Philadelphia, PA - Tips For From-Scratch Cooking: The whole idea of creating a healthy and tasty meal from scratch may seem like an intimidating task for some. You may be wondering where you would begin, how you could go about cooking it or even what meal you should create. I want to reassure you that from-scratch cooking isn’t hard. The internet is full of recipes for all skill sets and every diet possible.
If you are new to cooking from scratch, that is what I would recommend – Google the kind of dish you would like to make, browse through multiple recipes until you find one that makes you hungry and that you feel confident in the making. However, don’t be afraid to try new techniques. After all, that is how we become more experienced. Please don’t be scared to email me if you have questions about a recipe. I am more than happy to assist you.
Some things to keep in mind; Don’t forget to season your food. When you are new to cooking from scratch, you should keep in mind that your meal is not already seasoned.
Taste is the correct method to use when cooking. It is always easier to add more than it is to take away. Repeat this process as much as you feel is needed until your dish tastes perfect.
Try to avoid boiling vegetables. In many cases, this is removing much of the nutrients that we look for in fresh produce. The best way to cook most vegetables is roasting or grilling, as the heat intensifies the flavors while leaving the nutrients in place for us to consume.
Blanching & Shocking vegetables is not the same as boiling them. Blanching vegetables mean that you cook them in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, (size and vegetable dependent) removing them from the water and instantly put in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. It brightens the color of the produce, cleans them off well and assists in cooking times.
When it comes to recipes, remember that they are merely roadmaps to a destination. They are not the end all in how to create that dish. You are free to remove or add ingredients that you like or dislike. Many people don’t like mushrooms, so it’s sometimes just as easy to remove them from a recipe that you have chosen and are comfortable with than it is to find a method that matches perfectly.
I typically follow a recipe close to what is written for the first time through. I then make some alterations to the recipe to fit my specific needs.
Mise En Place – French for meaning “everything in its place.” That is the most important thing that I can suggest for cooking. It means having all your prep work done before you start cooking. This helps in several ways; it ensures that you have all the ingredients and you can focus on one task at a time. It is very easy to forget about something sautéing in a pan while you are dicing up onions, which will waste food and take extra time. This is very useful for people who are learning different techniques for cooking, as you can concentrate on what you are learning.