If You Can Read=You Can Cook


shutterstock_116301946-300x200By: Nikki Nies

In my circle of friends, I’m known as the gal who makes homemade lunch and dinner. I’m the first to suggest making homemade cookies and try a new pasta dish, but I haven’t always been like this.  In the past year, a lot has changed, from my increased domestic lifestyle and conscious effort to make creative dishes using ingredients on hand.

While my friends have varying levels of culinary experience, many are shocked the lengths I go to make homemade.  Yet, I’ve found bringing them into the kitchen with me is a great “bonding” experience and a budget friendly way to enjoy some great flavors!

I’m still in my early stages as a cook and I use online recipes as a crutch, but I’ve learned a lot about cooking in my short time.  All those naysayers that say they can’t cook, I argue one can cook if they can read.  How do you think others have learned?  Perhaps, one learned from a culinary master, but they still had to READ or WATCH how to develop those skills.

Like any other activity, one has to have an interest in cooking.  Until I was pushed to learn during my internship, I didn’t have a need or interest in cooking.  Throughout this last year, I’ve learned a thing or two about cooking, which I have found helpful in the kitchen.

My Personal Tips:

  • Carefully read what the recipe is asking for.  Does it ask for fresh or dried basil?  Once I was making a recipe that called for 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley and I only had dried parsley, so I put in 3 tablespoons of dried parsley.  If you’re substituting dry spices for fresh, make sure to use only a fraction of the measurement that is called.  Also, read if recipes call for tomato sauce, tomato paste or puree.  The difference in these three types of tomatoes is the consistency.  While it may not make much difference in some recipes, it can really make or break others
  • Start cooking your favorite foods.  When you’re personally invested in something, you naturally “try harder” due to the connection you feel to a dish.
  • I only use recipes that have more than 4.5 stars.  I also look at recipes’ comments.  You’ll often find additional tips from previous users, like you might not need all the nutmeg the recipe calls for or how to freeze the dish properly!
  • Grab a friend or two and have some more fun in the kitchen! Two heads are always better than one.  Having another person on hand to help with cleaning the dishes, I mean helping with the meal can limit errors and as said before, a great bonding experience
  • If possible, read the recipe a day before hand prep to make sure you have all the ingredients on hand and if you need to adjust next day’s schedule for recipe (i.e. chill in fridge for 1 hr., thawing meat).
  • Invest in quality cookware.  I’m not saying to max out 5 credit cards to get a $500 Vitamix, but opt quality knives over Dollar Tree (There’s a time and place to go to the Dollar Tree!) blender.  Yes,you’ll see a difference in  the quality of your meals and by “investing” in quality equipment you’ll save more in the long run plus fewer headaches!

Whether you’re new in the kitchen like me or  you’ve been cooking before you could talk, what’re some tips you’re willing to share? We can all learn a thing or two from another!

Sources: http://hellogiggles.com/7-common-mistakes-for-beginner-cooks

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