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cooking for morons

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posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 03:16 PM
ok, I guess I'm not a total moron but my knowledge of cooking techniques are virtually non existent. I have access to a pretty much complete kitchen with needed tools. Basically I have access to the tools but lack the know how. For years for example I even hard boiled an egg wrong. I didn't know that you were supposed to put the egg in the water while it was still cold and then heat the water. I can make some things if they come in a box as far as baking is concerned and they turn out ... well.... ok.

What I'm looking for are ideas for making food for either one or two people, maybe more. Nothing special as far as how diet is concerned except perhaps watching the sugar level. No one is diabetic but we keep an eye on these things.

Also any helpful hints like "whatever you do, don't do this....." are appreciated. We have a fire extinguisher but I'd rather not use it. (chuckle)

posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 04:09 PM
There is no real secret to cooking as far as I know. Just pay attention to what your doing. Season to taste and experiment with flavors.
what kind of meals do you like? maybe I can suggest some things to try if I knew what happened when you tried to cook certain things.

posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 05:25 PM
Well, let's see here. I'm not much for Mexican or spicey foods. I have a tendency to develop heartburn too easly. I enjoy meats of various kinds. Especially seafood or a good burger or steak. I'm still n the process f learning about adjusting for time. For example I picked up some pre made sugar cookie dough and they gave instructions as far as to cut 1/4 inch slabs off the dough and cook at X temp for X time. I took the dough, thawed it, and ran it through a spritzer (Cookie dough press). I discovered that the first batch they turned out a bit .... brown. Subsequent batch turned out ok. I have access to a deep fat fryer and decided to take some chicken breasts, cut them into strips, bread them and deep fry them according to the instructions that came wiht the fryer. The only difference was the fact that I cut the chicken breasts into strips instead of leaving them whole. Overcooked them.

I have discovered that if you run the toaster oven and the microwave at the same you blow out the circuit breakers.

Since I have so little experience in the kitchen as far as skills are concerned, and I'm highly omnivorous (Can't stand green beans though). I'm pretty much wide open as far as ideas.

I'm a meat and potatoes type of person but I also have no problems with such things as Sushi for example. To give an example of my lackage of knowlege:

I have no idea how long you are supposed to Bake Potatoes.
I have no idea how to make a pizza from scratch.
Likewise, no idea how to make a cake or cookies from scratch, I can do a box recipe, sorta.

You get the idea. And especially tips on what NOT to do would be appreciated.

posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 11:51 PM
wash the potatoes put a knife into em to make a slit in the skin for the steam to escape, else they can explode, in an oven 350 - 400 degrees until a kife goes in to them easily or you can squeeze em and feel soft mushy resistance.
i have worked as a chef for many years so if you want specific tips just message me , glad to help whenever i have time

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 02:12 PM
Google is your friend, use if for cooking times, but remember, every oven can be different, so check when you get close to time.

Full out cooking for two isn't's easier to cook for more.

Personally, although both my wife and I are decent cooks, and enjoy it...due to lack of time, we often just doctor up (i.e. add some better meat/veggies) to those little bagged meals you can get in the freezer section (usually have pasta, sauce, meat, and veggies). If nothing else, they give good ideas for a dish to make in a more conventional way...

I love cooking from just base and raw ingredients...but usually can only do so on the weekend. Since I get home from work before my wife, I'm generally doing more cooking though these days (hence why I'm on this forum, hehe..)

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 08:54 PM
When I read the title, I thought you were cooking for politicians.

Try cooking for dummies.
Very simple, very effective. It's not that hard, you just need to start out with the basics and work your way up.

Good luck.

posted on Feb, 28 2009 @ 08:32 AM
One mistake most people make when beginning to cook is to use too much heat, whether you're cooking on a stove and/or in the oven. When cooking on the stove always use medium/low heat if you're unsure. Except if you're boiling water, then you use high heat.

Start with simple things. Pasta is a good one. Just boil water, add the pasta, cook as per directions on the box, drain and add spaghetti sauce. Or try this: add butter and a lot of grated cheese (and stir into the drained pasta) for a real simple meal.

