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Old 08-14-2010, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default Cooking, teaching oneself how to do it.

So I never really learned how to cook. I can do a couple things but I could not be counted on to make edible items day in and out.

Anyone have any tips on how to master the basic's and some examples of simple dishes that I can't hose up too bad that kids would eat?
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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Taco's man. Buy some shells (or throw a corn tortilla in some oil in a skillet), and a large container of lowry's taco mix. 1 lb of ground beef or turkey, brown it up throw in the mix with some water (directions are on the side of the container) let simmer till the water is gone then load up the shells with beef, grated cheese, tomato's etc. Kids love it.

Only problem is I'm not really sure that it qualifies as "cooking".
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:01 PM   #3
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Mac and Cheese

get creative and put some polish sausage, hot dogs in it
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:39 AM   #4
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There's a thousand ways to make chicken. I'd give my two cents on how to make it, but I know you're asking how to become better. Well, I'm no champ at it, but what I do know I've learned from experimenting and trying over-and-over again. It's that old (tired) adage; practice makes perfect. Just go grab a cookbook and/or grab some recipes off the net and give it a whirl.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:51 PM   #5
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dude, go to realsimple.com and try out some of their 20 min dinner recipes.

i can't cook for sh*t but impress folks when i crank those tasties out.
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:13 PM   #6
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Experiment. Most everything is disturbingly simple if you actually just give it a shot and follow the instructions. It's definitely something you and the kids can have fun with together too.

Example:

My daughter loves making chicken parmesan with me. So she cracks an egg and stirs it up and we dip the chicken breasts in and then roll em around in italian bread crumbs and bam... toss it in the oven and we're pretty much done outside of adding sauce and cheese and popping it back in the over for another 10 mins.
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:04 PM   #7
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http://www.cookinglight.com/ simple and healthy recipes for you.
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:22 PM   #8
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I checked out " On food and cooking" by Harold McGee from the library. Thought I would give that a once over and experiment.

I taught myself to make my Grandma's "Lubskas" (Norweigan Meat & potato stew) receipe but outside that it is hit and miss.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broncosteven View Post
I checked out " On food and cooking" by Harold McGee from the library. Thought I would give that a once over and experiment.

I taught myself to make my Grandma's "Lubskas" (Norweigan Meat & potato stew) receipe but outside that it is hit and miss.
Oh by the way... you know what's a big hit with kids and retardedly easy to make?

Green bean casserole
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broncosteven View Post
So I never really learned how to cook. I can do a couple things but I could not be counted on to make edible items day in and out.

Anyone have any tips on how to master the basic's and some examples of simple dishes that I can't hose up too bad that kids would eat?
A few things I learned in restaraunt kitchens working my way through college. I hope they help.

Starch-to-Carbs-to-Sugars: Using heat to break starch bonds into carbs (blanching) and carbs into sugars (caralizing).
ie: If you want to stirfry carrots, onions, broccoli and peppers, start with the carrots. After they've softened into carbs, add the onions. Once the onions are clear, finish with the broccoli and peppers for a few minutes. This is the same process as pasta, which comes as dried starch. Cooking it until soft makes it carbs and too long turns it into sweet goo.

Thermodynamics: The rate at which heat transfers through something.
Use thinner cuts at lower temps for mid-to-well meats and thicker at higher temps for rare/midrare. This helps the inside reach the right temp at the same time the outside is done. A good way to check the temp of meat is by poking it several times with a finger, than poke your palm's thumb-meat to compare. An open, relaxed palm will be the same density as a rare steak. Gently touching the thumb and index finger compares to a mid-rare. The thumb to ring finger is a mid-well, etc. Fattier cuts should be cooked at a lower temp and a bit longer than lean cuts.

Never use 'high' on a range unless bringing water to boil or adding quick heat. The temp is too hot to do anything but burn food.

The tongue is a canvas and learning to paint well takes time and practice. It's not just complex flavoring, but varied consistancy that seperates great from edible. ie: A bland tuna salad sandwich becomes alot better with a few kidney beans and small chedder cubes mixed in and a peice of lettuce.

Know your spices: Seasoning a bowl of soup or meat for yourself is a good way to learn without making others cringe. Learn to love salt and pepper, but also try Earthy: white pepper(everything), cumin(meat and beans), dill(soups and chicken). Green: oregano(everything), basil(sweeter everything), majoram(earthy green). Spicy: redpepper(too hot for most), cayanne(very good flavor), paprika(mild heat and sweet for chicken/fish).

Finish with a sauce, and I don't mean ketchup: Even olive oil or melting a little butter, which leave a great coating on the tongue, will enhance vegetables and meats. Terriyaki, sweet soy, worsteshire, soy, sweet chili, sweet n' sour and OJ concentrate are all good sauces to familiarize yourself with. These should be applied just before finished to avoid burning or breaking the sauce. They are used to replace seasoning, so don't make crazy combinations.

