Weekend Meme: Cooking 101 Meme

>> Saturday, September 04, 2010

Friday night was spent at a friend's party where he was celebrating his 10th year as a florist. There was cheese, booze, sushi, sandwiches, cheesecake, a harpist, a jazz band and a whole bunch of gays. I helped a friend prepared for the upcoming labor day barbecue. Going to the Red Bull Flugtag today and see people jumping into the river with crazy fun design. I think that's a good conclusion to a week of art and creativity.

Today's meme is from The Queen's Meme asking for cooking advice. I guess I'm almost good enough to give out some of my observations. Let's commence...

1. What is the best dish you can cook?
My best dishes seems to be more self-conceived, something I crave and can only be satisfied by something I designed. The one that I loved the most was a 5-spiced braised beef with a white truffle barley risotto. I wanted the barley texture in my risotto so it can be creamy and bouncy at the same time.

2. Do I have to beat eggs or can I whip them gently? Sounds so violent to me.
Gentle whipping doesn't mix it so well and sometime you just need to beat them for scrambles or omelette. For baking, you do need to beat it preferably with machine which makes your life so much easier. Can I recommend a CuisinArt hand mixer? My friend got me one for my birthday and it's like holding a jet engine. It makes everything a breeze.

3. I am reading a recipe right now for Hearty Beef-n-Cheese Pie from a recipe book I dug out of the cabinet. The instructions read..."Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large frying pan, brown ground beef, onion and green pepper." I am already lost. Why must I turn on the oven and put the frying pan in it? And how does one turn beef AND peppers brown at the same time?! What color should the onion be?
That's a multi-parter. 1) Everytime you bake something, it's best to preheat the oven, it means to turn it on for about 10 minutes before you put food inside to cook, so the temperature inside the oven can rise to the desired cooking temperature. So turn it on ahead of time. 2) You don't necessarily have to put the frying pan inside the oven, you could but not if your frying pan has any plastic parts on it. Most recipes will ask you to transfer the browned meat to a oven-proof dish unless you have a dutch oven. 3) You want your beef browned, your pepper soft and your onion translucent but not see through.

4. Did you ever cook something for your family that no one enjoyed and you had to throw out?
Rarely, but of course I have my moments though right now I can't remember any.

5. Why do all recipes say "mix sugar, flour and salt?" Don't they cancel out the other?
Sugar, flour and salt don't cancel out each other. Sugar and salt actually heighten the notes of food. It's my belief that sugar makes things taste fresher and more pleasing, salt makes things taste stronger and draws out the savory. Your tongue can tastes multiple flavors at the same time and it's with different degrees of each that makes the flavor complex and addictive. Flour makes the flavor more concentrate especially if you're using it to make roux.

6. Why must you add eggs "one at a time" to a mixing bowl? Does anybody really know the answer to this question?
If you're baking, adding eggs one at a time allow your batter to mix more thoroughly so that flour doesn't clump together. When you're cooking, adding eggs one at a time can eliminate the risk that one of the eggs may be bad and ruin the whole batch.

7. Please post the recipe to something you think even I can cook. I am begging you! It is no fun being a afraid of my own crockpot.
The best thing to cook of course is something that you yourself crave and likes to eat. The easiest dish even if cooking a steak. I love personally love rib-eye. New York strip and a T-bone is pretty great too. Choose a fresh marbled steak. The freshness of your ingredients helps and make your food taste better.

1. Take your steaks out of the fridge, sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. 2. Turn up a frying pan on high heat with a tablespoon of oil.
3. Wait until it starts to smoke lightly, put your steaks on it, wait for 4 minutes. 4. Flip, wait 4 more minutes.
5. Eat with a salad, pasta, mash or any sides.

Easy enough right?

For a higher degree, add 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoons of soy sauce on top of the steaks after you've flipped them. There's nothing easier unless you're making instant noodles.

Watch some food network cooking shows to get yourself familiarized with the terminology, read the recipe thoroughly before you start, invest in some basic gadgets. Epicurious.com is the bomb (Foodnetwork.com and allrecipes.com are pretty good too)!

Anyhow, have a great weekend!

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