If you want to start cooking on the stove chicken cutlets would be a good one.
Get a package of chicken cutlets (thin sliced). Prepare a bowl large enough to dip the cutlets into. Beat two eggs in bowl. Dip the cutlets into egg then into a plate of bread crumbs. Use a large frying pan that has enough oil (corn or veg) in it to cover the bottom of pan. Preheat the pan using medium/low heat. Preheating should take only 3-4 mins. If the oil starts smoking, you're cooking at too high heat.

Add your breaded cutlets to the pan. Depending on the thickness of your cutlets your cooking time here will vary. When cooking at medium/low heat, when your cutlets get golden brown on the bottom, turn them carefully with a fork or tongs without splashing any oil (can make a crazy fire). Then cook until golden brown on both sides. When you have more experience cooking meat this way you will eventually be able to tell the "done-ness" of the meat by pressing on it with your finger while it's cooking. You'd be able to determine it's "done-ness" by its firmness. Too soft = not cooked, too firm = over cooked and dry.

But don't worry about pressing the meat while its cooking for now. Just try to judge by it color when cooking at medium/low heat. Golden brown.

Remember, if at any point the pan starts smoking lower the heat. Better to cook at lower heat for a longer time than to try to cook fast with high heat.

You can also substitute chicken cutlets with pork chops or veal cutlets.

Hey, before taking the cutlets out of the pan (maybe a min or 2 before they're ready to come out) add a slice of mozzarella cheese to each, and melt, then plate along with the pasta recipe above.

[edit on 28-2-2009 by Electro38]

posted on Mar, 11 2009 @ 11:25 PM
Hi Deson

My parentals are meat eaters (i am not) but I have a few recipes that might work out for you

As people have already mentioned:
1. It is easier to cook for more people
2. A common mistake is turning the heat up too much

Do you eat: Salmon, Shrimp, Scallops, Chicken, and Beef?
Any allergies?
Aside from green beans, what else don't you like?

- Carrot

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 06:31 PM

Originally posted by CA_Orot
Hi Deson

My parentals are meat eaters (i am not) but I have a few recipes that might work out for you

As people have already mentioned:
1. It is easier to cook for more people
2. A common mistake is turning the heat up too much

Do you eat: Salmon, Shrimp, Scallops, Chicken, and Beef?
Any allergies?
Aside from green beans, what else don't you like?

- Carrot

No allergies.

Not into the salmon thing due to the fact that a number of years ago I had gotten several cans of canned salmon from a food bank (with backbones). I tried frying the chopped salmon into sorta a patty like substance in a frying pan and ended up nearly smoking myself out of the apartment. I haven't touch salmon since.

Shrimp I dearly love and I have access to a deep fryer. What would you recommend for breading shrimp? and do I need to dip the shrimp into something before trying to bread them before deep frying them?

The only scallops I've encountered were at a buffet. They were all right but I've never really thought about what exactly is a scallop? Sort of like a clam right?

I've got some frozen skinless chicken breasts (3 of them) I'm not sure what to do with them. One time I took 3 of them, cut them into strips and attached some breading to them and deep fried them as a home made chicken strips like thingy. Not too bad but I found out that I seriously needed to adjust the cooking time (cooked too long).

Beef I don't mind but I haven't really the slightest idea what to do with it. Other than making hamburgers that's about all the experience I have with beef.

As far as veggies.

Hate the green beans.

Corn and I get along ok.
carrots I'm mediocre with (not you carrot, those carrots
Love Radishes.
Potatoes I'm all right with.

Other veggies I'm mediocre with I don't really like them but I don't hate them either.

By the way, thank you all for the suggestions and thoughts.

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 10:44 PM
I used to work at a really nice hotel until i came back to school. Once in a while, I'd hang out with the Chef's in the kitchen and learn some tricks, thats basically how I learned to cook anything good (we had a few slow months, I should've worked in the kitchen considering how much time i was back there).

I've never breaded shrimp before, I've always sauteed. But I think, if you were going to bread them, you should use an egg-wash before battering them (if you're using a crumb batter and not a liquid one).

For Flavor - salt and pepper all meats. (I learned this at the hotel) before pan-searing them or grilling. (Sea Salt & Black pepper are best. Stay away from white pepper -
people tend to over-pepper with white).

Defrost meat prior to cooking. I'm not great with working with frozen meat, so I would take it out of the freezer, and let it defrost in the fridge. Cooking time is also quicker this way.

(more to come - mid terms this week eeeek)

- Carrot

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 11:17 PM
Yep, I've come some pre made bread batter that I used on some chicken breasts.