Your oven can broil: Turning the oven to broil for the last few minutes something cooks can give a very nice appearance and take moisture off the top (meat, pizza, potatoes). If something says to cover and cook, taking the lid off the last few minutes does a bit of the same.

Fruit is the super veg: Cubed or thin sliced apples, pears, pinapple, oranges and cranberries add a great dimension to food. Avoid seasonings and only use sweeter sauces, if desired, with these dishes.

Feed the eyes: It's a staple in restaurant kitches and proven to make food taste better. Different colors, consistancy, height and toppings are things to consider.

All together experiment: Oriental stirfry
Get Minute rice going. It starts as a carb and finishes as a sugar, so you can tun it off and leave it without it 'gooing'.
Heat enough oil at mid-high to line a large skillet. Add chopped carrots to break down their starch. After a few minutes, throw in thin-sliced (1/4") raw chicken or steak and onions. Breaking down the onion will take as long as transfering heat through thin meats. Before the meat/onions are done, finish with either bell peppers or fruit (apples, pears, citrus). After one minute, add a sauce and rice for the last minute. Combining sweet soy & soy (2:1) with peppers or sweet n' sour & sweet chili (3:1) with fruit to give the dish 'theme'.

If you can handle seasoning, grilling, a complete saute' like above and presentation, you can handle most anything found in a cookbook other than baking desserts, which is its own science.
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:09 PM   #11
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ways to learn to cook:

1) When younger (Does not apply to you) work in a restaurant, best way to learn. My uncle owned a couple places when I was young and I used to work with him on the weekends, learned alot from him. Also while in high school and shortly after I worked at Charles Court at the Broadmoore hotel and then the Briarhurst manor in Colorado springs. Both were 5 star rated, had Matre D's. easy to learn by just asking them and the chefs.

2) Mother and Aunts, Coming from a good sized greek family, get togethers were always an eating experience. My mom told me at a young age, learn how to cook and you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want to, So I spent alot of time in the kitchen learning and at the grill with my Dad.... again this does not apply to you.

3) Tailgating. If you know some tailgate masters.... ie our very own Tailgatenut, These guys/gals are a wealth of knowledge. I was able to "Secure" Leo and Lisa's pork green chili recipe and it is the bomb...best around.

The last thing is you have to LOVE cooking if you are going to become accomplished at it. I have no problem spending hours in the kitchen getting things ready for a family get together. Christmas dinner for example is an easy 12-15 hours getting things ready ahead of time and also on Christmas day.

Bro, you are on the internet all the time, take some time to look up recipe's of some of your favorite items online, is an easy way to learn as well.
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:43 PM   #12
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Hamburger helper.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBF1 View Post
ways to learn to cook:

1) When younger (Does not apply to you) work in a restaurant, best way to learn. My uncle owned a couple places when I was young and I used to work with him on the weekends, learned alot from him. Also while in high school and shortly after I worked at Charles Court at the Broadmoore hotel and then the Briarhurst manor in Colorado springs. Both were 5 star rated, had Matre D's. easy to learn by just asking them and the chefs.

2) Mother and Aunts, Coming from a good sized greek family, get togethers were always an eating experience. My mom told me at a young age, learn how to cook and you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want to, So I spent alot of time in the kitchen learning and at the grill with my Dad.... again this does not apply to you.

3) Tailgating. If you know some tailgate masters.... ie our very own Tailgatenut, These guys/gals are a wealth of knowledge. I was able to "Secure" Leo and Lisa's pork green chili recipe and it is the bomb...best around.

The last thing is you have to LOVE cooking if you are going to become accomplished at it. I have no problem spending hours in the kitchen getting things ready for a family get together. Christmas dinner for example is an easy 12-15 hours getting things ready ahead of time and also on Christmas day.

Bro, you are on the internet all the time, take some time to look up recipe's of some of your favorite items online, is an easy way to learn as well.
I admit to learning how to make one of my favorite dishes my grandma would make me when she was alive because no one else would. It is just a Norwegian meat and potato stew, 1st couple times I made it was bad. Then I figured a couple things out and made a kick assed batch and now it is fun to cook despite the long prep time.

I did burn the batch I tryed to make last week but that was because I over did it and my nerve damage was bad.

I want to tackle her version of swedish meatballs that is my all time favorite dish but it is too complicated for one of my poor fundamentals.

I also learned how to make my mom's spagetti and meatballs, it is better than my wifes. Again due to following the instructions but also learning how to tweak things because I understood the ingredients better.

I figured if I learned the fundamentals I would be able to cook better than following a recipe.
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