scrambled eggs and I almost threw up.  He was all wounded too - "but that's how I make your French toast?  why don't you like it?"  Um....scrambled eggs are savory and French toast is sweet, that's why!   :P

NOVA Lady

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2008, 12:53:16 PM »
Yes we did have many failed experiments...most memorably was DH's cinimmon eggs and cheese (yea, not so great!) but we've found so many fun combinations and we never get bored of the same thing because they are so many different ways to put things together.

That is my husband's favorite way to eat eggs.  Scramble up 2-3 eggs with a little milk, a little vanilla, and a lot of cinnamon, cook them so about half-way done, then pile on shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, mozzarella, whatever) and finish cooking them.  Put the pile on a plate, add salt and pepper, and eat!

He once put vanilla in my scrambled eggs and I almost threw up.  He was all wounded too - "but that's how I make your French toast?  why don't you like it?"  Um....scrambled eggs are savory and French toast is sweet, that's why!   :P



Exactly!!! It did not sit well with me at all!

auntiem

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Re: Advice to DaeOne wannabees
« Reply #41 on: June 24, 2008, 05:10:29 PM »

We have been eating almost every night with the guidance of "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" by Mark Bittman.  He explains everything.  It's fabulous.  He first put out a "How to Cook Everything" book, and even if it's only half as good as the vegetarian one, it will be wonderful.  I highly, highly, highly recommend.



How to Cook Everything is my go-to cookbook - it is amazing! I'd start with that and Fannie Farmer.
The part about being single (or cooking for 2 for that matter) is you either end up eating the same thing for 4 days or you have a freezer full of "experiments". I highly recommend Cooking Light - they will list the dishes that freeze well. That way you can whip up a batch and freeze single servings for yourself for later in the week.
I like On Rice for simple to complex dishes - many of which lend themselves for storage / freezing for later use.
The Mench Chef is great even if you aren't trying to cook kosher - I use that book a lot too.
I also suggest getting a "fun" (like the White Trash cookbook) or ethnic cookbook (The New York Cabbie Cookbook is interesting and varied) and trying a few dishes from them.


L.A. Lady

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #42 on: June 25, 2008, 02:14:37 PM »
<hijack>
While we're talking about cookbooks and the like, can anyone recommend a good one for Ethiopian food?
</hijack>

The Soul of a New Cuisine, by Marcus Samuelsson is a good one.
The dishes of Africa is also good.

While these are not specifically Ethiopian food, they do specialize in East and North African cuisine. Marcus Samuelsson is from Ethiopia so he covers a lot of that region.

RoseRose

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #43 on: June 25, 2008, 11:59:05 PM »
I'm not a great cook, but I do have my grandma's recipe for mandelbrot (if it's what I know as mundel bread), so if you want a recipe, I have one!



Saki_Fiz

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Re: Advice to MarinaDCA wannabees
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2008, 07:57:27 AM »
I'm trying to learn to cook more myself.  Allrecipes has become my friend.  But my mother also made sure I was equipped with the basics: Joy of Cooking, Fanny Farmer, and the Betty Crocker cookbook (this last one now comes in a 3 ring binder style which is awesome).

What I do is pick an ingredient.  To use a real life situation, take eggplant for example.  I had never cooked with eggplant even though I enjoy it in restaurants.  I looked up all the recipes I would like to try with eggplant.  Then I picked the simplest looking one.  It's was a eggplant tomato bake.  Layer eggplant, layer cheese, layer tomato, layer cheese, drizzle olive, add garlic and herbs to taste, bake.  Served it with pasta on the side.  It turned out pretty good.  I will probably make it one or two more times and then move up to something more complicated like eggplant parmesan.  My main problem when learning to cook it not understanding how my ingredients react.  Once I learn that, more complicated recipes seem to get a lot easier.