I figured that I would need to do a egg wash with them. I had to do that when I made some deep fried mushrooms (love them) but the one time that I made homemade chicken strips the chicken breasts were wet enough to where I didn't need a egg wash.

posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 11:32 PM
Ok a few tips

To boil an egg, bring water to boil, once boiled stir vigorously so that you get a nice vortex going. Place egg on a spoon and drop into the middle of the spinning water. You will get perfectly centered yolks then

Cooking pasta. Place pot on stove with a small amount of water in it. Whilst that is heating up fill up the kettle and bring to boil, once the kettle is boiled pour in the water and you should have a bubbling pot of water in a couple of minutes instead of 10 minutes. Once the water is boiling add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of oil to it, this will stop the pasta sticking.

If you're making spaghetti hold the spaghetti by the end ands slowly offer it into the pot letting it soften. This method will give you full lengths.

To cook a good steak, first get a good cut of meat, my favourites are sirloin and porterhouse.

get a small sealable container and drizzle a good quality olive oil into it, crack some black pepper in and some sea salt.

Place the steak on the oil mix then repeat for the top then rub it in a bit.

Seal up the container for an hour at room temperature.

Once you're ready, get a hot pan or grill ready and place the steak straight onto it, cooking time will depend on how rare you like it, 5 mins each side will give you a medium rare (depends on thickness)

final tip with steak, turn only once and do not stick a fork or knife in it to see if it's done, it will make it tough.

[edit on 16-3-2009 by Chadwickus]

posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 06:58 PM
start with recipes. if you follow them then it is hard to fail. As you get more experience, you start learning how to tweak things, and what works and what doesn't.

I actually suggest watching good eats. They give simple foods(not five star recipes you would never make) and some really decent tips. That and the show is entertaining anyways.

Barefoot contessa is good.

Focus on certain genres of food to start. That way you have the items in stock, and you get used to a style. Say like italian. Then move on to the next.

ask people about their favorite recipes. Because they are experienced with it. They can tell you pros and cons and what to do and what not to do. And you can pick up tips.

For example, meat loaf is really good when it is done right. The trick to not getting tough meatloaf is to not knead it any more then you have too. Keep it as a bare minimum.

Or i personally find cole slaw tastes much better the smaller it is cut up. Couldn't tell you why. Holds more flavor i think. And it is better the next day.

[edit on 20-3-2009 by nixie_nox]

posted on Mar, 30 2009 @ 03:35 PM
I have the knowledge.......................what kind of food do you like.
Let me know and I will provide the right fast-food option to suit your needs.
Fast food meaning quick and easy and in no way a reference to Rotten Ronnies or any of the other McNasties out there.........

posted on Apr, 19 2009 @ 12:22 PM
Here are a few of the basic tennants to cooking I learned years ago in culinary school. Cooking itself isn't about the recipe in front of you, as a matter of fact it is about the techniques more so than ingredients. After a while you'll get more comfortble and it will be like someone just walked into the room and turned a light on.

1) This tennant in the industry is called Mise En Place or "Mise". You dont need to memorize this term moreover instead what it means and entails. This term simply means have EVERYTHING you need to cook the meal at hand infront of you BEFORE you cook ANYTHING! This means ingredients AND pots and pans and utencils. This way all of your focus is on the task at hand, cooking. Not wandering around the kitchen looking for an ingredient or pot you forgot. It also means cutting and chopping an vegetables or other products you need beforehand.

2)SEASON,SEASON,SEASON- When we say season we mean salt and pepper. Nothing more. Herbs and spices are generally used to slightly alter the flavor of a dish while salt and pepper actually bring the flavor of the meat out. Also when using salt to COOK, use a larger grained salt like Kosher or sea salt. The larger grains actually help season more easily. Leave the table salt in thier shakers on the dinner table. Also when seasoning use your hands. Taking a pinch, hold it over the food at about 6-12 inches above the dish and you will evenly distribute the salt and pepper. ( And most people think that that is just for flash on

3) TASTE YOUR FOOD WHILE YOU ARE COOKING IT! OFTEN! This helps prevent overcoooking, overseasoning, and generally bad things from happening in the construction of your dish.

These 3 things if you stick to em while help you immensley. If you have anymore questions feel free to ask or PM me or another on this board.

[edit on 19-4-2009 by djvexd]

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